37 Best Books on the MBA

Best Books on The MBAT

he MBA is the most sought-after graduate degree in the market. It is true that an MBA will help you in your business or executive endeavors. It is also true that the knowledge of an MBA is scattered towards corporate executive leadership and leaves large voids of knowledge where small business leaders need. The list of best books on the MBA will help you gain the knowledge that an MBA may get you and even more. MBA degrees don’t have a monopoly on your knowledge to gain business knowledge and experience. You do! With the right sources of knowledge you can gain those business skills through reading, studying, and experience.

Best Books on The MBA: THE LIST

1. The MBA Reality Check
2. Outsmart the MBA Clones
3. The 12-Hour MBA Program
4. What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard School
5. The Personal MBA
6. The Ten Day MBA
7. The Art of Innovation
8. The Visual MBA
9. Made in America
10. The Wall Street MBA
11. How to Win Friends and Influence People
12. Don’t Pay For Your MBA
13. Grit
14. Certain to Win
15. The Intelligent Investor
16. Creativity, Inc.
17. MBA in a Book
18. Beyond the MBA Hype
19. The Black Swan
20. The Collected Essays of Warren Buffett
21. Business Adventures
22. MBA Admissions Strategy
23. The Infinite Game
24. The Smartest Guys in the Room
25. The Complete Start-To-Finish MBA
26. Show Dog
27. First Break All the Rules
28. The Lean Startup
29. Good to Great
30. The Innovator’s Dilemma
31. The Art of War
32. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
33. Scaling Up Excellence
34. Blue Ocean Strategy
35. First, Break All The Rules
36. Rework
37. Purple Cow

1. The MBA Reality Check | By Evan Forster and David Thomas

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A no-nonsense guide to getting into business school at a time when the industry requirements are evolving and competition is at a record level.

MBA programs are redefining their mission and seeking a new generation of business visionaries. No longer simply about grades or test scores, top schools now look for students with a transformative vision. The MBA Reality Check covers everything from the specifics of the application process to how applicants can position themselves among the crop of tomorrow’s business innovators. Through their work with hundreds of MBA hopefuls, Forster and Thomas have shown what it takes to succeed in today’s highly competitive marketplace, including:

How applicants can find their own exceptional story to set them apart?

What to include in an MBA application-and what to leave out?

What b-schools really want to learn about candidates?

How to turn any question into an opportunity to illustrate unique leadership qualities?

2. Outsmart the MBA Clones | By Dan Herman

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In today’s intensely competitive consumer marketplace most companies would love to be successful, adored by their customers, and not imitated by their competitors. A private monopoly would be nice, but it isn’t easy.

In his provocative book, Outsmart the MBA Clones: The Alternative Guide to Competitive Strategy, Marketing, and Branding, Dr. Dan Herman reveals the secrets to establishing what he calls an “unfair advantage.”

Herman maintains that despite the apparent diversity among MBA programs, they produce executives who think and act in a similar and predictable manner. This undermines the competitiveness of their companies and provides a strategic advantage to those who recognize these biases and think differently.

Outsmart the MBA Clones provides a set of new concepts and a tool kit unlike anything taught in MBA schools. The ambitious promise of this book is to help managers create business strategies that will succeed and yet amazingly will not be copied by the competition.

Steve Yastrow, author of We: The Ideal Customer Relationship says, “Outsmart the MBA Clones is filled with powerful insights, appearing one after the other, that will have you thinking, ‘Hey, I never thought of it that way.’ Herman challenges long-held beliefs about strategy, competitive advantage, marketing, customer segmentation, differentiation, and branding.”

“The only thing scarier than your competition already reading this book is how they will be applying it in the market that could have been yours,” says Ray Podder of Grow, a premier brand consulting firm based in California.

