Experts Tell Us the Best Books on Tactics and Strategy

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
2 years ago
This article showcases our top picks for the Books on Tactics and Strategy. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.

The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure By Michael E. Raynor

This product was recommended by James Diel from Textel

One of BusinessWeek Magazine’s top ten business books of 2007 Voted one of the five best strategy books of 2007 by Strategy and Business magazine Advance praise for THE STRATEGY PARADOX One of the most important, realistic and useful books on strategy ever written. Raynor addresses one of the biggest issues most leaders run into when they’re implementing a strategy—complete commitment to one particular idea. Rather, you can manage a great leader by how they manage risk and uncertainty instead of results. With the future always an uncertainty, Raynor teaches how the risk/return tradeoff can be broken altogether by finding a balance between commitment and flexibility.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t By Jim Collins

This product was recommended by Cornelius Fichtner from pm-exam-simulator

There’s an endless number of companies, but only a small number of them ring a bell…that’s because there’s a difference between being good and being great. This book analyzes the difference between good and great companies and explains why some didn’t make the leap to become great. The book analyses 28 companies in a 5-year study. Based on real-life data, interviews and extensive research we are presented with the main characteristics of greatness. Even after years of personal experience, some conclusions were surprising to me! As a project manager, I found the insights on management strategy and practice very useful and have applied them in my work.

Think in Systems: The Art of Strategic Planning By Zoe McKey

This product was recommended by Scott Lieberman from Touchdown Money

Think in Systems is an inspirational read and informational manual in one, giving you strategic methods to solve problems that range from the smallest personal woes to major global issues. By examining the shortcomings of the system to which each issue belongs, you can map out an action plan to attack the problem at its root—you treat the underlying problem rather than band-aiding the symptoms.*

Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals By Saul Alinsky

This product was recommended by John Li from Fig Loans

Alinsky’s book was first written at a time of immense social change in 1971, but many of the lessons are timeless. He writes that building a community toward a common symbol and then finding a common enemy were the keys to ultimate unity. With rules that range from the threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself to never go outside the expertise of your people, you’ll learn to be a pragmatic leader that works through the system to achieve big results.

Strategic & Tactical Considerations on the Fireground By Jim Smith

This product was recommended by Cindy Corpis from SearchPeopleFree

This book draws on author Chief Smith’s background working in the biggest fire agencies across the Country, mixing research with over 40 years of actual field experience. This authoritative guide covers both strategic and tactical activities, bringing readers through the issue diagnosis and response process. This literature exposes readers to practically every potential tactical scenario and gives information that may be used to a range of complicated fire scenarios, from preparation through incident scene control. The Fourth Edition has been revised and enlarged to include information on changing fire department operating techniques.

Hack Your Bureaucracy By Marina Nitze

This product was recommended by Marina Nitze from Hack Your Bureaucracy

Hack Your Bureaucracy is a collection of nearly 60 actionable tactics for anyone who feels stuck inside a bureaucracy – whether that be a PTA, HOA, or even the federal government. Authors Marina Nitze and Nick Sinai bring their experience hacking bureaucracies at every level, from inside the White House to Harvard to local governments, and break down how you can make seemingly impossible changes from wherever you are.

Blue Ocean Strategy By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

This product was recommended by Dean Kaplan from Kaplan Collection Agency

While most strategy books focus on how to succeed in competitive markets, Blue Ocean Strategy shows how to eliminate competition by seeking uncontested spaces. The authors describe how to identify unmet needs and capture untapped demand. At the heart of this strategy is value innovation which is all about redefining the problem, crossing market boundaries, and generating exceptional utility for buyers. The key concept is exceptional utility, giving the target audience a compelling reason to buy.

Strategy By BH Liddell Hart

This product was recommended by Mila Garcia from iPaydayLoans

During his lifetime, Basil H. Liddell Hart was widely renowned as one of the world’s greatest military thinkers. And shaped by his personal experience in WWI, he emphasized in this book that movement, flexibility, and surprise were vital in any successful military campaign. He believed that avoiding a contest of strength and taking an indirect approach was always more effective than attempting to attack the enemy head-on, as it ensured that one would be able to dislocate their psychological and physical balance. And he even goes back in time to draw on examples from 490 BCE to 1949, as he builds a case for his theories that are as fundamental in politics and business, as they are in warfare.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right By Atul Gawande

This product was recommended by Steven Walker from Spylix

How to Get Things Right: We live in a world that is becoming increasingly complex, and even the most seasoned professionals are struggling to master the challenges they encounter. Longer training and more modern technology do not appear to prevent serious errors. In a positive turn of events, renowned surgeon and author Atul Gawande discovers a solution in the most basic and basic of techniques: the checklist. Checklists, which were first used by the US Air Force decades ago, have allowed pilots to fly aircraft of incredible complexity. Innovative checklists are now being used in hospitals worldwide to assist doctors and nurses in responding to a variety of emergencies, from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the highly complicated realm of surgery, a modest ninety-second variation has reduced mortality by more than a third.

Strategy: Second Revised Edition By B. H. Liddell Hart

This product was recommended by Mimi Paul from Starkflow

I am impressed by the research the author did. He positioned himself that the best military commanders profited by indirect approaches to their battles. Well, he picked many examples from all the way back to ancient times. I think he said there were only six direct confrontations that lead to a commander’s victory which is contrary to what Hollywood director’s typically portray. He said it is only natural for a commander to face a battle directly, but the victors follow the indirect approach. It moves through the history of battles from Greek and Roman times to close to the present. He says it explains tactics and even surprises us on how they worked to win victories.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany By Steve Blank

This product was recommended by Savas Ates from Good Carpet Guide

The essential book for anyone bringing a product to market, writing a business plan, marketing plan or sales plan. Step-by-step strategy of how to successfully organize sales, marketing and business development for a new product or company. The book offers insight into what makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture. Packed with concrete examples, the book will leave you with new skills to organize sales, marketing and your business for success.

Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors By Michael E. Porter

This product was recommended by Savas Ates from Good Carpet Guide

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 book 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.

Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual By Jocko Willing

This product was recommended by Devin Schumacher from SERP

This is a favorite of mine. Though the examples are military-based, the principles are for everyone. It’s a must-read if you to learn leadership skills. The skills are not applicable just to the people you lead, but you also learn how to work with leaders senior to you. And the lessons apply to all aspects of your life, not just business.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It By Chris Voss and Tail Raz

This product was recommended by Devin Schumacher from SERP

This book is impressive. Voss has nine strategies he teaches you can use to be more influential in both your business and personal life. Pretty much everything in life is a negotiation. Never Split the Difference gives you a framework that helps you see what the “other side” needs so you can bring your goals to fruition.

Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters By Richard Rumelt

This product was recommended by Devin Schumacher from SERP

Rumelt has some very strong opinions on strategy and most of us have been doing it wrong because proper strategy involves a lot of thought and hard work. It’s a very thought-provoking book and it will make you rethink everything you’ve believed about strategy. And you might push back against some of it. Rumelt pulls no punches. But if you’re willing to put aside what you’ve been taught previously, you’ll come away with the framework you need to build a solid business strategy. You’ll know the problem that most needs solving, you’ll create a policy for keeping your efforts focused on the said problem, and you’ll decide on the actions you need to take.

David Friedland

Bit of a gear addict.

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