Eight must-read books on strategy and entrepreneurship

LBS' Costas Markides, supplies his best 8 books on strategy and entrepreneurship.


1. Strategic Intuition: The Creative Spark in Human Achievement

by William Duggan (2013)

This book is about how creativity happens. William Duggan takes us on a fascinating exploration into how the human brain connects experience and knowledge to create entirely new ideas in momentary flashes of insight. To do this, he combines scholarship and candour to provide specific steps for acting on your intuition and using it strategically. He also shows us how throughout time people have used strategic intuition to change the world.

2. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics

by Richard Thaler (2016)

Behaviour economics looks at how we make choices in the real world; why incentives matter, the effect of emotions on decision making and the role of society in the choices we make and so on. In Misbehaving, Richard Thaler traces the rise of behavioural economics over the past 50 years to challenge traditional economics. He does this by giving us the story behind some of the most important insights in modern economics. Misbehaving is an entertaining and at times humorous read.

3. Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance

by Matthew Syed (2016)

We all know that for innovation to happen, we need to accept mistakes and learn from failure. This book shows us how. Matthew Syed reveals how curiosity for marginal gains and the courage to challenge their most cherished assumptions drive great performers and teams. Black Box Thinking is an inspirational read written by the man who was England’s number one table tennis player for almost a decade, the three-time Commonwealth Champion, and on two occasions he represented the UK at the Olympic Games.

4. The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World

by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan (2008)

There’s a famous quote by playwright George Bernard Shaw that just about sums-up the point of this book: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” The Power of Unreasonable People is full of beautiful stories that illuminate how social entrepreneurs create markets that change the world.

5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change

by Charles Duhigg (2013)

This book brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation, by examining scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how we can change them. Andrew Hill of the Financial Times summarises what differentiates this book nicely: “Plenty of business books that try to tap into the scientific world manage to distil complicated research into readable prose. But few take the next step and become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception.”

6. Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard

by Chip and Dan Heath (2011)

Why do we sometimes insist on seeing the obstacles rather than the goal? This is the question that bestselling authors Chip and Dan Heath tackle in Switch. The book is a beautiful treatise on how to achieve change both at a personal level and in organisations.

7. Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Change can make a Big Difference

by David Halpern (2015)

If you want to understand how small changes make a big difference then read this book. Dr David Halpern’s a behavioural scientist and head of the UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) nicknamed the ‘Nudge Unit’. The BIT started life inside 10 Downing Street as the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences. Throughout the book, Halpern gives life changing lessons about how to make a big difference through influencing small, simple changes in human behaviour.

8. Here comes Everybody: How Change Happens when People Come Together

by Clay Shirky (2009)

Forming groups is easier than it’s ever been thanks to social media. Charities can organise teams of volunteers, activists can mobilise protests that literally bring down governments, and mistreated customers can join forces to complain about faulty products or bad service. As Shirky explains for the first time, we have the tools to make group action truly a reality and this mass action is changing our world.

Comments (1)

Semei 7 years, 3 months and 2 days ago

The expression always prepended to skill. How easy walk in front of the complex. Discovering these elementary structures, it may make even the most complex master and patiently promote the ability to play with skill. Semei Csstillo