3. The 12-Hour MBA Program | By Milo Sobel

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With The 12-Hour MBA Program, anyone can master the basics of an MBA course of study without bearing the heavy cost of tuition or losing valuable work hours and spending them instead in classrooms or libraries.
This user-friendly book mirrors a typical MBA curriculum, distilling the essential concepts and techniques into easy-to-follow explanations and examples while eliminating material a businessperson will never use in the real world.
The Program not only demystifies seemingly complex subjects and translates business school jargon into plain English, but also emphasizes practical applications and walks readers through otherwise complex formulas and quantitative analyses.
And you can experience The 12-Hour MBA Program at your own pace completing it in just two six-hour study sessions or, if you wish, reading it for an hour or so at a time to fit your schedule. Either way, you’ll find what you need to speed your climb up the corporate ladder or to help you operate your business more successfully. You will receive seminar-tested guidance in the following areas:
Marketing and Product Management. Discover new concepts and frames of reference for developing new products and managing the growth of more mature products.
Accounting and Finance. Learn how to easily interpret financial statements, discover tips for reducing tax liabilities, and become a more astute financial decision-maker.
Statistics. Learn how to gather and analyze information, as well as how to use it to your advantage in office politics.
Economics. Become better acquainted with basic economic theory and its practical business applications.
Human Resources Management. Learn about important concepts and tools to motivate subordinates and increase productivity.
Operations Management. Discover valuable decision-making formulas and concepts to optimize the utilization of resources.
Technology Management. Become more familiar with the sophisticated computer, telephone, and satellite applications, as well as other cutting-edge approaches and issues.
Business Policy & Ethics. Take advantage of a framework that will enable you to formulate ethical and legal business decisions.
Strategic Planning. Learn how to establish objectives, strategies, and tactics for your organization’s long-term prosperity.
Off-the-record Advice. Benefit from the kind of tips you might get from an older brother or sister, who knows how the business world works – real-world insights you might not get in an MBA curriculum.
The 12-Hour MBA Program will prove invaluable to you, whether you are a seasoned corporate manager or a management trainee, a “techie” suddenly thrust into a mainstream business environment, or a small business owner who is too busy running an enterprise to go back to school. If you want to know what MBAs learn in B-School … at a small fraction of the cost in just 12 hours, this book is the best investment you will ever make in your education and career development!

4. What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard School | By Mark H. McCormack

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This business classic features straight-talking advice you’ll never hear in school.

Featuring a new foreword by Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell.
 
Mark H. McCormack, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in American business, is widely credited as the founder of the modern-day sports marketing industry. On a handshake with Arnold Palmer and less than a thousand dollars, he started International Management Group and, over a four-decade period, built the company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise with offices in more than forty countries.
 
To this day, McCormack’s business classic remains a must-read for executives and managers at every level. Relating his proven method of “applied people sense” in key chapters on sales, negotiation, reading others and yourself, and executive time management, McCormack presents powerful real-world guidance on
 
• the secret life of a deal
• management philosophies that don’t work (and one that does)
• the key to running a meeting—and how to attend one
• the positive use of negative reinforcement
• proven ways to observe aggressively and take the edge
• and much more
 
Praise for What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School

5. The Personal MBA | By Josh Kaufman

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Getting an MBA is an expensive choice-one almost impossible to justify regardless of the state of the economy. Even the elite schools like Harvard and Wharton offer outdated, assembly-line programs that teach you more about PowerPoint presentations and unnecessary financial models than what it takes to run a real business. You can get better results (and save hundreds of thousands of dollars) by skipping business school altogether. 

Josh Kaufman founded PersonalMBA.com as an alternative to the business school boondoggle. His blog has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to the best business books and most powerful business concepts of all time. Now, he shares the essentials of entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, negotiation, operations, productivity, systems design, and much more, in one comprehensive volume. The Personal MBA distills the most valuable business lessons into simple, memorable mental models that can be applied to real-world challenges. 

The Personal MBA explains concepts such as: 

  • The Iron Law of the Market: Why every business is limited by the size and quality of the market it attempts to serve-and how to find large, hungry markets. 
  • The 12 Forms of Value: Products and services are only two of the twelve ways you can create value for your customers. 
  • The Pricing Uncertainty Principle: All prices are malleable. Raising your prices is the best way to dramatically increase profitability – if you know how to support the price you’re asking. 
  • 4 Methods to Increase Revenue: There are only four ways a business can bring in more money. Do you know what they are? 
True leaders aren’t made by business schools – they make themselves, seeking out the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to succeed. Read this book and you will learn the principles it takes most business professionals a lifetime of trial and error to master.

