good book has the power to change your life. Whether it be influencing your career or lifestyle choices, or simply giving you an escape from every day, reading is a true gift. And because books are so influential in shaping our lives, I’ve put together a list of the 10 best books on strategy and power. These best books on strategy and power will help you to get ahead in life, build your career, and live with purpose. So read on for some great recommendations.
Best Books on Strategy and Power: THE LIST
1. The Art of War | By Sun Tzu
The 13 chapters of The Art of War, each devoted to one aspect of warfare, were compiled by the high-ranking Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher Sun-Tzu. In spite of its battlefield specificity, The Art of War has found new life in the modern age, with leaders in fields as wide and far-reaching as world politics, human psychology, and corporate strategy finding valuable insight in its timeworn words.
Aidan Gillen – who has learned a thing or two about strategy through his roles as skilled manipulator Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Game of Thrones) and ambitious politician Tommy Carcetti (The Wire) – brilliantly performs this ancient classic. His experience in portraying insightful and, at times, cunning characters makes him a natural fit for this ancient collection of battlefield epigrams whose influence has grown tremendously in the modern world.
2. The 48 Laws of Power | By Robert Greene
Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this multi-million-copy New York Times bestseller is the definitive manual for anyone interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control – from the author of The Laws of Human Nature.
In the book that People magazine proclaimed “beguiling” and “fascinating,” Robert Greene and Joost Elffers have distilled three thousand years of the history of power into 48 essential laws by drawing from the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz and also from the lives of figures ranging from Henry Kissinger to P.T. Barnum.
Some laws teach the need for prudence (“Law 1: Never Outshine the Master”), others teach the value of confidence (“Law 28: Enter Action with Boldness”), and many recommend absolute self-preservation (“Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally”). Every law, though, has one thing in common: an interest in total domination. In a bold and arresting two-color package, The 48 Laws of Power is ideal whether your aim is conquest, self-defense, or simply to understand the rules of the game.
3. The Prince | By Niccolo Machiavelli
4. The Power Broker | By Robert Caro
Everywhere acknowledged as a modern American classic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest books of the twentieth century, The Power Broker is a huge and galvanizing biography revealing not only the saga of one man’s incredible accumulation of power but the story of the shaping (and misshaping) of New York in the twentieth century.
Robert Caro’s monumental book makes public what few outsiders knew: that Robert Moses was the single most powerful man of his time in the City and in the State of New York. And in telling the Moses story, Caro both opens up to an unprecedented degree the way in which politics really happens—the way things really get done in America’s City Halls and Statehouses—and brings to light a bonanza of vital information about such national figures as Alfred E. Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt (and the genesis of their blood feud), about Fiorello La Guardia, John V. Lindsay, and Nelson Rockefeller.
But The Power Broker is first and foremost a brilliant multidimensional portrait of a man—an extraordinary man who, denied power within the normal framework of the democratic process, stepped outside that framework to grasp power sufficient to shape a great city and to hold sway over the very texture of millions of lives. We see how Moses began: the handsome, intellectual young heir to the world of Our Crowd, an idealist. How rebuffed by the entrenched political establishment, he fought for the power to accomplish his ideals. How he first created a miraculous flowering of parks and parkways, playlands and beaches—and then ultimately brought down on the city the smog-choked aridity of our urban landscape, the endless miles of (never sufficient) highway, the hopeless sprawl of Long Island, the massive failures of public housing, and countless other barriers to humane living. How, inevitably, the accumulation of power became an end in itself.
Moses built an empire and lived like an emperor. He was held in fear—his dossiers could disgorge the dark secret of anyone who opposed him. He was, he claimed, above politics, above deals; and through decade after decade, the newspapers and the public believed. Meanwhile, he was developing his public authorities into a fourth branch of government known as “Triborough”—a government whose records were closed to the public, whose policies and plans were decided not by voters or elected officials but solely by Moses—an immense economic force directing pressure on labor unions, on banks, on all the city’s political and economic institutions, and on the press, and on the Church. He doled out millions of dollars worth of legal fees, insurance commissions, lucrative contracts on the basis of who could best pay him back in the only coin he coveted: power. He dominated the politics and politicians of his time—without ever having been elected to any office. He was, in essence, above our democratic system.
