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MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged]

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Re: Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 01 Mar 2009, 15:57
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jb32 wrote:
Audio wrote:
- Barbarians at the gate (although I'm not looking really forward to reading that one - any opinions?)
Great thread btw.


I read it my senior year in college. It really is a must read. I thought it was great and included all of the major Wall Street legends, Kravis, Wasserstein, Fortsman, Lipton, etc. I would also recommend:

- Den of Thieves
- The Last Tycoons
- Atlas Shrugged
- When Genius Failed

-All good finance classics. The Last Tycoons is REALLY long, but I enjoyed reading about Felix Rohatyn and Andre Meyer, who are some real legends on Wall Street.



I'm curious how you think Atlas Shrugged is related to an MBA.
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[MBA Books] - Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2009, 05:14
What are your thoughts on Black Swan? I'm reading it atm, and while the main idea is interesting - extreme, "Black Swan" events can drastically affect your life - the theme can be resumed in 2 sentences. Moreover, the author's arrogance is literally without limits (good thing that he went to Wharton, great publicity :-D ).

What do you guys think?
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Re: [MBA Books] - Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2009, 06:20
Audio wrote:
"Black Swan" events can drastically affect your life


I think you just summarized in 8 words what the author says in 366 pages.

I read part of the book when it came out but just got sick of it and never finished. If true "black swan" events by definition cannot be predicted or foreseen in any way, what's the point of it?
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Re: [MBA Books] - Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2009, 11:46
Jerz wrote:
Audio wrote:
"Black Swan" events can drastically affect your life


I think you just summarized in 8 words what the author says in 366 pages.

I read part of the book when it came out but just got sick of it and never finished. If true "black swan" events by definition cannot be predicted or foreseen in any way, what's the point of it?



The point is that you need to be aware of it and make sure that your don't assume low volatility and no outliers. It requires you to change your mindset and way of thinking because humans have a hard time understanding the effect of unforseen but significant events.

At least, that's what I got out of the book. I loved the sarcasm; it was a fun read (And a lot of it was directed to my people, the French ... )
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Re: [MBA Books] - Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2009, 16:28
Audio wrote:
What are your thoughts on Black Swan? I'm reading it atm, and while the main idea is interesting - extreme, "Black Swan" events can drastically affect your life - the theme can be resumed in 2 sentences. Moreover, the author's arrogance is literally without limits (good thing that he went to Wharton, great publicity :-D ).

What do you guys think?


I'm reading its parent book "Fooled by Randomness", but it appears that both books treat of the same "rare event" idea.

To someone who wants to understand how traders make money, I find it interesting so far. Quite honestly after reading halfway through I get the feeling that trading is just gambling really. I've always thought that the huge amounts of money that traders make are outrageous; I simply do not understand how they create economic value. Taleb says in his book that high yield traders eventually end up blowing up (because they take more risk), while others who stick to more conservative trading strategies last longer. However, that fact alone does not make me feel any better, because those traders who made millions by taking on a lot of risk did not lose their fortune; only their jobs. What's totally sick in traders' compensation is that you may take huge risks for years, get lucky, make huge returns and take a fat bonus check home, but the day you blow up you only lose your job.

By the way Audio, Taleb is a staunch critic of MBAs. I recall one sentence in his book where he says that he is the "unhappy holder of the degree".
But yeah I do agree about his arrogance... Disgusting and disrespectful of others (e.g. looking down on janitors, dentists).

Great thread by the way!
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Re: [MBA Books] - Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2009, 07:59
Just finished reading "Why We Shop: The Science of Shopping" by Paco Underhill. I found it very interesting especially for those with an interest in CPG, brand management, marketing, retail and even consulting. Its a quick read and very entertaining. I definately find myself thinking differently every time I walk into a store now.

Also, haven't read through this entire thread and I apologize if this has already been posted, but I definately think that it makes sense to take a look at the online publications that the top b schools put out. "Knowledge at Warton" is a good one, as well as "Kellogg's Insight". I think coupled with trade magazines and the WSJ definately keeps me abreast of the latest issues, trend, etc facing business and finance today.
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Re: [MBA Books] - Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2009, 20:30
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domtri33 wrote:
Just finished reading "Why We Shop: The Science of Shopping" by Paco Underhill. I found it very interesting especially for those with an interest in CPG, brand management, marketing, retail and even consulting. Its a quick read and very entertaining. I definately find myself thinking differently every time I walk into a store now.

