My top CEO book of the year: “The Art of Action”

The Art of Action by Stephen Bungay has lessons for CEOsHappy New Year to all! In the midst of people sharing their best business books of 2013, I wanted call out one I read this year that I think should be on every CEO’s reading list: “The Art of Action” by Stephen Bungay. The book was published in 2011, but I don’t think it got wide coverage in the U.S. That is unfortunate, since it offers great lessons in how leaders can most effectively execute their plans to deliver results. In the book, Bungay explains why the most common management methods do not achieve their intended outcomes. Using examples from the 19th century Prussian Army, he offers solutions that, while relatively simple to understand, are powerful when employed.

A key concept that most business leaders don’t understand is that the CEO job requires not only excellence in leadership, but also management and command. Command is the unique responsibility that the CEO shoulders as the final decision maker in the organization. I think you will find in this book many gems of wisdom when it comes to leading organizations.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the recommendation. It was an excellent book and made me dust off my copy of von Clausewitz’s “On War.” I read an article via MIT not long ago that may be another good reference for readers interested in friction and complexity. My take on that article here: Too Big to Fail is Too Big to Succeed


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