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April 1, 2016

The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: STRATEGY

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 3:38 PM – Filed under: Leadership & Strategy, Management & Workplace Culture

Strategy is the sum of all a company does to compete in the marketplace. Decisions range from whether or not to offer free shipping to determining if Omaha is the best place for the new plant. Are you going to thrust or feint? There are an infinite number of ways to put the pieces together, and these books show that some combinations are better than others.

In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies  by Thomas J. Peters & Robert H. Waterman, Jr.

The "Greatest Business Book of All Time" (Bloomsbury UK), In Search of Excellence has long been a must-have for the boardroom, business school, and bedside table.

Based on a study of forty-three of America's best-run companies from a diverse array of business sectors, In Search of Excellence describes eight basic principles of management—action-stimulating, people-oriented, profit-maximizing practices—that made these organizations successful.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don't by Jim Collins

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen

His work is cited by the world’s best-known thought leaders, from Steve Jobs to Malcolm Gladwell. In this classic bestseller—one of the most influential business books of all time—innovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right—yet still lose market leadership.

Christensen explains why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. No matter the industry, he says, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know how and when to abandon traditional business practices.

Offering both successes and failures from leading companies as a guide, The Innovator’s Dilemma gives you a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

Sharp, cogent, and provocative—and consistently noted as one of the most valuable business ideas of all time—The Innovator’s Dilemma is the book no manager, leader, or entrepreneur should be without.

Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company by Andrew S. Grove

Under Andy Grove's leadership, Intel has become the world's largest chip maker and one of the most admired companies in the world. In Only the Paranoid Survive, Grove reveals his strategy of focusing on a new way of measuring the nightmare moment every leader dreads—when massive change occurs and a company must, virtually overnight, adapt or fall by the wayside.

Grove calls such a moment a Strategic Inflection Point, which can be set off by almost anything: mega-competition, a change in regulations, or a seemingly modest change in technology. When a Strategic Inflection Point hits, the ordinary rules of business go out the window. Yet, managed right, a Strategic Inflection Point can be an opportunity to win in the marketplace and emerge stronger than ever.

Grove underscores his message by examining his own record of success and failure, including how he navigated the events of the Pentium flaw, which threatened Intel's reputation in 1994, and how he has dealt with the explosions in growth of the Internet. The work of a lifetime, Only the Paranoid Survive is a classic of managerial and leadership skills.

Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise Through Dramatic Change by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? sums up Lou Gerstner's historic business achievement, bringing IBM back from the brink of insolvency to lead the computer business once again. Offering a unique case study drawn from decades of experience at some of America's top companies—McKinsey, American Express, RJR Nabisco—Gerstner's insights into management and leadership are applicable to any business, at any level. Ranging from strategy to public relations, from finance to organization, Gerstner reveals the lessons of a lifetime running highly successful companies.

Discovering the Soul of Service by Leonard Berry

From Berry's exacting study of fourteen mature, highly successful, labor-intensive companies comes an astonishing revelation: the single most important factor in building a lasting service business is not a matter of savvy business practice, but of humane values. In all fourteen award-winning companies—Bergstrom Hotels, The Charles Schwab Corporation, Chick-fil-A, The Container Store, Custom Research Inc., Dana Commercial Credit, Dial-A-Mattress, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Midwest Express Airlines, Miller SQA, Special Expeditions, St. Paul Saints, USAA, and Ukrop's Super Markets—values-driven leadership connects with strategic focus, executional excellence, control of destiny, trust-based relationships, generosity, investment in employee success, acting small, and brand cultivation to drive customer satisfaction, innovation, and growth. Dedicating a chapter to each of these nine drivers, this book is the most far-reaching and insightful vision ever presented of the principles and step-by-step actions that continuously bring success to life in a company.

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan

The book that shows how to get the job done and deliver results… whether you’re running an entire company or in your first management job.

Larry Bossidy is one of the world’s most acclaimed CEOs, a man with few peers who has a track record for delivering results. Ram Charan is a legendary advisor to senior executives and boards of directors, a man with unparalleled insight into why some companies are successful and others are not. Together they’ve pooled their knowledge and experience into the one book on how to close the gap between results promised and results delivered that people in business need today.

Leading processes is the real job of running a business, not formulating a “vision” and leaving the work of carrying it out to others. Bossidy and Charan show the importance of being deeply and passionately engaged in an organization and why robust dialogues about people, strategy, and operations result in a business based on intellectual honesty and realism.

Competing for the Future by Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad

With Competing for the Future, managers have seen how they can reshape their industries. Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad offer a masterful blueprint for what your company must be doing today if it is to occupy the competitive high ground of tomorrow. By showing that the key to future industry leadership is to develop an independent point of view about tomorrow's opportunities and build capabilities that exploit them, Hamel and Prahalad reveal an entirely new definition of what it means to be strategic-and successful.