Also, haven't read through this entire thread and I apologize if this has already been posted, but I definately think that it makes sense to take a look at the online publications that the top b schools put out. "Knowledge at Warton" is a good one, as well as "Kellogg's Insight". I think coupled with trade magazines and the WSJ definately keeps me abreast of the latest issues, trend, etc facing business and finance today.



Master list updated and link added - all of the books mentioned in this thread are listed here:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/p556920-mba-books-good-books-to-read-prior-to-mba-merged#p556920
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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2009, 13:11
Wow, if anyone hasn't read "Ahead of the Curve", I highly recommend it. The guy is brutally honest about what goes on at b-school and provide a somewhat "outside" perspective, free of all the hype and marketing.

Good stuff.

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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 26 May 2009, 00:57
refurb wrote:
Wow, if anyone hasn't read "Ahead of the Curve", I highly recommend it. The guy is brutally honest about what goes on at b-school and provide a somewhat "outside" perspective, free of all the hype and marketing.


I thought "Ahead of the Curve" was pretty good, but I don't know that it's "free of hype". Just full of a different kind of (negative) hype. Based on the account he gives in the book, Delves Broughton basically did a poor job of recruiting, had messed-up preconceptions about business and the recruiting process, and left without a job. His negative, critical bias about business school may be illuminating for people who are naive about b-school, but it's not objective or unbiased.

I recently finished "Four Seasons" by Isadore Sharp. I highly recommend it, both because it's an enjoyable read and because it's a fantastic look at service operations management from the perspective of a master. Also an object lesson on why treating people well (and especially the people beneath you, who contribute 95% of any manager's success) is the best policy for managers.
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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 26 May 2009, 02:36
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Skitalets wrote:
refurb wrote:
Wow, if anyone hasn't read "Ahead of the Curve", I highly recommend it. The guy is brutally honest about what goes on at b-school and provide a somewhat "outside" perspective, free of all the hype and marketing.


I thought "Ahead of the Curve" was pretty good, but I don't know that it's "free of hype". Just full of a different kind of (negative) hype. Based on the account he gives in the book, Delves Broughton basically did a poor job of recruiting, had messed-up preconceptions about business and the recruiting process, and left without a job. His negative, critical bias about business school may be illuminating for people who are naive about b-school, but it's not objective or unbiased.


I didn't think he was overly critical of b-school. He admits that he didn't do a good job at recruiting or interviewing. He didn't really blame the school for that.

What I thought was useful was his insight into the whole range of challenges b-school can introduce into your life. He talks about people who keep working jobs they hate because "someday it will pay off" or the visiting CEO who talked about his "children growing longer" (because he only sees them after they've gone to bed) or the CEO who admits he doesn't even know his 12-year old daughter.

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Re: Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 26 May 2009, 02:59
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chineseburned I finished reading Atlas Shrugged a couple of weeks ago so I will try to answer. Atlas Shrugged has influenced many economists, CEOs, politicians in the last 50 years. Alan Greenspan was a big fan and his lazze faire regulatory policies were based on ideas from Atlas Shrugged. This book is strongly right wing pro capitalist and anti socialist (including even charities). It talks about a dystopic society where the government is trying to control things by imposing more taxes / creating random laws and its plot has eerie parallels to what Obama is trying to do right now to get us out of the financial hole (i.e. by subsidizing failing businesses etc.)

Its a thought provoking book about the world and its social systems. At over 1000 pages, its not a light read. Ayn Rand tries to throw all her philosophies in the book one way or the other (even her philosophies on sex). There is a 100 page long speech (gulp). But the plot is compelling and twist after twist kept me engaged. Its definitely worth the read and you will finally know the answer to the age old question : "Who is John Galt?"

So how does it relate to an MBA ? To me it made me think about WHY. Why do we do an MBA, why do we then work hard to produce something? Why do we pay taxes? Why do we strive for betterment? Is it just plain greed? Is it so wrong being greedy? (Atlas Shrugged says NO)


chineseburned wrote:
I'm curious how you think Atlas Shrugged is related to an MBA.
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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 31 May 2009, 17:59
Though the reading list is already very exhaustive and highly impressive. i would like to add my 2 cents

1. Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. by Dr CK Prahalad. a must read for all those interested in social entrepreneurship and non-profit careers.

