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Palo Alto 33

Sources of Inspiration: "Learning from the Best"


Never in the history has there been so much literature, so much great content. The only problem is sifting through all these sources and verifying if they are leading in their domain. We list a few sources which can inspire you.

From Good to Great

From Good to Great - Jim Collins

A bestseller often criticized but which remains very valid to these days. Jim Collins introduces based on extensive research, a great framework. The level 5 leaders, getting the right people on the bus, the masterful hedgehog analogy, the disrupted people/thought/action-concept, the stop doing list, ….. can inspire us everyday in our daily working lives.
Competitive Strategy

Competitive Strategy - Michael Porter

Probably the most important book ever written about competitive strategy, as it introduces the idea of competitive advantage and the Five Forces concept which helps everybody to understand which competitive umfeld they are operating in and what strategy would suit best in this environment. Its only failure is in the absence of strategies for “disruption”, which has become the norm in many sectors instead of evolution.
Dynamic Competitive Strategy

Dynamic Competitive Strategy - Wharton Business School

3. The book gives a great round up of all competitive strategies. Written by the premier business school for post university studies it encompasses the Porter ideas, game theory, behavioral psychology, etc…. which highlights the facts that strategy is probably the most complex management challenge.
Strategic Management

Strategic Management - Saloner/Shepard/Podolny

4. This book by a group of Stanford Professors is a much more practical approach to the discipline of strategy full of frameworks that you can use straight away in your daily activities from creating a logical organization, how to create competitive advantages, a framework for industry analysis and money value, etc….
Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review

This monthly magazine is an absolute crucial addition for any manager interested in strategy and organization. Every edition is packed with case studies of many great and not so great companies where they focus on strategic choices, new trends in organizational design, but also plain common sense.
The Modern Firm

The Modern Firm - John Roberts

5. Although many leaders are able to create a vision and a strategy, which changes depending on a fast changing environment, the don’t mean anything when your organization is not adapted. John Roberts, professor emeritus at Stanford, explains in the book the complex interaction between strategy-environment-organization and gives us valid tips to create a flexible organization.

Buyology - Martin Lindstrom

6. Like Jim Collins, Martin Lindström received criticism from the marketing establishment as he is an outsider. But his theory of brand as a religion, somatic markers, hidden persuaders, … remain as valid as ever. He is the first marketeer who used MRI-scanning to actually measure what consumers really do and how they react and introduced the importance of the subconscious in the buying process by being able to measure it.
Inside her Pretty Little Head

Inside her Pretty Little Head - Cunningham/Roberts

7. The world of marketeers is filled with men although 80 % of all consumers decisions are taken by women. Cunningham and Robert explain in depth how you should communicate with them offline but increasingly also online. The power of word of mouth, and the focus on the focus buying process help you to substantially enhance your skills as a marketeer.
Why we Buy

Why we Buy - Paco Underhill

8. Paco Underhill has taken the most practical way of studying consumer behavior. His company has sent thousands of “trackers”, that follow consumers in their daily shopping habits and he extracts great tricks for enticing consumers in the retail environment. A must read for everybody that sells b-to-c in the offline world.
The New Rules of Marketing

The New Rules of Marketing - David Meerman Scott

9. For those that sell to consumers in the b-to-c world online David Meerman Scott offers a guide to understand the new dynamics in the online marketing arena. Social media, SEO, SEA,… and all the new marketing techniques are explained. A book that prepares you for a world with weak above media.
Marketing Channels

Marketing Channels - Coughlan/Anderson/Stern/El-Ansary

10. This group of Wharton professors have written a reference guide for effectively market your products and services. Managing conflict in the Supply Chain, channel implementation, performance measurement, … are all explained in detail.
The Secrets of Steve Jobs

The Secrets of Steve Jobs - Carmine Gallo

11. Marketing is for the most part “telling a story” and the best marketer in the world was without doubt “Steve Jobs”. Carmine Gallo has studied all the presentations of Jobs and explains how you can present like him. Great book that will put your sales pitches and company presentations on a much higher level.
Rethinking the Sales Force

Rethinking the Sales Force - Rackham

Straight From the Gut

Straight From the Gut - Jack Welch

13. Sales is an art where there are a lot of basic principles that can be implemented going from incentive schemes, communication strategies for your sales force, the quality of hiring, your pricing and promotion policy, … Sales is primarily a people’s business where sales managers, sales executives, clients play the central role. A lot depends on the quality of your team. If there is one company and one man who has built his reputation as the best, it is Jack Welch. His 4 E + P framework is still relevant today. Not technically a salesbook but important enough.
Yes een Crisis

Yes een Crisis - Marc Lammers

14. Marc Lammers is arguably the best sportscoach in the Dutch speaking region. And he is an inspiring storyteller. He has a bag of great ideas that will help you and your sales teams progress every day from “winning is more important than participating to the 2 % rule of improvement, the focus on the talents of everybody instead of a culture of mediocrity. Marc Lammers is today coach of the Belgian Hockey men’s team.
The Innovator's Dilemma

The Innovator's Dilemma - Clayton Christensen

15. A master piece of an author that only recently has become world renowned. This Harvard professor has explained clearly how great companies doing the right things still lose in het long term when they are confronted with disruptors that use off the shelf technology with lower cost bases. Examples abound in today’s economy where incumbents lose their competitive advantages in near markets. Omega Pharma,, Space X, Ikea, E-bay, spring to mind. In the technology industry examples abound. His resources – processes – values – framework is also helpful.
The Innovator's Manifesto

The Innovator's Manifesto - Michael E. Raynor

16. This book by Michael Raynor, build on the book of Christensen and is more practical in its approach as its tries to explain how you build a culture where you deliberate disrupt for transformational growth.
Leading the Revolution

Leading the Revolution - Gary Hamel

How Do You Measure Life

How Do You Measure Life - Clayton Christensen

18. For managers who ask themselves a simple question : “Am I happy in my private and professional life ? This book can provide an answer to this crucial question. Clayton Christensen uses the most important management theories which can help you to assess your work life, your relation with your friends, with your wife and your family, the way you live ethically. An absolute reference book for managers to look for a more balanced life.
The Future

The Future - Al Gore

19. There is no one in the world who can give a holistic vision of our world like Al Gore and his extensive research team. If you would like to understand the mega trends of the next 50 years from geopolitical changes, the worldwide digital revolution, the genomic and neuroscience change and the radical disruption of the relationship between humans and the ecosystem, this is the book.
Happy Money

Happy Money - Dunn/Norton

20. This book tries to answer a simple question : can money buy happiness ? Written by 2 Harvard professors they hand you 5 proven ideas that will help you to spend your money smarter. Very useful based on observations of behavioural psychology.