6. The Ten Day MBA | By Steven Silbiger

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Revised and updated to answer the challenges of a rapidly changing business world, the 4th edition of The Ten-Day MBA includes the latest topics taught at America’s top business schools, from corporate ethics and compliance to financial planning and real estate to leadership and negotiation. With more than 400,000 copies sold around the world, this internationally acclaimed guide distills the lessons of the most popular business school courses taught at Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, Northwestern, and the University of Virginia. Author Steven A. Silbiger delivers research straight from the notes of real MBA students attending these top programs today—giving you the tools you need to get ahead in business and in life.

7. The Art of Innovation | By Tom Kelley

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IDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid’s I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V, and hundreds of other cutting-edge products and services, reveals its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation.

There isn’t a business in America that doesn’t want to be more creative in its thinking, products, and processes. At many companies, being first with a concept and first to market are critical just to survive. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley-based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit.

IDEO doesn’t buy into the myth of the lone genius working away in isolation, waiting for great ideas to strike. Kelley believes everyone can be creative, and the goal at his firm is to tap into that wellspring of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life. How does it do that? IDEO fosters an atmosphere conducive to freely expressing ideas, breaking the rules, and freeing people to design their own work environments. IDEO’s focus on teamwork generates countless breakthroughs, fueled by the constant give-and-take among people ready to share ideas and reap the benefits of the group process. IDEO has created an intense, quick-turnaround, brainstorm-and-build process dubbed “the Deep Dive.”

In entertaining anecdotes, Kelley illustrates some of his firm’s own successes (and joyful failures), as well as pioneering efforts at other leading companies. The book reveals how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences.

Kelley takes the reader through the IDEO problem-solving method:

> Carefully observing the behavior or “anthropology” of the people who will be using a product or service

> Brainstorming with high-energy sessions focused on tangible results

> Quickly prototyping ideas and designs at every step of the way

> Cross-pollinating to find solutions from other fields

> Taking risks, and failing your way to success

> Building a “Greenhouse” for innovation

IDEO has won more awards in the last ten years than any other firm of its kind, and a full half-hour Nightline presentation of its creative process received one of the show’s highest ratings. The Art of Innovation will provide business leaders with the insights and tools they need to make their companies the leading-edge, top-rated stars of their industries.

8. The Visual MBA | By Jason Barron

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Jason Barron spent 516 hours in class, completed mountains of homework, and shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to complete his MBA at the BYU Marriott School of Business. Along the way, rather than taking boring notes that he would never read (nor use) again, Jason created sketch notes for each class—visually capturing the essential points of his education—and providing an engaging and invaluable resource.
 
Once finished with his MBA, Jason launched a widely successful Kickstarter campaign distilling these same notes into a self-published book to help aspiring business leaders of all backgrounds and income levels understand the critical concepts one learns in business school.
 
Whether you are thinking about applying to business school, are currently in college studying business, or have always wondered what is taught in an MBA program, this highly entertaining and visual book is for you.

9. Made in America | By Sam Walton

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Meet a genuine American folk hero cut from the homespun cloth of America’s heartland: Sam Walton, who parlayed a single dime store in a hardscrabble cotton town into Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world.  The undisputed merchant king of the late twentieth century, Sam never lost the common touch.  Here, finally, inimitable words.  Genuinely modest, but always sure if his ambitions and achievements.  Sam shares his thinking in a candid, straight-from-the-shoulder style.

In a story rich with anecdotes and the “rules of the road” of both Main Street and Wall Street, Sam Walton chronicles the inspiration, heart, and optimism that propelled him to lasso the American Dream.

10. The Wall Street MBA | By Reuben Advani

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Mastering corporate finance is a lot easier than you think. 
 
Business school textbooks are notoriously dry, static, and filled with confusing acronyms. The Wall Street MBA takes a different approach by presenting a succinct “crash course,” breaking down the main concepts of MBA finance and accounting programs to provide the information and insight you need to:
Review financial statements
Analyze earnings
Detect fraud
Value companies
Determine the cost of capital
Fully updated and revised, this new edition will also get you up to speed on important new trends in FinTech, alternative investments, and cost accounting.
This highly accessible ground-floor view of corporate accounting offers everything you need to navigate today’s financial landscape with the knowledge and confidence of a seasoned pro.

