Why StrategyReads

As a practicing strategist for 20+ years, I am repeatedly asked by colleagues what they should read to get a better understanding of strategy.  Inevitably, I lose whatever list I create, or worse, compose it into an email and hit send without holding onto it. 

StrategyReads is my attempt to put in one easy-to-find place the best of the books and articles that I have found useful over the years, including those I have referenced in my own works, Mastering Uncertainty and Mars Learning.  What you will find on the ensuing pages are great strategy reads organized by categories that others have told me they found helpful. 

Because of my own professional background, you will note that I include works from both corporate and military history.  I have done so for two reasons.  First, you rarely find them together, despite the fact that each genre has something to offer to students of the other.  Second, my own bias generally is that military strategy provides the best understanding of competitive strategy, while corporate strategy provides the best understanding of management and organizational strategy, execution and performance measurement.  There are execeptions of course - Michael Porter’s work on competitiveness and advantage comes to mind.  But after years of going thru both sets of literature, I find these are exceptions that tend to prove the rule.  At least now you have them in one convenient location and can decide for yourself.

I have further broken down the military and corporate strategy pages into categories to help you to distinguish the place of a given work within its genre and also to give you some focus for deeper exploration.  In the case of the corporate strategy page in particular, I have organized it along categories my colleagues have told me work for them.  I fully recognize there is more than one way to organize readings in strategy, but my hope is that these will work for you as well, or at the very least provide a useful starting point for your exploration of this complex subject.

Two final items worth mentioning... 

First, this is not a blog.  Why?  Well, I believe there are better places for serious discussion of strategy than trying to start yet another one.  LinkedIn provides the best network as well as forum for discussing corporate strategy-related topics, so that is where you will find me as time permits.  Similarly, there are numerous military sites (including behind military firewalls) where better minds congregate for serious discussion.  

Second, let me hear back from you!  What are your favorite strategy reads, and why?  You may use the Readers’ Rec page both to comment on the books I have included in my strategy list, and to tell us what you would recommend others to look at as well. 

A Brief Bio

Keith Bickel is a business executive and strategist living in the Washington, DC area.  His more than two decades of professional experience span the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including Fortune 50 companies, technology start-ups, the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the World Bank.   He has particular expertise in leading data-related venture start-ups and building strategy functions – from research and competitive intelligence to strategic communications with Boards of Directors.

Dr. Bickel is a frequent speaker on strategy and technology issues before select audiences.  He has published widely over the years, having written a book on Marine Corps counter-insurgency strategy, OpEds for various media outlets, and reviews for peer-reviewed journals and grant-making institutions.  Among his proudest accomplishments, however, are coaching his two kids to black belts in the martial art of Taekwondo (in which he holds a second degree black belt).

Dr. Bickel graduated with Honors in History and a minor in Neuropsychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and holds both a Masters in International Economics and a Ph.D. in Strategic Studies from the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

For feedback about this site, he can be reached at the following email address (in graphic form to prevent spambots from using it):