Societies advance and consequently educational systems have to adapt to new times. In the field of postgraduate training, there are two substantial issues that make it so particular and irreplaceable: training and experimentation, whether face-to-face or online, in which students exchange a quantity of information and real circumstances experienced by their groupmates and learning from the important contributions of teachers; all reading material, teamwork, research, etc. In other words, between what is received in the physical and virtual classroom plus what is read to incorporate and affirm knowledge. In this second question, books in any format are essential. Because they are part of the thoughts of an author and his experiences, but with the addition, which in turn are based on observations of other authors, also of other investigations, that is, it is a real cloud (in terms that everyone understands) of collective knowledge.
It is not easy to recommend books in the field of postgraduate training, because there are tens of thousands and starting from the basis that every time a new one is published it has something different to contribute, it is impossible to do, let alone recommend which are the best. In fact, hundreds of them fall into the category of management classics and have sold by the thousands. You don’t have to go looking only for the management best-sellers, but rather know how to find those titles that are going to give us knowledge and entertainment at the same time.
Good reading is also entertainment, no matter how much we are using it as part of the study. When we see it from this point of view, it makes it easier for the student to concentrate, dedicate time, because he can enjoy what he is doing, discovering new things, points of view that he had not taken into account. For this reason, all our fellow professors always recommend these must-reads and others that are complementary, but no less important.
Some business books that stand out in recent years
But there are lists and opinions plus the usual criticism from important media in the business section, but especially those that dedicate space and good criticism to postgraduate training. It is mathematically impossible to even get to 10% of what really exists.
We know that any business book offers an author’s point of view, probably an MBA professor or a bachelor’s degree in business administration professor, which is of great use to the graduate student. But we do not accept the position of some who directly think that reading several business books can give the training equivalent to that of an MBA. It is a real nonsense. They are great tools and very complementary, but in no way substitutes for an MBA program.
What is certain is that there are many business books on the market and week after week and month after month of each year we are invaded (with all due respect) by a few thousand more on a global scale. If you search Amazon for “Business Books” it gives more than 2 million results, which, of course, makes the choice very difficult.
Go for it:
1º) Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins, who has a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences and an MBA from Stanford University, and honorary doctorates from the University of Colorado and the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. In 2017, Forbes selected Jim Collins as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.
What is Collins planning in this play? How great companies succeed over time and how sustained long-term performance can be built into a company’s DNA from the start. And, based on this analysis, Collins is concerned about what happens to that company that is not born with a great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre ones, and even bad companies achieve lasting greatness? Let’s say that what Collins comes to demonstrate in his thesis falls within the current field of sustainability of a business project. Collins wonders what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that take a company from good to great? In his research, he observed that the good results of companies that had taken the leap were maintained for at least fifteen years. What happened is that companies that went from good to great generated cumulative stock returns that outperformed the broader stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, more than double the results delivered by a composite index of the companies. largest in the world, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric and Merck.
Another of the questions addressed in his research is why one set of companies became truly excellent companies while the other set remained good? And for Collins this responds to what he calls “a culture of discipline”, which is when business ethics is rooted in the corporate culture, a magical alchemy of great results is obtained. This implies that technology accelerators are produced, since companies that go from good to great think differently about the role of technology. In contrast, those that launch programs of radical change and wrenching restructuring will almost certainly fail to make the leap. We are used to the fact that during crises, companies, in general terms, adjust the operating account by reducing the workforce.
2º) “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”. The Hard in Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowiz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup. It is an authentic manual of practical wisdom to learn how to manage the most difficult problems that organizations face. While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run. Ben Horowitz discusses the issues leaders face every day and shares insights he’s gained from building, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and overseeing technology companies. Without a doubt, the role played by having experienced in any field of business activity clearly emerges from this work, because in anyone who has worked, learning from that sector of activity also helps to experiment in others in which there is no experience.
3º) “Purple cow. Transforming your business by being remarkable: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin makes an interesting thesis: are you a purple cow or are you not. Are you noticeable or invisible? In other words, it is up to each person to make the choice of what they want to be. That is why you wonder what Apple, Starbucks, Dyson and Pret a Manger have in common? How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving old tried-and-true brands behind to gasp for the last time? The old letter P checklist used by marketers (pricing, promotion, advertising) no longer works. The golden age of advertising is over. It’s time to add a new P: the purple cow.
Purple Cow describes something counterintuitive, exciting, and downright awesome. In his book, Seth Godin urges putting a Purple Cow in everything we build and do, so that we can create something remarkable. In other words, knowing how to differentiate ourselves from the start. It’s a manifesto for anyone who wants to help create products and services worth marketing in the first place.
This work by Seth Godín is a classic bestseller that taught the business world that safe is risky; very good is bad; and above all, you are remarkable or invisible. What it does is explain the importance of doing something unique and eye-catching for the target market. Give relevant examples from companies like Apple and JetBlue. It explains how companies have branded their products with remarkable style and use it as a marketing technique.
4º) “The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich” by Timothy Ferriss. It is a work in which he refers to how to rebuild your life so that it is not only focused on work. Since he believes that we should forget what he calls the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred life plan, since he thinks that there is no need to wait and there are many reasons not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. This book is intended as a guide, perhaps a blueprint for how to break out of the day job trap we’re all in and experience high-end world travel, earn a five-figure monthly income with little or very little management, or simply live more and work less. Which makes him give tips like outsourcing virtual assistants for $5 an hour and being able to do some escapism by traveling the world without quitting your job. Because the purpose is to eliminate 50% of the work while remaining effective.
5º) “Thinking, Fast and Slow” (Thinking, fast and slow) by Daniel Kahneman, (1934) is an Israeli-American psychologist who stands out for his work in the psychology of judgment and decision making, as well as in the behavioral economics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 2002. Prize in Economic Sciences (shared with Vernon L. Smith). His empirical findings challenge the assumption of human rationality that prevails in modern economic theory. With Amos Tversky and others, Kahneman established a cognitive basis for common human errors arising from heuristics and biases (Kahneman & Tversky, 1973; Kahneman, Slovic & Tversky, 1982; Tversky & Kahneman, 1974), and developed the theory prospective (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979).
In his work, he takes us on an innovative tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive our thinking. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberate, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence in corporate strategies, the difficulties in predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation, each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.
Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can reap the benefits of slow thinking. He offers insightful and practical insights into how decisions are made in both our business and personal lives, and how we can use different techniques to protect ourselves against the mental failings that often get us into trouble. Topping the bestseller lists for nearly ten years, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a contemporary classic, an essential book that has changed the lives of millions of readers.
Antonio Alonso, president of the AEEN (Spanish Business School Association) and general secretary of EUPHE (European Union of Private Higher Education)