5 minutes Reading Time

We’ve written before about businesses grappling with strategy. So where do you start? At Maximus, we recommend 19 books to change the way you think about strategy and develop your leadership capability. They are:


1. Developing Business Strategies

A great book by David A. Aaker that discusses important emerging business topics ranging from global leadership and brand management, right through to the use of the Internet to integrate business strategy. An essential read for developing and implementing responsive business strategies in today’s fast-changing business conditions.


2. Strategy is Destiny: How Strategy-Making Shapes a Company’s Future

This is a fantastic strategy-in-action read by Robert Burgleman and Andrew S. Grove takes you through an extensive 12-year study Burgelman conducted inside of Intel Corporation. Tracking Intel’s strategy-making, the book outlines the timeline of key events in Intel’s history and how top managers pulled Intel through strategic conundrums through implementation of strategic management.


3. Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation

An interesting resource from authors Robert Burgelman, Clayton Christensen and Steven Wheelwright that combines text, readings and cases to analyse and discuss business challenges. Directed to general managers, this book examines the strategic fit between all levels of management, including the product line, business unit and corporate levels.


4. Building the Awesome Organisation: Six Essential Components that Drive Entrepreneurial Growth

Few leaders, entrepreneurs and CEOs understand how to build an awesome organisation. Learn about the six essential components to building a successful organisation: culture for growth, awesome people, plan for growth, top team as leaders of growth, infrastructure for growth, and the awesome leader of growth. Written with assessment tools and step-by-step action plans, this book is vital for leaders wanting to strengthen and improve organisational competitiveness.


5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

A defining book from author Jim Collins that presents an extensive study of how companies go from good to great. The study examines a set of elite companies that have sustained performance for at least 15 years, and compares those with companies that didn’t make the leap. Uncover the key determinants of greatness and why some companies make the leap from good to great, and others do not.


6. Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

This book looks at the principles of building a truly great enterprise in today’s unpredictable and rapid environment. Authors Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen define why greatness happens by choice, not by change, even in the unstable environments today’s leaders face.


7. The Elephant in the Boardroom: The Causes of Leadership Derailment

What’s the difference between a great leader and a potentially great business leader? Some great business leaders rise to success, whereas others fail and derail. This book by Adrian Furnham and John Taylor is great to learn how to spot the signs of falling leaders before they actually do.


8. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

Bill George’s True North presents a program for leadership success, and guides you to create your own personal leadership development plan. The book shares the wisdom of thorough research and interviews with 125 of today’s top leaders.


9. Transformative Entrepreneurs: How Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Muhammad Yunus, and Other Innovators Succeeded

 This is a great book that will help you understand the transformative ideas and leadership abilities that separate winners from losers. Engage in the perspectives of enterprises that, and entrepreneurs who, have changed the landscape of society. This book from Jeffrey A. Harris is an ideal read highlighting the challenges and excitement of launching new innovative businesses.


10. Strategy: Create and Implement the Best Strategy for Your Business

A useful resource from Harvard Business School Press that provides a comprehensive discussion of strategy: from what it is to developing a strategic plan and strategy implementation and evaluation. This is an essential for managers looking to extend their skills or professionals seeking to broaden their knowledge.


11. HBR’s 10 Must Reads On Strategy

19 books not enough? Here Harvard Business Review combines 10 of the best reads, selected from hundred of HBR articles, this book will inspire you to think strategy. A great collection to help catalyse your organisation’s strategy development and execution.


12. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

How are ideas noticed, remembered and made effective? This book by Chip and Dan Heath will revolutionise the way you communicate ideas. The authors reveal the science behind why some ideas stick and others don’t, and explains how you can ensure that yours do.


13. What Makes Us Tick? The 10 Desires that Drive Us

Hugh MacKay, Australia’s leading social researcher, identifies ten desires that drive us — the things that make us tick. An engaging and interesting read that explores the reasons why we do the things we do.


14. Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down

Author Vineet Nayar, CEO of one of the world’s fastest growing and profitable IT companies, accounts for how he defied the traditional convention of customers first, and transformed the company with the implementation of the ‘employee first’ philosophy. This book is valuable for managers seeking grow their aspirations and become self-propelled engines of change.


15. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

An essential tool to developing a strategy for your organisation, this book explains common business model patterns from leading business thinkers. You will be guided through developing and implementing a game-changing business model.


16. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

Sometimes it’s great to go back to the classics. Michael E. Porter has transformed theory, practice and teaching of business strategy with his five forces framework for analysing the competitive industry, and his three generic strategies of lowest cost, differentiation, and focus. This book provides important frameworks and insights for management thinking.


17. Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance

This essential book, also from Michael E. Porter, explores how organisations gain a competitive advantage over its competitors. Porter’s value chain provides a powerful framework to understand a company’s relative cost position.


18. Good Strategy / Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

This book from Richard Rumelt takes you through engaging examples from business, non-profit and military affairs to distinguish the difference between good strategies and bad ones. A range of ideas are integrated into this writing, including economic, finance, technology, history and human character.


19. This is Service Design Thinking: Basics, Tools, Cases

This is a groundbreaking book on the emerging discipline of service design — the process of improving service quality and enhancing the interactions (person-person, person-technology) between service provider and customer. Combining the knowledge of 23 international authors, this book gets you thinking about the service design. An iterative service design process and tools are presented to help beginners to experienced professionals alike to think in a philosophical context.


Want to learn more?

Take this checklist to audit your organisation’s strategic alignment.



  • Adrian Furnham
  • Andrew S Grove
  • Bill George
  • Chip Heath
  • Clayton Christensen
  • Dan Heath
  • David A Aaker
  • Harvard
  • Hugh Mackay
  • Jeffrey A Harris
  • Jim Collins
  • John Taylor
  • Michael E Porter
  • Morten T Hansen
  • Richard Rumelt
  • Robert Burgelman
  • Robert Burgleman
  • Steven Wheelwright
  • Strategy