Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Leadership, business strategy and innovation developed new dimensions and meaning in the context of the new normal. As the business domain hit the fast-forward button to uphold business continuity and respond to the shifting consumer demands, old norms went down the drain. Business authors were definitely not prepared for such catastrophic changes.

Despite the upheaval, by the end of 2020, a few good titles succeeded in hitting the omnichannel bookstores. These books masterfully provide enriching insights about how to make sense of the mayhem and grow amid the uncertainties.

While it is true that you have to wait till the end of next year to get hold of books that decode the changes at a deeper level and provide cues about how to adapt, here is a pretty good reading list that sheds light on the new norms of leadership and strategy.

Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever, by Alex Kantrowitz

The new normal has been dominated by tech giants, the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. The book features 130 interviews with Silicon Valley insiders covering Mark Zuckerberg to hourly workers. The title of the book “Always Day One” is derived from Jeff Bezos’s statement where he attributes the Day One to the code for inventing a successful startup where there is no room for legacy, while Day Two in Bezos’ words is “stasis, followed by irrelevance, followed by excruciating, painful decline, followed by death.” Recommending the book, serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban said:

“The tech giants are far from perfect, but Always Day One reveals the inventive elements of their culture that entrepreneurs can and should learn from”

Billion Dollar Brand Club: How Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, and Other Disruptors Are Remaking What We Buy, by Lawrence Ingrassia

This book is a goldmine of information about how contemporary brands trumped legacy entities with direct-to-consumer strategies. A business journalist by profession, Ingrassia brings together a fascinating line up of real business strategies implemented by smart brands that has helped them thrive in the new normal. Right from at-home-trials to using call centers to heighten profit – Ingrassia has put together a timely, eye-opener of a book that chronicles how digital entrepreneurs have invented creative ways to crack the code on the bonanza of physical goods that touch our lives every day.

Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments, by Stefan H. Thomke

If there is one thing that the new world order has taught businesses, it is never to underestimate the profound power of new ideas. And new ideas cannot alone stem from intuition, Big Data or experience but by conducting real life business experiments. The author, Stefan Thomke, a Harvard Business School professor shows the readers how companies like Microsoft and Amazon conduct controlled business experiments to gain a competitive advantage.

Lead From the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking Into Breakthrough Growth, by Mark W. Johnson and Josh Suskewicz

This gem of a book intends to teach the readers how to become a practical visionary leader by embracing a new way of managing and thinking called “future back”. A practical and inspiring book, it helps leaders to develop a vision by inculcating a mind-set that fosters long-term futuristic plans. Further, it addresses how to overcome practical barriers that are bound to crop up on the way and reveals the key tenets to transform challenges to growth opportunities. Also offering a roadmap to translate a vision into a strategic plan, Lead From the Future has been named one of the “Top Ten Technology Books of 2020” by Forbes.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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