Best Books for Business Students

Books with coffee phone and laptop

Learning doesn’t stop outside of the classroom. Successful individuals are constantly working to expand their knowledge, and books offer a wealth of wisdom to tap into for every business student. We have some recommendations on where to start.

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Surely you’ve heard of this one! In Dale Carnegie’s 1936 best seller, How to Win Friends & Influence People, he explains how to be successful and improve yourself personally and professionally. Originally, Carnegie had developed a 14-week course in the vein of self-help, and a friend of his convinced him to publish the work in book form. This book and the principles within have stood the test of time. Many people have adopted the practices Carnegie teaches, and have maximized their potential.

2. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, Jim Collins

Why would anyone not strive for greatness? Is just being good enough? If you’re working towards your MBA, you certainly don’t have the mindset to settle. Jim Collins is a leading expert on business management and company growth. In his 2001 book, Good to Great, Collins evaluates top companies to define the determinants of greatness.

3. The Effective Executive, Peter F. Drucker

Are good leaders born or made? Most would probably agree that there are natural-born leaders, but everyone has the ability to learn productive ways to lead. This book is over 50 years old, but the principles are still applicable. Drucker explains the key attributes and skills executives must have to be an excellent leader.

4. David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcolm Gladwell

One of the most exciting stories for children to hear in Sunday School is the story of David and Goliath. We’re all familiar with the shepherd boy defeating the giant warrior through God’s strength. In sports, many people cheer for the underdog. Everyone loves a feel-good story of triumph, no matter the arena. Malcolm Gladwell provides anecdote after anecdote in David & Goliath about how a perceived disadvantage was actually someone’s strength and their reason for overcoming the mountain. Gladwell will challenge your perception about obstacles and disadvantages.

5. Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

It’s vitally important to have mental agility in the business world. Decisions sometimes have to be made quickly, with less information than you would like to have. Of course, decisions made have lasting implications on business and the employees. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman explains how our mind thinks and details the two systems that drive decisions. As a renowned psychologist and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Kahneman offers practical insight into how our way of thinking and decision-making affect our personal and professional lives.

6. Live Last, Keith Newman

In his inauguration speech as the 15th President of Southern Nazarene University, Dr. Keith Newman stated, “To live last is to be countercultural. To live last is to be like Jesus. To live last…is timeless and contagious.” In his book, Newman challenges readers to live last.  A successful business is based on the same principles – putting your clients first and serving them to the best of your ability.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Share with us which business-related books you think are important for MBA students to read. Which ones have you already read? We want to be a community of people who never stop learning and thriving.

Skip to content