The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

Bschool bound MBA summer reading list

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

School’s out for summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn while you work on your tan and catch up on some extra beauty rest, right? After all, if you’re headed to bschool you’re already a multitasking master. One crucial aspect of navigating the business school experience is building a strong network and fostering genuine relationships. It’s a proven way to alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness when facing new situations and challenges. That’s why the MBAchic team is thrilled to kick off the season by inviting you to join our virtual summer book club. Like you, we love diving into new books and have shared some of our top picks in the past to celebrate diverse storytelling. Now that the weather is heating up, our team figured it’s time to grab your chic swimsuit and fill your tote with the best books to make the most of beach season. Don’t worry about scouring dozens of covers or surveying your friends for their recommendations. MBAchic has curated the ultimate MBA summer reading list full of 14 page-turners that will leave you feeling confident and ready to land on campus.

Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and equipped with the mindset and strategies to excel in your academic journey. Whether you’re looking to enhance your leadership skills, develop your entrepreneurial mindset, or protect your positive mindset through big changes and stressful challenges, these books will be your trusted companions.

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control by Katherine Morgan Schafler

The Perfectionist’s Guide for Losing Control by Katherine Morgan Schafler

Major Themes: Nonfiction, self help, psychology, personal development, mental health, audiobook, counseling, feminism, health, personal growth, business, wellness 

About the book: Which of the five types of perfectionist are you? Classic, intense, Parisian, messy, or procrastinator? As you identify your unique perfectionist profile (raise your hand if you love a good science-based personality quiz), you’ll learn how to manage each form of perfectionism to work for you, instead of against you. Beyond managing it, you’ll learn how to embrace and even enjoy your perfectionism. 

Swap superficial control for real power in this page-turner that’s written for women who are sick of being given generic advice to find balance. Packed full of humor, empathy, and depth, this book is a love letter to the ambitious, high achieving, full-of-life clients who filled the author’s private practice, and who changed her life. (Sound like someone you know?) It’s a call for all women to dare to want more without feeling greedy or ungrateful, a lesson each of us could use time and time again. 

About the author: Psychotherapist, writer and speaker, and former on-site therapist at Google Katherine Morgan Schafler earned degrees and trained at UC Berkeley and Columbia University, with post-graduate certification from the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy in NYC. 

What readers are saying: 

“Morgan Schafler lays bare provocative new insights into how “perfectionism” is often just code for “women excelling too much,” and identifies the strategies and mindset every high-achieving woman needs to quell her inner critic and embrace her true talents.”

— Holly Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of Quit Like a Woman

“An accessible, actionable guide for how to aim high without overthinking or punishing yourself along the way. This book is a must-read for anxious achievers who want to remain ambitious but could operate with a bit more self-compassion.”

— Liz Fosslien, coauthor and illustrator of the bestselling books Big Feelings and No Hard Feelings

Must-Read Books: How to Change by Katy Milkman

How to Change:  The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Katy Milkman 

Major Themes: Decision Making, problem solving, psychology, personal growth, personal development, business

About the book: If you would describe yourself as an ambitious, motivated person ready to take on a new challenge, this book is for you. Change is constant, but when it comes time to make change happen in our own lives, whether it’s a fitness goal, reading or learning more, it can feel much harder to make change stick.

Milkman dives into the science of the barriers to change, the common roadblocks and obstacles, to help understand why they get in the way. She also digs into how to overcome them using findings from her own experiments and studies of her colleagues and friends, and sharing examples from famous and successful athletes to illustrate her points. She makes the challenges real, even relatable, and explains why change is hard but not always impossible. Take advantage of the fresh start a new school year provides and see more thoughts in MBAchic’s full review here.

About the author: Katy Milkman is a behavioral scientist and Professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the course of her career, she has worked with or advised dozens of organizations on how to encourage positive change. She currently co-directs the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania and hosts Choiceology, a popular Charles Schwab podcast about behavioral economics.

What readers are saying: 

“Brilliant. Personal. And best of all, actionable. A highlight reel of what scientists know about how to change behavior for good.”

— Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit

“Whether you’re trying to add a few days of physical activity to your week, or striving for the top spot in your industry, How to Change will help you start to see why you might not have made the required changes and you’ll better understand what you need to do next.”

— Jeneta Hot, MBAchic Founder 

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: Work Better Together by Jen Fisher and Anh Phillips

Work Better Together: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships to Maximize Well-Being and Boost Bottom Lines by Jen Fisher and Anh Phillips 

Major Themes: Human Resources, personnel management, leadership, workplace culture, management, sociology, diversity, authenticity, team building 

About the book: Research shows that authentic, trust-based relationships increase job satisfaction, engagement, productivity, and retention, and even decreased healthcare costs.

