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Business Strategy Finance Library

Finance Library

The canon of finance literature is vast, with hundreds more publications emerging every year. This section distills the main lessons from most influential finance books both past and present, from the cornerstones to the most popular reads. Each summary includes a concise overview and analysis of the book's most distinctive contributions to management thinking and practice, along with bibliographic information for the featured title and related works by the author.

  • A Behavioral Theory of the Firm
    Richard M. Cyert and James G. March (2nd ed 1992, originally 1963)
    A classic work on organizational theory and behavior by two highly respected academics. Provides a useful introduction to the complex world of decision-making, and evaluates traditional approaches and real-world alternatives. Describes the series of steps that the rational model of decision-making is based on.  
  • Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk
    Peter L. Bernstein (1996)
    Provides a fascinating analysis of risk and probability that draws upon history and biography to trace their development and use. Without dumbing down, tells the story of a series of scientists and amateurs who discovered the notion of risk, and scientifically linked the present to the future. Looks at the basis and context on which people constantly make choices, arrive at decisions, and take risks.
  • Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action
    Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton (1996)
    The originators of the Balanced Scorecard present this innovative methodology, and show how managers can use it to maximize the potential of their companies. Details how to build a Balanced Scorecard specifically tailored to an organization, and provides the practical tools needed for implementation. Describes the impact of using a Balanced Scorecard as a strategic management system, and how it helps clarify both vision and strategy and...
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking
    Malcolm Gladwell (2005)
    Analyzes the power of first impressions, how we can know things in an instant, and then make successful decisions based on little or no information. Considers how we rapidly and accurately process information in our subconscious and examines the hunches, suspicions, and initial impressions we form without being sure of how or why we make them. Argues that we can make better snap judgments if we train our mind and senses to focus only on the most...
  • Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant
    W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne (2005)
    Describes new ways of doing business, by spending less money trying to carve out small profits doing the same thing as ever, and moving into new sectors where there is more opportunity to grow. Blue Ocean Strategy offers a set of tools and techniques to help you develop a successful business strategy, make the competition irrelevant, and create strong profit growth. Covers both strategy formulation and strategy execution, and discusses the BOS...
  • Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy
    Bill Gates (1999)
    One of the leaders of the digital revolution discusses the benefits of improved business technology. Shows why it is necessary to adapt to the challenge of digital innovation. Through a 12-step program, it offers real-world, practical advice for managers to update their businesses technologically.  
  • Competing for the Future
    Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad (1994)
    Regarded as the definitive book on strategy for contemporary business, which created a blueprint for new industry structures. Presents a new approach for developing complex, robust strategies that focus on consistent strategic intent and core competencies. Argues that few managers spend enough time looking to the future, and outlines a number of rules for success.  
  • Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors
    Michael E. Porter (1980)
    A hugely popular book that is taught in most business schools, and read by those interested in business success. It put strategic innovation at the forefront of management thinking, and proposes a solution to the eternal strategy dilemma. Shows how companies with a clear strategy outperform those whose strategies are unclear, or those that attempt to achieve both differentiation and cost leadership.
  • Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression
    Robert R. Prechter, Jr (2nd ed 2009, originally 2003)
    Aimed more at the financial amateur than expert, it explains why the boom times are now behind us, and what we can do to face the economic problems that lie ahead. Contains practical tips and guidance on how to deal with the stock market, and other financial areas such as real estate, bonds, insurance, banking, annuities, and precious metals. Compares the socio-economic mindset of previous boom–bust cycles to that of today to explain why we are...
  • Corporate Strategy: An Analytic Approach to Business Policy for Growth and Expansion
    H. Igor Ansoff (1965)
    Was the first book to concentrate entirely on strategy, and remains one of the classics of management literature. Provides a powerful, rational model by which strategic and planning decisions can be made. Ansoff was the originator of the strategic management concept, and responsible for establishing strategic planning as a management activity in its own right.
  • Corporate-Level Strategy: Creating Value in the Multibusiness Company
    Michael Goold, Andrew Campbell, and Marcus Alexander (1994)
    Argues that because most large companies are now multibusiness organizations, there is a great need to change how they are structured to help them add value. Recommends that multibusiness organizations should aim for a tighter fit between individual company strategies and the overall corporate strategy. Suggests that although large conglomerates claim to add value through synergy and economies of scale, this is not really the case.
  • Financial Strategy
    Janette Rutterford, Martin Upton, and Devendra Kodwani (eds) (2006)
  • How to Be Rich
    J. Paul Getty (1965)
    One of the richest men in the world gives advice on how to live with a lot of money, especially why richness is more about how you act and what your goals are. Recounts how Getty made his fortune, as well as providing lessons from his business life. Outlines his basic business principles, with practical tips on types of investments.  
  • Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy
    Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian (1999)
    An excellent primer for those entering the IT industry, business leaders wanting guidance, and those interested in the network economy. Get a better understanding of the information business landscape—presents techniques for competing strategically and successfully. Discusses the importance of economics in the new digital age, despite information not being a traditional commodity.  
  • Juran on Planning for Quality
    Joseph M. Juran (1988)
