Five Books to Inspire Every MBA Student

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Are you looking for books that will inspire your inner business leaders and entrepreneur? Are you looking to expand your business knowledge beyond what you will learn in school?  To succeed in business and entrepreneurship, students should aspire to learn as much as they can about leadership, management, finance and business in general. MBA programs provide a great foundation, but can only cover so much material in only two years.

Books are a great way to learn ideas and benefit from the experience of other successful people very quickly. They can help you save money, avoid costly mistakes and make smarter decisions.

Here are five of the best business books to inspire every MBA student.

1. “High Output Management” by Andrew S. Grove

From 1979 to 1998, Andrew Grove served as the president and CEO of Intel, one of the top manufacturers of computer chips. In “High Output Management,” he shares methods he used to motivate individuals to peak productivity and build high-performance teams.

The book also helps managers identify high-leverage activities and provides tips on how to focus on those areas.

Other important topics that Grove covers include:

  • How to retain great employees and deter them from quitting
  • Different types of meetings and how to conduct them
  • How to handle compensation and promotions
  • Discussion on the effectiveness of training programs and how to manage them

2. “Universal Principles of Design” by William Lidwell

William Lidwell is a lead research and development officer who works at the Applied Science Management Institute. He speaks and consults in design and engineering topics. If you’ve ever wondered why some designs are bad or good, this book will help you understand the principles that make a design work.

While many business programs won’t cover design, having a fundamental understanding of it applies to many business situations. Design for packing and marketing materials can affect customer perceptions and good design can significantly improve a product’s perceived value and chances of success.

Design is everywhere and it’s an important aspect of successful product creation and marketing.

Each design principle is summarized on a single page with images and illustrations on the next page to show examples. This book won’t go into great detail but will provide readers with a good basic understanding of design principles.

From a business perspective, entrepreneurs and business leaders will be able to more clearly communicate their design needs to creative professionals and also hire the right people for those positions. If you have no design background, this book can help you quickly grasp the basics.

3. “The Lean Product Playbook” by Dan Olsen

Dan Olsen is a Lean Product consultant who helps businesses build great products and manage product teams. He’s worked with companies ranging in size from startups to large companies, including companies like Facebook and Intuit.

About 70-80% of new products fail in the market and the most common reason for failure is that the products weren’t the right fit. In other words, people spent time creating a product that no one wanted.

The Lean Product Playbook provides a step-by-step strategy for creating innovative products that customers want and will actually buy. It also explains concepts like UX design and user testing while including entertaining examples and stories from other product creators.

This book isn’t just a theory, instead, it provides methods and techniques to gather and apply data towards making smart product decisions.

4. “The Art of Startup Fundraising” by Alejandro Cremades

Getting access to funds can be a great way to accelerate business growth and may even be needed to get a new venture started in the first place. But how can a new business get money to launch and grow?

Many entrepreneurs starting a business for the first time might find the idea of raising funds complicated and scary. “The Art of Fundraising” provides a guide for new entrepreneurs hoping to learn more about raising capital for their business.

Cremades talks about different ways to get business funding and how the fundraising process works. He discusses how to craft the pitch, where to find the right investors and common mistakes to avoid.

If you are thinking of getting funding for a business, then this book is a great place to start.

5. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins

Leadership is one of the most important soft skills for entrepreneurs and future business leaders. Many authors have written about this topic and one classic book that every MBA student should read is “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

Why do some companies thrive and grow while others fail? Collins and his research team identified 28 companies (including companies like Coca Cola, Intel and General Electric) that achieved great results and even beat the stock market for at least 15 years.

This book covers what type of leaders successful companies have, the role of technology in business growth and the effects of implementing radical changes in a company’s structure. If you want to understand what factors contribute to businesses that achieve massive growth, then “Good to Great” is a book worth reading.

Supercharge Your MBA Education by Reading the Best MBA Books

An MBA education will provide a strong foundation for your future career in business or if you decide to become a founder and start your own company. But even the best MBA programs won’t cover everything you need or want to learn about business.

Keep developing your skills, deepening your perspectives and growing your knowledge by reading books from other successful business leaders and creators. Reading allows you to absorb ideas from someone’s entire business career in a short amount of time.


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