95 books like On Strategy

By Chris Woolston,

Here are 95 books that On Strategy fans have personally recommended if you like On Strategy. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

James Espey Author Of 365 Quotes to Accelerate your Career and Find Balance in Life

From my list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, all my life, I have been passionately involved in Marketing. I was an intrapreneur in the organisation, challenging the system and trying to build brands for the future. I always took an extremely long-term view, and when I was fired for launching Chivas Regal 18, which is now No. 1 in the world in its category, I became an entrepreneur. I backed start-ups, including my own company. The most successful brand I was ever involved with was called Mimecast, which is an anti-virus company, that sold not too long ago for $5.6 billion.

James' book list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands

James Espey Why did James love this book?

I am a firm believer that you never stop learning, and you learn from everybody.

I was very impressed by Nike. As a young athlete in the 60s, I sometimes had to run barefoot because I could not afford shoes, and I was a keen athlete. Phil Knight’s remarkable book was first published in 2016. I thought it was fascinating because he talked all about the tenacity, determination and commitment and the fact that you have to stand up to people because 99% of people will tell you you will never get there. He got there brilliantly, and, of course, Nike is a phenomenal success.

I was inspired by Phil Knight’s vision, courage, tenacity, and determination to overcome many enormous obstacles to build a great global brand. I sincerely believe this book will be very helpful to any entrepreneur.

By Phil Knight,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Shoe Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like ... It's an amazing tale' Bill Gates

'The best book I read last year was Shoe Dog, by Nike's Phil Knight. Phil is a very wise, intelligent and competitive fellow who is also a gifted storyteller' Warren Buffett

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his Plymouth, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year. Today, Nike's annual…


Book cover of Innovation in Marketing: New Perspectives for Profit and Growth

James Espey Author Of 365 Quotes to Accelerate your Career and Find Balance in Life

From my list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, all my life, I have been passionately involved in Marketing. I was an intrapreneur in the organisation, challenging the system and trying to build brands for the future. I always took an extremely long-term view, and when I was fired for launching Chivas Regal 18, which is now No. 1 in the world in its category, I became an entrepreneur. I backed start-ups, including my own company. The most successful brand I was ever involved with was called Mimecast, which is an anti-virus company, that sold not too long ago for $5.6 billion.

James' book list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands

James Espey Why did James love this book?

I discovered marketing and was motivated by an amazing man called Theodore Levitt. I actually visited him at Harvard when he helped me with the Malibu launch in 1979. Levitt was an inspirational marketer, well ahead of his time.

This, his first book, was published in 1962. He rightly said in the book, “Every major industry was once a growth industry,” but as we know (and Levitt said it), there are some that are now riding a wave of growth enthusiasm very much in the shadow of decline.

You have to understand why things develop. The failure is usually at the top because the executives responsible for the company do not understand the changing environment or respond positively to it. For example, Hollywood barely escaped being totally ravished by television before the film companies went through drastic reorganisation but initially, they did not see television as a competitor. They did…

By Theodore Levitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Innovation in Marketing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

James Espey Author Of 365 Quotes to Accelerate your Career and Find Balance in Life

From my list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, all my life, I have been passionately involved in Marketing. I was an intrapreneur in the organisation, challenging the system and trying to build brands for the future. I always took an extremely long-term view, and when I was fired for launching Chivas Regal 18, which is now No. 1 in the world in its category, I became an entrepreneur. I backed start-ups, including my own company. The most successful brand I was ever involved with was called Mimecast, which is an anti-virus company, that sold not too long ago for $5.6 billion.

James' book list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands

James Espey Why did James love this book?

This book was published in 2002 by Seth Godin, who has a very positive attitude. I agree when he says, “Marketing is too important to be left to the Marketing Department.” It has to be the total focus of the entire company, and he implied there are not enough p’s. For years, marketing has talked about the 5 p’s of marketing, and everyone has their favourite 5, but there are many more.

Ultimately it is the people throughout the entire company, and everyone has to realise that there is only one boss in business–the customer who votes with his or her feet (I quote this in my book).

