Belfast Telegraph

A book list for business strategists and innovators


Why do some companies grow and others remain static?

When we talk to the enterprise support agencies, it's a question I get asked all the time.

I have no research to back it up, but I suspect that a lack of ambition is one of the reasons.

Happy to stay as they are. Happy with the status quo. Hoping it will stay that way.

If recent history has taught us anything, it is that nothing is as it seams and change is a given.

Which brings me to the second reason why I think companies don't grow – planning.

Not business planning, but strategy.

The sense of direction, the vision for the business in five to 10 years' time.

Understanding why you matter and understanding why you are doing this.

Most small companies are strategically illiterate and ignorant. (Waits for backlash!)

For me it all started with the books Thriving on Chaos by Tom Peters and The Mind of the Strategist by Kenichi Ohmae.

Quite a few years later, Funky Business really triggered the need for understanding strategy.

Constant flux

In a world of constant flux, chaos, Moore's law, hyper-competition and data overload, planning and strategy have become more important than ever, and more impossible.

33 strategies of war

Robert Greene wrote 33 Strategies of War. THE book on strategy.

Literally a menu of choice on which strategy to apply, based on extensive research on what strategy generals applied in war, going back to Sun Tzu.

Blitzkrieg, dead ground, controlled chaos and deterrence are but a few strategies he covers.

Killing giants

Killing Giants is the light version of 33 Strategies of War.

Eat the bug and take the last mile away from your competitors.

Small companies are eating your lunch. More agile, quicker and with passion.

Break from the pack

The book Break From The Pack is a cry for constant change, trying not to follow the compulsion that the pack is following.

Try to be constantly different (and better) in a copycat economy, avoiding commodity hell.


Blue Ocean Strategy talks about escaping commodity hell by creating new products in new markets, which is straight from the Ansoff matrix.

You're better off reading Strategic Management.


If you talk about the masters of strategy we can't ignore Drucker.

The book What Would Drucker Do does exactly what it says on the tin.


Once you read so many business books, you realise that everything is strategy. Workplace 2020 and its view on HR in the future is strategic. Talent Masters is strategic.


The Innovator Dilemma and realising that the consequence of true innovation is the destruction of your existing business model is strategic. Digital Disruption and the threat of a big bang disruption that can impact on your business overnight is strategic. Free and Makers by Chris Anderson are strategic.

Belfast Telegraph