The necessity of keeping up with your "business reading" does not change simply because you are in graduate school. The regular and frequent reading of business materials is a critical adjunct to your formal education. At best, the books assigned for your classes only scratch the surface.
In addition to books, certain periodicals are "must reads". Examples include the Wall Street Journal, the Business Section of the Sunday New York Times and Business Week. Regular and frequent reading of this type of material will teach you the "language of business", the dialect spoken in real organizations.
Listed below are a few suggestions from my personal reading list, along with some "old" favorites from my bookshelf. Some are available in paperback and all are available from your local book seller.
As a service to the readers of this page, shown below are several links that will allow you to order the books discussed in this section (along with about 6.02 x 1023 others). These links are AT THE END OF THIS SECTION.
MACHIAVELLI ON MODERN LEADERSHIP, by Michael A. Ledeen, might really shake your ideas about what it takes to be a successful leader in the 21st century. Ledeen uses modern examples, like Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Colin Powell, Warren Buffett and Margaret Thatcher to make his sometimes startling points. What is astounding is that Machiavelli wrote his classic work, THE PRINCE, nearly 500 years ago. If you truly want to think about leadership, STUDY this book. MACHIAVELLI ON MODERN LEADERSHIP is a 1999 publication of Truman Talley Books, a division of St. Martin's Press.
THE LEADERSHIP ENGINE, by Noel M. Tichy (with Eli Cohen), coauthor of CONTROL YOUR DESTINY OR SOMEONE ELSE WILL, is a must-read for change agents, wanna-be change agents and others who work in the O.D. world. Tichy gives us numerous REAL-LIFE examples of leadership in action in the world's top organizations. He enourages us to remember that leaders must, perhaps above all else, have a firm spine:
"... but winning leaders know that life isn't a popularity contest. So they do whatever they believe to be right, however painful or difficult it may be" (p. 159).
This book is an A-level priority for anyone serious about being the agent of change in an organization. THE LEADERSHIP ENGINE is published by Harper Business, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.
LISTENING TO CONFLICT, by Erik J. Van Slyke, discusses the importance of empathic listening in conflict resolution. Additionally, the importance of self-mastery as a trait of successful conflict resolvers is covered. This book offers numerous models and helpful suggestions and can be a terrific "how to" book for the O.D. practitioner. AMACOM publishes this worthwhile volume.
EXTRAORDINARY POPULAR DELUSIONS & THE MADDNESS OF CROWDS, by Charles Mackay (1841). This is NOT a typo. This exceptional book is being read today to help explain a broad range of modern "delusions", scams and deceptions. This book (740 pages and no pictures!) is published by Three Rivers Press, New York, and will probably require a special order at your favorite book store.
THE ARGUMENT CULTURE, by Deborah Tannen, author of YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND, is about the pervasive warlike atmosphere that makes us approach anything we need to accomplish as a fight between two opposing sides. Sometimes these approaches work well, but often they create more problems than they solve. This book is published by Random House and is a "must read" for serious students of human interaction.
THE MOZART EFFECT, by Don Campbell is a facinating look at the possible effects that music can have on our mind. Campbell cites research studies to help support his contentions. In particular, the section on accelerated learning will be of interest to students studying for exams!
THE DILBERT PRINCIPLE, by Scott Adams, is an irreverent look at the business world. There is humor, sarcasm, and a lot of truth included in this interesting book. This great addition to your library is published by HarperBusiness and is destined to become a classic.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, by Daniel Goleman, is an interesting look at an emerging area of research. Whether you "buy" the concepts or not, the book is well worth reading. My guess is that you will see much more written about this topic in the future. I only have the hardback edition.
Oldies But Goodies...
Stephen Covey's, SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE is a "must read". Dr. Covey provides sound advice and rich examples of how to actually apply the seven habits in daily life. Even people who are already (or at least consider themselves) highly effective, will benefit from this book. In less than ten years, this work has become a classic. This book is also available on tape.
YOU CAN NEGOTIATE ANYTHING, by Herb Cohen, is another classic. Mr. Cohen provides excellent advice and helpful suggestions in the art of negotiation. Face it, life is a (hopefully) long series of negotiations. Skill development in this area will pay many benefits. Even if you choose to go through life trying not to negotiate, at least you will understand what is happening to you. The tape, narrated by Mr. Cohen, is also excellent.
THE PRINCE, by Nicolo Machiavelli, is an often maligned (and misunderstood) classic that sounds to the perceptive reader as if it were written to describe modern times. It was actually penned nearly 500 years ago! I suggest reading the book, then the Cliff Notes, then the book again.
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, by Dale Carnegie, is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to improve his or her ability to interact with people. I reread this book every so often, because I believe that we all fall into "bad habits" when dealing with people. This classic is a great refresher in Human Relations 101.
Listed below are several links that allow you to order books on-line. They are shown here for your convenience.