Business and innovation reading list

I’ve had a lot of people ask me for book recommendations so I am putting together this list of suggested reading on various topics. I will add to this as I have time.

Hover over each link to see a thumbnail of the book cover.

Business and innovation reading

The Portable MBA in Marketing was one of the books I found most helpful when I was getting my first company off the ground.

Selling to the VP of NO is my first book, a summary of the best advice I have ever gotten on consultative selling, both from books and from masters. It’s highly distilled down to the most need-to-know information: Everything you need to know and nothing you don’t.

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by my friend Alex Osterwalder is the best way to learn about business model design. It’s highly visual and very accessible.

Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want (Strategyzer) is Alex’s second book. Just like his first, it’s a visual, accessible and very practical book.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins is a classic. Details why some companies make the transition for good to great while others, who seemingly have all the same opportunities, don’t. A must-read for any business person.

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by former GE, Allied Signal and Honeywell executive Larry Bossidy was a huge influence on my thinking. One thought from this book that I’ve never forgotten: “If you can’t fit your business strategy on a single page, you don’t have a business strategy.”

The Value Factor: How Global Leaders Use Information for Growth and Competitive Advantage by Mark Hurd is not very well known. But it’s one of the best books on the business value of data that I have ever read. And Hurd’s experience at NCR, EDS, HP and now Oracle is not to be sneezed at.

Small Unit Leadership: A Commonsense Approach by Colonel Dandridge Malone is a no-nonsense guide to building high-performance teams in the military, and it’s a great read for anyone who wants to develop the best team they possibly can.

The Art of War is a classic that needs no introduction, but which translation you read makes a big difference. This version, translated by a Marine Corps Brigadier General Samuel B. Griffith and a foreword by soldier and military theorist B.H. Liddell Hart, is in my opinion by far the best. This is one of those books I have read from cover to cover many times. It meets you wherever you are in life and generates new insights every time.

The Living Company by Arie de Geus details the results of a never-published study conducted by Shell on the secrets of the world’s most long-lived organizations.

Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life, by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, is an excellent primer on social networks, how they work and why they work.

Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy, by Carl Shapiro, is the best book on network-oriented business strategy that I know of. It’s a bit dense but very much worth the effort.

If you have suggestions for additional books please let me know.

DISCLAIMER: These are Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click through from this page it’s kind of like buying me a cup of coffee, a small reward for my efforts which is much appreciated 🙂 You won’t pay any more for the book than you would otherwise.