More Summer Reading for Business Students

Posted by: Geoff Gloeckler on June 2, 2011

Bloomberg Businessweek recently asked professors at top business schools to share their recommendations for reading materials that will help undergraduate business and MBA students prepare for the school year - and beyond. The lists professors wrote included everything from literature to grammar manuals, all with the purpose of broadening the student’s horizons and better understanding the world they will enter after graduation. There were too many titles to mention in the feature story, so this blog highlights some of the other books that sounded too interesting or practical to pass up. Here’s a roundup of other books on the summer reading list for business students and the reasons professors included them, according to their e-mailed responses:


Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust (Times Books, April 2011) by Diana B. Henriques
“[It] is a cautionary tale about the ease of stepping over the line. It reinforces the need for effective regulation of securities markets,” writes Stephen J. Kobrin, publisher of the Wharton Digital Press at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (Wharton Full-Time MBA Profile).

Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping their Futures and Yours (Harvard Business Press, March 2011) by Tarun Khanna
“This book is a must read for anyone interested in how the world of business is going to be transformed by India and China during this century. The book describes the complementary strengths of India and China, and how ‘mutualism’ between both nations can facilitate each other’s weaknesses. Khanna reinforces the notion that the government is the entrepreneur in China. Indian entrepreneurs have little faith in the Indian government and try to avoid it at all costs. In addition, Billions of Entrepreneurs examines the similarities in both Chinese and Indian history,” writes G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business (Smith Full-Time MBA Profile).

Comebacks: Powerful Lessons from Leaders Who Endured Setbacks and Recaptured Success on Their Terms (Jossey-Bass, April 2010) by Andrea Redmond and Patricia Crisafulli
"[It] addresses how to deal with failure and setbacks in life and rebound. It puts adversity into perspective," writes James G. Ellis, dean of the USC Marshall School of Business (Marshall Full-Time MBA Profile).

The Road Ahead (Pearson Elt, revised edition: March, 2008) by Bill Gates
"It shows the intellectual side of Bill Gates with an interesting vision of the technological future," writes Levent V. Orman, professor of information systems at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management (Johnson Full-Time MBA Profile).


Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (Penguin Press HC, March 2011) by Joshua Foer
"In the information age, all of us need to process and remember more stuff. It's not about acquiring a better memory; it's about using the one we have more effectively. That's the discovery that Foer made, recounting the memory training and tools he used in the U.S. Memory Championship. In his book, Foer explores various ways we can enhance our memories, and demonstrates that tricks the masters use can be accessible to anyone," writes Judy Olian, dean of the UCLA Anderson School of Management (Anderson Full-Time MBA Profile).

How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One (Harper, January 2011) by Stanley Fish
"Fish offers a sensible and easy-to-read explanation of how effective self-expression begins not with paragraphs or large ideas, but with the composition of a single sentence," writes James S. O'Rourke, IV, concurrent professor of management at University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business (Mendoza Full-Time MBA Profile).

Ask the Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job (Plume, August 1997) by Nick A. Corcodilos
"Many MBA students start a program with only a vague, very unrealistic view of what it will take to land the job of their dreams. New students falsely believe that simply earning the degree at a good school will make it happen. This is the best book I've seen about 'getting real' in the job search to make the career dream become a reality. It addresses the questions 'What are recruiters really looking for?' and 'How can I deliver it?'" writes Daniel Poston, assistant dean for Master's Programs at the University of Washington Foster School of Business (Foster Full-Time MBA Profile).

Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life (Jossey-Bass, October 2010) by Shelley Carson
"Can you systematically 'train' your brain to be more creative? This book offers readers a detailed road map to do just that. Fortunately, the author resists the temptation to solely focus on the 'how-to.' Instead, the book offers a rich and useful set of mental and paper-and-pencil exercises and conceptual insights that are anchored in a research-based understanding of how the brain works. The outcome is a credible and compelling tome on a challenging subject," writes Sridhar Balasubramanian, professor of marketing at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School (Kenan-Flagler Full-Time MBA Profile).


Henry IV, Part I (Simon & Schuster, February 2008) by William Shakespeare
"It's been read for over four centuries and that says something in itself. [It is] one of the best books on leadership written. Aside from everything else, I chose it because the play shows how leadership marinates and develops over time, what most contemporary books on leadership fail to do," writes Warren Bennis, professor at Marshall.

Fighting for Peace: Poems by Daisaku Ikeda (Dunhill Publishing, May 2004)
"A heart-warming read written in the aftermath of 9/11. The author makes a sincere effort to calm and uplift sad and angry hearts and uses poetry as the medium to do so. Very moving," writes Shailendra P. Jain, associate professor of marketing at Foster.

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 (Harper Perennial, June 2006) by James Shapiro
"Shakespeare, it turns out, was an entrepreneur. This luxuriously rich account of the culture and economy he worked in shows that he was a master strategist. With a lifetime of profits and four centuries of eminence, who is better to illustrate how a business person can navigate the short and long waves of opportunity?" writes Paul Ingram, professor of business at Columbia Business School (Columbia Full-Time MBA Profile).

-by Francesca Di Meglio

Reader Comments


June 2, 2011 2:28 PM

Really a great write up....for all MBA aspirants!

Nick Corcodilos

June 2, 2011 3:49 PM

Many thanks to Daniel Poston for recommending my book. However, it's been out of print for over a year. Replacing it are two new PDF books that cover much of the same material, but updated:

"How to Work with Headhunters", and "How Can I Change Careers?" I recently did a presentation to Cornell's 2011 EMBA class, based on the two books. Info on these new books is at:

-Nick Corcodilos

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