Robert Moses held power in the state for 44 years, through the governorships of Smith, Roosevelt, Lehman, Dewey, Harriman, and Rockefeller, and in the city for 34 years, through the mayoralties of La Guardia, O’Dwyer, Impellitteri, Wagner, and Lindsay, He personally conceived and carried through public works costing 27 billion dollars—he was undoubtedly America’s greatest builder.
This is how he built and dominated New York—before, finally, he was stripped of his reputation (by the press) and his power (by Nelson Rockefeller). But his work, and his will, had been done.
5. 7 Powers | By Hamilton Helmer
7 Powers breaks fresh ground by constructing a comprehensive strategy toolset that is easy for you to learn, communicate, and quickly apply. Drawing on his decades of experience as a business strategy adviser, active equity investor, and Stanford University teacher Hamilton Helmer develops from first principles a practical theory of strategy rooted in the notion of power, those conditions which create the potential for persistent differential returns.
Using rich real-world examples, Helmer rigorously characterizes exactly what your business must achieve to create power. And create power it must, for without it your business is at risk. He explains why invention always comes first and then develops the Power Progression to enable you to target when your power must be established: in the origination, take-off, or stability phases of your business. Every business faces a do-or-die strategy moment: a crux directional choice made amidst swirling uncertainty. To get this right you need at your fingertips a real-time strategy compass to discern your true north. 7 Powers is that compass.
6. Military Strategy | By J.C. Wylie
Because of his long experience with the formulation of military strategy in the United States, Admiral Wylie’s analyses and opinions are well worth the attention of military professionals, government leaders, newspaper editors, commentators, and scholars. Because he has a freewheeling mind and is unhampered by orthodox military terms and the prevailing dogmas, his book will be of keen interest to laymen concerned about our nation’s welfare and future.
7. Strategy Power Plays | By Tim Phillips
Based on the success of the distinctive Infinite Success series, Infinite Ideas has now brought together some of the best ideas from that series to form a themed compendium. In Strategy power plays, Karen McCreadie and Tim Phillips combine some of the greatest political and military strategic concepts from their interpretations of the classics Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Here, in one handy volume, McCreadie and Phillips interpret the key ideas in these classics for the modern world of business and life.
8. Strategy and Power in Russia 1600-1914 | By William Fuller
9. The 50th Law | By Robert Greene
In The 50th Law, hip hop and pop culture icon 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson) joins forces with Robert Greene, best-selling author of The 48 Laws of Power, to write a “bible” for success in life and work, based on a single principle: fear nothing.
With intimate stories from 50 Cent’s life on the streets and in the boardroom as he rose to fame after the release of his album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, as well as examples of others who have overcome adversity through understanding and practicing the 50th Law, this deeply inspirational book is perfect for entrepreneurs as well as anyone interested in the extraordinary life of Curtis Jackson.
10. The Power of Strategy Innovation | By Robert Johnston
Based on the authors Robert Johnson and Douglas Bate’s thirty-two years of experience consulting to major organizations, The Power of Strategy Innovation contains tools and tricks to help companies excel in dynamic markets and provide groundbreaking products and services. You’ll learn how to apply innovative thinking to your company’s business model to bridge the gap between strategy and product development; how to remain flexible, future-oriented, and responsive to market changes and your clients’ changing needs; and how to create a perpetual flow of viable new business opportunities. The authors refer to this as “innovation” rather than “strategic planning,” but the truth is somewhere in-between: through a proven five-phase discovery process –for staging, aligning, exploring, creating, and mapping–strategic innovation will become a company-wide competency. The book’s latest edition, updated in 2013, includes a new preface and epilogue describing the emergence of enterprise innovation and its impact on both companies’ day-to-day planning and focuses on the future. Informative interviews with corporate leaders dispersed throughout the book provide further insight into different industries and the ways they have committed to taking a more innovative approach. To that end, through these shared methodologies, The Power of Strategy Innovation will forever transform the way you do business–and help you rise to become a leader in your industry.
