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The 22 Books Every Business Student Should Read

The world of business is a brutal one. It’s cutthroat and merciless. If you’re one of the (un) lucky few to be studying business, then these are the 22 books you should read.

#1 Creating a Freelance Career

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The book is called Creating a Freelance Career and was published by Routledge at the end of August 2018 and it is a blueprint on how to be an entrepreneur in any field. It was published as a textbook and as a paperback general interest business book. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jill L. Ferguson from Women's Wellness Weekends

  1. Get this book now! It is incredibly useful as it offers real case study examples from a diverse group of entrepreneurs. Great job Jill!

  2. You are amazing Jill on so many levels especially writing! Congratulations on your latest accomplishment.

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#2 Trump: The Art of the Deal

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It is an insightful book that every business student should read. The book walks a reader through the art of negotiations for various types of business deals. Each business deal is unique and gives the reader tips and strategies into how to negotiate and how to manage people to accomplish complex business objectives. 

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Contributor: David Reischer from Legal Marketing Pages Corp. 

#3 Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.

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Mr. Ferrazzi details how any interaction can be a networking opportunity and that developing these connections is essential to one's business success. By following some of the tips in this book, I have been able to develop and engaged and active network which is infinitely more powerful than a large network. 

Any business student would benefit greatly from reading this book order to help them in their business development and outreach efforts. As the head of the green & energy services for a commercial real estate firm, I have used these techniques to develop our client base and increase our firm's reach. 

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Contributor: Sol Rosenbaum from GRS Group

#4 The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

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As per the contributor:  I don't think any entrepreneur would argue that education is a bad thing, but it's definitely overrated. Eric's philosophy of putting out a minimum viable product and pivoting before you sink more money in the project is a lesson most entrepreneurs need to be reminded of again and again. 

Getting a business degree is commendable, but building a business and leaving a legacy is often what college students crave more than the piece of paper. 

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Contributor: Veronica Hanson from Vacay Visionary

#5 Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky

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A major issue for a lot of us, especially younger people is we do have our dreams,visions, and goals, and yet we can’t seem to find the right direction and motivation to turn those dreams into reality. This book will teach you how, starting from learning about why is it so hard to execute good ideas, how to overcome the naysayers and other challenges, and how to break down your dream into an actionable plan. 

This book especially discusses three core factors of turning ideas into reality: organization/execution, influencing others (and especially your team), and leadership. These three are also especially useful for business students who are currently learning to lead, organize, and influence. A must read!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Steve Kurniawan from I Know SEO 

#6 The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

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Amazing first-hand accounts from a prolific entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Raw, gritty tales of the early dot-com days juxtaposed against present day stories of companies Andreesen Horowitz (A16Z) has funded. Spectacular stories of success and examples of ugly behavior and demise. This book will give business students a true-to-life view of what is involved in actually starting and building a disruptive, high-value company. 

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Contributor: Chris Nordyke from Summit Cleaning and Restoration

#7 Capital by Karl Marx

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Marx has an incredible grasp on how economics works and how capitalism has shaped the society we live in. He has insights on commodities, markets, marketing (in a highly theoretical sense), production, and labor—everything you learn in business school. 

Knowing all of this, he comes to the conclusion that capitalism is oppressive. It's impressive that he comes to this conclusion, because it's the exact opposite of what we tend to be taught in school. Capital rounds everything out and gives an alternative perspective, something that is really important as society and business shift. 

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Contributor: Catherine Giese from Fundera 

#8 You Can’t Lead With Your Feet On the Desk

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Personal relationships are the real bedrock of long-term success in any business and any industry. But in today's global economy, forging bonds across cultural divides requires a heightened level of sensitivity. 

In You Can't Lead with Your Feet on the Desk, the leader of Marriott International Lodging, Ed Fuller, delivers real-world advice on how to connect with, manage, and do business with people in any culture, including employees, suppliers, and customers who often have roots in other cultures.

Fuller, who grew Marriott's international business from sixteen hotels in six countries to 400 properties in seventy countries, explains how to navigate cultural nuances and language differences, unfamiliar geography, and frustrating bureaucracy. 

Building trust shared values, and commitment to a business partnership is harder in cross-cultural situations, but it can and must be done if you want to be successful in today's world. 

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Contributor: Ed Fuller from Laguna Strategic Advisors

#9 Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

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A timeless primer on self-awareness and emotional intelligence, written as a fable. A quick read and concepts you'll reference back to throughout your career and personal relationships. I've gifted this book many times, and recommended it even more. 

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Contributor: Chris Nordyke from Summit Cleaning and Restoration

#10 The Maverick Selling Method by Brian Burns

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There's no more valuable skill within most organizations, than the ability to instigate relationships and pair problems with solutions. Brian Burns book is literally the best sales book I've read during my career. A very practical guide to complex selling in a B2B environment. Thankfully he leaves out the motivational fluff most sales books are filled with, and you're left with just the meat and potatoes. 

