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Must-Reads for Business Students: Inspiring Books

Can’t wait to join us on your Business and Entrepreneurship, Business and Finance, Leadership or Management summer course?

We recommend reading these 6 fantastic books for all business students.

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  1. Business Adventures, by John Brooks

It was impossible not to include Business Adventures on the list. A must-read for those interested in notable business events that have shaped our history; this New York Times bestseller shares ‘twelve classic tales from the world of Wall Street,’ and is claimed to be the best business book that Bill Gates has ever read.

The book offers an in-depth look at some of the most influential economic, financial and business moments that have occurred over the past century, including the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the ‘Edsel,’ and the collapse of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain.

These and ten other events explained in the book mark several major business developments in the US business, including many repercussions which are still present today. You’ll learn about key points where business ethics can be traced back to, as well as to the understanding we now have of the financial market.

  1. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change The Way You Do Business, by Clayton M. Christensen

Named by Amazon Editors as one of the top 100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in a Lifetime, this book has been made famous by some of the most innovative leaders in business, including Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs.

Written by Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen, it demonstrates how business owners can fail precisely by doing everything that they were taught at business school, just by missing out on the emerging opportunities that the digitalised 21st century has to offer.

With a focus on the disruptive technology phenomenon, the book analyses companies that have missed out on new waves of innovation and fallen victim to following traditional business practices and ‘what we know’ – another book which no entrepreneur or leadership student should ever miss out on reading.


  1. The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham

Despite its original publication in 1949, The Intelligent Investor is still one of the most popularly read business and finance books, having been hailed by American business tycoon Warren Buffet as ‘one of the best books on investing that has ever been written.’

A bible for those interested in working in the stock market, this book theorises plenty about ‘value investing,’ which teaches investors how to develop long-term strategies which will help to eliminate error and achieve their financial goals.

  1. Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight

The newest book on our list, this 2018 memoir from the founder of Nike, Phil Knight, has been described as, by Bill Gates, as ‘a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like.’

Knight recounts the story of how he built his empire; from leaving business school in 1962 and borrowing $50 from his father to kick-start his company to turning over annual sales of over $30 billion in 2018, Knight misses no details in his humble telling of how his start-up became one of the most successful businesses in the world. A light and candid read with humour and honesty on what it really takes to make it to the top.


  1. Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping Our Future, by Ashlee Vance How could we not create a list of inspirational business books for students and not include the biography of renowned entrepreneur and innovator, Elon Musk?

He’s the man behind the creation of Tesla, PayPal, SpaceX and SolarCity. He is obsessed with our solar system, with plans to send people into space to form colonies on Mars, and save our planet Earth through renewable energy technologies and implementations.

This rather detailed biography leaves no details of how he grew to success. Starting with his childhood and following him through to university and beyond, the book talks about how he created business successes such as PayPal, as well as his downfalls which have led to new and exciting business ventures through his technology-based businesses – an important and drama-filled account of how one of the most renowned businessmen came to succeed.

  1. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success” by William N. Thorndike As the founder of private equity firm, Housatonic Partners, director of eight separate companies, as well as guest lecturer at Harvard and Stanford business school, there’s no doubt that William Thorndike knows how to make a business successful and manage it.

But what about everyone else?

Looking at an impressive group of some of the world’s most successful business leaders and dissecting their strategies, Thorndike’s book is a must-read for aspiring leaders. Analysing and noting what management principles have worked for them, readers can learn a number of valuable lessons from their leadership principles.

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Recommended books for our business summer courses: "Business Adventures," "The Innovator’s Dilemma," "The Intelligent Investor," "Shoe Dog," "Elon Musk," and "The Outsiders".

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