The 5 Books Every Innovator Should Read in a Lifetime

The saying “You are what you read” couldn’t be any truer. Being in the business where one of our main goals is to bring clients projects to success, we value reading and staying up-to-date with trends.  

Growing up, reading has always been a big part of my life, be it for university, work or simple entertainment. In business, books have a real power of giving us a competitive advantage. By getting a glimpse of the mind and methods of those who have succeeded before us, one can absorb various perspectives and get inspired.  More generally, reading expands the mind and turns you into a curious problem-solving oriented individual, making you highly valuable for your business. Bonus, you can always impress your boss with your reading knowledge!

I gathered a list of books that have stayed in my mind and mind of my professional and academic entourage. Just to point out, by no means it this an exhaustive list, but these five books have helped many businesses grow in the art of innovation.

1) Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim

What’s it about: A new approach to strategy: winning by not competing. Today, only a few companies succeed in the overcrowded industry where rivals fight over a shrinking profit pool, creating nothing but a bloody “red ocean”. The authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors, but from creating “blue oceans”: untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.

How can it make you a better innovator: It offers you a systematic approach to making the competition surrounding you irrelevant and outlines the necessary tools your company needs to create and capture these blew oceans. You will end up grasping what your company does best and how you can cultivate that into a competitive advantage.

2) The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

What ‘s it about: Successful and brilliant businesses can do everything “right” and still fall short or even fail while unexpected competitors rise and rapidly take over the market. During the research, the author shows that companies can put too much emphasis on customers’ current needs and thus fail to adopt new business models that meet future needs. This is what Christensen calls “disruptive innovation”. 

How can it make you a better innovator: Ironically, you will realise when it’s right “not” to listen to customers, when to pursue small markets at the expense of larger and more lucrative ones. Basically, you will find out how to capitalize on disruptive innovations.

3) Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson 

What’s it about: One could qualify it as an official biography of the innovator. Needless to say, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and creativeness. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect innovation with technology. He built a company where imagination was combined with feats of engineering to build the business and the innovative products we know off today.

How can it make you a better innovator: Understand why Jobs is such a polarizing figure in our society. You’ll learn how to discipline, focus on the core elements of your business and that passion is one of the best predictor of success.

4) Design Thinking For Strategic by Idriss Motee

What’s it about: Explains how design thinking can bring about creative solutions to solve complex business problems. The book is an essential guide for any business seeking to use design as a problem-solving tool. You will gain a methodology to transform companies and cultures.

How can it make you a better innovator: Connect more deeply with your customers to discover opportunities for innovation and experiment with idea generation, critical thinking, aesthetic ways of knowing and rapid-prototyping.

5) Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

What’s it about: Disruptive new business models are emblematic of our generation. Yet they remain poorly understood, even as they transform competitive landscapes across industries. Business Model Generation offers you powerful, simple, tested tools for understanding, designing, re-working, and implementing business models.

How can it make you a better innovator: Lean to use powerful and practical innovation techniques to systematically understand design a new business model. Turning you into a pro in understand the core principles of your organization.

The five books listed above have lasting lessons and practical tools to who has the challenge to innovate. Start reading!

Do you have any go-to books for innovation? Please feel free to share.