10 Best Strategy Books to Beat the Competition

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One key to beating the competition is to adopt a strategy that sets your business apart. It’s important, now more than ever, that business people be aware of how competitors are marketing, hiring, protecting their intellectual property, leveraging the social media wave, deploying leadership techniques and the full complement of techniques it takes to be successful in a highly competitive business landscape.

When browsing the business books at the bookstore, online, or even at the local public library, I look for titles that not only catch my eye, but will resonate with CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs and their need to succeed.

Below are 10 strategy books published in the past year. These are books that while they may not have strategy in their titles, are what businesses need in the 21st century to round out all aspects of growing a business.

10 Strategy Books to Beat the Competition

Hiring For Attitude by Mark Murphy.

strategy booksNearly half (46%) of all new hires, according to the book, fail within 18 months. An overwhelming majority of those failed hires do so because of attitude — not skills or talent. Attitude sets your company apart from the competition. Employers need to make every hire count for maximum productivity and profit.

Why this book is important: This book will show you how to hire right. Don’t think for a minute that because the unemployment rate remains high in the United States it’s easy to find the right employees. It isn’t. The marketplace is highly competitive when it comes to finding, hiring and retaining great employees that fit with your company’s culture, mission and goals.

The Rebel Entrepreneur by Jonathan Moules.

strategy booksThe rules of business have changed. We do business in an age when it’s critical to rethink your business often in order to stay on track and ahead of the competition. Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Why this book is important: This book tells you how to start a business but more importantly, how to succeed. People never go into business with the intention of going out of business—yet that is what happens to most.

“Breaking The Fear Barrier” by Tom Rieger.

strategy books“A company’s worst enemy is not always the competition. Sometimes it’s the fear that lives within its own walls.” The Great Recession may be over, but the uncertain economy, divided politics in Washington, and the rapid rate of change in our personal and work lives only leads to more fear. That’s why it is necessary to identify and remove the fear that exists in your company.

Why this book is important: Fear is a barrier to success. Remove the fear and transform your business. This is one of the most important business lessons you can ever read.

Harvesting Intangible Assets by Andrew J. Sherman.

strategy booksIn today’s economy, every company wants to maximize profit. That means being able to recognize and act upon the wealth of revenue-producing opportunities hiding just below the strategic surface—intangible assets.

Why this book is important: Also referred to as intellectual property management, companies need to make the most of everything they have to offer in order to remain competitive. It can make all the difference in the bottom line.

High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service by Micah Solomon.

strategy booksIf you’ve been in business for any length of time, meaning pre-2008, then you know that the way you’ve always served your customers may not be working as effectively as it once did.

Why this book is important: Social media, self-service technologies and the rise of mobile smartphones is disrupting traditional customer service for many companies. Customers are becoming more and more socially empowered. This book shows you how to maintain your company’s customer service edge against the competition and create loyal customer advocates.

Likeable Business by Dave Kerpen.

strategy booksIn today’s socially-oriented business world, it pays to be likeable. In fact, it’s essential to be a “likeable leader of a likeable business.” Customers deserve a “likeable” experience every time they interact with your company.

Why this book is important: This book presents 11 strategies for organizations of all sizes on how to be likeable. Is there a return on investment for being likeable? Yes. Think: growth, profits and success. A win-win for everyone.

The Plugged-In Manager by Terri L. Griffith.

strategy booksThis book isn’t just for business people with the word “manager” in their job title. The book is for CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs too. Today, to be successful in business, you must be “plugged in” on all levels within your company.

Why this book is important: Being “plugged in” means being able to swiftly adapt when you see new opportunities and beat the competition to the next great business idea. You can only do that with a committed team, and for that you must understand your people, and what drives employees in the 21st century. Showing they are valued and respected can count for more than pay, and help you build a stronger organization.

Lead From The Heart by Mark C. Crowley.

strategy booksBusiness is changing. Work is changing. Leadership is changing. More than half of all workers hate their jobs. The heart is the driving force of human achievement—and it will drive extraordinary performance from employees.

Why this book is important: The book shows you how to seek authentic employee engagement by recognizing the human being that exists in every person you work with. Lead From the Heart is about developing, honoring and valuing people individually, and making people feel connected to work and the company mission.

Successful LinkedIn Marketing by Viveka von Rosen.

strategy booksA step-by-step guide to everything you ever wanted to know about LinkedIn.

For CEOs and business owners it is essential to be on LinkedIn with an up-to-date profile page and company page — and more. LinkedIn, especially for those in B2B businesses, is no longer an option for business people who want to be successful.

Why this book is important:  This book guides you through LinkedIn so you and your company can stand out in the crowd.

Return On Influence by Mark W. Schaefer.

strategy booksAs the author of the book states: “We are on the cusp of a marketing revolution. And it’s being led by YOU.” This quote really sums it up. How you do business is changing. How you market your business is changing.

Today it’s about influence—being recognized as an influencer and marketing with influence. Is your company on board and an active participant in the marketing revolution?

Why this book is important: Social media and social business strategies are here to stay, and your competitors are using them or thinking about using them. Don’t let yourself or your company get left behind in these changing business times.  Social business strategies are part of the bigger picture — the broader strategy a company sets.  When a company creates positive engagement from the top on down customers become advocates of your products and services; and your employees and the business will thrive.


When developing your business strategy, take into account all aspects of growing and running a successful business — that’s what it takes to stay at least two steps ahead of the competition at all times.

Now you may think these books are about marketing, hiring, leadership, social media and the like.  But they really are  strategy books that will show you how to survive and profit in today’s competitive business environment.

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Howard Lewinter Howard Lewinter guides, focuses and advises CEOs, presidents and business owners to greater business success throughout the United States. Howard also publishes a blog about business success, Talk Business With Howard, where he shares his insight and perspective about leadership, management or any business topic that relates to running a successful business.

8 Reactions
  1. I have not read all of these books, but I have read a couple of them. You are right we work in a very competitive business world, and we have to do more today other than just showing up to the game. In order to be successful, you need more than a great product or service. High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service is a book that has some great ideas to help business owners empower their front line employees to provide exceptional service. As business owners, executives or entrepreneurs we can come up with the best strategic plans, but unless we create a clear and compelling vision/purpose that our employees understand and live each day, the strategic plan will provide minimal value. Thanks for the book recommendations.

  2. Great list, Howard.

    I love books and articles that are about beating the competition.

    They’re so important.

    And, authors that are kind enough to share their strategies are golden.

    The Franchise King®

  3. Great compilation of books here. With all the books I’ve been adding to my “to read” list lately, I’m not sure where I’ll actually find time to read them all. 🙂


  4. It is about knowing what your competition is doing and staying on top of the latest strategies.