Posts tagged Strategy
Strategy: A History

By Lawrence Freedman

Man oh man am I loving this book. It puts out a comprehensive record of thinking about the concept of strategy in western thought from the Bible and Homer all the way to modern theorists. Along the way, Freedman provides analysis of the strengths and shortcomings of the various formulations and their applications. Despite what might turn into a dry, intellectual subject, the book is quite clear and readable, moving briskly through trends and eras of thought. For me, it's greatest value is highlighting the connections and influences between figures as disparate as Thucydides, Machiavelli, and John Boyd. I suspect that I will be coming back to my notes on this and its bibliography for years to come. 

Get it here.

Simple Rules

By Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt

This book identifies six types of "simple rules" that offer enough guidance to be useful but enough flexibility to respond to complexity. More exciting than that, it walks through how to create your own simple rules for work and life. Unless you're my kind of geek, it's not the sexiest topic in the world, but for one thing, it's shockingly useful, and for another, the authors use a conversational tone that makes for pleasant reading. Whether you're looking to make better decisions about investing, dating, or your company's strategy, this book has you covered.

Extreme Ownership

By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

This one is not explicitly about creativity, but I think you'll find it more helpful in that respect than you might think at first glance. Written by a pair of Navy SEAL officers who served together in Ramadi, Iraq when it was at its worst, this book lays out deceptively simple principles for effective leadership. I say deceptive because simple does not mean easy. Following the straightforward advice is much harder than understanding it. Which brings us to creativity: this book's advice on building discipline will help you immensely in building the habits you need for quality creativity. If you want to get a taste, or if you read the book and can't get enough, check out the Jocko Podcast.

Buy it here.

Zero to One

By Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

If you spend as much time as I do listening to podcasts by Silicon Valley types, you've been hearing about this book for ages. I've been putting off reading it because I figured "well, I'm not starting a tech company, so it doesn't apply to me." Turns out that was a silly and limited way to think about the book. I ended up valuing it more for its discussion of the secrets that are the root of real economic value and its concepts of definite versus indefinite optimism. It was also the inspiration for the current series, as it talked about the importance of creativity and implementation in building the future world. It's a pretty quick read and well worth it.

Buy it here.