5 Books Any Future MBA Should Read

Reading is one of the most powerful tools a student has in his or her study arsenal. It has been widely proven that regular reading improves one’s mental stimulation, memory, vocabulary, and analytical thinking skills, all while reducing stress and providing an opportunity to focus. For that reason, many of our Kaplan instructors encourage their students to relax and read a good book to supplement their test prep studies. To take it one step further, students can turn to books relevant to their future fields. We asked our GMAT experts and faculty what books they recommend to future MBAs. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used

“‘Flawless Consulting’ was written with the professional consultant in mind, but in today’s team-structured approach to business, this book has applicable and useful insights into how to get your voice heard and your ideas implemented.  For example, the primary goals of a consultant are: (1) To establish a collaborative relationship; (2) To solve problems so they stay solved; (3) To ensure attention is given to both the technical/business problem and the relationships. Great advice for building a team within an organization, as well as, for a consultant. This book is well-worn on my ‘at-hand’ bookshelf.”
Steve Cross, Vice President – Grad and Pre-College Field

Amazon’s Description

Peter Block’s “Flawless Consulting” addresses business changes and new challenges since the second edition was written ten years ago. It tackles the challenges next-generation consultants face, including more guidance on how to ask better questions, dealing with difficult clients, working in an increasingly virtual world, how to cope with complexities in international consulting, case studies, and guidelines on implementation. Also included are illustrative examples and exercises to help you cement the guides offered.

2. Lean In for Graduates

“I’m recommending this book, because we work with so many people who are starting out their careers. That is a big transition in life and one that can brings a lot of uncertainty. My hope is to see that uncertainty get channeled into curiosity and excitement rather than into a feeling of powerlessness. In the past few years, Sheryl Sandberg has started an important conversation about how to claim your seat at the table and that can start with your first job.”
Noah Teitelbaum, Executive Director – Pre-Business Programs

Amazon’s Description

Expanded and updated exclusively for graduates just entering the workforce, this extraordinary edition of “Lean In” includes a letter to graduates from Sheryl Sandberg and six additional chapters from experts offering advice on finding and getting the most out of a first job, resume writing, best interviewing practices, negotiating your salary, listening to your inner voice, owning who you are, and leaning in for millennial men. In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” became a massive cultural phenomenon, and its title became an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of best-seller lists both nationally and internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theaters, dominated op-ed pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership. Now this enhanced edition provides the entire text of the original book, updated with more recent statistics and features a passionate letter from Sandberg encouraging graduates to find and commit to work they love. A combination of inspiration and practical advice, this new edition will speak directly to graduates, and like the original, will change lives.

3. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

“‘Abundance'” is one of the two books that changed my life more than any others. (The other is “Growth Mindset” by Carol Dweck.) It’s easy to fall into emphasizing the negative in the world, it’s what our brains are designed to do. Taking the time to actively focus on how I and the world I live in can and will change and grow for the better completely turned around my outlook and allowed me to focus on making a positive impact in a way I’d never been able to before.”
Walker Williams, Academic Director

Amazon’s Description

The New York Times bestselling “manifesto for the future that is grounded in practical solutions addressing the world’s most pressing concerns: overpopulation, food, water, energy, education, health care and freedom” (The Wall Street Journal). Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing-fast. In abundance, space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer steven kotler document how progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, digital manufacturing synthetic biology, and other exponentially growing technologies will enable us to make greater gains in the next two decades than we have in the previous 200 years. We will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every person on the planet. “Abundance” for all is within our grasp. Breaking down human needs by category-water, food, energy, healthcare, education, freedom-diamandis and kotler introduce us to innovators and industry captains making tremendous strides in each area. “not only is abundance a riveting page-turner…but it’s a book that gives us a future worth fighting for. And even more than that, it shows us our place in that fight” (The Christian Science Monitor).

4. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail–but Some Don’t

“Read this book.”
Kevin Missett, GMAT Teacher

Amazon’s Description

“Nate Silver is the Kurt Cobain of statistics… His ambitious new book, ‘The Signal and the Noise,’ is a practical handbook and a philosophical manifesto in one, following the theme of prediction through a series of case studies ranging from hurricane tracking to professional poker to counterterrorism. It will be a supremely valuable resource for anyone who wants to make good guesses about the future, or who wants to assess the guesses made by others. In other words, everyone.”
The Boston Globe
“‘The Signal and the Noise'” is many things — an introduction to the Bayesian theory of probability, a meditation on luck and character, a commentary on poker’s insights into life — but it’s most important function is its most basic and absolutely necessary one right now: a guide to detecting and avoiding bullshit dressed up as data…What is most refreshing… is its humility. Sometimes we have to deal with not knowing, and we need somebody to tell us that.”
“Nate Silver serves as a sort of Zen master to American election-watchers… In the spirit of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s widely read “The Black Swan”, Mr. Silver asserts that humans are overconfident in their predictive abilities, that they struggle to think in probabilistic terms and build models that do not allow for uncertainty.”
The Economist

5. Fire and Ice : The Story of Charles Revson, the Man Who Built the Revlon Empire

“Everyone should read this fascinating book about a unique giant corporation started as barely a mom-and-pop by a guy who never went to college.”
Elisa Davis, GMAT Teacher

Amazon’s Description

This is the story of Charles Revson (b.1906 d.1975), the insecure kid from a cold-water flat in Manchester, New Hampshire, who never went to college but founded Revlon. He went from putting the nail polish on his own nails (to test it) and criss-crossing the country by rail (to sell it) to, ultimately, a $5,000-a-day New York lifestyle complete with a 257-foot yacht, the Ultima II, whose gas tank cost $20,000 to fill and whose staterooms Revson liked to keep chilly enough, in the heat of the Caribbean, to require toasty electric blankets. (Andrew Tobias)