11.Strategy The Road to Power | By Yericko Nyerere
The STRATEGY is a dedication to political aspirants for the presidency or state governance through democratic political means or power struggles. Experts in politics and political processes such as lobbyists, and pollsters; managers, parliamentary aspirants, researchers, and political scientists will benefit from this blueprint
12. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers | By Paul Kennedy
13. The Way and the Power | By Fredrick Lovret
Learn to win.
Discovered by the Samurai through generations of constant warfare, these are the principles and strategies of victory.
This book is for anyone who wants to improve themselves, increase performance, and learn strategies to win. The author shares these principles clearly, directly, and unvarnished, allowing you to learn and apply them; today.
While presented from the viewpoint of the traditional martial arts of Japan, these lessons transcend culture and context. The strategies are as relevant today to both conflict and business as they were at their discovery. Techniques and principles for developing the human spirit are timeless.
Just a few of the lessons contained in this book:
✔ How to develop your mind, body, and spirit.
✔ How to develop confidence and understand its impact on you and those around you.
✔ How to develop a winning attitude.
✔ Learn strategies using distancing, timing, and more.
To win, you must step forward!
14. The Power of Strategic Influence! | By Gary Laney
The Power of Strategic Influence is an Amazon #1 Best Seller that will teach you about how you can build your personal influence in business and make a positive impact on the world. The key? Focus not on what you get, but on what you give. In 10 easy-to-follow steps called Success Factors of Highly Influential Leaders, it shows you how to access, utilize, develop, expand, and ultimately constructively use your influence to help make the world a better place.
15.Quiet Power Strategy | By Tara Gentile
There’s a better way to run your business: your way. You’ve never had more access to ideas for how to run your business. There’s a lot of noise out there. This book is your opportunity to seize the power of Quiet. You won’t find success in the Noise. It’s only when you get quiet and find your own path to your vision that you can create the wealth, peace, and ease you truly crave. Tara Gentile, the creator of Quiet Power Strategy™, shares the concepts she’s honed by working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners to help them discover their own plans for success. You’ll discover what separates smart, creative people who achieve their goals and smart, creative people who don’t. You’ll learn why self-leadership is more important than ever and how perception, discernment, and focus help you uncover unique opportunities. Then, step by step, you’ll craft your own Quiet Power Strategic Plan and learn to lead yourself and your business through the Noise. If you’ve ever looked for a better way to do things YOUR way, this is the book for you.
16. Power in Modern Russia | By Andrew Monaghan
The book explores the Russian leadership’s strategic agenda and illuminates the range of problems it faces in implementing it. Given these difficulties and the Russian leadership’s concerns about an unstable and increasingly competitive world, the Russian official and expert community often use the term ‘mobilization’ to describe the measures that Moscow is increasingly resorting to in order to implement its agenda. The book explores what this means, and concludes that many of the terms used in the Western debate about Russia both misdiagnose the nature of the challenge and misrepresent the situation in Russia. At a time when many of the books about Russia are focused specifically on the war in Ukraine and the deterioration in relations between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia, or are biographies of Vladimir Putin, it offers a new and unique lens through which to understand how Russia works and how Russian domestic and foreign politics are intimately linked.
Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Strategy and Power
Strategy is the art of achieving your objectives. Strategic thinking is therefore an essential skill that can be applied to all walks of life. It allows you to analyze and deal with the future, rather than just respond to what comes next. When we speak of strategy, we are often referring to military strategy, where victory generally requires power and control over territory. But in today’s world, power does not reside only in the military sphere: it has gone wherever information and wealth go—into politics and commerce and culture and science. And in every area of society, strategy is increasingly vital for success.
Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.