A Master in Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most coveted degrees today. While not a prerequisite for success, having an MBA degree can definitely aid in catapulting your career in the job market. An MBA graduate is a much sought-after asset for all businesses and sectors.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the management sector are expected to grow 8% between 2021 and 2031. It is a faster-than-average growth rate compared to other industries. With an average median annual salary of $102,450, as of 2021- it is the highest among the major occupational groups in the U.S.!
So if you want to ride this wave of demand, you should equip yourself with the pearls of wisdom that management pundits and gurus swear by. Do you want to know how? The simple answer is- MBA books– the treasure trove of A to Z information on skill development. By identifying and reading the right books, you can teach yourself the skills cherished by the masters and how to nurture them.
This article will help you do just that by curating a list of the top ten MBA books to read today to improve your skills and zoom your career into the fast track.
Top 10 MBA Books to Read to Improve your Skills
1. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Delving into the success stories of the ‘outliers’- high-achievers who have surpassed the standard understanding of achievement- Malcolm Gladwell opens up the conversation regarding the role played by hidden and often unacknowledged factors behind their success stories.
From the Beatles to Bill Gates and Oppenheimer, the author uses case studies to highlight that the circumstances of birth, social position, and cultural legacies contribute significantly to individual excellence. Additionally, the narratives of success are peppered with the role of the golden ‘10000-Hour Rule’ of practice. Read this book to understand what separates the ‘outliers’ from others and makes them tick.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This classic book, first published in 1936, has stood the test of time and how! The book is about exactly what the title states: how to win friends and influence people- and much more. This seminal book on self-help adorns the bookshelves and reading lists of some of the most influential people today.
With principles and actionable tips presented in easily digestible language, this book epitomizes the value that human behavior and action are central in developing and nurturing interpersonal relationships to reach heights of success. This book is a treasure trove for those seeking to revamp their people skills.
3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
Why do people say ‘yes’? What influences people to action? In this path-breaking book, Cialdini gives us a revolutionary insight into the world of compliance practitioners- salespeople, marketers, and recruiters- to answer these very questions.
Backed by three years of intensive study into the lives of compliance practitioners, the authors outline six crucial and universal psychological principles of persuasion: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity. Want to learn how to get a ‘yes’ every time? Look no further than this book.
4. The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
Do you want to learn about the fundamental of business from scratch without shelling out a fortune in the process? Look no further than this starter book. Kaufman will take you on a journey of how companies work and their five core processes: value creation, marketing, sales, value delivery, and finance. This information-rich MBA book will teach you how to optimize each business process to maximize results and build a successful business.
5. Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Authored by an American entrepreneurial great and the co-founder of PayPal, Blake Master, this book is a goldmine of information for budding entrepreneurs. The author takes a deep dive into the philosophy, skills, and actions to go from zero to one. Bringing something new into existence is at the core of any successful start-up, and the book guides you through this process. The book is an essential read for entrepreneurs and business leaders to develop skillsets for meteoric success.
6. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This influential self-help book by Covey is a trailblazer. With a focus on building one’s core fundamental character or ‘character ethic,’ the author takes you on a journey to move from a state of dependence to independence and finally to interdependence. This journey of personal development, he believes, can be achieved through seven lifelong habits. The book lucidly presents what you can do to improve within so that it reflects through your success in the world.
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7. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman’s groundbreaking work combines cognitive psychology and behavioral economics to help readers understand how people think and make decisions. The author identifies the “two systems” that constitute the cognitive system. While System 1 is responsible for thinking fast, System 2 is responsible for thinking slow.
The book illustrates how cognitive biases, illusions, and errors emerge from intuitive thinking. This book is a must-have to understand human cognition, polish your decision-making process, and remove the biases and mistakes that can obstruct your path to success.
8. The Daily Drucker by Peter Drucker
What if you could have a revered management guru as a mentor every day for a whole year? The Daily Drucker can make this dream come true under the guidance of management pundit Peter Drucker. Guiding you with 366 days of lessons, advice, and inspiration, this day-to-day companion is a culmination of a lifetime of experience.
Seamlessly moving across the fields of management, business, entrepreneurship, changing society, and many more, this book can help you face and overcome challenges and develop essential skills along the way.
9. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
What separates successful people from the not-so-successful? According to renowned psychologist Angela Duckworth, the most important ingredient is “grit.” Drawing on research and anecdotes, the author concludes that passion and perseverance are at the core of success. The book not only helps you with a self-assessment of how much grit you have, but it also tells you how you can develop grit. It is an excellent book to add to your list to build new skills and improve on old ones.
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10. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries
With the buzz around start-ups, Eric Ries’ book is a timely intervention in building an effective and viable business. Akin to the Holy Bible of start-up founders and entrepreneurs, the book is a detailed guide to creating an efficient business and launching successful products.
Ries develops a well-thought-out scientific methodology to establish and manage innovative start-ups. If you want to develop entrepreneurial thinking and management skills, this book is definitely for you.
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Today, knowledge has become easily accessible, and information is abundant. In this information-rich age, it can be challenging to sieve and decide what to add to the reading list. There are thousands of MBA books available in the market, and only so much time is available to read them. To make the process easier, we have handpicked a list of the ten best MBA books to read to improve your skills!
These select books will help you identify and nurture skills that will put you miles ahead of your competition and equip you with knowledge from the top global minds in the field. If you want more after going through the best MBA books we have listed for you, we have a fantastic course for you!
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How can an MBA aspirant or graduate improve their skills?
Information is the currency of our age. You can improve your skills by reading the best MBA books, listening to podcasts, watching videos and tutorials across streaming sites, taking online certificate courses, and, most importantly, being open to learning.
What skills do employers look for in an MBA graduate?
An MBA degree contributes to the overall development of a person. Some essential skills employers look for in an MBA graduate are communication, leadership, strategic thinking and planning, problem-solving, time management, interpersonal, entrepreneurial, digital competence, and networking skills.
Who should read MBA books?
While it is generally assumed that MBA books are for MBA aspirants and graduates, in reality, anyone can read them. MBA books are rich with advice and lessons on improving skills and overcoming challenges people face in their personal and professional lives. The books are handy in navigating everyday life, making them valuable for people from all walks of life.