I remember thinking before the MBA that I wanted to go in completely prepared – to make the course somehow less intense. In hindsight, keeping a solid eye on world events and relaxing was much more important than most of the prework that could be done. However, during the MBA, book recommendations come thick and fast. Having finally had a chance to catch up with a few of them, I wanted to share the ones that I wished that I had read before the MBA (that are not on the lengthy assigned reading list that participants get in September.)
Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership
George Kohlrieser, Susan Goldsworthy, Duncan Coombe
A book on leadership centred around finding the best way to motivate and lead teams. While its content has been slowly unfolded for us over the course, I found it extremely useful to review when I did encounter tricky situations on my teams. Its not officially on the syllabus either – which is a surprise.
The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking
This is the book that defines structure for me, it is a core presentation book with wide applications and remains challenging to implement even with practice. The book is a seminal work in the problem solving and presentation space, and the one copy I had before the MBA went through pretty much all the consulting teams hands. The simple rule of expressing your message as a single thought with a pyramid of analysis underneath is still a challenging structure to drive – even with practice. But this is so important during the MBA and beyond.
PowerPoint For Dummies
Honestly – you use a lot of PowerPoint in an MBA. All of us came in fluent in the tool, but the quality and standard of presentations has ramped considerably during the program. This is a tongue in cheek recommendation – but I cannot stress to incoming participants how important getting used to the new Microsoft Office (especially Microsoft Teams) is before the course.
Games People Play
The core theory of this book is fascinating. True adult conversations are difficult to have at any point in time, and the outline of the adult, parent, child relationship in communication is quite striking. The enumeration of the games themselves are fascinating. Fair warning – the book’s understanding of gender and sexuality is dated to its time – but there are still valuable learnings in here. If after reading it, you do not recognise yourself in one of the games then you came to the book more self-aware than most.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Fair warning – I have not actually read this one yet – but it is next on the list.
The first time this was referenced was in a leadership session on our first day of class. Since then, this book has been referenced in almost every class I have been in throughout the MBA, and I am looking forward to getting to grips with it on the beach!