The QMP Group Recommended Reading List
Our recommended reading list for business teams that wish to understand the true, immutable foundational principles of marketing, sales, management and any business with a consultative component.
Books on Market Strategy
“Blue Ocean Strategy”, by W. Chan Kim & Renee’ Mauborgne, HBS Press Rating: 4 Stars
Kim and Mauborgne present an excellent approach to developing market strategy in a way that minimizes competition, changes the competitive rules, creates market-unique value propositions and takes competitive pricing out of the sales equation. The bonus in this book is the last third, what most books on strategy completely miss, i.e. the critical importance of the execution component. Both parts, the strategy formulation front end and the execution back-end, are spot-on. Read and think!
“The Diffusion of Innovation”, Everett Rogers, Free Press Rating: 5 Stars
This book is a must for folks in the business of innovation. Turns out that just about any innovative idea (technological, philosophical or behavioral) follows the same process of adoption by the marketplace. Rogers has created a compendium of case studies that highlight how innovations (independent of how incredibly valuable they were for their intended audience) struggled to gain a foothold. Today’s social media phenomenon is, in part, an outgrowth of the automation of the adoption process. The insights provided with respect to the over-riding influence of the right kinds of opinion leaders, the crucial difference between the meaning of adoption by innovators versus early adopters, the power of the intra-market communications and other revelations are “gold” for marketers, technologists and investors in new business ideas. This should be required reading for any firm with a marketing team that introduces new products.
“The 33 Strategies of War”, by Robert Greene, Viking Rating: 4 Stars
A combination of history, philosophy, psychology and Machiavellian politics, Greene does an amazing job in compiling evidence, examples and classifying the 33 Strategies. This compendium is a joy to read for the strategist. A businessman, sitting with this book, and using it again and again to consider strategic alternatives would find it invaluable. The one realization that immediately strikes the reader is that a few hours (yes hours, not minutes) of sound thought before committing to a strategy, with a book like this as a guide, would increase the probability of success enormously.
“The PIMS Principles”, by Robert D. Buzzell & Bradley Gale, Free Press Rating: 4 Stars
Based on research data from the Profit Impact of Market Strategy (PIMS) data base, which houses 40+ years of data on the relationship between strategy and financial success of all kinds of business (now housed at the Strategic Planning Institute) this book provides one immutable lesson. That is, “the single largest factor affecting the economic success of an organization is the relative perceived quality of its products and services compared to its competitors”. This fundamental rule is the foundation: the rest of the book highlights the subtleties regarding characteristics of specific markets drawn from the research. This is a great book for building a strong foundational understanding of market strategy.
“Value-Based Marketing”, by Peter Doyle, John Wyle & Sons, Ltd
“The Breakthrough Company”, Keith McFarland, Crown Business
“The Pebble and the Avalanche”, Moshe Yudkowski, Berrett Koehler Publishers
“Breakout Strategy”, Sidney Finklestein, Charles Harvey & Thomas Lawton, McGraw Hill
“Counter-Intuitive Marketing” by Kevin Clancy & Peter Kreig, Free Press
Books on Sales
“The Challenger Sale” by Matthew Dixson, Brent Adamson Rating: 5 Stars
“To Sell is Human” by Daniel Pink
“Hope is not a Strategy” by Rick Page, Nautilus Press
“The New Science of Selling and Persuasion”, William T. Brooks, Wiley
Books on Management and Corporate Culture
“Absolute Honesty”, by Bob Phillips and Larry Johnson, AMACOM Rating: 5 Stars
In today’s world of political spin, combined with near paralyzing fear of “saying the wrong thing” and heightened self-interest arising from personal economic fears, Phillips and Johnson have created an oasis. Absolute Honesty is a place to go to get refreshed and awakened with the spirit of how adherence to 6 simple guidelines can reduce organizational strife, increase productivity and create a culture in which personal and economic growth can thrive
“What (Really) Works”, W. Joyce, N. Nohria & B. Roberson, Harper Business
In “What Really Works” Joyce, Nohria and Roberson share the results of 10 years of research on 160 companies and the 200 primary business processes and management practices that those companies embraced that were essential to their success. They wanted to find the “essential few”. The results revealed 8 basic processes that lead to performance excellence: 4 “must-haves” and 2 of the other 4 also are key. Companies that follow those practices achieve total return to shareholders 15 times higher, sales 5 times higher and Operating Income 14.8 times higher. Great reading and useable ideas.
“The 80/20 Individual”, by Richard Koch, Doubleday
“Scrum“ by Jeff Sutherland, Crown Business Rating: 5 Stars
“Marketing Metrics”, P. Farris, N. Bendle, P. Pfeifer, D. Reibstein, Wharton School Publishing
Books on Consulting
“The Trusted Advisor”, David Maister, Charles Green & Robert Galford
The copy I have of this book is so dog-earned, marked up, highlighted and annotated, pages fall to the floor when I open it. It’s incredible applicability and appropriateness to the profession of consulting is one of the reasons loaded it into my Kindle library — to have the book with me in useable form at all times. In this easy-to-read book, Maister, Green and Galford share insights and their experience in clients, human nature, consulting and trust. These lessons, caveats and models are based both on their great success as consultants, but also forged in the embarrassment fires of past mistakes. You will be delighted reading it when you discover priceless tidbits like the basic-trust equation—and angry with yourself when you see in their words your dysfunctional behavior. This is one absolute-must-own book for consultants or anyone who in their business needs to act consultatively. It touches the heart, and builds a solid foundation for a consultant’s desire to provide real emotional, as well as economic, value to clients.
“Million Dollar Consulting”, by Alan Weiss, McGraw Hill
Alan Weiss is the Yoda of the Consulting Universe. His knowledge, experience, wisdom and insights are in this book (and the more than a dozen he has written since this one was first published. This is a must for any consultant to have within arms reach.
“The Expert’s Edge”, by Ken Lizotte, McGraw Hill
“The Power of Less” by Leo Babuta, Hyperion
“Please Understand Me”, by David Keirsey, Prometheus Nemesis Book Company
“Influencer: The Power to Change Anything”, K Patterson, J Grenny, et al, McGraw-Hill