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STRATEGYMore: Inc. MBA Reading Books

7 short books that are worth more

than an MBA


MAY 13, 2015, 12:22 PM

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Over the past few decades, the value of an MBA has declined, probably
because the academic world can't keep up with the rapid pace of
change in the business world.
Relatively few entrepreneurs have MBAs, but I'll bet that almost all of
the successful ones have read and truly treasure these seven short,
easy-to-read classics:

1. "As a Man Thinketh," by James Allen

What It Teaches: Most people labor under the misconception that
their life is the result of fate, luck, or circumstances.
This book explains that your life is what you make of it, and the only
way you'll be successful in life is if you're first successful in your mind.
This is the foundation of a successful career in business. (It's also one
of the top 10 motivational books of all time.)
Best Quote: "A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to
whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice
which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating
factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and
builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against
circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid
progress, and as a means of the hidden powers and possibilities within

2. "Rich Dad Poor Dad," by Robert T. Kiyosaki

What It Teaches: In addition to the basics of personal
finance (without which success is pointless), this book explains why
building and owning businesses is the most reliable way to gain
wealth. It destroys the absurd notion that a salaried job represents
financial security and shows you how to think like an entrepreneur.
Best Quote: "Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property
owners and exploited, and to abstract oneself from this fundamental
division and from the antagonism between poor and rich means
abstracting oneself from fundamental facts."

3. "Who Moved My Cheese?," by Spencer Johnson

What It Teaches: Countless books have been written
about disruptive innovation and how every individual and company
must adapt to an ever-increasing pace of change. No book, however,
has explained the situation (and what to do about it) so succinctly and

Best Quote: "What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you
imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the
situation that actually exists."

4. "The Elements of Style," by William Strunk Jr. and

E.B. White
What It Teaches: Now that emailing, texting, and social networking
are the core of business communication, the ability to write clearly has
never been more essential. After reading this book, you'll be a better
writer than you were before and better than your less-informed
Best Quote: "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain
no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the
same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a
machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make
all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects
only in outline, but that every word tell."

5. "The One Minute Manager," by Kenneth Blanchard

and Spencer Johnson
What It Teaches: If there's a better and more simple definition of
what it means to be a good manager, I've yet to find it. This book
contains more business wisdom (and ways to put it to use) than a
dozen libraries full of academic case studies. Every boss or would-be
boss should read this book.
Best Quote: "If you can't tell me what you'd like to be happening,
you don't have a problem yet. You're just complaining. A problem only
exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and
what you desire to be happening."

6. "How to Lie With Statistics," by Darrell Huff

What It Teaches: A defining characteristic of every business today is
the desire to measure. Metrics, however, are worse than useless unless
they're interpreted appropriately and fairly. This book puts you wise to

all the tricks people use to manipulate the truth so that it leaves a false
impression. It's definitely one of the 10 most eye-opening books that
every entrepreneur should read.
Best Quote: "The secret language of statistics, so appealing in a factminded culture, is employed to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and
oversimplify. Statistical methods and statistical terms are necessary in
reporting the mass data of social and economic trends, business
conditions, 'opinion' polls, the census. But without writers who use the
words with honesty and understanding and readers who know what
they mean, the result can only be semantic nonsense."

7. "The Greatest Salesman in the World," by Og

What It Teaches: If you can't sell your ideas, your product, or your
services, you will never be successful in business. You could read
dozens of books about selling, but they all come down to the simple
truths in this book, which is definitely one of the top 10 sales books of
all time. Warning: This book won't just make you more successful
in business. It will make you more successful at life, as well.
Best Quote: "I will live this day as if it is my last. This day is all I
have and these hours are now my eternity. I greet this sunrise with
cries of joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death. I lift mine arms
with thanks for this priceless gift of a new day. So too, I will beat upon
my heart with gratitude as I consider all who greeted yesterday's
sunrise who are no longer with the living today. I am indeed a
fortunate man and today's hours are but a bonus, undeserved. Why
have I been allowed to live this extra day when others, far better than
I, have departed? Is it that they have accomplished their purpose
while mine is yet to be achieved? Is this another opportunity for me to
become the man I know I can be?"
Read the original article on Inc.. Copyright 2015. Follow Inc.
on Twitter.


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