11. How to Win Friends and Influence People | By Dale Carnegie

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You can go after the job you want—and get it!

You can take the job you have—and improve it!

You can take any situation—and make it work for you!

Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach 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

And much more! Achieve your maximum potential—a must-read for the twenty-first century with more than 15 million copies sold!

12. Don’t Pay For Your MBA | By Lauri Pickard

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The average debt load for graduates of the top business schools has now exceeded $100,000! For most young professionals, this means spending the first half of their career in the red and feeling pressure to take the first position offered to them so that they can start paying off their debt. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Author and businesswoman Laurie Pickard discovered a way to get the business education she needed to land her dream job while avoiding the massive school loans that plague so many. And in Don’t Pay for Your MBA, she shares all that she learned so that others can benefit as well. Pickard discovered that the same prestigious business schools that offer the MBAs so many covet also offer MOOCs (massive online open courses) for low or even no cost. By picking the right classes from the best schools, she gained the skills she needed and avoided the debt she could not afford to take on. The most difficult part was knowing how to begin and where to look. So she has provided this resource for other self-starters, career changers, and budding entrepreneurs so that they can best learn how to navigate the expanding universe of online education. Within these pages, learn how to:• Define your goals and tailor a curriculum that is geared toward your dream job• Master the language of business• Build a strong network• Choose a concentration and deepen your expertise• Showcase your nontraditional education in a way that attracts companies don’t fall for the lies that pressure countless graduates every year into MBA programs and insurmountable debt. Self-directed online learning can fill gaps in your training, position you for promotions, and open up new opportunities–at a fraction of the cost!

13. Grit | By Angela Duckworth

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In this instant New York Times bestseller, Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” “Inspiration for non-geniuses everywhere” (People).

The daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Angela Duckworth is now a celebrated researcher and professor. It was her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience that led to her hypothesis about what really drives success: not a genius, but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

In Grit, she takes us into the field to visit cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.

“Duckworth’s ideas about the cultivation of tenacity have clearly changed some lives for the better” (The New York Times Book Review). Among Grit’s most valuable insights: any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal; grit can be learned, regardless of IQ or circumstances; when it comes to child-rearing, neither a warm embrace nor high standards will work by themselves; how to trigger lifelong interest; the magic of the Hard Thing Rule; and so much more. Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference. This is “a fascinating tour of the psychological research on success” (The Wall Street Journal).

14. Certain to Win | By Chet Richards

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Certain to Win [Sun Tzu´s prognosis for generals who follow his advice] develops the strategy of the late US Air Force Colonel John R. Boyd for the world of business. Robert Coram’s monumental biography, Boyd, the Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War, rekindled interest in this obscure pilot and documented his influence on military matters ranging from the design of the F-15 and F-16 fighters to the planning for Operation Desert Storm to the execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unfortunately, Boyd’s written legacy, consisting of a single paper and a four-set cycle of briefings, addresses strategy only in war. 

Boyd and Business

Boyd did study business. He read everything he could find on the Toyota Production System and came to consider it as an implementation of ideas similar to his own. He took business into account when he formulated the final version of his “OODA Loop” and in his last major briefing, Conceptual Spiral, on science and technology. He read and commented on early versions of this manuscript, but he never wrote on how the business could operate more profitably by using his ideas.

Other writers and business strategists have taken up the challenge, introducing Boyd’s concepts and suggesting applications to business. Keith Hammonds, in the magazine Fast Company, George Stalk and Tom Hout in Competing Against Time, and Tom Peters most recently in Re-imagine! have described the OODA loop and its effects on competitors.

They made significantly.

15. The Intelligent Investor | By Benjamin Graham

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This classic text is annotated to update Graham’s timeless wisdom for today’s market conditions…

The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” — which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies — has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.

Over the years, market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham’s strategies. While preserving the integrity of Graham’s original text, this revised edition includes updated commentary by noted financial journalist Jason Zweig, whose perspective incorporates the realities of today’s market, draws parallels between Graham’s examples and today’s financial headlines, and gives readers a more thorough understanding of how to apply Graham’s principles.

