20 Business and Leadership Books Every MBA Graduate Should Read

20 Business and Leadership Books Every MBA Graduate Should Read

MBA books to read

The MBA reading list is an ever-growing one as it should be since the value of learning is never over. As you complete your online MBA degree, you may be looking at the top books to support your graduate school journey. We have researched the top business leadership books that are popular with both Ivy League schools as well as with business executives.  

There is a lot of clutter out there in the world of business publishing. This list includes MBA books that educate, inspire, and optimize our learning. They contain lessons that are applicable in real business situations and insights into global trends, along with helpful tips for team-building and company culture, strategy, and negotiations.

Best MBA books in entrepreneurship  

Elon Musk

Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future | Ashlee Vange  

This book provides valuable insights into the journey of the ambitious entrepreneur Elon Musk. A look inside his life right from his upbringing in South Africa to his time spent at various ventures including PayPal, Zip2, SpaceX, and Tesla. MBA graduates can look to him as the pinnacle for leadership success.  

Shoe Dog | A Memoir by the Creator of Nike | Phil Knight 

Known as the world’s most iconic shoe brand, entrepreneur Phil Knight created a 30 billion dollar empire from a bold startup. This memoir examines the long road he took to get there with the many business triumphs and setbacks along the way.  

The Snowball | Warren Buffett and the Business of Life | Alice Schroeder 

Alice Schroeder analyzes interesting stories on the man known as “The Oracle of Omaha” who has a long known history of business and investing on Wall Street. His business principles, ideas, and practices will serve MBA graduates with valuable career insights for their future.    

Back to Beer...and Hockey: The Story of Eric Molson | Helen Antoniou

Family businesses can always be tough to navigate. This book tells the story of Canada’s oldest beer family and how they overcame business adversity during recent years by successfully positioning Molson as a global brewery.  

 Driven to Succeed | How Frank Hasenfratz Grew Linamar from Guelph to Global | Rob McQueen and Susan M. Papp 

MBA graduates can find great inspiration from this account about a young Hungarian-Canadian business visionary from Guelph. He grew his company to be the second-largest auto parts maker in Canada and is recognized globally. It tells the story of hard work, a cost-conscious business structure, and a skilled workforce.   

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses | Eric Ries 

A successful startup advisor who is in his third startup, Ries is dedicated to teaching entrepreneurs how to build a company and efficiently use the lean startup strategy. Perfect for any MBA graduate looking to start their own venture.  

MBA books in finance  

From Wall Street To Bay Street | The Origins and Evolution of American and Canadian | Chris Kobrak and Joe Martin 

For MBA graduates wanting to dive deeper into the institutional differences between the Canadian and U.S banking systems and how that development has come to be from the 19th century leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.  

Financial Intelligence A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean | Karen Berman, Joe Knight, John Case

A step by step guide for teaching the basics of financial management to managers by understanding why numbers matter and how to look at them from a managerial perspective.  

Micromba Skills: Compilation of Case Studies | P. Hari 

Case study analysis is a great way to find out what works and what doesn’t so you can traverse the same pitfalls and triumph when the opportunity arises in your future career. This book is full of business stories that describe successes and failures, from missed opportunities to the conversion of business plans into iconic brands. 

The 25th Hour: Supercharging Productivity | Guillaume Declair, Bao Dinh, Jérôme Dumont 

An easy to read book with actionable collection of productivity tips compiled by investors, entrepreneurs, and startup founders. As a business leader, you are thrown into various directions and this will help you achieve those objectives.  

MBA books in global business  

Transnational Management | Text and Cases in Cross-Border Management | Christopher A. Bartlett and Paul W. Beamish  

With a focus on global business, this book looks at the challenges facing today’s multinational enterprises by providing a framework for developing strategies and managing operations across borders.  

Relentless Change: A Casebook for the Study of Canadian Business History | Joe Martin

Although more of a textbook, this book is highly useful in understanding the evolution of business management in Canada. With a focus on Canada, MBA graduates will find it highly beneficial to dive deeper into Canada’s business past.   

Gravity Shift | How Asia’s New Economic Powerhouses Will Shape the 21st Century | Wendy Dobson

A thorough perspective analysis on how the world’s global economic institutions are shifting toward India and China as economic powerhouses in the year 2030. With these anticipated changes, this book is highly helpful to help inform and shape tomorrow’s business decisions.  

MBA books in organizational development & strategy   

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World | Adam Grant 

The New York Times best-selling author and Wharton Business School psychology professor Adam Grant examines how leaders should lead their teams and fight conformity. Recommended by top business leaders like Sheryl Sandberg and Malcolm Gladwell this book gleans on a variety of insights on how to think differently.   

The Effective Manager | Mark Horstman

Written by the world’s number-one business podcast Manager Tools, this book looks over tools on how to be an effective manager with a multitude of effective corporate management techniques that can be used daily. How you can assess your team’s strengths and turn it into cohesive efficiency.  

HBR's 10 Must Reads on Managing People | Harvard Business Review 

A collection of must-read articles compiled by the Harvard Business Review on managing people; this anthology has something for everyone looking for guidance on managing people in the workplace. 

Survive and Thrive: Winning Against Strategic Threats to Your Business | Joshua Gans & Sarah Kaplan

More than a book, it is a collection of essays that analyzes some of the threats that exist in business today and how managers can persevere through them. Written by top professors at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, you’ll discover transformative insights.   

The Making of a Manager: What To Do When Everyone Looks To You | Julie Zhuo

Great for the newly promoted manager paving through the uncertainty of not knowing what you are doing! Julie Zhao, a rookie manager at 25 developed a how-to-guide for those transitioning into management.  

The Innovator’s Dilemma | When Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail | Clayton M. Christensen

Named one of the top leadership books by Amazon editors and a Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek bestseller, The Innovator’s Dilemma explores innovation-driven growth and ways companies need to capitalize on this way of thinking.  

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership | John C. Maxwell

Maxwell is a world-renowned expert in the field of leadership, and this is his most popular and best-selling book and for a good reason; it is a collection of what the author has learned in his 30+ year career.

The selection of books is based in alignment with Aston University’s online MBA program topics and career case studies from business professionals who have paved successful legacies. 

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