Business Reading List

10 Aug 2023 | Two-minute read

I read a descent amount and am often asked to recommend great books to read. I’ll try and share some of my all time favorites. (There is a bit of recency bias because I can only recommend what I remember.)


Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies - Collins and Porras

One of the first business themed books I read in my career. This is where the phrase “BHAG” originates and describes taking audacious goals.

Crossing the Chasm - Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers - Moore

Provided my first insights into the technology adoption life cycle, from innovators to laggards.

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail - Christensen

Case after case, described how leading companies fail to innovate. I also read The Innovator’s Solution but what I remember if the first one.

Mythical Man Month: Essays on Software Engineering - Brooks

It is a bit dated but still essential. “The Architect’s Responsibility” comes from there. My blog/telephone log is originates from there.

The Art of War - Sun Tzu (Kaufman translation)

Numerous insights into psychology and how opponents behave. My key insights were to expect anything from your enemy and to always provide a way for your enemy to retreat.

Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers - Jackall

Describes organizations as ruthless beings where everything you believed in can be tossed to the wind in moment. Fabulous if you want to understand the experience of being a manager or in a leadership position.


How to Present to Senior Executives - Duarte (Harvard Business Review)

Executives don’t have time. Get right to the point.

The market for “lemons”: Quality uncertainty and the market mechanism - Akerlog

Describes how quality and uncertainty affect each other. It is a classic paper in economics, but I feel it applies here because it influenced my thinking about products.

A typology of organisational cultures - Westrum

Describes how organization culture affects behavior and outcomes.

The Core Competence of the Corporation - Prahalad and Hamel (Harvard Business Review)

Separates corporations into those with strategic business units and those with core competencies. Makes the argument that organizations that identify their core competencies excel in comparison to those with strategic business units.

How to Committees Invent? - Conway

Later became known as “Conway’s Law” - the architecture that a company builds is a reflection of the organizational structure.

The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint - Tufte

After this, I finally understood why I so dislike bullet points.

The Big Lie of Strategic Planning - Martin (Harvard Business Review)

Describes 3 traps and 3 ways to break out of the trap so that you have a useful strategic plan.