Great Business Books

by on December 20th, 2012

If you’ve made the choice to invest in getting your Master of Business Administration (MBA), you can assume that you’ll have a lot of course-related reading in your future. Reading additional material complements the required business books that are part of a student’s degree program.

Once you graduate and begin your career, you can be sure that great business books will contribute to your base of knowledge. These books listed below reflect real-world examples of business in action and can provide you with insights that will make you more effective as you move forward in your career.

“Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton

A bestselling book since its publication in 1981, Getting to Yes introduced a method called “principled negotiation or negotiation of merits.”

An outgrowth of the Harvard Negotiation Project established by Roger Fisher, the book delineates the method of what has come to be called “non-adversarial bargaining.”

The ability to negotiate is essential for succeeding in life, not just business. This book is a perennial bestseller for a reason.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni

Once upon a time, in a boardroom far, far away, a company with all of the right people and resources was failing miserably.

This fictional account of a company called DecisionTech is a modern-day fable of territorialism and all of the foibles you will probably encounter following graduation. Fiefdoms and feudalism are alive and well in the 21st century; the lords and vassals just wear different clothes and don’t ride horses to work. This book is a great map for deciphering the way through the twists and turns your career may take.

“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

If you have ever heard the phrase “good is the enemy of great,” chances are it came from this book. Although the chapters are very specific about traditional business analytics, it eschews a focus on deconstructing spreadsheet-like data and focuses instead upon the motivations behind the numbers.

Collins found that successes in three main areas, which he terms disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action, were likely the most significant factors in determining a company’s ability to achieve greatness.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh

Unless you just got beamed down to Earth from another planet, you’re familiar with Zappos, the online shoe retailer known for its legendary customer service.

The unorthodox business practices founder Hsieh employs, like paying people $2,000 to quit, underscore a revolutionary perspective that builds a company culture like no other. Proving that “delivering happiness” makes cents, this book will help you understand the psychology behind creating winning teams.

“Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, Annie McKee

For years, many have cited their IQ as a means of representing success in general areas. Apart from this, however, the capacity to work with and understand people on an emotional level (or your EQ) proves to be more useful when determining your success in multiple areas of life.

As skilled as you may be at deciphering a P&L, the fact of the matter remains: People work with people. Understanding how to manage, inspire and lead requires that you know what makes them tick.

“Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization” by Olivier Blanchard

Social media represents a seismic upending of the traditional broadcast advertising model. Businesses will be increasingly dependent on the symbiotic exchange of information through social media channels that address and influence multiple silos within industries across strata.

Whether CSR, R&D or any combinations of the alphabet soup of acronyms used within and among departments, knowing how to establish effectiveness within the social space is essential to your success. This book contains hard data and quantifiable matrices that provide examples of what is being measured and why it’s important.

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