Vital and indispensable, this HarperBusiness Essentials edition of The Intelligent Investor is the most important book you will ever read on how to reach your financial goals.

16. Creativity, Inc. | By Ed Catmull

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Creativity, Inc. is a manual for anyone who strives for originality and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about creativity—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.”

For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, WALL-E, and Inside Out, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner thirty Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired—and so profitable.

As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start and then forged a partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his co-founding Pixar in 1986. Nine years later, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie’s success—and in the thirteen movies that followed—was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on leadership and management philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention, such as:

• Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
• If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill-prepared to lead.
• It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.
• The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
• A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.

17. MBA in a Book | By Joel Kurtzman

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Great business thinkers such as Michael Porter, Rosabeth Kanter, and Bill George of Harvard Business School; Paul Argenti of the Tuck School at Dartmouth; Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of Yale; Peter Senge of MIT; the entrepreneur and inventor Dean Kamen; and the financial innovator Michael Milken are just a few of the best brains in the business, providing the intellectual nourishment that will help you play the game of business at the highest level.

18. Beyond the MBA Hype | By Sameer Kamat

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Most international MBA applicants are completely at sea when it comes to approaching higher education opportunities. This is primarily because the selection process and the parameters considered by the top business schools for admitting candidates into their fold are very different from what applicants are used to in their home countries.

Beyond the MBA Hype talks about the typical issues, challenges, and dilemmas that international applicants grapple with when it comes to the best MBA programs.

Here’s what the top Bschool admissions officers are saying:

“It’s not a ‘here’s how to get admitted’ story but rather ‘here are some things to make sure you’re thinking about the right things,’ which I believe is a great approach. Too often, candidates rush to an MBA thinking it will provide all of their dreams. Beyond The MBA Hype does a good job of helping them to think through the process of not just admission but the entire MBA….”

19. The Black Swan | By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes.

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.

Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.”

For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don’t know, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, “On Robustness and Fragility,” which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.

Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan.

20. The Collected Essays of Warren Buffett | By Warren Buffett

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The fifth edition of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America continues a 25-year tradition of collating Warren Buffett’s philosophy in a historic collaboration between Mr. Buffett and Prof. Lawrence Cunningham. As the book, Buffett autographs most, its popularity and longevity attest to the widespread appetite for this unique compilation of Mr. Buffett’s thoughts that is at once comprehensive, non-repetitive, and digestible. New and experienced readers alike will gain an invaluable informal education by perusing this classic arrangement of Mr. Buffett’s best writings.

21. Business Adventures | By John Brooks

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What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.

Stories about Wall Street are infused with drama and adventure and reveal the machinations and volatile nature of the world of finance. Longtime New Yorker contributor John Brooks’s insightful reportage is so full of personality and critical detail that whether he is looking at the astounding market crash of 1962, the collapse of a well-known brokerage firm, or the bold attempt by American bankers to save the British pound, one gets the sense that history repeats itself.

Five additional stories on equally fascinating subjects round out this wonderful collection that will both entertain and inform readers . . . Business Adventures is truly financial journalism at its liveliest and best.

22. MBA Admissions Strategy | By Avi Gordon

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MBA Admissions Strategy is a bestseller that shows MBA applicants:

• What MBA Admissions Committees value and how they work
• What to say in a b-school application, and how to say it well
• How to answer tricky essay and interview questions

It guides the reader through the four key aspects of competitive MBA admissions: navigating the admissions process; enhancing profile value; managing essay and interview communications, and writing better.

MBA Admissions Strategy is about what is hard for MBA applicants to find: the candid “what-I-wish-they’d-told-me” insights about what really works in MBA admissions. It is what to do to win in MBA admissions, and a step-by-step guide on how to do it. The 3rd edition, updated throughout, contains new material on success in MBA interviews and wider admissions inputs, in addition to the traditional essays.

23. The Infinite Game | By Simon Senak

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How do we win a game that has no end? Finite games, like football or chess, have known players, fixed rules, and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified. Infinite games, games with no finish line, like business or politics, or life itself, have players who come and go. The rules of an infinite game are changeable while infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers—only ahead and behind.