2. Rise and fall of great powers by Paul Kennedy. though i read it about 10 years ago(when the book was too good for me). i immensely liked it. It beautifully captures a history of all great powers(economic and military) from sixteenth century to mid twentieth century. wonderful analysis and breadth in my humble opinion.
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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2009, 14:56
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Master list updated
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Re: Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2009, 14:58
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bsd_lover wrote:
chineseburned I finished reading Atlas Shrugged a couple of weeks ago so I will try to answer. Atlas Shrugged has influenced many economists, CEOs, politicians in the last 50 years. Alan Greenspan was a big fan and his lazze faire regulatory policies were based on ideas from Atlas Shrugged. This book is strongly right wing pro capitalist and anti socialist (including even charities). It talks about a dystopic society where the government is trying to control things by imposing more taxes / creating random laws and its plot has eerie parallels to what Obama is trying to do right now to get us out of the financial hole (i.e. by subsidizing failing businesses etc.)

Its a thought provoking book about the world and its social systems. At over 1000 pages, its not a light read. Ayn Rand tries to throw all her philosophies in the book one way or the other (even her philosophies on sex). There is a 100 page long speech (gulp). But the plot is compelling and twist after twist kept me engaged. Its definitely worth the read and you will finally know the answer to the age old question : "Who is John Galt?"

So how does it relate to an MBA ? To me it made me think about WHY. Why do we do an MBA, why do we then work hard to produce something? Why do we pay taxes? Why do we strive for betterment? Is it just plain greed? Is it so wrong being greedy? (Atlas Shrugged says NO)


chineseburned wrote:
I'm curious how you think Atlas Shrugged is related to an MBA.


I can't wait to post a quote here of Francisco D'Anconia's answer about the "Evil of Money"
I am at page 650 and can't stop reading. A very influential book.
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Re: Good books to read prior to MBA [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2009, 01:21
Fantastic bb, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on it when you are finished with it.
bb wrote:

I can't wait to post a quote here of Francisco D'Anconia's answer about the "Evil of Money"
I am at page 650 and can't stop reading. A very influential book.
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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2009, 22:44
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Sun Tzu's Art of War yet. It's considered a must-read for businessmen in Asia for centuries.


Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/140274 ... 1402745524
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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2009, 23:08
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I finally have the Atlas Shrugged with me, so I can post the quote by Senior Francisco d'Anconia on money:
(Just fyi - these are my favorite parts from about 4 pages of a monologue and I am not giving it justice but I'll try nevertheless)

Francisco d'Anconia, page 412 - 415 wrote:
Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth - the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves hi; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? ... Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason you call it evil?

Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2009, 16:48
Thats awesome bb.

I just finished reading "The Money Culture" by Michael Lewis. It is a collection of articles published by Michael Lewis in various magazines in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I thought it made a brilliant read not just because Michael is a very funny guy. His articles were very insightful and, in some cases, prophetic. He has consistently been critical of levels of debt in wall street since the 1980s (if only everyone else took notice). He takes particular joy in poking fun at the LBO players and the value they add to a takeover target. His criticism of the American Express card had me splitting my sides laughing. This book will not be too much fun for those without enough knowledge of wall street history (especially of the 80s and early 90s when Japan and not China was considered threat #1 to US supremacy). A recommended light read for those long flights to b-school.

Money Culture : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014017 ... 0140173188
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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2009, 18:09
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bsd_lover wrote:
Thats awesome bb.

I just finished reading "The Money Culture" by Michael Lewis. It is a collection of articles published by Michael Lewis in various magazines in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I thought it made a brilliant read not just because Michael is a very funny guy. His articles were very insightful and, in some cases, prophetic. He has consistently been critical of levels of debt in wall street since the 1980s (if only everyone else took notice). He takes particular joy in poking fun at the LBO players and the value they add to a takeover target. His criticism of the American Express card had me splitting my sides laughing. This book will not be too much fun for those without enough knowledge of wall street history (especially of the 80s and early 90s when Japan and not China was considered threat #1 to US supremacy). A recommended light read for those long flights to b-school.

Money Culture : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014017 ... 0140173188


Thank you for another great book suggestion.
Which category would you put it under in the first post here: mba-books-good-books-to-read-prior-to-mba-merged-74557.html
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Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged] [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2009, 19:29
I would put it under either Investment Banking or Finance. BTW I just went through the list and I cannot believe that Reminiscences of a Stock Operator - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/047177 ... 0471770884 is not in the list. This book is a timeless classic for anyone moving to any form of trading / investment. I've read it more than 10 times and I still find new and interesting things everytime I read it.


bb wrote:

Thank you for another great book suggestion.
Which category would you put it under in the first post here: mba-books-good-books-to-read-prior-to-mba-merged-74557.html
Re: MBA Books - Good books to read prior to MBA [Merged]   [#permalink] 06 Jun 2009, 19:29
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