We're Pretty Sure You Don't Need an MBA If You Read These Books

best business books
Original Graphic by Viviana Duron

Friends of mine constantly suggest that I go back to school to get my MBA—it seems like the advanced degree is now kind of on par with what a bachelor’s degree was a few decades ago (as in, it’s pretty common to have one, but it can still set you apart from others). I might not have any interest in going back to school, but I do think that with the best business books out there, you can learn a ton and keep your mind fresh. Just because we’re out of school doesn’t mean we can’t keep on educating ourselves, right?

Right. Which is why from classic best sellers to newer tell-alls and how-tos, you can become an expert in any business subject if you read the right books. From personal improvement to career development to wise managerial advice, these are the best business books that everyone should read. Time to work your way down the list.

Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends & Influence People $18

Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book from 1936 taught individuals how to be an influencer before being an “influencer” was an actual thing. Since so much of moving up in business has to do with personality, Carnegie’s tips will instruct you on how to make friends and increase your overall likability.

Timothy Ferriss The 4-Hour Workweek $22

Sick of your 9-to-5 (or worse?). This guide of a book teaches you how to have more time for your personal life while maximizing your professional success—like getting your own virtual assistant (amazing).

Michael Lewis Liar’s Poker $13

If you’ve always wanted to know what it was like down on Wall Street in the 1980s, then pick up Michael Lewis’ nonfiction, semiautobiographical Liar’s Poker. Greed, wealth, and deceit are par for the course (and funnily enough, they still are in parts of the investment banking world).

Jim Collins Good to Great $15

The author sets out to research what makes a “good” company a “great” one. Interestingly enough, many of the findings suggest that having a “Level 5” (aka top-notch) leader is key—learn how to make that person you.

Stephen R. Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People $11-30

This classic book’s tenets may have been updated by newer authors, but its wisdom for how to be a better worker, family member, and overall person continues to resonate. You’ll also learn how to create your own personal mission statement.

Josh Kaufman The Personal MBA $17

Author Josh Kaufman swears an MBA isn’t worth the money spent on tuition and summarizes all the concepts he thinks one does (or should) learn when getting the higher degree.

Clayton M. Christensen The Innovator’s Dilemma $25

Leave it to Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen to explore “disruptive technology” and how and why even the best companies can fail. Real-life examples help give entrepreneurs some guidelines for long-term success.

Warren Buffett Lessons for Corporate America $19

All the letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders written by the Oracle of Omaha have been arranged to teach the best practices of successful businesses. This is a key read for both managers and investors.

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