9 Books Every Business Student Should Read

Reading is one of the best ways to achieve a comprehensive understanding of how to be rich like Warren Buffett, understand time management principles or get into a startup. But you can’t just pick up any book and expect to learn the things you need to succeed in today’s environment. It is essential to choose the proper literature that will bring the light of knowledge for your developing ideas.

We analyzed the recommendations of Forbes, The New York Times, and other influential media. Result: authors that will keep your mind sharp, explore new solutions to old problems, and get inspiration from continuous improvement from business leaders. 

Books Every Business Student Should Read

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s bestseller has stood the test of time. He has sold over 30 million copies worldwide and is one of the most successful business books in American history. 

It is a foundation for all future MBA majors. Based on practical advice, the author explains how to win and persuade them from his point of view. Carnegie outlines the fundamental methods of changing individuals without hurting them, which is an essential skill for any manager to master. For a more modern look, choose the latest adaptation. 

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig

Tina Seelig, Ph.D. lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Stanford University, has compiled inspirational tips to help you create breakthrough business ideas. The book will help to reconsider and change the rules by which we all live. It is one of those motivational books for students aimed at reaching our highest potential. For example, knowing productive ways to look at failure is something that a college student certainly wishes to know while in his twenties.

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success by Keith Ferrazzi

Business conference. Lots of influential individuals in formal suits. Everyone exchanges business cards and casts a glance around in search of “big fish”. Indeed such a picture appears in your head when you think about networking. But this book proves it is a stereotype.

Building relationships is long and painstaking work, which should not be done at conferences. Ferrazzi grew up in a low-income family, but thanks to building the right contacts, he graduated from Harvard Business School and built an astonishing career.

Now Ferrazzi calls himself the main networker in the world. Read this book, try incorporating gained knowledge in your life, and, who knows, maybe this title will be yours. 

The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman

The author is Harvard Business School professor Noam Wasserman. For years, he studied startups to understand why some become investment targets while others quickly collapse.

In his publication, he shares everything that he managed to find out. Quickly and in detail tell you what to do if you decide to open your own business.

Competitive Strategy by Michael E. Porter

There are only three effective strategies on how to beat competitors. You can sell the cheapest, create a unique product, or focus on a narrow niche.

Michael Porter, an American economist and professor at Harvard Business School writes about this in his book Competitive Strategy. He explained how to choose the right strategy, what risks await in each case, and why being “stuck in the middle” is terrible.

Data Driven Business by Tim Phillips

Intuition is not the best basis for making business decisions. Only numbers and facts matter. But the more data, the more difficult it is to analyze them. Tim Phillips consistently explains how to recognize fraud and distortion in reports with numbers.

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

In many projects, there is conflict: the leader sets a plan, but the team does not have enough resources to carry it out.

To prevent this, you need to build a culture of performance. You can find out about it in the book written by American top-managers Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. For decades they have led and advised top companies in the US, including AlliedSignal, Honeywell, General Electric. Now you should let them page by page advise you. 

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

Gillette, Kimberly-Clark, and Philip Morris have made such a giant leap in development that their stock value is almost 7 times higher than the market. These successful businesses have held the high bar for at least 15 years.

American business consultant Jim Collins calls such companies great. For more than five years, he compared their work with competitors to understand their advantage. As a result, Collins wrote this book.

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord

Business culture expert Patty McCord has been with Netflix for 14 years. She was the company’s first HR leader and built a corporate culture that many companies look up to.

The result speaks for itself: during McCord’s tenure, Netflix has become a leader in the entertainment streaming business. After leaving the company, she shared her experience building effective teams in this work.

Additional Advice:

  • The lean startup ( Eric Ries )
  • The innovator’s solution ( Clayton M. Christensen )
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People : Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (Stephen R. Covey)
  • The Physics of Wall Street : A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable (James Owen Weatherall)
  • Essays of Warren Buffett : Lessons for Investors and Managers (Lawrence A. Cunningham)


These best business books are brimming with actionable advice and guidance. Some of these are bestsellers. Others are included in the required reading lists in leading schools. But they all contain key advice for business students who want to create, manage, or work for cool companies. 

This list is a great starting point for those willing to sharpen their business skills. Yet, it is not exhaustive. There are plenty of useful publications on this topic beyond these. So the sky is your limit. 

About the Author

Bertha Graham is both a blogger and a teacher. Apart from that, she is also a business and entrepreneurship expert working for PapersOwl. Being an expert in business education and social media, Bertha has over 5 years of experience writing articles, and she was published in many decent media. 

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