Why is it called “Purple Cow”? All cows look the same, but the essence of a purple cow is that it must be remarkable. His book is about the how and why of remarkable. Coupled with remarkable is, of course, tenacity and…

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Purple Cow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.

What do Apple, Starbucks, Dyson and Pret a Manger have in common? How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last? The old checklist of P's used by marketers - Pricing, Promotion, Publicity - aren't working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It's time to add a new P - the Purple Cow.

Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. In his new bestseller, Seth Godin urges you to put a…


Book cover of Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO's Life Story of Building the World's Most Popular Brand

James Espey Author Of 365 Quotes to Accelerate your Career and Find Balance in Life

From my list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, all my life, I have been passionately involved in Marketing. I was an intrapreneur in the organisation, challenging the system and trying to build brands for the future. I always took an extremely long-term view, and when I was fired for launching Chivas Regal 18, which is now No. 1 in the world in its category, I became an entrepreneur. I backed start-ups, including my own company. The most successful brand I was ever involved with was called Mimecast, which is an anti-virus company, that sold not too long ago for $5.6 billion.

James' book list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands

James Espey Why did James love this book?

Neville Isdell, who retired as Chairman of Coca-Cola in 2009, whilst born in Ireland, grew up in Zambia, as I did, and by coincidence, we were both at Cape Town University, and we worked together at Coca-Cola in Johannesburg for a year in 1969.

Neville is very direct and cannot stand sycophantic behaviour, which I respect. He lived and worked in 11 countries on 5 continents in his 43 years at Coca-Cola, and he placed a great deal of importance on understanding and respecting local culture. He believed much of his success came from selecting strong people who focused on the importance of positive action over words. He also states that the majority of views often mean that something has happened, but more importantly, it is the minority view and ideas where breakthrough growth and success lie.

Between 2004 and 2009, when he took over as the CEO of Coca-Cola…

By Neville Isdell, David Beasley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside Coca-Cola as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first a Coca-Cola CEO tells the remarkable story of the company€™s revivalNeville Isdell was a key player at Coca-Cola for more than 30 years, retiring in 2009 as CEO after regilding the tarnished brand image of the world€™s leading soft-drink company. This first a Coca-Cola CEO tells an extraordinary personal and professional world-wide story, ranging from Northern Ireland to South Africa to Australia, the Philippines, Russia, Germany, India, South Africa and Turkey. Isdell helped put out huge public relations fires (India and Turkey), opened markets(Russia, Eastern Europe, Philippines and Africa), championed Muhtar Kent, the current Turkish-American CEO, all while…


Book cover of History and Strategy

László Borhi Author Of Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956: Between the United States and the Soviet Union

From my list on the search for truth in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a small country, Hungary, the past of which was consciously falsified in the political system under which I grew up. Some chapters of it, like the cold war period, Soviet rule, the revolution of 1956 couldn't even be discussed. I was lucky because communism collapsed and archives were gradually opened just as I started my career as a historian. Books on international history are usually written from the perspective of the powerful states, I was interested in looking at this story from the perspective of the small guy. Writing this book was both a professional challenge and a personal matter for me. I'm currently a professor at Indiana University-Bloomington.

László's book list on the search for truth in history

László Borhi Why did László love this book?

For readers who are interested in learning how to think about international relations, strategy, security, and history.

The collection of essays discusses US foreign policy, nuclear politics, and the Cold War. My favorite is Trachtenberg’s critical reassessment of the origins of the First World War, a destructive conflict no one wanted to happen but still walked into.

I always assign this book to my students.

By Marc Trachtenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History and Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work is a powerful demonstration of how historical analysis can be brought to bear on the study of strategic issues, and, conversely, how strategic thinking can help drive historical research. Based largely on newly released American archives, History and Strategy focuses on the twenty years following World War II. By bridging the sizable gap between the intellectual world of historians and that of strategists and political scientists, the essays here present a fresh and unified view of how to explore international politics in the nuclear era. The book begins with an overview of strategic thought in America from 1952…


Book cover of At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids and Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz

Lucy Noakes Author Of Dying for the Nation: Death, Grief and Bereavement in Second World War Britain

From my list on civilians in war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Second World War since I was a child. I grew up with tales of London and Coventry in wartime, stories of family separation, rationing, and air raids. The stories that really gripped me included the streams of refugees passing my grandmother’s house in the suburbs of Coventry after that city was bombed, and the night my aunts and (infant) father spent waiting to be rescued from a bombed house in south London. As a historian I wanted to know more about stories like this, and about the ways that wars shape lives, and my books have returned again and again to the civilian experience of war.