Regardless whether a business student is actually interested in a sales career or not, Maverick Selling Method will teach them a framework for what B2B sales is, and how to approach it for the absolute best results. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Chris Nordyke from Summit Cleaning and Restoration

#11 The Four by Scott Galloway

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Anyone that wants to understand how the current business landscape came to be, and more adeptly navigate the road ahead, has to read this piece by Scott. Crazy historic details about the rise of the big four, as well as key insights into how they are literally transforming the entire U.S. economy.

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Contributor: Chris Nordyke from Summit Cleaning and Restoration

#12 Reach Out by Molly Beck

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A helpful, tangible breakdown of how to expand your network to land internships or a full-time job - used in college curriculum in several universities. 

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Contributor: Molly Beck from Messy 

#13 The Ultimate Motivated Employee

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It discusses the best ways to manage people in order to create a motivated and engaged workforce. It is particularly effective for business majors who are preparing to leave the university and take their first job in the real world. I believe people management skills are the most important ingredient for a successful business career. 

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Contributor: Gary Brose from Creative Consulting Corp. 

#14 Blue Ocean Shift, by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

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This book takes the principle of their last book and adds a modern spin on them while also laying out actionable steps the reader can take to implement the principles in the book. The main idea of this book is to teach you how to stand out in a sea of competition or what they call a “red ocean” and how to create your own “blue ocean”. 

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Contributor: Gennady Litvin from Moshes Law

#15 Competing Against Luck by Clayton M. Christensen

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This book asks business leaders and entrepreneurs to take a look at the job their product or service is attempting to carry out. What job are customers hiring the product/service to do? Asking this question allows business owners to step into the shoes of their customers and understand why they're making the decisions they do. 

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Contributor: Keri Lindenmuth from KDG 

#16 Rework by Jason Fried

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This book will teach you what you need and what you don’t need to succeed in business. It’s perfect for small-business owners, entrepreneurs, people stuck in jobs they hate, and starving artists who may not want to starve anymore. 

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Contributor: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics

#17 Sam Walton: Made In America

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Learn how to turn a single dime store into Walmart from the man who did it himself, Sam Walton. It is a chronicle of his heart, optimism, and inspiration that lead him to live “the American dream” 

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Contributor: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics

#18 Manage Your New Career by John Arthur

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From the Author: It is a collection of lessons that I have learned, observed, and given many of my mentees over 25 years of leading and developing people as an executive. It tries to answer the question Why do some careers take off while others don't? It is meant to be highly practical. Every chapter is a different, specific lesson. 

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Contributor: John Arthur from John Arthur Books

#19 The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

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This is a life-changing book for any business student that has an interest and business and entrepreneurship. It was clear to me that the author uses many of his real-life experiences to explain his concepts, give business suggestions, and tell success (and failure!) stories. 

He shares ways to learn very quickly what works, and what doesn’t, and how to use each experience and experiment to better improve your business. A lot of the book is about the importance of customer/client feedback, collecting it and applying it to your business or product. The Lean Startup gave me the mindset that every effective and efficient business-person should have! 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jenna Erickson from Codal 

#20 Everything I Know About Business

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This unique business book is already being used for business students at several business schools around the country. It’s grounded in business theory but it’s easy and fun to read. It offers some surprising lessons for the 21st century from the Grateful Dead rather than typical business books. 

Unlike any other book about business, this one doesn’t focus on Fortune 500 businesses but uses a rock ’n’ roll band as a business model, which will be more appealing to choose students. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Barry Barnes from Nova Southeastern University

#21 The Million Dollar Greeting by Dan Sachs

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In The Million Dollar Greeting, veteran hospitality expert Dan Sachs documents his travels across the US and Canada, interviewing leaders from both large and small companies a like, including Ari Weinzweig (Zingerman's Delicatessen), Rob Siefker (Zappos), Mike McDerment (FreshBooks), Mark Hoplamazian (Hyatt Hotels), Paul Spiegelman (BerylHealth), and many others. 

These case studies feature companies that are consistently profitable, with their success tied to their exceptional customer service, and explain how the hospitality sector's customer satisfaction best practices can be applied to any industry to meet their goals and expectations. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Janie Mackenzie from Smith Publicity

#22 From Idea to Success by Gregg Fairbrothers

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This comprehensive book (416 pages cover-to-cover) is co-authored by Professor Fairbrothers, the founding director of the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN), and the founding chair of the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center (and who's also started multiple companies worldwide). 

Fairbrother's co-author, Tessa Winter is an experienced social entrepreneur. From Idea to Success shows fledgling entrepreneurs how to get their ideas off the ground and into the marketplace. As such, this book is a thorough guide based on the startup experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs and makes the process relatively straightforward by breaking it down into three parts: 

  • Refining the business idea; 
  • Creating a comprehensive business plan; 
  • Managing the growing enterprise. 

By following the advice provided in this book, budding entrepreneurs can avoid common mistakes and get their new ventures off to promising starts. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Timothy G. Wiedman from Doane University

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Written by Taegan Lion