The SOLYP-Blog is Back Form its Summer Break with New Strategy Book Recommendations

Tuesday, 01. September 2015

Summer is slowly coming to an end and fall right around the corner! A perfect season to make yourself comfortable on the couch, put up your feet, and enjoy a good book. We have selected some brand new strategy and management books for you that are not only very informative, but entertaining, even inspiring. Just take some time to read through some of them. Enjoy!

Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World
by Robert Tercek

Vaporized CoverDigitalization is the “largest cultural and economic shift since the industrial revolution,“ says innovation expert and digitization pioneer Robert Tercek in his new book Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World. The global megatrend is already affecting pretty much every industry, even those that have long been considered “immune” to digital transformation, such as automobile, hotel, health care, or higher education. Formerly physical products are being replaced by apps at an ever increasing rate—basically “vaporizing” into thin air.

Therefore, Tercek's book should be required reading for every manager. In a humorous and thought-provoking way, he analyzes the highly complex process of change and outlines strategies how companies can use big data and advanced analytics to their advantage. The key here is to be proactive in shaping the digital future rather than merely reacting to change. What distinguishes this book is that it doesn’t demonize digitization, but sees it as a great opportunity for innovation and growth, not only for startups, but for "old school" companies as well.

Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations

by Benjamin Gomes-Casseres

Remix CoverMany companies across industries and the world continue to rely on inorganic growth to reach their revenue targets using strategic alliances, partnerships, M&As, or joint ventures. However, planning and managing such business combinations can be rather challenging, especially when two different corporate cultures collide. In his book Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations Benjamin Gomes-Casseres provides an easy-to-follow roadmap for “remixing” resources and creating joint value. Illustrating with numerous examples, he provides the readers three basic rules:


  • The value created by the combination should exceed the total value that would be generated by the players acting. The crucial question here is: How much more value can we create in the market together? What specific resources must we combine to create this value?
  • The combination must be designed and managed to realize this joint value. Which partners and structures fit this goal best? How do we manage the risk and uncertainty inherent in such combinations?
  • Each participant must earn a return sufficient to justify the investment. How do we divide the joint value created? How will value be shared over time?

Benjamin Gomes-Casseres has more than 30 years of teaching, research, and consulting experience on the subject of strategic alliances. His latest book is most helpful for managers at all levels dealing with business combinations.

Think to Win: Unleashing the Power of Strategic Thinking

by Paul Butler, John Manfredi und Peter Klein

Think to Win CoverStrategic thinking should not be reserved to senior management, but take place at all levels across the organization and be an integral part of corporate culture in order to assure strategic alignment and agility in rapidly changing markets. That is the key message of Paul Butler, John Manfredi, and Peter Klein authors of the book Think to Win: Unleashing the Power of Strategic Thinking. They propose a simple, yet effective approach to enable every employee to think and act like a strategist in their daily work.

The „Think to Win“ approach is based on five key principles that serve as a guiding compass:


  • Challenging assumptions to keep an open mind
  • Clearly scoping the issue
  • Collecting and analyzing the facts
  • Prioritizing and focusing on key strategic goals and actions
  • Making connections between strategic goals and actions


Creating a mindset which acknowledges and embraces these five principles is requisite, the authors say. However, the principals also need to be melded into an „orderly, analytical process“ (see figure)

Think to Win Process EN

The book is written in clear, comprehensible language and contains many interesting case studies from the many years of consulting work of the three authors, such as Duracell, Lego, or Gillette. "Think to Win" is highly recommendable and can be applied to both professional and personal life.

Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability Into Billion-Dollar Businesses
by E. Freya Williams

Green Giants CoverThe corporate social responsibility (CSR) trend continues to thrive. That the CSR management approach can be used not only for doing good for the environment and the society, but also for generating lots of profits is shown by the nine impressing case studies which E. Freya Williams compiles and analyzes in her inspiring book Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability Into Billion-Dollar Businesses.

The well-researched case studies include successful electric and hybrid car brands like Tesla ($3.5 Bill.) and Toyota Prius ($15.44 Bill.) as well as green product lines and programs of conventional producers in various industries, such as Nike Flyknit ($1.0 Bill.), an athletic shoe based on a special weaving technique which reduces production waste by 80%, or the „Sustainable Living Plan“ by Unilever ($52.34 Bill.), which aims to double sales while halving its environmental footprint by 2020. To achieve this goal, Unilever intents to source 100% of its agricultural feedstocks from sustainable agriculture and improve the lives of one billion people.

Williams identifies six factors that turned these companies into „green giants:“

  • An iconoclastic leader who started it all
  • Disruptive innovation
  • A higher purpose beyond profit
  • Integration of sustainability into the core structures of the business
  • A product with mainstream appeal / no niche product
  • A new behavioral contract where values like transparency, responsibility, and collaborations are practiced for real, not just written on paper

The book encourages the reader to have a fresh new look at the business model and culture of his/her organization under the lens of sustainability and maybe even follow into the footsteps of the green giants.