5 of The Best Data Strategy Books To Read in 2021

5 books about data strategy

Over the past few months, I have been thinking about the importance of data strategy in a post-pandemic world. I have listened to, watch, read articles and books about data strategy.

There is a common thread across various sources covering data strategy, but there are five books that made an impression—and even informed my own approach to data strategy.

Data Strategy

I have read (listened to) 3 out of the five books on my list, the remaining two, I have read synopsis and discussions about these books, but I think this list reflects some of the best data strategy books currently available.  

1. Modern Data Strategy

This book provides practical measures that business users should take to handle data in a variety of ways, including data governance, data engineering, master data management, business intelligence, and others.

The book provides a clear definition of data strategy and covers chapters that explain how to match data strategy with business strategy, a debate on evaluating data as an asset, the evolution of data management, and who should oversee data strategy.

Data Strategy Book

The chapters on key data management domains—data governance, data engineering, master data management and analytics—provide users with a realistic approach to data management within the framework of data strategy.

This book is intended for business users who deal with data, who need to handle one or more elements of the organization’s data, and who want to foster an integrated approach to how business data is handled.

Modern Data Strategy is also an excellent guide for students studying computer science and business administration, or simply for someone who has been charged with starting up or developing existing data management.

Available at:

2. Data Driven Business Transformation: How to Disrupt, Innovate and Stay Ahead of the Competition

Data Powered Business Transformation reveals how to unlock the value of data.

Authors Caroline Carruthers and Peter Jackson, two global pioneers in data transformation and education, discuss the value of data how to use data science to deliver meaningful results.

Data Driven Transformation

They outline a data-driven processes by:

  • Following step-by-step instructions on the transformation of your organization in the real world to a data-enabled business model
  • Mastering a flexible collection of data concepts efficient enough to deliver transformative results at any point of business growth.
  • Winning the hearts of your workers and influencing a cultural change to a data-enabled company
  • Reading first-hand accounts from today’s thought leaders that are shaping the transformation of data in their companies
  • Enable your company’s data to take advantage of Data Powered Business Transformation.

About the Authors

Caroline Carruthers is Chief Executive of Carruthers & Jackson Ltd., a partnership in leading data-driven transformations formed by herself and Peter Jackson. During her career, she was the first group director for Data Management at the Lowell Group and the first chief data officer for Network Rail.

Peter Jackson is Director of Group Data Sciences at Legal & General. During his career, he has been chief data officer at Southern Water, head of data at The Pensions Regulator and a developer of data strategies for businesses in the FMCG and financial services sectors.

A keynote speaker with engagements all over the world, he is co-authors of The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook (with Caroline Carruthers)

3. Data Strategy: How to Profit from a World of Big Data, Analytics, and the Internet of Things

Bernard Marr’s Data Strategy is a must-have guide to creating a robust data strategy. Explaining how to identify your strategic data needs, what methods to use to collect the data and, most importantly, how to translate your data into organizational insights for improved business decision-making and performance, this is essential reading for anyone aiming to leverage the value of their business data and gain competitive advantage.

Bernard Marr Book Data Strategy

This book is packed with case studies and real-world examples, advice on how to build data competencies in an organization and crucial coverage of how to ensure your data does not become a liability, Data Strategy will equip any organization with the tools and strategies it needs to profit from big data, analytics, and the Internet of Things.

About the Author
Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the field of business and technology. He is the author of 18 best-selling books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations.

He has 2 million social media followers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.

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4. Winning with Data: Transform Your Culture, Empower Your People, and Shape the Future

Winning with Data explores the cultural changes big data brings to business and shows you how to adapt your organization to leverage data to maximum effect. Authors Tomasz Tunguz and Frank Bien draw on extensive background in big data, business intelligence, and business strategy to provide a blueprint for companies looking to move head-on into the data wave.

Technology is discussed in detail, but the core of the change is in data culture—this book provides sound guidance on building the type of organizational culture that creates and leverages data, in every aspect of business.

Winning With Data

Real-world examples illustrate these important concepts at work: you will learn how data helped Warby-Parker disrupt a $13 billion monopolized market, how ThredUp uses data to process more than 20 thousand items of clothing every day, how Venmo leverages data to build better products, how HubSpot empowers their salespeople to be more productive, and more. From decision making and strategy to shipping and sales, this book shows you how data makes better business.

This book takes a deeper look at big data in business and shows you how to shift internal culture ahead of the curve.

  • Understand the changes a data culture brings to companies
  • Transform your company for maximum benefit
  • Utilize data to optimize every aspect of your business
  • Improve decision making and transform business strategy

Winning with Data is the practical guide to making data work for your business, and your needs.

About the Authors
Tomasz Tunguz is a venture capitalist at Redpoint Ventures. He is also a board member of Looker, ERPLY, Electric imp, inc., AxialMarket, Quantifind, Expensify, and more. Prior to joining Redpoint, Tomasz was the product manager for Google’s social media monetization team, including the Google-MySpace partnership. In addition, he managed the launches of AdSense into six new markets in Europe and Asia.

Frank Bien is the CEO and President at Looker. Frank brings more than 20 years of experience in business intelligence, big data, analytics, and data storage to expand Looker’s reach and capabilities.

Available at:

5. The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power

A trio of experts on high-tech business strategy and innovation reveal the principles that have made platform businesses the most valuable firms in the world and the first trillion-dollar companies.

The Business of Platforms is an invaluable, in-depth look at platform strategy and digital innovation. Cusumano, Gawer, and Yoffie address how a small number of companies have come to exert extraordinary influence over every dimension of our personal, professional, and political lives.

The Business of Platforms

They explain how these new entities differ from the powerful corporations of the past. They also question whether there are limits to the market dominance and expansion of these digital juggernauts.

Finally, they discuss the role governments should play in rethinking data privacy laws, antitrust, and other regulations that could reign in abuses from these powerful businesses.

Their goal is to help managers and entrepreneurs build platform businesses that can stand the test of time and win their share of battles with both digital and conventional competitors. As experts who have studied and worked with these firms for some thirty years, this book is the most authoritative and timely investigation yet of the powerful economic and technological forces that make platform businesses, from Amazon and Apple to Microsoft, Facebook, and Google—all dominant players in shaping the global economy, the future of work, and the political world we now face.

About the Authors
Michael A. Cusumano is the SMR Distinguished Professor of Management and Deputy Dean at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Previously he held a joint appointment in the School of Engineering. Professor Cusumano specializes in strategy, product development, and entrepreneurship in computer software as well as automobiles and consumer electronics.

A world-class academic pioneer in platform strategy, Prof Annabelle Gawer is a thought-leader and expert advisor on the business of digital platforms and platform-based innovation ecosystems. Author of 20 articles on platforms and of 4 books.

Professor David B. Yoffie is the Max and Doris Starr Professor of International Business Administration at Harvard Business School. A member of the HBS faculty since 1981, Professor Yoffie received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University.

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