Top 10 Books

People frequently ask me what book they should read about strategy and performance management.  In my opinion, while there are many interesting books worth reading, there isn’t one book that can give you a complete enough view into the field.  Rather than providing an exhaustive (and exhausting) reading list, I decided to create a Top 10. 


For this Top 10 list, I wanted to represent a broad range of views and focused on books that you would refer back to time and again.  As a result, I only included one book per author even if I felt that there were others worth reading and I didn’t include those books that didn’t provide new insights.  In no particular order, here’s my list: 

“Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors”, Michael E. Porter (Free Press, 1998 ) 

“Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies”, Jim Collins, Jerry Porras  (HarperCollins, 2004)  

“Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done”, Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, and Charles Burck (Crown Publishing, 2002) 

“Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour through the Wilds of Strategic Management”, Henry Mintzberg, Joseph Lampel, and Bruce Ahlstrand (Free Press, 2005)  

“Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment”, Robert Kaplan and David Norton (Harvard Business School Press, 2000) 

“Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining Results”, Paul Niven (John Wiley, 2006) 

“Five Key Principles of Corporate Performance Management”, Bob Paladino (John Wiley, 2007)  

“Results: Keep What’s Good, Fix What’s Wrong, and Unlock Great Performance”, Gary Neilson and Bruce Pasternack (Crown Publishing, 2005) 

“Measuring Performance: Using the New Metrics to Deploy Strategy and Improve Performance”, Bob Frost  (Measurement International, 2000)  

“Making Scorecards Actionable: Balancing Strategy and Control”, Nils-Goran Olve, Jan Roy, Sofie Roy, and Carl Johan Petri (John Wiley, 2003)

What must-read book do you think I missed?

3 Responses to Top 10 Books

  1. jeroendemiranda says:

    Hi Jonathan, great summary! One addition might be ‘Strategy Maps’, alsy Robert Kaplan.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Strategy Maps is a good book but I only wanted one per author so I chose Strategy-Focused Organization, as it’s a bit of a classic.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I wrote this list more than two years ago. In the interim, there have been many books written about performance management, some of them good. If I had to add just one more book to this list, it would be “Driven to Perform: Risk-Aware Performance Management From Strategy Through Execution” by Bardoliwalla, Buscemi, et al. While it’s a bit long at 900 pages, it’s about as comprehensive as they come.

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