CAREER ADVANCEMENT / MAY. 20, 2014
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Top 4 Powerful Business Books You Should be Reading

books

No matter what industry you’re in, reading is one of the best ways to stay updated, connected and educated. In the business world, these come in the form of journals, credible online forums and books, to name a few.

With so much information circulating both online and offline, it can be very easy to get carried away with sourcing out the right books. It is important to find a relevant and reliable source for your business knowledge.

With that being said, below are the top 4 business books that every businessman should consider reading.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy is a book that was written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of Blue Ocean Institute. The book provides key insights on 150 business strategies over the span of 100 years across 30 popular industries. The general concept that the writers are trying to promote is that instead of going head to head with your competition, move out to open markets; or in most cases, create your own.

Examples are provided with frameworks such as The Six Paths Framework, which is designed to minimise the risks related to expansion and planning. The opposite of the blue ocean (open, uncongested market), is the red ocean, which is a representation of all the markets that are present today. An example of a blue ocean market that is slowly turning into a red ocean market is cloud data and 3D printing. Companies that are leading both industries today have provided consumers with an entirely new product that did not exist prior to their release.

The book received loads of criticism from analysts, saying that the book relies heavily on the first-mover advantage theory, disregarding other aspects such as competitive advantage, capabilities and resources. Despite the positive and negative feedback that the book received, there is no arguing that the strategies mentioned work, as it is backed up by research and hard data.

The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World

The Lords of Strategy was written by business journalist, Walter Kiechel. The book highlights the foundation and birth of corporate strategy. This information can give individuals a clear view of the 1960s, when businesses started turning to key variables such as costs, competition and consumers when formulating successful strategies. Perhaps the most valuable insight that the book provides are the revealing accounts of the four individuals who are considered to be the inventors of corporate strategy; namely Bruce Henderson (founder of Boston Consulting Group), Bill Bain (founder of Bain & Company), Fred Gluck (McKinsey & Company’s Managing Director), and Michael Porter of Harvard Business School.

For individuals who keep asking “why” when it comes to formulating business strategies, The Lords of Strategy can provide the answers they are looking for.

Pitch Perfect: How to Say it Right the First Time, Every Time

Pitch Perfect was written by Bill McGowan, a leading advisor for tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox and Salesforce.com. The book deals with communication (both verbal and nonverbal), message delivery and overcoming pitfalls. Because running a business relies on communication, it is wise to touch up on one’s presentation, delivery and vocabulary skills.

The book essentially elaborates that being the smartest person in the room can only get you so far. The author’s tips about the Principles of Persuasion are easy to pick up, practice, apply and eventually master. Pitch Perfect not only expounds on saying the right thing, but it also goes above and beyond to provide advice on crucial timing for message delivery.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

The Goal has been around for almost 30 years. Business consultant, Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt, wrote the book and has been noted as a credible model for systems management. The book highlights the Theory of Constraints and overcoming bottleneck-related problems. Since its 4 revision, the publication includes several business cases, which highlights strategic capacity planning and the constraints of management.

Unlike other business books, this book was written in a story-telling manner. The main character, Alex Rogo, is an owner of a manufacturing plant that is doomed to fail. Eventually, he meets a number of people who teach him the fundaments of profitability and productivity. It may not sound appealing to some readers, but this book is being circulated in top level business schools.

If you are looking for a different approach to learning, The Goal may be what you’re looking for. The book not only shines light on concerns related to systems management, but also solutions in addressing key factors that can help minimise risks that today’s companies are facing on a regular basis.

To conclude, these books are not only a great read, but can also serve as a powerful guide. In order to get the most out of these books, it is best to read them with a friend or other employees for new insights and productive discussions.

Which business books do you recommend others to read? Share your experience with us.

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