Earning an MBA is just part of what helps you succeed in the business world. Of course, on-hand experience is invaluable. However, in addition to that, consider reading some of the most brilliant pieces of writing out there, books that will help you understand how business – and how life – works and how to succeed in both. Mark Suster, a successful venture capitalist, is one who understands this as he places reading just past experiencing the world first-hand in importance.
“Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes”
This classic analyzes why groups oftentimes focus more on creating harmony and agreement than on engaging in a rational discussion of what may be best for the organization and what should be avoided. Some major examples of groupthink analyzed in this book are related to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the escalation of the Korean War in 1950 and the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. In each of these cases, leaders tended to reinforce their original beliefs and ignore dissenting voices. Conversely, a couple of situations talked about when groupthink was avoided include the development of the Marshall Plan in 1948 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
“Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else”
Although innate talent obviously does help, this book argues that it is overrated in today’s society and that greater focus needs to be placed on the ability to deliberately practice one’s craft. This is what truly differentiates the mediocre from the great. Regardless of how much innate talent you may have, if you do not cultivate it in this way, it will go to waste. This book also touches upon the fact that overnight sensations are not truly overnight and that they are almost always the result of hard work done over several years.
“Outliers: The Story of Success”
Throughout your life, you were likely told to improve your weaknesses. However, this book argues that your focus needs to instead be on improving your strengths as doing so is what will be most apt to create success in your life. It also touches on how important it is to be ready for when opportunities hit and to be prepared to step through that door before it closes. These things are done by analyzing how several individuals achieved success in their lives.
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers”
Earning an MBA can sometimes lead you to focus more on the theory of business than on what the actual experiences will be like. Ben Horowiz, an author and success entrepreneur, talks about the most challenging moments of his career such as doing things like hiring, retaining and letting people go and doing his best to balance the interests of people such as co-founders, executives, investors and managers.
“Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time”
Surely, you understand the value of networking in the business world. Well, this book takes it another step, describing in more detail how being social can improve that aspect of your life and how to make that happen. However, the author also speaks about how your focus needs to not be on what you may be looking to get out of a lunch with a client or a relationship with somebody and that having a more selfless outlook on the relationships in your life pays greater dividends.
Of course, this is just a short list of helpful books for MBA students. Also consider the many lists of useful books that have been created by organizations and people such as BusinessInsider.com and talented business bloggers.