very company needs a plan to survive and thrive. Strategy analysis is not about predicting the future, but rather understanding the past and present in order to predict what will happen next. With a thorough review of your company’s goals, responsibilities, and resources, you can create a vision for your company’s future success. This post will give you some great books on strategy analysis so that you can get started today.
Best Books on Strategy Analysis: THE LIST
1. Contemporary Strategy Analysis | By Robert Grant
Ideal for MBA and advanced undergraduate students, Contemporary Strategy Analysis, 11th Edition delivers an accessible and insightful exploration of the fundamentals of strategic value creation. With a strong focus on practical strategies proven to work in the real world, the text includes a multitude of case studies based on recognizable companies that illustrate the implementation of the concepts discussed within.
2. Blue Ocean Strategy | By W. Chan Kim
In this perennial bestseller, embraced by organizations and industries worldwide, globally preeminent management thinkers W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne challenge everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success. Recognized as one of the most iconic and impactful strategy books ever written, Blue Ocean Strategy, now updated with fresh content from the authors, argues that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans” – untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.
Blue Ocean Strategy presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outlines principles and tools any organization can use to create and capture its own blue oceans. This expanded edition includes a new preface by the authors: “Help! My Ocean Is Turning Red”; updates on all cases and examples in the book; and two new chapters and an expanded third one – “Alignment, Renewal, and Red Ocean Traps” – that address some of the most pressing questions listeners and readers have asked over the years.
3. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy | By Richard Rumelt
Good Strategy/Bad Strategy clarifies the muddled thinking underlying too many strategies and provides a clear way to create and implement a powerful action-oriented strategy for the real world.
Developing and implementing a strategy is the central task of a leader. A good strategy is a specific and coherent response to – and approach for – overcoming the obstacles to progress. A good strategy works by harnessing and applying power where it will have the greatest effect. Yet, Rumelt shows that there has been a growing and unfortunate tendency to equate Mom-and-apple-pie values, fluffy packages of buzzwords, motivational slogans, and financial goals with “strategy”.
In Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, he debunks these elements of “bad strategy” and awakens an understanding of the power of a “good strategy”. He introduces nine sources of power – ranging from using leverage to effectively focusing on growth – that are eye-opening yet pragmatic tools that can easily be put to work on Monday morning and uses fascinating examples from business, nonprofit, and military affairs to bring its original and pragmatic ideas to life. The detailed examples range from Apple to General Motors, from the two Iraq wars to Afghanistan, from a small local market to Wal-Mart, from Nvidia to Silicon Graphics, from the Getty Trust to the Los Angeles Unified School District, from Cisco Systems to Paccar, and from Global Crossing to the 2007-08 financial crisis.
Reflecting an astonishing grasp and integration of economics, finance, technology, history, and the brilliance and foibles of the human character, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy stems from Rumelt’s decades of digging beyond the superficial to address hard questions with honesty and integrity.
4. Competitive Strategy | By Michael Porter
Now nearing its 60th printing in English and translated into 19 languages, Michael E. Porter’s Competitive Strategy has transformed the theory, practice, and teaching of business strategy throughout the world.
Electrifying in its simplicity – like all great breakthroughs – Porter’s analysis of industries captures the complexity of industry competition in five underlying forces. Porter introduces one of the most powerful competitive tools yet developed: his three generic strategies – lowest cost, differentiation, and focus – which bring structure to the task of strategic positioning. He reveals how competitive advantage can be defined in terms of relative cost and relative prices, thus linking it directly to profitability and presenting a whole new perspective on how profit is created and divided. In the almost two decades since publication, Porter’s framework for predicting competitor behavior has transformed the way in which companies look at their rivals and has given rise to the new discipline of competitor assessment.
More than a million managers in both large and small companies, investment analysts, consultants, students, and scholars throughout the world have internalized Porter’s ideas and applied them to assess industries, understand competitors, and choose competitive positions. The ideas in the audiobook address the underlying fundamentals of competition in a way that is independent of the specifics of the ways companies go about competing.
Competitive Strategy has filled a void in management thinking. It provides an enduring foundation and grounding point on which all subsequent work can be built. By bringing a disciplined structure to the question of how firms achieve superior profitability, Porter’s rich frameworks and deep insights comprise a sophisticated view of competition unsurpassed in the last quarter-century. Competitive Strategy is skillfully narrated by Scott R. Pollak.
5. The Art of Strategy | By Avinash Dixit
Game theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It’s the art of anticipating your opponent’s next moves, knowing full well that your rival is trying to do the same thing to you. Though parts of game theory involve simple common sense, much is counterintuitive, and it can only be mastered by developing a new way of seeing the world. Using a diverse array of rich case studies – from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history – the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component to it. Mastering game theory will make you more successful in business and life, and this lively book is the key to that mastery.