In Work Better Together, two Deloitte experts explain how working remotely, over-relying on digital communication, and always being ‘on’ is fast-increasing feelings of isolation and burnout. What’s the solution? Fostering quality relationships. The authors show how to cultivate positive relationships through self-care, human skills, and using technology with intentionality to strengthen relationships. Whether you’re in the office every day, telecommuting, or something in between, Work Better Together shows readers the power of relationships to drive quality organizational collaboration. 

About the authors: Jen Fisher is a leading voice on workplace well-being and creating human-centered organizational cultures. She frequently speaks and writes about building a culture of well-being at work and hosts Work Well, a podcast series on the latest work-life trends. Jen currently serves as Deloitte’s chief well-being officer in the United States, where she drives the strategy and innovation around work-life, health, and wellness.

Stay tuned for Fisher’s TED Talk here.

Anh Phillips has dedicated her career to exploring the interplay between technology and humanity. She is coauthor of The Technology Fallacy, a data-driven look at the centrality of culture to digital transformation. A senior leader at Deloitte Consulting, Anh directs research teams that help the C-suite and board focus on the important role that technology, leadership, and culture play in fostering innovation.

What readers are saying: 

“Jen Fisher and Anh Phillips are visionaries—Work Better Together is an inspiring step-by-step field guide for sparking human potential. Our jobs have a profound impact on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Jen and Anh illustrate how humane workplaces—filled with kindness, psychological safety, teamwork, and meaning—allow productivity and innovation to flourish. This book will show you how to make your work more joyful while boosting results.”

— Kelli Harding, MD, MPH, and bestselling author of The Rabbit Effect

“What could be more timely or important than a book about well-being in the workplace? On weekdays most adults spend the bulk of their waking hours at work, either in person or remotely. As Jen Fisher and Anh Phillips explain in Work Better Together, 80 percent of us feel we lack close, meaningful relationships with our coworkers, which in turn damages our relationships with our employers and diminishes our effectiveness in the workplace. Their book offers a road map that leaders at all levels of any organization can follow to improve the psychological well-being of their employees, and, ultimately, the efficiency of the organizations they lead.” 

— Adam Alter, Professor of Marketing and Psychology, New York University Stern School of Business and New York Times bestselling author of Irresistible and Drunk Tank Pink

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: Presence by Amy Cuddy

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

Major Themes: Social Psychology, women in business, body language, nonverbal communication, business communication, meetings and presentations, leadership, personal growth, public speaking, positive mindset

About the book: By accessing our personal power, we can achieve the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves. As Harvard professor Amy Cuddy’s book reveals, we don’t need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.

This book will teach you how to use simple techniques to liberate yourself from fear in high-pressure moments, and connect with and empower others to do the same. Presence is filled with stories of individuals who learned how to thrive during the stressful moments that once terrified them. So if learning how to approach your biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread sounds appealing, this book is for you. 

About the author: Harvard Business School & UCLA Anderson School of Management professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments influence people. Her research has been published in top academic journals, and Amy Cuddy has galvanized tens of millions of viewers around the world with her 2012 TED talk about “power poses” – the second most-viewed talk in TED’s history.  

Watch Cuddy’s TED Talk here

What readers are saying: 

“A captivating, charming read on harnessing confidence and poise. Demystifying a century of science, Amy Cuddy shows how we can achieve greater success and sincerity by changing the way we carry ourselves.” 

— Adam Grant, author of Originals and Give and Take

“Amy Cuddy is making the world a braver place with her book, PRESENCE. Weaving together science, practical examples, and storytelling, Cuddy shows us how bringing our boldest, most authentic selves to challenging situations inspires others to do the same. This book is a game-changer!”

— Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

Must-Read Books: Get Different by Mike Michalowicz

Get Different by Mike Michalowicz

Major Themes: Entrepreneurship, marketing, small business growth, brand building, customer relations, financial freedom 

About the book: Authored by the charismatic and comical Michalowicz, this book presents an incredibly effective and refreshingly straightforward marketing system that will leave you ready to revolutionize your marketing mindset. Going beyond generic advice, Get Different offers a game-changing approach for anyone facing the challenge of growing their business.

Drawing from real-life stories of entrepreneurs, Michalowicz infuses the book with his signature humor and no-nonsense approach. The insights provided are not just theoretical musings but practical advice that you can immediately implement. Readers will encounter a simple yet powerful system centered around three critical questions that every entrepreneur and business owner must ask themselves about their marketing:

Does it differentiate?

Does it attract?

Does it direct?

By exploring these key aspects, readers will gain a deeper understanding of how to make any brand, message, product, or service stand out from the competition and truly resonate with a target audience. If you’ve struggled to find the right formula for success because your marketing efforts lack impact and fail to connect with customers, then Get Different is the answer you’ve been waiting for. 

