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.

Do You Need a Strategic Planning Book?

Strategy comes in many shapes and forms. It can be the Art of War by Sun Tzu, the Value Chain Model by Michael Porter, the Balanced Scorecard by Norton and Kaplan or SWOT Analysis by Albert S. Humphrey. However, there are 3 basic components of strategic thinking that are the basis of any strategy as below,

- Diagnosis or the nature of challenges.
- Guiding Policy or a broad statement about how to deal with challenges.
- Action Plans or a list of things to do to meet Guiding Policy.

To formulate a solid strategy, many people rely on certain strategic planning techniques such as SWOT Analysis, 4 by 4 Matrix, Value Chain Model, Balanced Scorecard, Blue Ocean Strategy or even a core competency concept.

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

Finding the Best Strategic Planning Books

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

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

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

- We also search for strategic business planning books written by CEOs on Goodreads and Amazon.com

- Then, we remove books irrelevant to strategic planning and strategic thinking from the list.

- After that, we evaluate each strategic business planning book by popularity, recency and reader feedback.

- Finally, we make the final cut of strategic business planning books.

7 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 contemporary strategic business planning books and 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 planning 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.

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Last review and update: September 15, 2018
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 learn more about him here or connect with him via Twitter, and Quora or drop him a line via e-mail.