The question is, how do we play to succeed in the game we’re in?

In this revelatory new book, Simon Sinek offers a framework for leading with an infinite mindset. On one hand, none of us can resist the fleeting thrills of a promotion earned or a tournament won, yet these rewards fade quickly. In pursuit of a Just Cause, we will commit to a vision of a future world so appealing that we will build it week after week, month after month, year after year. Although we do not know the exact form this world will take, working toward it gives our work and our lives meaning.

Leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. Ultimately, they are the ones who lead us into the future.

24. The Smartest Guys in the Room | By Bethany McLen and Peter Elkind

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The tenth-anniversary edition of the definitive account of the Enron scandal, updated with a new chapter.
 
The Enron scandal brought down one of the most admired companies of the 1990s. Countless books and articles were written about it, but only The Smartest Guys in the Room holds up a decade later as the definitive narrative. For this tenth anniversary edition, McLean and Elkind have revisited the fall of Enron and its aftermath, in a new chapter that asks why Enron still matters. They also reveal the fates of the key players in the scandal.

25. The Complete Start-To-Finish MBA | By Jeremey Shinewald

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The Complete Start-to-Finish MBA Admissions Guide provides practical advice and exercises to help students differentiate themselves from other MBA applicants and grab that coveted acceptance letter.

The MBA admissions process is fiercely competitive, yet success can be remarkably simple: differentiate yourself from a sea of applicants and gain that coveted letter of acceptance. But how do you discover your unique attributes? How do you create an application that will ensure you truly stand out from the pack? The Complete Start-to-Finish MBA Admissions Guide, 2nd Ed. is filled with exercises and examples that take you to step by step through the entire MBA admissions process.

Our guide includes chapters on the following:

* Long-term planning to ensure a competitive candidacy
* Creative brainstorming to build a foundation for standout essays
* Writing dynamic personal goal statements and essays
* Drafting an eye-catching and results-driven resume
* Obtaining compelling and supportive recommendations
* Preparing for a persuasive and effective interview (including 100 potential interview questions)

26. Show Dog | By Phil Knight | By Phil Knight

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In this instant and tenacious New York Times bestseller, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight “offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh” (Booklist, starred review), illuminating his company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

Bill Gates named Shoe Dog one of his five favorite books of 2016 and called it “an amazing tale, a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. It’s a messy, perilous, and chaotic journey, riddled with mistakes, endless struggles, and sacrifice. Phil Knight opens up in ways few CEOs are willing to do.”

Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world.

But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. In Shoe Dog, he tells his story at last. At twenty-four, Knight decides that rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, new, dynamic, different. He details the many risks he encountered, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs. Above all, he recalls the relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers.

Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the transformative power of sports, they created a brand—and a culture—that changed everything.

27. First Break All the Rules | By Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

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Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its revolutionary study of more than 80,000 managers in First, Break All the Rules, revealing what the world’s greatest managers do differently. With vital performance and career lessons and ideas for how to apply them, it is a must-read for managers at every level.

Included with this re-release of First, Break All the Rules: updated meta-analytic research and access to the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, which reveals people’s top themes of talent, and to Gallup’s Q12 employee engagement survey, the most effective measure of employee engagement and its impact on business outcomes.

What separates the greatest managers from all the rest?

They actually have vastly different styles and backgrounds. Yet despite their differences, great managers share one common trait: They don’t hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom. They don’t believe that, with enough training, a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They don’t try to help people overcome their weaknesses. And, yes, they even play favorites.

In this longtime management bestseller, Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its massive in-depth study of great managers. Some were in leadership positions. Others were front-line supervisors. Some were in Fortune 500 companies; others were key players in small, entrepreneurial firms. Whatever their circumstances, the managers who ultimately became the focus of Gallup’s research were those who excelled at turning each individual employee’s talent into high performance.

Gallup has found that the front-line manager is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. This book explains how the best managers select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience, set expectations, build on each person’s unique strengths rather than trying to fix his or her weaknesses, and get the best performance out of their teams.