Lucy's book list on civilians in war

Lucy Noakes Why did Lucy love this book?

This book made me think differently about air war, arguably the defining element of 20th and 21st-century conflicts. Grayzel traces its evolution and experience for Britain from the first bombing raids of the First World War to the start of the blitz in the Second. Unlike most other studies, which focus on military strategy and state policy, she interweaves the stories and experiences of the civilians who were to be the targets of this new technology. The book reminds us (if we needed reminding) of the shock of air raids, and the way that these impacted every aspect of life.

By Susan R. Grayzel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Home and Under Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although the Blitz has come to symbolize the experience of civilians under attack, Germany first launched air raids on Britain at the end of 1914 and continued them during the First World War. With the advent of air warfare, civilians far removed from traditional battle zones became a direct target of war rather than a group shielded from its impact. This is a study of how British civilians experienced and came to terms with aerial warfare during the First and Second World Wars. Memories of the World War I bombings shaped British responses to the various real and imagined war…


Book cover of Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

Stephen Wunker Author Of The Innovative Leader: Step-By-Step Lessons from Top Innovators For You and Your Organization

From my list on passionate innovators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an innovator. I’ve been one since I was a kid. Since then, I’ve started a couple of non-profits and four companies, and I’ve advised hundreds of clients on innovation opportunities. I’ve also led the team that created one of the world’s first smartphones. Over the past dozen years, I’ve written four books on the strategy and capabilities of innovation. Innovation is one of the essential characteristics that make us human. It can get the world into trouble, but it does more good than harm on balance. My mission is to make us better at innovation and make the world a better place.

Stephen's book list on passionate innovators

Stephen Wunker Why did Stephen love this book?

As a strategy consultant for over two decades, let me tell you: the world is full of bad strategy. This book lays out so clearly what makes bad strategy bad, as well as what good strategy consists of. Rumelt uses examples from business, of course, but he goes far beyond that realm, too.

The book opens with a description of how Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated Napoleon’s forces in the Battle of Trafalgar. Rumelt, a Professor at UCLA, gives recommendations that are specific, tied to examples, and actionable. I walked away with a clear set of takeaways and wonderful stories to back them up.

By Richard Rumelt,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Good Strategy Bad Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Richard Rumelt's Good Strategy/Bad Strategy was published in 2011, it immediately struck a chord, calling out as bad strategy the mish-mash of pop culture, motivational slogans and business buzz speak so often and misleadingly masquerading as the real thing.

Since then, his original and pragmatic ideas have won fans around the world and continue to help readers to recognise and avoid the elements of bad strategy and adopt good, action-oriented strategies that honestly acknowledge the challenges being faced and offer straightforward approaches to overcoming them. Strategy should not be equated with ambition, leadership, vision or planning; rather, it is…


Book cover of Why the Allies Won

Timothy C. Winegard Author Of The Horse: A Galloping History of Humanity

From my list on challenge what you thought you knew about history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a New York Times bestselling author of six books, including The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator. My works have been published globally in more than fifteen languages. I hold a PhD from the University of Oxford, served as an officer in the Canadian and British Armies, and have appeared in numerous documentaries, television programs, and podcasts. I am an associate professor of history (and, as a true Canadian, head coach of the hockey team) at Colorado Mesa University.

Timothy's book list on challenge what you thought you knew about history

Timothy C. Winegard Why did Timothy love this book?

This remains one of my go-to texts for my World Wars class and is well-received by my students, whose ideas about the Second World War and its outcome are transformed by Overy’s brilliant book. It is a masterpiece of analytical history presenting a very different take on the war—one of industry, economics, technology, and production.

