If you were to ask the most successful business professionals about their hobbies, many would admit they are voracious readers. Reading expands your vocabulary and improves your ability to communicate. Perhaps most importantly, reading the right books, newspapers, magazines, and websites provides valuable insights into solving real-world problems. If you aren't an avid reader, you should consider becoming one.
5 Must Read Books for MBA Students
We’ve identified five must-reads for MBA students that introduce important concepts to help you succeed in both your professional and personal lives.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
This management book is ideal for MBA students. Countless business executives have recommended Horowitz's text to their colleagues, clients, and others. Horowitz is the co-founder and partner of successful venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most acclaimed business professionals. In his book, Horowitz reflects on his experiences as an entrepreneur, focusing largely on the challenges he overcame when launching and growing his business. The text covers topics such as hiring methods, retention strategies, downsizing, and the management of office politics. Throughout the text, Horowitz weaves in his theory that the hard thing to do is often the right thing to do.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey
Although written almost 30 years ago, this book is still relevant today. President Bill Clinton described the text as the “handbook for everyone striving for success.” Covey's book has been praised as a catalyst for personal transformation, providing a step-by-step resource to better yourself as a professional and a human being. He highlights the seven commonly overlooked habits that serve as the foundation for successful leaders across industries. According to Covey, it all begins with a willingness to be proactive. He describes how his application of the seven habits helped him to spearhead a successful career that has earned him 10 honorary doctorates.
Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan
Published in 2008, Cagan’s book provides an in-depth look at the best way to develop inspiring products in an intuitive, marketable, and economically efficient manner. The content is applicable to real-world business challenges, including those unrelated to product creation. Cagan explores other challenges product managers face, such as balancing the contrasting goals of stakeholders, customers, executives, marketers, engineers, and other professionals.
Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight by John Foreman
MBA students in search of a data science guide need not look any further. Foreman is MailChimp's chief data scientist and the author of a popular blog, “Analytics Made Skeezy.” In his book, Foreman reveals the best ways to use Excel for contemporary statistical approaches and algorithms. Perhaps one of the best features of the text is its ability to take highly technical information and make it easy to understand for those who aren’t technically inclined. The text looks at how data science techniques are applicable to practical applications that business professionals will inevitably encounter.
Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch and John A. Byrne
Jack Welch is perhaps best known as the former chief executive officer of General Electric (GE). Under his leadership, GE grew from a 27 billion-dollar business to a 130 billion-dollar business. Fortune Magazine named him the “Manager of the Century.” In his book, Welch defines several of his business strategies that, when implemented, can streamline operations to spur growth and bolster profitability. The book includes autobiographical elements that provide intriguing insights into Welch’s rise through the corporate ranks. Any aspiring business professional will appreciate this inside look at the life of an executive at the apex of one of the world’s top corporations.