While I was in school, it seemed like everyone had a book recommendation for me. “Business students should read this; Journalism? Oh, you must read that!” I started keeping a list. I even attempted to read a few. Some were insightful and some were funny, some were hard to understand and some flat out put me to sleep. Below is a list of 10 books I think have important messages/lessons for business majors. I picked these 10 because they are the exact opposite of what you would find in a textbook.
- All Marketers Are Liars (Seth Godin) – Anything by Seth Godin, really. The books are short, easy reads. A lot of the ideas are obvious, but his stories and metaphors can be pretty amusing. I had a professor that used his blog as part of our ‘textbook’ and I got hooked. (PS – Marketers aren’t liars, we’re storytellers)
- AP Style Book – Not necessarily a story, but everyone should own a copy – business person or not. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people can’t write/speak/communicate correctly (*note – in a published/professional setting). With all the resources available, there’s really no excuse.
- Charlotte’s Web (EB White) – I know what you’re thinking – a pig is rescued, end of story. Wrong! There’s a reason the title is Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte’s creativity and ingenuity advertise Wilber’s best qualities which end up saving his life. Talk about a successful marketing campaign! We can all take a lesson from Charlotte.
- Horton Hears A Who (Dr. Seuss) – The message of this story is that all people deserve respect. Horton’s loyalty to the ‘whos’ should remind us that people are the most important thing. Remember the golden rule and treat others as you would want to be treated.
- The Little Engine That Could (Watty Piper) – We’ve all read this one. A small engine takes up the cause of helping the stranded train after all the bigger engines pass by. The message that determination and the power of positive thinking can help us overcome any obstacle is quite powerful.
- The Lorax (Dr. Seuss) – The story stresses the importance of balance and vision. It’s also a reminder that it’s important to conserve natural resources
- Oh, The Places You’ll Go (Dr. Seuss) – This is one of my all time favorites. Here’s what I take away: Life’s tough, but the opportunities are endless. Failure is inevitable but you have to keep moving forward. You will succeed (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed!). True in the business world and life in general.
- The One Minute Manager (Kenneth Blanchard) – It’s quite simple really. One-minute goals; One-minute praises; One-minute reprimands. Set a clear goal up front. Praise doesn’t have to wait for a special occasion, let people know they are doing a good job. If someone does something wrong – tell them, help fix it, and move on.
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Steven Covey) – I studied these habits in my senior capstone class. I think they are pretty self-explanatory. 1)Be Proactive 2) Begin with the End in Mind 3) Put First Things First 4) Think Win-Win 5) Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood 6) Synergize 7) Sharpen the Saw
- Strengths Finder 2.0 (Tom Rath) – Everyone has weaknesses, yes – but, I agree with the author of this book that it’s more important to focus on your strengths. I had to take the Strengths Finder assessment as a Freshman and as a Senior at Butler. It was interesting to see where my true strengths lie (what hadn’t changed), and what had become my strengths over the four year period.
I know, not what you were expecting! People keep telling me to read a financial book. I keep trying, but you might as well give me sleeping pills. It has the same effect! If you ever find a good one (that will keep me awake), let me know.