6. The Balanced Scorecard | By Robert Kaplan
The Balanced Scorecard translates a company’s vision and strategy into a coherent set of performance measures. The four perspectives of the scorecard–financial measures, customer knowledge, internal business processes, and learning and growth–offer a balance between short-term and long-term objectives, between outcomes desired and performance drivers of those outcomes, and between hard objective measures and softer, more subjective measures. In the first part, Kaplan and Norton provide the theoretical foundations for the Balanced Scorecard; in the second part, they describe the steps organizations must take to build their own Scorecards; and, finally, they discuss how the Balanced Scorecard can be used as a driver of change.
7. The Strategy Book | By Max McKeown
Thinking strategically is what separates managers and leaders. Learn the fundamentals of how to create a winning strategy and lead your team to deliver it. From understanding what strategy can do for you through to creating a strategy and engaging others with it, this book offers practical guidance and expert tips. It is peppered with punchy, memorable examples from real leaders winning (and losing) with real-world strategies.
It can be read as a whole, or you can dip into the easy-to-read, bite-size sections as and when you need to deal with a particular issue. The structure has been specially designed to make sections quick and easy to use–you’ll find yourself referring back to them again and again.
8. Strategy Maps | By Robert Kaplan
More than 20 years ago, Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton introduced the balanced scorecard, a revolutionary performance measurement system that allowed organizations to quantify intangible assets such as people, information, and customer relationships. Then, in The Strategy-Focused Organization, Kaplan and Norton showed how organizations achieved breakthrough performance with a management system that put the balanced scorecard into action.
Now, using their ongoing research with hundreds of balanced scorecard adopters across the globe, the authors have created a powerful new tool – the “strategy map” – that enables companies to describe the links between intangible assets and value creation with clarity and precision never before possible. Kaplan and Norton argue that the most critical aspect of strategy – implementing it in a way that ensures sustained value creation-depends on managing four key internal processes: operations, customer relationships, innovation, and regulatory and social processes.
The authors show how companies can use strategy maps to link those processes to desired outcomes; evaluate, measure, and improve the processes most critical to success; and target investments in human, informational, and organizational capital.
9. Playing to Win | By Alan Lafley
This is A.G. Lafley’s guidebook. Shouldn’t it be yours as well? Winning CEO A.G. Lafley is now back at the helm of consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. If you want to know the strategy he’ll use to restore P&G to its former dominance, read this book.
Playing to Win, a noted Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestseller, outlines the strategic approach Lafley, in close partnership with strategic adviser Roger Martin, used to double P&G’s sales, quadruple its profits, and increase its market value by more than $100 billion when Lafley was first CEO (he led the company from 2000 to 2009). The book shows leaders in any type of organization how to guide everyday actions with larger strategic goals built around the clear, essential elements that determine business success where to play, and how to win.
Lafley and Martin have created a set of five essential strategic choices that, when addressed in an integrated way, will move you ahead of your competitors. They are: (1) What is our winning aspiration? (2) Where will we play? (3) How will we win? (4) What capabilities must we have in place to win? and (5) What management systems are required to support our choices? The result is a playbook for winning.
The stories of how P&G repeatedly won by applying this method to iconic brands such as Olay, Bounty, Gillette, Swiffer, and Febreze clearly illustrate how deciding on a strategic approach and then making the right choices to support it makes the difference between just playing the game and actually winning.
Playing to Win outlines a proven method that has worked for some of today’s most celebrated brands and products. Let this book serve as your new guide to winning, as well.
10. Corporate Strategy | By Phanish Puranam
Many companies are not single businesses but a collection of businesses with one or more levels of corporate management. Written for managers, advisors, and students aspiring to these roles, this book is a guide to decision-making in the domain of corporate strategy. It arms readers with research-based tools needed to make good corporate strategy decisions and to assess the soundness of the corporate strategy decisions of others. Readers will learn how to do the analysis for answering questions such as ‘Should we pursue an alliance or an acquisition to grow?’, ‘How much should we integrate this acquisition?’ and ‘Should we divest this business?’. The book draws on the authors’ wealth of research and teaching experience at INSEAD, London Business School, and University College London. A range of learning aids, including easy-to-comprehend examples, decision templates, and FAQs, are provided in the book and on a rich companion website.
11. The Hard Thing About Hard Things | By Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz, the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup – practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.
12. Value Proposition Design | By Alexander Osterwalder
Value Proposition Design helps you tackle the core challenge of every business ― creating compelling products and services customers want to buy. This highly practical book, paired with its online companion, will teach you the processes and tools you need to create products that sell.
Using the same stunning visual format as the authors’ global bestseller, Business Model Generation, this sequel explains how to use the “Value Proposition Canvas” to design, test, create, and manage products and services customers actually want.
