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The 5 Best Books for Business Students in 2019

June 10, 2019

A complete business education does not just occur inside a business school classroom. The most motivated professionals are committed to constantly learning and growing on their own, seeking out whatever new information and perspectives they can on everything from broad trends in the global economy to trending topics in business and management strategy and productive everyday behaviors.

Below, we’ve surveyed five business books that can provide fascinating and productive depth to your business school experience. Explore our best books for business students in 2019, and learn how they can help you develop into a well-rounded, conscientious leader in any field or industry.

Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too

Gary Vaynerchuk, 2018Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, author of the 2009 international bestseller “Crush It,” returns nine years later with an insightful, entertaining, and instructive follow-up in “Crushing It!” Vaynerchuk draws on the success of his previous book to trace examples of entrepreneurs who have broken free from conventional corporate trajectories to chart their own course by adhering to the principles he laid out in his earlier work. “Crushing It!” is more than a mere victory lap for Vaynerchuk, though, as he uses these narratives as a jumping-off point to discuss the strategies for amplifying your personal brand on social media platforms essential to the guerilla-style marketing that contemporary entrepreneurship demands.1

“Crushing It!” is one of the best books for business students because of its ability to expand one’s horizons about what is possible in the world of business. A graduate business program should not be reduced to a series of boxes to be checked off to earn a credential; the best business programs are committed to developing innovative builders and leaders. If you are approaching business school with a healthy entrepreneurial spirit or hoping to kindle one, “Crushing It!” is a must-read.

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

Julie Zhuo, 2019After spending years rising through the ranks at a number of innovative, industry-leading companies, Facebook Vice President of Product Development Julie Zhuo documents a wealth of advice essential for managers at any level in “The Making of a Manager.” By tracing successes and setbacks that she has encountered throughout her own career, Zhuo draws on her experience to provide weight and credibility to her tips on decision-making, strategies for holding effective meetings, and tactics for maintaining productive and positive relationships with your direct reports.2

Zhuo argues that her work stands out as particularly relevant among business books because of her unique perspective as a minority woman in a high-level management role, and notes she felt a responsibility to seize her opportunity to add her voice to the arena of business literature.3 Because of the multiple elements that make up Zhuo’s perspective, “The Making of a Manager” can offer powerful experiential insights to business students from different backgrounds and all levels of management experience.

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Cal Newport, 2019As an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, Cal Newport is intimately familiar with the dizzying array of apps, platforms, and digital experiences that make up our connected world. His new book “Digital Minimalism” attempts to grapple with the enormous drain on productivity and personal well-being that can be caused by digital distractions today, particularly smartphone apps. Newport recommends strategies for reducing the online noise that surrounds us, strategies he contends can increase your productivity and reinforce your sanity.4

While not a “business book” per se, “Digital Minimalism” is essential for any business student who is attempting to balance a full-time job, a fulfilling personal life, and a successful graduate education amid the digital clutter that fills our world. It is especially meaningful for online graduate business students who must manage their education on the very devices where they are most likely to encounter unwanted distractions.

The Enlightened Capitalists: Cautionary Tales of Business Pioneers Who Tried to Do Well by Doing Good

James O’Toole, 2019An imposing work of business history by a professor emeritus of management and organization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, James O’Toole’s “The Enlightened Capitalists” offers an expansive, detailed look at business leaders who have attempted to influence society in a positive way through their business practices rather than through charity or philanthropy. The initiatives surveyed across O’Toole’s lengthy book include a nineteenth century attempt to improve employee housing in a factory town, innovations in profit-sharing and executive salary limitations, and efforts to ensure equitable hiring practices.5

The “cautionary” aspect of O’Toole’s title refers to the resistance that many of these efforts have faced by others within and outside of their own organizations, resistance which O’Toole argues is crucial for ethically minded business leaders to continue striving to overcome. Because of its meticulous narration of the complexity with which capitalism is woven into our social fabric, “The Enlightened Capitalists” is among the best books for business students in graduate programs that emphasize ethics as foundational to successful business leadership.

Data Strategy: How to Profit From a World of Big Data, Analytics and the Internet of Things

Bernard Marr, 2017Our last recommendation may seem narrow in focus, but it is one of the best books for business students who are either training directly in the field of analytics or who just want to build their expertise in a critical area of the business field today. Bernard Marr’s “Data Strategy” is a robust introduction to the business potential lying in wait in the unanalyzed data sets that continue to proliferate throughout the digital world. Marr offers a primer on some of the essential tools and strategies that enterprising professionals can use to help any organization realize the value of big data.6

“Data Strategy” should certainly be at the top of the list for professionals considering an analytics-focused master’s degree program like the Online Master of Science in Business Analytics at Seattle University, as it is an approachable entry point to such programs’ potentially tricky subject matter. However, it also would benefit students in a more expansive, leadership-focused MBA program with its emphasis on the way data analysis can help business leaders overcome many different challenges that their organizations face.

Build Your Business Intellect With Seattle University

If you are the kind of thoughtful business professional who believes that a truly complete business education requires intellectual stimulation beyond the hard- and soft-skill development you will encounter in a business school classroom, Seattle University is the perfect place to hone your skills. Choose either the Online MBA or Online MS in Business Analytics from the Albers School of Business and Economics, and expand both your mind and your career potential.

1. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from goodreads.com/book/show/36045512-crushing-it?ac=1&from_search=true
2. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from ftadviser.com/your-industry/2019/04/03/the-making-of-a-manager-by-julie-zhou/
3. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/the-making-of-a-manager-a-handbook-for-new-leaders-77fcd21478a0
4. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/02/07/digital-minimalism-phone-social-media-addiction
5. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from ft.com/content/bfa72b64-1f36-11e9-a46f-08f9738d6b2b
6. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from goodreads.com/book/show/31851326-data-strategy

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