7 Books That Every Business Student Should Read

reading business books

Supplementing your studies by reading business books is a move in the right direction. Reading books about business offers many benefits, to include: 1) Enhance your business vocabulary 2) Teach you common business concepts and philosophies 3) Broaden your perspective 4) Challenge your beliefs 5) Introduce you to insights and ideas that could be worth millions in the future.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of good business books to read, but which ones should you start with?

Here are a few of our favorites.



Must-Read Books for Business Students

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

In The Lean Startup, investor Eric Ries discusses scientific, systematic lean manufacturing strategies so startups, entrepreneurs, and business managers can make fast decisions in a constantly changing world. The author uses real-life examples to illustrate the concepts he talks about--although mostly from his own entrepreneurial experiences at IMVU, the social media gaming company he co-founded.

Instead of elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup recommends the build-measure-learn feedback loop for businesses to continuously test their vision, change direction before it’s too late, and thrive in an age when innovation and agility are extremely vital to success.

Related Article: The Four Types of Corporate Culture

Crossing The Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

The “chasm” is that huge gap between early adopters and the majority. In Crossing the Chasm, which was first published in 1991, author Geoffrey Moore offers time-tested and proven strategies to successfully bring high-tech products into the mainstream market. 

According to Moore, customer positioning is key to crossing the chasm, and the positioning methodologies discussed in the book include targeting a niche or “beachhead,” dominating your niche, and fine-tuning your messaging.

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

“Every moment in business happens only once,” so starts this groundbreaking and thought-provoking book. Zero to One is a collection of notes taken by Blake Masters, then a student in a Stanford University class taught by billionaire and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. 

The book then goes on to discuss how to take a startup from zero to one, based on the lessons Thiel learned as PayPal and Palantir co-founder, as well as investing in hundreds of startups that include Facebook and SpaceX.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, venture capitalist Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz talks about the realities of running a business--it’s hard. No matter how carefully crafted and elaborate your plans are, things won’t always go your way.

When just about any business book teaches how to do things right, Horowitz focuses on the ugly truths about entrepreneurship, the screwups that occurred while he was leading corporations, and how his team turned things around (or screw things up even more).

Related Article: How You Can Turn Your MBA into Your Own Business

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Bestselling author Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People is a timeless classic that has sold millions of copies worldwide. Carnegie, during his stint as a teacher at the YMCA, saw the need for a book that taught people skills, which he realized were what made many businesspeople successful. After reading the biographies of hundreds of world leaders, Carnegie first published How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936.

The book discusses the different principles that make effective leaders effective.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

A certified bestseller that has transformed the lives of many people, including world leaders and CEOs, educator and businessman Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a self-improvement book that helps the reader understand the existence of various perspectives, and that in order to truly effect change, we must undergo a paradigm shift--changing ourselves fundamentally instead of simply changing our behaviors and attitudes on a superficial level.

The seven habits focus on the following imperatives: self-mastery, working with others, and continuous improvement.

Related Article: Time Management Exercise: Calendar Blocking

The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett (edited by Lawrence Cunningham)

The Essays of Warren Buffett is a collection of letters written by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, also known as the Oracle of Omaha, to Berkshire Hathaway’s investors. It summarizes, in plain words, the basic principles of business analysis and sound investing. A central point Buffett emphasizes is that investors must identify good businesses rather than focus on the market, buy them at good prices, and keep them for the long term.

The essays are organized into seven sections, and the book is a must-read for people interested in high-volume investing and running a public business.

Make Reading Business Books a Regular Habit

October is National Book Month, and if you’re looking for good business books to add to your reading list, the titles above come highly recommended.

Looking for a business degree that you can fit into your busy schedule? Check out Northcentral University’s online business programs. You may also call us at 866-776-0331 to discuss your options or fill out the form below to request information.