Impacting Students: Six Books Business Educators Should Teach From

Posted March 25, 2014 by
Professor in an MBA class writing on a board

Professor in an MBA class writing on a board. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

A sharp mind and natural talent are essential for any successful businessperson, but in a world that’s never going to go easy on competition, business newbies need an extra edge. Oftentimes that edge comes from teachers who are passionate about helping their students, but that’s a difficult task without a fully equipped educational toolbox.

What are some of the books that every business educator should think about using?


A post on lists 10 influential books on business that had a real impact on successful business people. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson comes in at the top of the list. One review says that the authors of this book “toss out the old business rules.” It encourages hard work, taking things one step at a time, taking a strong stand and focusing on self rather than competition.

Even if you disagree with some of the principles presented within the book, the viewpoints can stimulate creative thinking in students and motivate them to go beyond the expected.

Inbound Marketing

This book addresses the large role that online marketing plays in today’s businesses and explores how to use the Internet to connect with potential customers and boost profits. Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan goes into the ways that businesses can exploit social media to the greatest advantage. In covers Google, social media, and blogs.

The book made its début in 2009, and with the breakneck pace at which social media evolves, you might think that Inbound Marketing is already on its way to obsolescence. That isn’t the case, however. The underlying principles remain sound and relevant to savvy business minds.

The Greatest Salesman in the World

One of the most influential business books of all time, The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino, is all about ditching the stereotype of the obnoxious foot-in-the-door fellow always out to suck someone’s blood. The book presents salespeople as being focused on others, providing awesome service and on maintaining a positive attitude.

Memorable and thought-provoking sentiments fill the book, things that anyone striving to please customers should remember. Take, for example, this quote from the book: “I determine to render more and better service, each day, than I am being paid to render. Those that reach the top are the ones who are not content with doing only what is required of them.”

The Fisher Investments On Series

Fisher Investments is a large independent investment advisory firm with a long track record of integrity and success. The books in its series reflect that experience, helping businesspeople do more than generate business and serve customers. It helps businesses make their money work for them through wise investment choices. The informative investment books in the series include books on materials, utilities, energy, and telecom, among others.

Good to Great

Good to Great by Jim Collins explores what helps companies stand out from the pack and go from “eh” to “wow!” The book goes into the vital role of effective leadership, leadership that comes from a mind both ambitious and humble. Leaders that focus on the success of a company, rather than on personal success, are oftentimes the ones who accomplish the most.

Collins’s book goes into more than just leadership. It delves into things like technology, company culture, and frank self-assessment. Any student looking for great things should give this book a perusal.

The Art of War

Strap on your sword, don your armor, and hop on your horse. Er, not exactly. Although The Art of War does indeed focus on how to find success on a literal battlefield, the principles in the book will prove useful to any modern businessperson. provided an at-a-glance review of The Art of War and brought out some of its main points, which include the necessities of hiring good people, keeping a level head and knowing the competition. Students might balk at a book that’s thousands of years old, but no one can deny the value of its modern applications.

Publishers, both independent and otherwise, constantly churn out books on business, and you as an educator can help your students pick out the ones with the best contents. The above books are a good place to start.

JT Ripton is a freelance writer, business consultant and loves helping people find their perfect careers. JT writes on a myriad of topics to inform and intrigue, you can follow him on twitter @JTRipton

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