10 Must Read Business Books Before You Enroll in an MBA Program!

An MBA means books — lots of them.

Think you need an MBA from a top management school to gain business acumen? This list of management books, some old, some new, will have you thinking like a top business Leader in no time. If your career plan is focused on to become a successful business leader or entrepreneur every student can use tips and advice from business experts and thought-leaders to be a better professional.

Check out these titles to boost your business acumen and possibly improve your life.

  • OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell

There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential. (gladwell.com)

  • FREAKONOMICS by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?

Freakonomics is a ground-breaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple, unasked question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics. (freakonomics.com)

  • TALK LIKE TED by Carmine Gallo

Public speaking has often been an area that many people choose to stay away from. It deters people in a number of ways that may be based on psychological factors. For example, public speaking is feared by some people because of the attention that they receive. Useful tips to overcome such fears are mentioned in Talk Like TED.

The 18 minute rule, the use of humour and the art of storytelling are some of the topics explored by the author in this book. Ideas have been described as the ultimate currency and in that sense, the success of someone depends on the ability to sell ideas. Talk Like TED gives its readers well-researched factors that influence a person’s ability to publicly orate. (amazon.com)

  • PURPLE COW By Seth Godin

“In his book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin says that the key to success is to find a way to stand out–to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins. Godin himself may be the best example of how this theory works: The marketing expert is a demigod on the Web, a best-selling author, highly sought after lecturer, successful entrepreneur, respected pundit and high-profile blogger. He is uniquely respected for his understanding of the Internet, and his essays and opinions are widely read and quoted online and off.” – Forbes magazine


The world’s most exciting, fastest-growing new market is where you least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world’s billions of poor people have immense untapped buying power. They represent an enormous opportunity for companies who learn how to serve them. Not only can it be done, it is being done–very profitably. What’s more, companies aren’t just making money: by serving these markets, they’re helping millions of the world’s poorest people escape poverty. C.K. Prahalad’s global bestseller The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, shows why you can’t afford to ignore “Bottom of the Pyramid” (BOP) markets. It offers a blueprint for driving the radical innovation you’ll need to profit in emerging markets–and using those innovations to become more competitive everywhere.


Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, has been a top-seller for the simple reason that it ignores trends and pop psychology for proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. Celebrating its fifteenth year of helping people solve personal and professional problems, this special anniversary edition includes a new foreword and afterword written by Covey exploring the question of whether the 7 Habits are still relevant and answering some of the most common questions he has received over the past 15 years. (stephencovey.com)


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. Many people remember Jack Welch as “Neutron Jack” because he dropped a bomb in the early ’80s and laid off more than 100,000 GE workers. In Jack: Straight from the Gut Welch reveals the facts behind this and many other difficult decisions involved in fixing his troubled company. He also describes how he helped the employees who remained at General Electric build it into one of the most successful companies in the world.

  • BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

A landmark work that upends traditional thinking about strategy, this bestselling strategy book, written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, challenges everything you thought you knew about strategic success and charts a bold new path to winning the future. When first published in 2005, Blue Ocean Strategy challenged the tenets of competitive strategy, the then dominant school of strategy, and called for a shift of focus from competition to creating new market space and hence making the competition irrelevant. (blueoceanstrategy.com)

  • SIX THINKING HATS by Edward De Bono

YOUR SUCCESS IN BUSINESS DEPENDS ON HOW WELL YOU THINK! Six Thinking Hats can help you think with its practical and uniquely positive approach to making decisions and exploring new ideas. It is an approach that thousands of business managers, educators, and government leaders around the world have already adopted with great success. De Bono unscrambles the thinking process with his “six thinking hats”: * WHITE HAT: neutral and objective, concerned with facts and figures * RED HAT: the emotional view * BLACK HAT: careful and cautious, the “devil’s advocate” hat * YELLOW HAT: sunny and positive * GREEN HAT: associated with fertile growth, creativity, and new ideas * BLUE HAT: cool, the color of the sky, above everything else-the organizing hat.


There’s a good reason you see this title on countless bookshelves: it holds timeless advice on the myriad soft skills that make a truly effective leader. Skills such as making people feel important and appreciated. This classic holds gems of advice that will make you a better leader, effective motivator, and persuasive negotiator.

By Prof. Gaurav Sood – Professor Marketing & International Business at Faculty of Management Studies, Manav Rachna International University.