There are tons of books postulating business models, strategy, management and other business aspects for people looking to learn more about the subject. The choice of a great business book can be a difficult task and without help one is left with nothing more than a situation of guess-and-hope-it-is-great.
It therefore makes sense that some of the world’s top executives give us an idea of what we – who are looking to emulate them – should read. Specifically, their choices can help us choose books from the authors who write these books.
Below is a top 10 list of authors the world’s business leaders read;
10. Malcolm Gladwell: This award-winning New Yorker writer was named one of Time’s most influential people in 2005 after publishing The Tipping Point, which looks at how small things make a huge difference, and Blink, which considers how split-second decisions and perceptions affect our world-view — through a phenomenon he calls “thin slicing.”
Outliers, another a bestseller, discusses why some people become hugely successful, and others don’t.
9. Don Tapscott: Don Tapscott is “one of the world’s leading authorities on innovation, media, globalization and the economic and social impact of technology on business and society,” according to Thinkers50.
He wrote one of the first books about how the Internet would completely change business, called The Digital Economy, in 1995. He also wrote the Paradigm Shift, and a ton of other management books, including Growing Up Digital, Digital Capital, The Naked Corporation and Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, which was the top management book in the U.S. in 2007.
He teaches at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and his latest work is Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business.
8. Marcus Buckingham: If you’ve ever used a “StrengthsFinder” personal assessment tool, you can thank Marcus Buckingham. He wrote Now, Discover Your Strengths and First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, and other self-help books.
He helped revolutionize the idea of focusing on strengths — and not trying to be something you’re not.
His latest book is StandOut.
7. Marshall Goldsmith: Marshall Goldsmith created the “360-degree feedback” technique — which helps teams and corporations become more transparent, and ultimately, more effective.
He’s written several books, including The Leader of the Future and MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back If You Lose It — which is based on “the moment when we do something that’s purposeful, powerful, and positive and the rest of the world recognizes it” (via Thinkers50).
He’s an executive coach with Marshall Goldsmith Group and teaches at the top business schools in the world, including Dartmouth’s Tuck.
6. Roger Martin: Roger Martin is best known for his book, The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking — which looks at how integrative thinking can solve complex problems.
He’s also advocated for companies to focus on design in The Design of Business, and contrasted the “real” and “expectations” markets that led to the 2008 crash in Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes and What Capitalism can Learn from the NFL.
He’s dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Canada.
5. Michael Porter: Harvard Business School professor and co-founder of the Monitor Group, Michael Porter is considered the father of modern corporate strategy. Thinkers50 reports that:
His seminal Harvard Business Review article “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy,” (March/April 1979) introduced the Five Forces model for analyzing competitive position in an industry. His first widely read book Competitive Strategy, which followed soon after the 1979 article, is now in its 63rd imprint.
From investigating corporate competition, Porter moved on to examine competition between nations in his book The Competitive Advantage of Nations (1990). He arrived at the Diamond Framework for National Competitive Advantage as a tool to help explain why some nations achieve greater productivity and higher standards of living than others.
He co-wrote Redefining Health Care, and lately has examined “competition and environmental sustainability, and competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility, and proposed the concept of shared value, arguing that firms should generate value for society as well as shareholders.”
4. Jim Collins: Jim Collins wrote the classic business school book, Good to Great and its follow-up, Great by Choice.
He founded a management laboratory in Boulder and taught at Stanford Business School for years.
He also wrote How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, which “identifies five sequential stages of decline which if understood can help managers avoid decline.”
3. Vijay Govindarajan: Vijay Govindarajan (VG) is one of the top experts on strategy and innovation. He teaches at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, but took a break in 2008 to become GE’s first Professor in Residence and Chief Innovation Consultant. He then wrote an HBR article with Jeff Immelt, “How GE is Disrupting Itself,” which is focused on the concept of reverse innovation.
His popular books include Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators and The Other Side of Innovation, which “focuses on how to turn an innovative idea into a successful commercial business.”
2. W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne: “W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne are professors of strategy and management at INSEAD, and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in Fontainebleau, France. They are the authors of the worldwide bestselling strategy book Blue Ocean Strategy” (via Thinkers50).
Their thesis is essentially that most companies are competing in overcrowded industries – which is why it’s better to innovate than compete.
1. Clay Christensen: Clayton Christensen‘s The Innovator’s Dilemma is on every entrepreneur’s reading list (as are many of his other books on innovation, including last year’s The Innovators’ DNA).
He teaches at Harvard Business School, founded the consultancy Innosight and the non-profit think tank Innosight Institute, which looks at solving huge societal problems related to education and healthcare.
So there you go, don’t make any your expeditions to the bookshop painful any more.
If you are like me and want more choice, you can click on this link to see the other 40 contenders who make the top 50.