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Outsmart the Competition: 5 Best Books for Retail Management

There’s not one characteristic that makes a great business leader, but people agree that being open to learning new skills and strategies is incredibly important. The best leaders are constantly reading new books and articles about retail and other industries. So, to help retailers develop and grow, we put together a list of the best books for retail management to provide an insight into retail and people management skills.

There’s always something new to learn, and each of the titles on our list of the best books for retail management offers a different take on managing a retail business.

5 Best Books for Retail Management

1. The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism, by Doug Stephens

My sense in talking with business executives across North America was that many believed that what we were going through in the retail industry was a ‘bad cycle’ being driven largely by the economic turmoil of 2008.

Retail expert and author, Douglas Stephens, believes that the landscape of modern retailing is rapidly changing and that these changes are significant.

In his new book “The Retail Revival”, Stephens explains how a new generation of consumers is forcing retail brands to redefine themselves.

This book provides insider’s perspectives on how major shifts in demographics, economics, and technology are forever changing this profession.

He also looks at how these changes have affected consumer behavior.

2. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, by Tony Hsieh

Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins.

Customer service is a huge part of what makes a company successful. And, of course, having a strong culture is also crucial.

In this audiobook, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh discusses how he motivates his employees and focuses on making everyone happy. He provides examples of his personal experiences to show why this approach can lead to success.

In his book, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profit, Passion, and Purpose,” Hsieh shares the secrets to his company’s success. He outlines his 10 core values which have helped the online retailer grow from $1 million in sales to $1 billion in 10 years.

3. The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman

Develop the skill of observation. Question the obvious and you will discover many hidden insights. What seems to be obvious often is not.

Don Norman is one of the most influential designers in the world, and he has a lot to say about industrial design. In this book, he covers everything from how to make products easy to use, to how to make them aesthetically pleasing. If you want to learn more about design, this is the book for you.

When we try to use a product and can’t figure out how it’s not because we’re stupid. It’s because the design is poor.

When we can’t figure out how to turn on light switches or burners, it’s not because we’re not smart. It’s because the designer of the appliance was bad.

In his book, “The Design of Everyday Things,” Norman talks about how bad design can negatively affect users.

The issues he raises include unclear and hard-to-find controls that are arbitrarily related to each other, as well as a lack of feedback and an unreasonable amount of memory required.

4. The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace, by Robin Lewis and Michael Dart

We are entering what we call retailing’s Wave IV, in which its leaders, grappling with a new, fully birthed technology era, are attempting to address the enormous challenges it brings…

In “The New Rules Of Retail,” authors Robin Lewis and Michael Dart discuss why consumers now have more power than ever before. With technology, consumers are more informed than ever, and with the internet, they can shop anywhere. This shift of power is forcing businesses to adapt, and with the right tools, they can thrive.

They argue that companies must adapt their business models to survive in today’s volatile environment. They suggest three core competencies that are most likely to succeed: preemptive, perpetual distribution; a neurological customer connection; and total control of the value chain.

What has followed in the years since the publication of this book is the realization of many of its predictions.

In this updated edition, the authors revisit timeless case studies like Ralph Lauren and Sears, as well as recent retail upstarts like Trader Joe’s, Lululemon, and Warby Parker, to assess how retailers must continue to evolve in the era of e-commerce, data mining, and tiered distribution.

They also identified the top five trends that are shaping consumer behavior, including the integration of technology and channels as exemplified in the business model of Amazon.

5. Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition, by Guy Kawasaki

I meet companies every day who say, ‘well we’re software services, and we’re also consulting…‘ And you know what, it’s hard to do any one of those things, try doing four.

If you’re looking for a great read on entrepreneurship, be sure to check out one of Guy Kawasaki’s many fantastic books. You won’t be disappointed!

This edition is filled with valuable insights from a well-known leader in the tech industry that will have you laughing out loud as you flip through the pages.

This famous entrepreneur has shared his wisdom from a quarter-century of experience as an author, investor, and speaker, in over a dozen best-selling books. “Reality Check” is no different.

In his 2008 book “The Art of the Start“, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki offers advice on creating companies that can stand the test of time and withstand the fickleness of fads.

This book compiles, updates, and elaborates on his most popular blog posts and presents his unique perspective on anything from effective communication to dealing with office jerks.


If you’re looking for the best books for retail management, look no further than Guy Kawasaki’s “Reality Check.” In this irreverent guide, Kawasaki shows you how to outsmart, outmanage, and out-market your competition. With his trademark wit and wisdom, Kawasaki provides an invaluable resource for anyone in retail management.