7 Best Strategic Planning Books Ever Written

Do you want to learn about strategic thinking or how to formulate strategy? In this article, we will show you the best strategic planning books written by CEOs.

Finding the Best Strategic Planning Books

Strategy comes in many shapes and forms. It can be as simple as the business plan. Or it can be more hardcore like the book Art of War by Sun Tzu. Modern strategic formulation tools and methods can be something like,

- The Value Chain Model by Michael Porter
- The Balanced Scorecard by David P. Norton and Robert S. Kaplan
- The SWOT Analysis by Albert S. Humphrey
- The Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
- The Core Competency by C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel
- The Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder

However, there are 3 basic components of strategic thinking that are the basis of any strategy which is listed below,

- Diagnosis of the nature of challenges or level of competition.

- Guiding Policy or a broad statement about how to deal with the challenges.

- Action Plans or a list of things to do to meet the Guiding Policy.

To formulate the annual strategies and plans, many people may only rely on gut feelings, information technology implementation, cost reduction plan or imitate what the key competitors are doing which are kind of knee-jerk reaction.

Then, how can we make sure that our competitive strategy is not too generic and can cope with the higher level of competitions?

The Ranking of Strategic Planning Books

We believe a good strategy should be tested by international business leaders or CEOs who master the operations every day. To help our readers find the strategic planning books they can really use, we come up with the data collection plan as described below,

- First, we find a list of books on strategic planning and strategic thinking written by notable business leaders on Wikipedia and notable business blogs and websites.

- After that, we check out the news website to find news releases about the launch of the books about strategic planning, strategic thinking, business planning, strategy and execution and business model development.

- We also search for the strategy books written by CEOs on Goodreads and Amazon.com

- Then, we remove books irrelevant to strategic planning and strategic thinking from the list such as customer service, project management and team building.

- After that, we evaluate each book by popularity using review ratings on Goodreads and Amazon.com

- We also evaluate the books by reader feedback and how often the books are updated.

- Finally, we make the final cut of books we would like to recommend to our readers.

Best Strategic Planning Books are as below:

  1. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by Alan Lafley (Former CEO of Procter & Gamble)

  2. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy (Former CEO of General Electric)

  3. The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career by Jack Welch (Former CEO of General Electric)

  4. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos)

  5. TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments by Douglas Conant (Former CEO of Campbell Soup Company)

  6. Taking People with You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen by David Novak (Former CEO of Yum! Brands)

  7. Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down by Vineet Nayar (Former CEO of HCL Technologies)

We notice that the books about strategic management, strategic thinking and execution are the combinations of the actual company case study, the leadership style of each business leader and how strategy is formulated and executed. These are 3 key ingredients that make any strategic formulation works.

Do you have other strategic planning books to share?

- Porter, M. E. (1985). Competitive advantage: creating and sustaining superior performance. 1985. New York: FreePress, 43, 214.

- Kaplan, R. S., Kaplan, R. S., Norton, D. P., & Norton, D. P. (1996). The balanced scorecard: translating strategy into action. Harvard Business Press.

Last review and update: August 24, 2019

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About the Editor
Ben Benjabutr is the editor of SupplyChainOpz. He holds an M.Sc. in Logistics Management with 10+ years of experience in various functions in supply chain magement. In his free time, he enjoys reading business and management books. You can connect with him via Twitter, and Quora or drop him a line via e-mail.