Books That Will Make You a Great Strategist

Strategy isn’t something that we’re taught in school; the vast majority likely couldn’t tell you the difference between “tactics” and “strategy” (or even know there is a distinction). This lack of understanding is unfortunate, to say the least, as strategy is something fundamentally applicable to us all. We all have goals, and various obstacles to those goals, and we live in a world we don’t control. Those things combine to create a need to improve your strategic thinking.

Closeup of very old books on a shelf

The better we are at strategic thinking, the better we do what we need and want to do. This isn’t necessary due to a fault of your own. Nobody showed you unequivocally how to do things another way. Fortunately, such guidance is out there. Insightful masterminds have been composing and teaching strategic skills for thousands and thousands of years. The issue is knowing where to begin.

You will see the absolute best books about strategy in the list below. Used appropriately, they will assist you with developing a strategic mind.

1. History of the Peloponnesian War – Thucydides

This book about a long-forgotten war truly works as a memoir and strategic analysis of some of the best minds throughout the entire history of warfare. We have Pericles, Alcibiades, Brasidas, and numerous others.

A bookshelf filled with books

The stories and the anecdotes in this book are ageless. If you advance through it, we guarantee you won’t fail to remember it. Since the war went on for so long, involved countless countries and was so varied (land, sea, siege, politics), it essentially covers each kind of circumstance you can imagine. Consider this book as a textbook.

2. Rules for Radicals + Reveille for Radicals – Saul Alinsky

Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton thoroughly studied Alinsky as they planned their unique paths to power. He is the originator of the idea of community organization.

Alinsky was likewise a die-hard pragmatist, a man who had goals yet, in addition, a sense for working with and through the framework to get what he required. His best examples in these books are actually how to use the framework against itself to get what is needed. These two books are works of art and tragically underrated.

3. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York – Robert Caro

Arguably the most comprehensive and definitive story of power that has ever been written, this book maps the whole career of the city planner, Robert Moses. That may not appear to be an especially illustrative case study for strategy and power; however, Robert Moses lived and breathed power. He controlled the development and the building of civilizations’ generally cutting-edge and significant cities – and he did this because he was a strategic genius (and obviously, addicted to power).

Closeup of a book and a diary on a desk with books in the background

This book will take a long time to read, but is totally worth it. After you’re done, you won’t neglect or at any point underestimate the significance of hidden influence, power and even levers.

4. How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action – Simon Sinek

There are pioneers, and there are the people who lead. This book introduces readers to a concept named, ‘Start With Why’ which is about a naturally occurring design that enables leaders to inspire people around them. The more people and organizations learn how to also begin with why, the more people will feel fulfilled and satisfied by their work.

The book dissects this idea in a manner that can assist you with shifting your thinking, from zeroing in such a significant amount on what you do, to more on the why.

The actual book is a genuinely short read and will inspire you to reevaluate your strategy from a different lens, so if you’ve been battling with your vision statement, this is a must-read.

5. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable – Seth Godin

Making your particular purple cow is tied in with being remarkable around your marketing, so you can stand out in the oversaturated marketplace and be unique compared to the competition around you.

That said, this is not just about making advertising that sticks out. Marketing IS the ideal product, and it is incorporated right into the product. Sounds somewhat implausible? Godin will walk you directly through the concept for some stunning ideas and practical examples.

If you’re tired and frustrated about swimming in a red sea (see the Blue Ocean book), this is a fantastic read. It will surely assist you with reviewing your approach to dealing with the market from an alternate lens that will ideally invigorate your marketing and help you stand out.

6. The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business & Life – Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff

This book gives simple guides to the game hypothesis, in addition to the math behind each principle. As is commonly said, “Game theory implies thorough strategic reasoning.” They share what steps we ought to expect in various models, from yacht racing to game shows and even politics. The best thing from the book is the discussion on how the time has come to go to the gym to exercise your brain. (We wouldn’t recommend this as an audiobook, as you have to read this book to see and analyze the different models.)

Having the ability to anticipate somebody’s next move is exceptionally intriguing. Along these lines, learning a portion of the fundamental theories to the more mind-boggling can assist us with becoming better managers and leaders, in business, games, and life. However, one ought to be cautious that it’s still a “game”, and the future can never be predicted altogether.


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Guest Author Bio
Ben Smith

Ben Smith  is an entrepreneur and strategist who enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge with others.