10 Must Read Books for an MBA AspirantRahul Singh
Reading should be a daily activity for an MBA aspirant. It is not a tough nut to crack that an MBA aspirant would benefit from reading books that would guide them for a better future. But apart from that, reading helps you in several other ways too. It helps in expanding your vocabulary, improving your analytical thinking skills, providing tranquility and providing free entertainment too! Hence, an MBA aspirant must read books.
10 Must Read Books are:
1. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho:
The Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian (south-western European region) shepherd boy named Santiago. Believing a recurring dream to be prophetic, Santiago decides to travel to a Romani fortune-teller in a nearby town to discover its meaning. A gypsy woman tells him that there is a treasure in the Pyramids in Egypt.
The book’s main theme is about finding one’s destiny. According to The New York Times, The Alchemist is “more self-help than literature”. An old king tells Santiago, “when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will convene so that your wish comes true”. This is the core of the novel’s philosophy and a motif that plays all throughout Coelho’s writing in The Alchemist.
2. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki:
Rich Dad Poor Dad is a 1997 book written by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. It advocates the importance of financial independence and building wealth through investing, real estate investing, starting and owning businesses, as well as increasing one’s financial intelligence to improve one’s business and financial aptitude. Rich Dad Poor Dad is written in the style of a set of parables, ostensibly based on Kiyosaki’s life
The book is largely based on Kiyosaki’s childhood upbringing and education in Hawaii. It highlights the different attitudes to money, work and life of two men (i.e. his titular “rich dad” and “poor dad”), and how they in turn influenced key decisions in Kiyosaki’s life.
3. Groundswell – Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff:
Groundswell is a book by Forrester Research executives Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff that focuses on how companies can take advantage of emerging social technologies. It was published in 2008 by Harvard Business Press. A revised edition was published in 2011.
The book attempts to explain a shift in the relationship between customers and companies, in which companies are no longer able to control customers’ attitudes through market research, customer service, and advertising. Instead, customers are controlling the conversation by using new media to communicate about products and companies.
4. The Toyota Way – Jeffrey Liker:
The Toyota Way is a set of principles and behaviors that underlie the Toyota Motor Corporation’s managerial approach and production system. Toyota first summed up its philosophy, values and manufacturing ideals in 2001, calling it “The Toyota Way 2001”. It consists of principles in two key areas: continuous improvement, and respect for people
The Toyota Way has been called “a system designed to provide the tools for people to continually improve their work” The 14 principles of The Toyota Way are organized in four sections:
- Long-Term Philosophy
- The Right Process Will Produce the Right Results
- Add Value to the Organization by Developing Your People
- Continuously Solving Root Problems Drives Organizational Learning
The two focal points of the principles are continuous improvement and respect for people. The principles for a continuous improvement include establishing a long-term vision, working on challenges, continual innovation, and going to the source of the issue or problem. The principles relating to respect for people include ways of building respect and teamwork.
5. Straight from the Gut – Jack Welch:
Jack Welch does not need an introduction. Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch embodies what many believe are the ultimate skills of the courageous corporate leader: guts, know-how and a track record that includes keeping a top company extremely profitable for 20 years.
This book is basically an autobiography of Jack Welch’s GE years and does not dwell on deep management theory. It does a great job of showing the management task as an art and discipline that can be learnt, improved and mastered rather than as personal charisma or other common stereotypes of leadership.
6. Outliers – Malcolm Glodwell:
Malcolm Gladwell excels at pinpointing a social phenomenon, be it cultural epidemics (The Tipping Point) or snap judgments (Blink); putting forth his thesis; and illustrating his proof through a series of short, engaging, self-encapsulated histories. In Outliers, he examines the phenomenon of high achievement, fantastic stories of success often attributed to the tenacity, hard work, and innate individual talent. The author doesn’t discount the necessity of ability, and he points to hard work as a crucial factor for success in any endeavor. But, he finds in these success stories that factors such as timing, circumstance and cultural heritage play an often overlooked yet critical role. Hence, Outliers is Malcolm Gladwell’s ode to these unsung heroes.
7. Connect the dots – Rashmi Bansal:
There are very few English books written with an Indian audience in mind and Rashmi Bansal’s “Connect the Dots” is one of them. The book is a collection of 20 inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who never went to any B-school. They were driven by the desire to realize their passions and to lead lives that are interesting, passionate and meaningful. Their stories echo one sentiment clearly – You need dream big and make it happen. It’s all in your head, your heart and your hands. Written in the form of a conversation, the author here questions the subjects and complements their words with insightful statements
8. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stepen R Covey:
This is one of the finest management books ever written. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People explains a useful set of guiding principles that help you change personally as well as professionally and in turn become more effective. The Seven Habits help us move through three stages of personal development.
The first three take you from dependence to independence.
The next three usher you through interdependence, and the seventh is needed to reinforce the others.
The seven habits are: Be Proactive; Begin with the end in mind; Put first things first; Think win-win; Seek first to understand, then to be understood; Synergize and “Sharpen the saw”.
9. Freakonomics – Levitt and Dubner:
The book is a collection of ‘economic’ articles written by Levitt. He is an expert who has already gained a reputation for applying economic theory to diverse subjects that are not usually covered by “traditional” economists. He accepts the standard neoclassical microeconomic model of rational utility-maximization.
In Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner argue that economics is, at root, the study of incentives.
10. How to win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
The major sections in the book talk about techniques of handling people, ways to make people like you, how to win people to your way of thinking and how to be a leader.
Read these books in any order as you like, but try to read them all. Books like these leave a lasting impression on all the readers and help them navigate through the world of MBA. It is assured that they will make a positive impact on your life, both personally and professionally.