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The Best Business Books That Are Shaping the Future

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Today’s business students are tomorrow’s business leaders, entrepreneurs, and policymakers. So DegreeQuery thought it would be a good idea to find out what books are shaping the minds that will shape our future. Using data from Open Syllabus, DegreeQuery researchers identified the most assigned business books at public schools and Ivy League colleges.

And although no books appear on both lists, they still found some big overlaps in the subject matter. For example, Ivy League and Public Schools both put a strong emphasis on leadership skills. The Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Stephen Robbins and Organizational Culture and Leadership by  Peter Schein made it onto the Ivy League’s most popular reading list.

At the same time, public school students are learning the art of effective management from Daniel Goleman’s insightful collection of essays, What Makes a Good Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters. Goleman’s often cited work combines business strategy with the latest neuroscientific research to create a data-led approach to boosting performance, fostering effective relationships, and encouraging innovation.

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” – Stephen Covey

And both public and private Ivy League schools are making sure that future business leaders understand a company’s greatest resource – its people. Abraham Maslow’s A Theory of Human Motivation is one of the most assigned pieces of reading at the Ivy League. First published in 1943,  A Theory of Human Motivation is a classic paper on what Maslow called the hierarchy of needs – a vital theory in developmental psychology for understanding human motivation. 

Peter  Senge, a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), explores Maslow’s ideas in The Fifth Discipline. A fixture on public school reading lists across the states, Senge’s book argues that enabling employees to achieve personal mastery is one of the quickest ways to make any business a success.

You can see what other business books are shaping the future by checking out the infographic below:

Ashley Murphy graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. He began working as a freelance content writer in 2015. He specializes in technology, higher education, advertising copy, and current affairs.

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