What books should MBA students be reading?

Congratulations, you have decided to start your MBA course. We all know the best way to grow your knowledge base is to read. A quick Amazon search for business books produces a list of over 2 million books published on various subjects that will further your knowledge in this field. So, how do you narrow it down? Which books are going to give you the most comprehensive base for your studies and your future in business?

What books should MBA students be reading?

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We have looked at the lists of recommended reading from some of the most renowned schools around the world, and in this article, we will give you a list of the top 10 most recommended books from these lists and we will provide you with a short intro for each book. This list will give you a starting point from which you can grow your own library of reference books and will help you to not only increase your knowledge base but also to help prepare you for your new career in management.

1. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game - Michael Lewis
2. The Lean Start-Up - Eric Ries
3. How To Win Friends And Influence People - Dale Carnegie
4. Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell
5. First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently - Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey
7. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America - Warren Buffett and Lawrence A. Cunningham
8. The Infinite Game - Simon Senak
9. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success - William N. Thorndike, Jr.
10. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - Angela Duckworth

1. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game - Michael Lewis

This book transports you into the world of baseball, following the Oakland A's, a low-budget team based in California. Michael Lewis spent the summer of 2002 with this team, and their intrepid general manager Billy Beane, as they tried to crack the code on how to win the Major Leagues with the smallest budget using a sabermetric approach.

This book offers both sports fans and business people alike an insight into how emphasizing team dynamics over superstar salaries changed the face of baseball.

2. The Lean Start-Up - Eric Ries

In this book, Eric Ries addresses the issue of startup failure where the statistics show that up to 75% of startups fail.

The basic concept of a start-up is you have a business plan, find investors, assemble your team, launch your product and focus on increasing your sales. So why do so many start-ups fail? In this book, Ries provides a scientific approach to how you can make better and faster business decisions to help your start-up business succeed.

"Using the Lean Startup approach, companies can create order, not chaos, by providing tools to test a vision continuously."

3. How To Win Friends And Influence People - Dale Carnegie

Probably one of the most iconic and well-recognized books in the world of business, Dale Carnegie offers rock-solid, time-tested advice which has influenced people in both their personal and professional lives for decades.

In this book, Carnegie teaches you:

 - Six ways to make people like you

- Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking

- Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

Along with many other tried and tested methods and techniques to help you reach your maximum potential, with over 15 million copies sold worldwide this book is a must-read in today's world.

4. Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell

In this amazingly insightful book, Malcolm Gladwell asks the question "What makes high-achievers different?"

He will take you on an intellectual journey to reveal some of the worlds most famous, best, brightest and successful "outliers". He focuses more on where they are from as opposed to what they are like. By delving into their pasts, their family, culture, idiosyncratic experiences growing up and their generation, he explains what it takes to be an exceptional soccer player or software genius and what made the Beatles one of the greatest rock bands of all times.

Throughout his book Gladwell mentions the "10 000-Hour Rule", reiterating the premise that practice makes perfect and putting in the time builds the road to success.

5. First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently - Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Published in 2011, this book is often used in Human Resource courses focused on employee development.

The book includes many helpful resources for managers to include in their toolkit, for example, sample interview questionnaires.

This book helps managers to lay the foundation for achieving a balanced, engaged and productive workforce.

6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey

Published in 1990, this book remains a bestseller and must-read for any management professional.

Stephen Covey provides a manual on how to balance both your professional and personal effectiveness, which is the secret to true success.

The author uses both business and family anecdotes from his own personal life.

Covey states that in order to adopt these seven habits, you will need to achieve a "paradigm shift - a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works"

This is not a book offering quick tips and fast tracks to success that you can skim through, but rather a book that you will want to study and fill with post-it notes to refer back to often during the course of your career.

7. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America - Warren Buffett and Lawrence A. Cunningham

This book is a collection of letters written to shareholders of the Berkshire Hathaway group by its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Warren Buffett. Berkshire Hathaway is a $70 billion + multinational conglomerate holding company with vested interests in various businesses and industries.

These letters serve as an informal education and put across sound business practices and basic principles of business in plain words and real-life business dealings, which is enormously valuable in our current environment.

8. The Infinite Game - Simon Senak

This book explores the notion of an infinite mindset. When Simon Sinak started to look into how various organizations operated, he started to see a pattern that linked struggles within an organization to the fact that management had adopted a finite mindset.

By adopting an infinite mindset, organizations are able to be more innovative, build a stronger brand with the resilience to lead us into the future.

Senak writes, "We can't choose the game. We can't choose the rules. We can only choose how we play." We live in a world of instant gratification where most modern business practices are transactional and impersonal, which leads to insecurity and anxiety. This trend has only been accelerated by the onset of the digital age. Senaks book flies in the face of this trend and shows us how it is possible to create an environment where we can feel safe at work and at the same time feel fulfilled in our personal lives. He takes you through the 5 practices you will need to lead the infinite game.

"Great leaders are the ones who think beyond"short term" versus "long term." They are the ones who know that it is not about the next quarter or the next election; it is about the next generation." Simon Senak

9. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success - William N. Thorndike, Jr.

Praised by Warren Buffet and Bill Ackman as one of the most influential investment books to be published, The Outsiders follows the techniques of eight unconventional CEO's, who outperformed the S&P 500 by an astonishing twenty times. Thorndike lays out their "Radically Rational Blueprint for Success", as well as how these CEO's shrewdly used capital for selective acquisitions and minimized taxes.

"An outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation." Warren Buffet



10. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth's personal childhood experience has led her to become an expert in "Grit". This University of Pennsylvania Psychologist defines grit as "passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement, with no particular concern for rewards or recognition along the way. It combines resilience, ambition, and self-control in the pursuit of goals that take months, years, or even decades."

The author has spent years exploring how grit has influenced people's performance in their education, personal relationships and at work. Her best-selling book and viral TED Talk document the theory behind the influence of grit on our long-term success in every realm of our lives.

Duckworth is the founder and CEO of Character Lab, which is an NPO with a mission to advance the practice and science of character development to help people maintain their motivation and determination over a long period of time.

 

References: Goodreads, Amazon, Jagranjosh, Jessica Stillman