Reading is the simplest way to acquire knowledge. Many business magnates and world leaders have waxed lyrical about the power of reading and the role it has played in their own success. From Barak Obama’s annual list of his favorite books to Bill Gates’s regular book reviews, the internet is awash with recommendations of what to read.
But where do you begin? It can feel overwhelming.
To mark World Book Day, we have done the hard work for you and have sought out the most impactful books for business students and budding entrepreneurs. We have not included the Four Day Working Week by Tim Ferris, Start with Why by Simon Sinek or This is Marketing by Seth Godin. Not because they are not worth reading – they are! But because it is likely you will already have come across them. Instead, we have tried to seek out books you might not yet know about that could make a difference to your career.
Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding. – Bill Gates
1. Business Adventures, John Brooks
Warren Buffet and Bill Gates agree that this is the best business book they have ever read. Although it was first published in 1969, the insights to be found among its pages are still relevant today. Business Adventures is a collection of New Yorker essays that offer in-depth critical reflection on some of the most iconic companies and Wall Street stories of the 60s, including a costly Ford Motor Car disaster and a scandal at General Electric.
2. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth
Written by pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance explores passion and perseverance as the keys to business success. Now a celebrated expert in her field, as a child Duckworth was told by scientist parents that she lacked genius. Professional experience however let her to hypothesis that grit is what drives success, rather than inherent talent. In this book, drawing on history and personal stories including her own, Duckworth demonstrates that effort and determination are the secret ingredients of outstanding achievement.
3. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr., Ron Chernow
John D. Rockefeller was history’s first billionaire and a self-made man. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr. is the first full-length biography written with access to his extensive trove of papers, exposing misdeeds and tragedies that had never before come to light. Chernow offers readers a revealing portrait of Rockefeller, exploring the contradictions and complexities of the life and decisions made by a man who was both a devout Baptist and ruthless businessman.
4. Personal History, Katharine Graham
Katharine Graham was at the helm of The Washington Post during two of the biggest scandals in American history: Watergate and the Pentagon Papers. In this Pulitzer Prize winning biography, Katherine tells her story from childhood to her leadership of The Washington Post during an exceedingly turbulent time for American media. Peppered with anecdotes and insightful reflections, Personal History will provide helpful guidance to anyone seeking business success.
5. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance
Elon Musk’s futuristic companies offer products and ideas that seem to have fallen from the pages of a science fiction novel. An incredibly inventive entrepreneur, this all-encompassing portrait details Musk’s sharp ascent to the top. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his friends and family, readers are invited to peek behind the curtains to understand what characteristics and circumstances enabled such unbridled creative vision and meteoric success.
6. Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist, Kate Raworth
Recommended to EU students by Emma Giner during her recent Virtual Guest Speaker Session, Doughnut Economics is a fundamental read for anyone interested in sustainable development. Author Kate Raworth is Senior Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. She has presented her model for a sustainable economy to audiences including the Occupy movement and the UN General Assembly.
7. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant
Every entrepreneur and businessperson should be able to recognize and champion a good idea when they see one. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Grant’s bestselling book, shows readers how to recognize a truly great idea, when to speak up, how to build working cultures that encourage dissent and how to manage fear and doubt. Learning from stories of real-life business originals and some surprising case studies, you’ll close this book ready to speak up for innovation and start building a brave new world.
If you are interested in business and would like to deepen your theoretical knowledge and practical understanding, EU Business School has a course to suit you. Our students learn from experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders who combine academic excellence with professional experience, offering their own stories alongside case studies and theory to ensure graduates are ready to excel in their chosen field. We offer courses from bachelor’s to MBAs at our campuses across Europe and online. Explore our programs and apply now to take the next step to career success.