And perhaps most important, Gallup’s research produced the 12 simple statements that distinguish the strongest departments of a company from all the rest. First, Break All the Rules is the first book to present this essential measuring stick and to prove the link between employee opinions and productivity, profit, customer satisfaction, and the rate of turnover.

First, Break All the Rules presents vital performance and career lessons for managers at every level — and best of all shows you how to apply them to your own situation.

28. The Lean Startup | By Eric Ries

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Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.

Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs—in companies of all sizes—a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt, and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever.

29. Good to Great | By Jim Collins

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The Challenge:
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.

But what about a company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study:
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards:
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons:
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness — why some companies make the leap and others don’t.

The Findings:
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

  • Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
  • The Hedgehog Concept: (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
  • A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, “fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

30. The Innovator’s Dilemma | By Clayton M. Christensen

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Wall Street Journal and Businessweek bestseller. Named by Fast Company as one of the most influential leadership books in its Leadership Hall of Fame. An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen’s work continues to underpin today’s most innovative leaders and organizations.

The bestselling classic on disruptive innovation, by renowned author Clayton M. Christensen.

His work is cited by the world’s best-known thought leaders, from Steve Jobs to Malcolm Gladwell. In this classic bestseller—one of the most influential business books of all time—innovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right—yet still lose market leadership.

Christensen explains why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. No matter the industry, he says, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know how and when to abandon traditional business practices.

Offering both successes and failures from leading companies as a guide, The Innovator’s Dilemma gives you a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

Sharp, cogent, and provocative—and consistently noted as one of the most valuable business ideas of all time—The Innovator’s Dilemma is the book no manager, leader, or entrepreneur should be without.

31. The Art of War | By Sun Tzu

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Sun-Tzu is a landmark translation of the Chinese classic that is without a doubt one of the most important books of all time. Popularly known as The Art of War, Sun-Tzu is one of the leading books on strategic thinking ever written. While other books on strategy, wisdom, and philosophy come and go, both leaders and gentle contemplators alike have embraced the writings of Sun-Tzu.

Sun-Tzu is not simply another of many translations already available, but an entirely new text, based on manuscripts recently discovered in Linyi, China, that predates all previous texts by as much as one thousand years. In translating the text, researcher, and interpreter J. H. Huang traced the roots of the language to before 221 B.C. to get to the original intent; Besides offering a wonderfully clear translation, Huang adds an introduction to the history behind Sun-Tzu and his own comments on the meaning of the text. In addition, Sun-Tzu includes six appendices, five of which were uncovered at Linyi and are not found in other editions. The writings of Sun-Tzu have stood the test of time, and J. H. Huang’s Sun-Tzu is the edition for the next millennium and beyond.

32. The Hard Thing About Hard Things | By Ben Horowitz

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Ben Horowitz, the cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.

33. Scaling Up Excellence | By Robert I. Sutton

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Bestselling author, Robert Sutton and Stanford colleague, Huggy Rao tackle a challenge that determines every organization’s success: how to scale up farther, faster, and more effectively as an organization grows.

Sutton and Rao have devoted much of the last decade to uncovering what it takes to build and uncover pockets of exemplary performance, to help spread them, and to keep recharging organizations with ever better work practices. Drawing on inside accounts and case studies and academic research from a wealth of industries– including start-ups, pharmaceuticals, airlines, retail, financial services, high-tech, education, non-profits, government, and healthcare– Sutton and Rao identify the key scaling challenges that confront every organization.  They tackle the difficult trade-offs that organizations must make between whether to encourage individualized approaches tailored to local needs or to replicate the same practices and customs as an organization or program expands. They reveal how the best leaders and teams develop, spread, and instill the right mindsets in their people– rather than ruining or watering down the very things that have fueled successful growth in the past. They unpack the principles that help to cascade excellence throughout an organization, as well as show how to eliminate destructive beliefs and behaviors that will hold them back. 

Scaling Up Excellence is the first major business book devoted to this universal and vexing challenge and it is destined to become the standard-bearer in the field.

34. Blue Ocean Strategy | By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

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The global phenomenon that has sold over 4 million copies, is published in a record-breaking 46 languages, and is a bestseller across five continents–now updated and expanded with new content. Named by Fast Company as one of the most influential leadership books in its Leadership Hall of Fame. A strategy classic.