Value Proposition Design is for anyone who has been frustrated by new product meetings based on hunches and intuitions; it’s for anyone who has watched an expensive new product launch fail in the market. The book will help you understand the patterns of great value propositions, get closer to customers, and avoid wasting time with ideas that won’t work. You’ll learn the simple process of designing and testing value propositions, that perfectly match customers’ needs and desires.
In addition, the book gives you exclusive access to an online companion on Strategyzer.com. You will be able to assess your work, learn from peers, and download pdfs checklists, and more.
Value Proposition Design is an essential companion to the ”Business Model Canvas” from Business Model Generation, a tool embraced globally by startups and large corporations such as MasterCard, 3M, Coca Cola, GE, Fujitsu, LEGO, Colgate-Palmolive, and many more.
Value Proposition Design gives you a proven methodology for success, with value propositions that sell, embedded in profitable business models.”
13. Competing on Analytics | By Thomas Davenport
From two pioneers in business analytics, an update of the classic book on how analytics and business intelligence are transforming competition and how leading organizations build and compete on an analytical capability. Leading companies are doing more than just collecting and storing data in large quantities – they’re now driving their competitive strategies based on data-driven insights. And achieving impressive results: Identifying the most profitable customers, accelerating product innovation, optimizing supply chains and pricing, and leveraging the true drivers of financial performance. The secret weapon? Analytics – sophisticated quantitative and statistical analysis and predictive modeling supported by data-savvy leaders and powerful information technology.
In Competing on Analytics, Davenport and Harris explain how analytics are transforming the basis of competition in industry after industry. They show how organizations as diverse as Procter & Gamble, Capital One, CEMEX, and the Boston Red Sox are using these tools to outperform rivals, by applying analytics to finance, manufacturing, R&D, and HR and with customers and suppliers. Presenting a practical framework of the five stages of the analytical competition, this book provides managers with the road map for becoming an analytical competitor.
14. Strategy Mapping for Learning Organizations | By Phil Jones
How can we ensure our strategy will succeed, especially in changing and uncertain times? The answer, as explained in Strategy Mapping for Learning Organizations, is to become a more responsive organization – one that captures its strategy in strategy maps learns from that strategy, and can adapt to deliver results. For anyone involved in managing strategy and performance, applying the powerful strategy mapping techniques will move your balanced scorecard from an operational tool to one of strategy and change. It will help you capture, communicate and manage your strategy more effectively. However, strategy can no longer be simply a top-down, annual process. It needs to be more iterative, emergent, and involving. Many agile organizations have adopted rolling plans and budgets. To bring greater agility into the wider strategy and performance management processes requires the tools and techniques described in Strategy Mapping for Learning Organizations. Phil Jones provides a detailed guide to developing, rolling out, and managing with modern strategy maps and scorecards, building agility and learning. His book incorporates the latest strategic thinking and models. It places the balanced scorecard in a wider governance context that includes the management of risk and environmental and social responsibility. Fully illustrated with examples from many different organizations, this book will help you deliver your strategy better.
15. The New HR Analytics | By Jac Fitz-enz
In his landmark book, The ROI of Human Capital, Jac Fitz-enz presented a system of powerful metrics for quantifying the contributions of individual employees to a company’s bottom line. Now, in The New HR Analytics, he reveals how human resources professionals can apply this expense-based knowledge to make the most strategic staffing decisions for their companies. Using Fitz-enz’s proprietary analytic model, readers will be equipped to measure and evaluate past and current returns and apply the information to make predictions about the future value of human capital investments. You’ll learn how to: evaluate and prioritize the skills needed to sustain performance; build an agile workforce through flexible Capability Planning; determine how the organization can stimulate and reward behaviors that matter; apply a proven succession planning strategy that leverages employee engagement and drives top-line revenue growth, and recognize risks and formulate responses that avoid surprises. Brimming with real-world examples and input from thirty top HR practitioners and thought leaders as well as exclusive analytical tools, this groundbreaking book usher in a new era in human resources and human capital management.
16. Making Strategy | By Colin Eden
John M Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
′Using this book enabled me to facilitate a multicultural team of seven managers so that they very quickly got to grips with the challenges and opportunities facing the organization and developed a realistic workable strategy, whilst at the same time building a real sense of team cohesion and the feeling that individuals had listened to′
Alison Devine, Director, British Council, Taipei
This lucid and highly-accessible text addresses the challenges of how to build a robust and implementable strategy. Strategy making is seen as something relevant to managers of departments, divisions, SME′s, as well as the top management teams of public and for-profit organizations.
Four key routes to creating a strategy are discussed. These routes, when taken together, provide a powerful means for agreeing on a negotiated strategy and comprise: strategic issue management, agreeing on organizational purpose, competitiveness from the exploitation and protection of distinctiveness, and the strategic management of stakeholders. The designs have been used extensively, in a wide range of countries, by management teams in all types of organizations.