By Richard Overy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why the Allies Won as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Overy has written a masterpiece of analytical history, posing and answering one of the great questions of the century."―Sunday Times (London)

Richard Overy's bold book begins by throwing out the stock answers to this great question: Germany doomed itself to defeat by fighting a two-front war; the Allies won by "sheer weight of material strength." In fact, by 1942 Germany controlled almost the entire resources of continental Europe and was poised to move into the Middle East. The Soviet Union had lost the heart of its industry, and the United States was not yet armed.

The Allied victory in 1945…


Book cover of The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to the Third

George S. Yip Author Of China's Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation

From my list on business and military strategy and execution.

Why am I passionate about this?

My career in business strategy as a manager, consultant, and academic developed via my lifelong passion for military strategy and tactics, reading countless books on the Battle of Marathon through to the Third (!) World War. When I was introduced to business strategy in an MBA program, it was love at first lecture. I progressed to a doctorate in “Business Policy” at Harvard Business School as the second doctoral student of the then unknown Michael Porter. My main contribution has been the concept of global strategy for multinational companies. My focus is now on how Chinese companies are moving from imitation to innovation and reinventing management control.

George's book list on business and military strategy and execution

George S. Yip Why did George love this book?

Of the many books explaining the success of the Roman Empire, this is by far the best in that it shows how Rome continually adapted its strategy in building and sustaining its empire. Rome's strategy was not ceaseless fighting but comprehensive strategies that unified force, diplomacy, and an immense infrastructure. Initially relying on client states to buffer attacks, Rome moved to permanent frontier defense. Finally, as barbarians began to penetrate the empire, Rome fielded large armies in a strategy of defense-in-depth. This book's lesson for business strategy is that companies need to constantly adapt their strategies as their circumstances change. The book also has powerful implications for modern geopolitical strategy—be flexible in both means and ends.

By Edward N. Luttwak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the height of its power, the Roman Empire encompassed the entire Mediterranean basin, extending much beyond it from Britain to Mesopotamia, from the Rhine to the Black Sea. Rome prospered for centuries while successfully resisting attack, fending off everything from overnight robbery raids to full-scale invasion attempts by entire nations on the move. How were troops able to defend the Empire's vast territories from constant attacks? And how did they do so at such moderate cost that their treasury could pay for an immensity of highways, aqueducts, amphitheaters, city baths, and magnificent temples? In The Grand Strategy of the…


Book cover of Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age

Julian Spencer-Churchill (Schofield) Author Of Strategic Nuclear Sharing

From my list on strategic studies on a deeper understanding of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of political science with a focus on strategic studies and the causes of war, and before that, I was an operations officer at an army engineering regiment during the Cold War, and before that I was an adolescent wargamer obsessively applying math to sociological problems, and before that an enthusiast of military history. I have had the generosity of providence to conduct research in and on Pakistan’s military for over ten years, as well in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Egypt. These are the books I think every scholar of strategic studies should start with, as they provide an inspirational and the most direct path to strategic insight.   

Julian's book list on strategic studies on a deeper understanding of war

Julian Spencer-Churchill (Schofield) Why did Julian love this book?

Makers of Modern Strategy, comprising 29 essays, is the most compact compendium of the key strategic ideas from the last three centuries, which influence contemporary events. It is a substantial revision of a seminal 1943 text published by Princeton University to inform strategic studies analysts during the Second World War. It is primarily rich in linking national strategies to key thinkers, in historical context, and it covers the full spectrum of social, historical, institutional, economic, revolutionary, and military practices. It is often assigned as standard text in senior military staff colleges. Several of its essays are mandatory readings in my strategic studies classes, particularly on insurgency, and the strategic theories that informed the Third Reich war aims.  

By Peter Paret (editor), Gordon A. Craig (editor), Felix Gilbert (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The essays in this volume analyze war, its strategic characterisitics and its political and social functions, over the past five centuries. The diversity of its themes and the broad perspectives applied to them make the book a work of general history as much as a history of the theory and practice of war from the Renaissance to the present. Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age takes the first part of its title from an earlier collection of essays, published by Princeton University Press in 1943, which became a classic of historical scholarship. Three essays are repinted…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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