In this perennial bestseller, embraced by organizations and industries worldwide, globally preeminent management thinkers W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne challenge everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success. Recognized as one of the most iconic and impactful strategy books ever written, BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY, now updated with fresh content from the authors, argues that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans”–untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.

BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outlines principles and tools any organization can use to create and capture its own blue oceans. This expanded edition includes:

  • A new preface by the authors: Help! My Ocean Is Turning Red
  • Updates on all cases and examples in the book, bringing their stories up to the present time
  • Two new chapters and an expanded third one–Alignment, Renewal, and Red Ocean Traps –that address the most pressing questions readers have asked over the past 10 years

A landmark work that upends traditional thinking about strategy, this bestselling book charts a bold new path to winning the future. Consider this your guide to creating uncontested market space–and making the competition irrelevant.

To learn more about the power of BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY, visit blueoceanstrategy.com. There you’ll find all the resources you need–from ideas in practice and cases from government and private industry to teaching materials, mobile apps, real-time updates, and tips and tools to help you make your blue ocean journey a success.

35. First, Break All The Rules | By Jim Harter, Marcus Buckingham, and Gallup Organization

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Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its revolutionary study of more than 80,000 managers in First, Break All the Rules, revealing what the world’s greatest managers do differently. With vital performance and career lessons and ideas for how to apply them, it is a must-read for managers at every level.

Included with this re-release of First, Break All the Rules: updated meta-analytic research and access to the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, which reveals people’s top themes of talent, and to Gallup’s Q12 employee engagement survey, the most effective measure of employee engagement and its impact on business outcomes.

What separates the greatest managers from all the rest?

They actually have vastly different styles and backgrounds. Yet despite their differences, great managers share one common trait: They don’t hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom. They don’t believe that, with enough training, a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They don’t try to help people overcome their weaknesses. And, yes, they even play favorites.

In this longtime management bestseller, Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its massive in-depth study of great managers. Some were in leadership positions. Others were front-line supervisors. Some were in Fortune 500 companies; others were key players in small, entrepreneurial firms. Whatever their circumstances, the managers who ultimately became the focus of Gallup’s research were those who excelled at turning each individual employee’s talent into high performance.

Gallup has found that the front-line manager is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. This book explains how the best managers select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience, set expectations, build on each person’s unique strengths rather than trying to fix his or her weaknesses, and get the best performance out of their teams.

And perhaps most important, Gallup’s research produced the 12 simple statements that distinguish the strongest departments of a company from all the rest. First, Break All the Rules is the first book to present this essential measuring stick and to prove the link between employee opinions and productivity, profit, customer satisfaction, and the rate of turnover.

First, Break All the Rules presents vital performance and career lessons for managers at every level — and best of all shows you how to apply them to your own situation.

36. Rework | By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

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Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. 

Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, but this one back on the shelf.

Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses. 

What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You’ll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.

With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of “downsizing,” and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.

37. Purple Cow | By Seth Godin

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You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. What do Apple, Starbucks, Dyson, and Pret a Manger have in common? How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last? The old checklist of P’s used by marketers – Pricing, Promotion, Publicity – isn’t working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It’s time to add a new P – the Purple Cow.”Purple Cow” describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. In his new bestseller, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for anyone who wants to help create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on The MBA

By reading a book, you can consume large amounts of information. These best books on the MBA will equip you and set you apart from the wanna entrepreneurs to become the business leader you desire. Or, they can equip you even further to become a better business leader. 

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

This page may contain affiliate links. This website may contain content that comes from Amazon. This website and its pages are not intended to constitute legal, financial, or tax advice. The information on this website and its pages are not intended to constitute investment advice and all content are the views and opinions of the author(s), contributors, or administrators. Please read our disclaimer for more info.

Hi. My Name is

James Gheen

Welcome to the Bigger Investing website. I’m here to help you find the resources, motivation, and guidance for all entrepreneurial, investing, business, career endeavors, and more, so that you can invest in what’s most important. Your mind!

My focus is to equip you with expert sources, books, guides, articles, and more to help you achieve your personal goals.

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The MBA37 Best Books on the MBA