17. Beyond Performance Management | By Jeremey Hope
There’s a bewildering array of management tools out there. And they all promise to help you excel at the toughest parts of your job: defining your organization’s strategic direction, managing customers and costs, and boosting workforce performance. But just 30 percent of these tools deliver as intended.
Why? As Jeremy Hope and Steve Player reveal in Beyond Performance Management, while many tools are sound in theory, they’re misused by most organizations. For example, executives buy and implement a tool without first asking, “What problem are we trying to solve?” And they use tools to command and control frontline teams, not empower them-a serious and costly mistakes.
In this eminently useful, clear-eyed book, the authors critically review dozens of well-known management tools-from mission statements, balanced scorecards, and rolling forecasts to key performance indicators, Six Sigma, and performance appraisals. They explain how to select the right tools for your organization, how to implement them correctly, and how to extract maximum value from each.
Brimming with rigorous analysis and solid advice, Beyond Performance Management helps you swiftly gauge the value of each management tool, as well as navigate the increasingly crowded field of offerings-so the tools you select deliver fully on their promise.
18. Strategic Performance Management | By Bernard Marr
A master class in achieving and sustaining excellence, even in the most challenging of times―from the host of The Learning Leader Show and author of Welcome to Management
Millions of business professionals aspire to become effective leaders. But for hardworking, growth-oriented top performers who are always looking to improve and for rigorous thinkers who are never quite satisfied with the status quo, the true goal is the lifelong pursuit of excellence.
Leadership advisor Ryan Hawk has interviewed hundreds of the most productive achievers in the world on his acclaimed podcast, The Learning Leader Show, to discover the best practices for pursuing and sustaining excellence. He found a pattern of uncommon behaviors that set these stellar individuals apart. By following their examples, you will learn how to:
- Commit to yourself and the process―and build purpose, focus, and discipline
- Develop resilience to face new challenges―and find inspiration for the long haul
- Seek guidance―and lead others to new heights
- Meet the moment―and make the most of every opportunity to excel
- Create a trusted group of advisors―and become a lifelong learner
Packed with specific actions to take, experiments to run, and tools to analyze what works best for you, this uncompromisingly practical guide will inspire, challenge, support, and empower you to become your very best. Put mindsets into action and turn behaviors into habits with The Pursuit of Excellence.
19. The Intelligent Company | By Bernard Marr
Today’s most successful companies are Intelligent Companies that use the best available data to inform their decision-making. This is called Evidence-Based Management and is one of the fastest-growing business trends of our times. Intelligent Companies bring together tools such as Business Intelligence, Analytics, Key Performance Indicators, Balanced Scorecards, Management Reporting, and Strategic Decision Making to generate real competitive advantages.
As information and data volumes grow at explosive rates, the challenges of managing this information is turning into a losing battle for most companies and they end up drowning in data while thirsting for insights. This is made worse by the severe skills shortage in analytics, data presentation, and communication.
This latest book by best-selling management expert Bernard Marr will equip you with a set of powerful skills that are vital for successful managers now and in the future. Increase your market value by gaining essential skills that are in high demand but in short supply.
Loaded with practical step-by-step guidance, simple tools, and real-life examples of how leading organizations such as Google, CocaCola, Capital One, Saatchi & Saatchi, Tesco, Yahoo, as well as Government Departments and Agencies have put the principles into practice.
The five steps to more intelligent decision making are:
- Step 1: More intelligent strategies – by identifying strategic priorities and agreeing on your real information needs
- Step 2: More intelligent data – by creating relevant and meaningful performance indicators and qualitative management information linked back to your strategic information needs
- Step 3: More intelligent insights – by using good evidence to test and prove ideas and by analyzing the data to gain robust and reliable insights
- Step 4: More intelligent communication – by creating informative and engaging management information packs and dashboards that provide the essential information, packaged in an easy-to-read way
- Step 5: More intelligent decision making – by fostering an evidence-based culture of turning information into actionable knowledge and real decisions
Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Strategy Analysis
Strategy analysis is a routine part of the business. You might be evaluating your own strategy or maybe someone else’s. Either way, you need to know what makes a good strategy and how to identify it. To help you, we’ve compiled some of the best books on strategy analysis and put them in one convenient list for you!
Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.
Meet Maurice, a staff editor at Bigger Investing. He’s an accomplished entrepreneur who owns multiple successful websites and a thriving merch shop. When he’s not busy with work, Maurice indulges in his passion for kayaking, climbing, and his family. As a savvy investor, Maurice loves putting his money to work and seeking out new opportunities. With his expertise and passion for finance, he’s dedicated to helping readers achieve their financial goals through Bigger Investing.