    Juran was a key figure in the quality revolution, developing all-embracing theories of what quality meant for business. Argues that quality has to be the goal of each employee, individually and in teams, and was an early exponent of what has become known as empowerment. Juran was the first to incorporate the human aspect of what is referred to as Total Quality Management.  
  • Managing
    Harold Geneen and Alvin Moscow (1984)
    Explains Geneen’s approach to management, which he successfully used at ITT to ensure huge growth and help it become the world’s greatest conglomerate. Shows how his success was based on amassing all the facts so that decisions became self-evident—Geneen wanted no surprises, and worked hard to ensure this. Examines his obsessive belief that the conglomerate could be made to work as a business structure. He believed that ITT could manage any...
  • Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution
    Christopher A. Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal (2nd ed 1998, originally 1989)
    Regarded as a classic of international business processes, Managing Across Borders has helped the focus on how organizations should be structured for success in the global economy. Maps out the new business reality of globalization and the kinds of organizations a borderless business world requires. Identifies and assesses the variety of organizational forms prevalent among global companies.  
  • On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures
    Charles Babbage (1832)
    Babbage was one of the great minds of the first industrial revolution, credited with the first attempts at constructing a programmable computer. Offers a fascinating insight into the early development of manufacturing techniques and factory operations. Examines in detail two key areas: economies of scale and the division of labor, and their impact on industrialization.  
  • The Age of Discontinuity: Guidelines to Our Changing Society
    Peter F. Drucker (1969)
    One of the key books in the development of modern management thinking, it gives a valuable insight into the changing nature of management, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the knowledge economy. Explains and analyzes the new challenges, opportunities, roles, and responsibilities in the workplace of an evolving entrepreneurial economy. Informs that knowledge, rather than labor, is the new measure of economic society—and predicts the rise of...
  • The Art of Japanese Management
    Richard Tanner Pascale and Anthony J. Athos (1981)
    Played a crucial role in the discovery of Japanese management techniques. Examines Japanese management styles and methods, and advises how US companies can learn from them. Provides a systematic framework for comparing Japanese and American approaches to management.  
  • The Art of War
    Sun Tzu (revised ed 1971, originally 6th Century BC)
    A compilation of the legendary military strategies and writings of a Chinese general from the 6th Century BC that are thought to encapsulate basic and eternal truths. As one of the oldest books on martial strategy in the world, it has had a great influence on Eastern and Western thinking, business tactics, and beyond. Sun Tzu has long been revered in the East. He is said to be required reading not only for Eastern military tacticians but also...
  • The Caring Economy: Business Principles for the New Digital Age
    Gerry McGovern (1999)
    One of the first books to outline how both businesses and individuals should wholeheartedly embrace the internet. Explains how new attitudes, rules, and business principles are needed to ensure success in the digital age. Stresses the importance of people, connectedness, community, trust, and interaction in the new economy, to ensure value and vision.  
  • The Living Company: Habits for Survival in a Turbulent Business Environment
    Arie de Geus (1997)
    Provides the testimony of someone who was a professional businessman, but who believes that companies must be fundamentally humane to prosper. Explains why so many companies don’t last, and teaches about corporate longevity and how to survive the upheavals of change and competition over the years. Puts its faith in company learning, and represents a careful and powerful riposte to corporate nihilism.  
  • The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing
    Lisa Gansky (2010)
    Explains how Mesh businesses have reengineered the way companies operate through the sharing of products and services rather than outright purchase. Explains how the collaborative approach provides organizations with a better idea of what consumers are actually looking for and when. Discusses how the Mesh approach allows the consumer to receive flexible, reliable, and more sustainable products and services.
  • The Practice of Management
    Peter Drucker (1954)
    Drucker was a major business thinker, who practically invented management as a discipline in the 1950s, and whose views are still relevant today. Asserts that management will remain a basic and dominant institution, with managers being at the epicenter of economic activity. Coined phrases such as “privatization” and “knowledge worker,” and championed concepts such as “management by objectives.” Many of his innovations have become accepted facts...
  • The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning
    Henry Mintzberg (1994)
    Analyzes the history of corporate strategy and its rise to prominence in business thinking, and the current dissatisfaction with strategic planning as being far from effective. Thinks that strategic planning is a contradictory concept, as planning encourages stability, while strategy is a more flexible idea, the direction of which can change more easily. Shows how over-emphasizing analysis and hard facts limits strategic planning; rather,...
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
    Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
    The “tipping point”: who does not now know this phrase, first coined in Gladwell’s entertaining and instructive bestseller to describe how the culmination of a buildup of small changes can effect a big change? Gladwell suggests that ideas, products, messages, and behaviors spread like viruses so that we infect one another with preferences and recommendations, until we reach a tipping point, after which a social epidemic becomes contagious and...
  • Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
    Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams (2006)
    Examines the emergence of online mass collaboration, ideas sharing, and peer production, and discusses the future potential. Collaboration is changing the way traditional business operates and transforming the economy in unpredictable ways. Looks at how companies can access more expert knowledge through idea markets, and develop new capabilities.
  • Winning in Emerging Markets: A Road Map for Strategy and Execution
    Tarun Khanna and Krishna G. Palepu (2010)
    Examines the business potential of emerging markets, and offers strategies for success in those markets.Offers a new approach to dealing with the opportunities and risks in emerging markets effectively.Focuses on institutional voids that occur in developing countries, and the opportunities they bring for both multinationals and local businesses.

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