Best Business Books to Gift this Christmas | TopMBA.com

Best Business Books to Gift this Christmas

By Niamh O

Updated March 8, 2021 Updated March 8, 2021

Warren Buffett said reading 500 pages a day is the key to success: “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.” He’s not alone in thinking this either - Bill Gates reads 50 books every year.

Reading offers you the opportunity to expose yourself to different ways of thinking, new ideas, and diverse knowledge from a number of different sources.

Whether you choose to pick up a book that discusses the trials and tribulations of a working mother, or helps you understand the importance of emotional intelligence, or takes you inside a successful company and reveals how they made it to the top, the knowledge you gain will be useful on your MBA journey.

Here are some books we think every MBA student and young entrepreneur will appreciate this Christmas.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

Regardless of your industry, if you have customers, you should be delivering happiness. And that’s the focal point of Delivering Happiness, which aims to help your business improve customer service through passion and purpose.

Delivering Happiness tells readers how Tony Hsieh grew his company Zappos to US$1 billion in gross revenue in just 10 years – and that’s only the beginning.

From fundraising to finding happiness, this personal and practical book covers it all, going beyond a normal customer service approach and guiding you on how to develop a culture within your business that is geared towards offering great customer service through long-term thinking.

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham is thought to be the greatest investment advisor of the 20th century, having inspired people across the globe.

His ‘value investing’ philosophy – which shields investors from substantial error, teaching them to develop long-term strategies – has seen The Intelligent Investor cement itself as the stock market bible since its original publication in 1949. In fact, Warren Buffett has referred to it as the best book on investing ever written.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In focuses on the conversation about women in the workplace, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to change the conversation from what women can't do to what they can.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't by Jim Collins

Good to Great study may well surprise many readers as it sheds a light on all areas of management practice and strategy.

Author Jim Collins says some of the key concepts discerned in his study fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington speaks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritizing the demands of a career and raising two daughters — juggling business deadlines and family crises, a hectic existence that led to her collapse and to her "aha” moment.

Utilizing the latest research and scientific findings from psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology to demonstrate the positive effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging and giving, Arianna shows readers how to revolutionize your thinking.

In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman

In Search of Excellence is based on a study of 43 of America’s best-run companies from a wide variety of sectors.

The book describes eight basic principles of management —action-stimulating, people-oriented, profit-maximizing practices — that made these organizations successful.

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry I Porras

Drawing upon a six-year research project at Stanford Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras studied 18 exceptional and long-lasting companies and compared them to one of their top competitors.

Jim and Jerry examined the companies from their inception to present day - as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations to find out what makes the truly exceptional companies different from others.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman describes the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and how they help us succeed in work, relationships, and physical well-being through vivid examples. It’s a whole new way to talk about being smart.

Business Adventures by John Brooks

The incredible rise of Xerox, the scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur and the US$350 million ‘Edsel’ Ford Motor Company disaster all have one thing in common – each demonstrates how iconic companies were defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety.

These accounts are just as relevant today as when they first happened, particularly as they help us understand the intricacies of the corporate world.

Warren Buffett not only recommended this book to Bill Gates as his favorite book about business – he sent Gates his own personal copy. On his blog gatesnotes, Gates wrote that even four decades on from when Business Adventures was first published, it remains the best business book he's ever read.

Lost and Founder: The Mostly Awful, Sometimes Awesome Truth about Building a Tech Startup by Rand Fishkin

Lost and Founder isn’t a self-help book, it’s an honest account about launching a business that any digital start-up entrepreneur will love.

Many company biographies often omit the missteps and challenges from their version of history, but it’s these moments which usually offer the most insight to others. Fortunately, Lost and Founder highlights these cockups – and even celebrates them for what they are.

Rand, co-founder and former CEO of Moz, gives a peak into the realities of a SaaS VC backed start-up. If you are thinking of or already are 'enjoying' the trials and tribulations of setting up a start-up...start here.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

In business, it’s not just what you do, but why you do it. Sinek welcomes readers to his book with some fundamental questions: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

Start with Why - based on one of the most-watched TED Talks of all time - is for anyone who wants to inspire others or be inspired themselves.

This article was originally published in December 2020 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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