About the author: Michalowicz launched and sold two multimillion-dollar companies and is the bestselling author of Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan, Clockwork, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, and Fix This Next. He is the host of the American Express Turning Points podcast and speaks openly about living a life of “entrepreneurial poverty” – where he was broke financially, emotionally and physically for decades. One of his missions as a speaker and author is to fix entrepreneurial struggles so that future entrepreneurs don’t face the same troubles he has. 

What readers are saying: 

“Different marketing wins every time. Get Different shows you how.”

— Melinda Emerson, author of Become Your Own Boss In 12 Months

“If you fail to fascinate your consumer, you’ll quickly be forgotten and fail. So, how to stand out in a crowded and distracted marketplace? In this book, Michalowicz nails the answer: Get different.”

— Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: The Prepared Leader by Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten

The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before by Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten

Major Themes: Conflict Resolution, mediation, decision making, problem solving, strategic planning, leadership

About the book: Whether you’re a seasoned executive, an aspiring leader, or someone seeking to thrive in an ever-evolving professional landscape, this book holds the key to unlocking your potential and becoming a resilient and forward-thinking leader. As you delve into the pages of The Prepared Leader by James and Wooten, you’ll embark on a transformative journey that unveils powerful insights, practical tools, and invaluable frameworks to navigate through the complexities of today and tomorrow.

This refreshing take on team building argues that—in addition to people, profit, and the planet—prepared leadership should be the fourth “P” in a company’s bottom line. They bring decades of world-renowned research on crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, management strategy, and positive leadership to the table to help leaders better prepare themselves to lead through crises—and for whatever lies around the corner.

About the authors: Erika James became the dean of the Wharton School on July 1, 2020. Trained as an organizational psychologist, James is an expert on crisis leadership, workplace diversity and management strategy. An award-winning educator, accomplished consultant, and researcher, she is the first woman and first person of color to be appointed dean in Wharton’s 141-year history. As such she has paved the way for women in leadership both in education and corporate America.

Lynn Wooten, a seasoned academic and an expert on organizational development and transformation, is the ninth president of Simmons University and the first African American to lead the institution. Specializing in crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and positive leadership, Wooten is an innovative leader, presenter, and prolific author. 

What readers are saying: 

“Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten present a practical and insightful tour through the critical elements of effective crisis management. Crises are inevitable but the key to leadership through one is building resilience before the crisis–feedback and learning loops are essential to prepare leaders for the serious challenges they must address. James and Wooten show that crises provide risks coupled with opportunities and that the leaders who thrive during crises are those who push themselves to learn thoroughly and rapidly and to seize on both wins and losses.”

— Ruth Porat, SVP & Chief Financial Officer, Alphabet and Google

“Dean James and President Wooten have penned an indisputable blueprint of how to successfully manage, leverage, and emerge victoriously from any global crisis. More importantly, they invite leaders to be deeply introspective to challenge themselves to an elevated level of leadership.”

― Carla Harris, Senior Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley, and Author, Lead to Win and Expect to Win

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: You Have More Influence Than You Think by Vanessa Bohns

You Have More Influence Than You Think by Vanessa Bohns 

Major Themes: Leadership, interpersonal relations, self-management, motivational,  inspirational, psychology, nonfiction, business, self help, personal development

About the book: Weaving together compelling stories with cutting-edge science, social psychologist Vanessa Bohns answers the questions we all want to know (but may be afraid to ask): How much did she take to heart what I said earlier? Do they know they can push back on my suggestions? Did he notice whether I was there today? Will they agree to help me if I ask?

If you’ve ever felt ineffective, invisible, or inarticulate, chances are you weren’t actually any of those things. In You Have More Influence Than You Think, Bohns explains how those feelings may instead have been the result of a lack of awareness we all seem to have for how our words, actions, and even our mere presence affect other people. That lack of awareness can lead us to miss opportunities or accidentally misuse our power. 

In various situations, such as attending a meeting, posting online, or summoning the courage to ask for a favor, we tend to assume that our actions, contributions, and requests will go unnoticed or be turned down. However, Bohns and her research reveal a surprising truth: people actually see us, listen to us, and are more willing to fulfill our requests than we often realize, leading to both positive and negative outcomes.

About the author: Social psychologist and a professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University Vanessa Bohns holds a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University and an AB from Brown University. Professor Bohns has been a Visiting Scholar at the NYU Stern School of Business and has taught at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Her research has been published in top academic journals in psychology, management, and law. Read more about her take on the power of tapping into your influence here

What readers are saying: 

“Bohns sheds light on what we all want to know about our effect on other people, but rarely get to see. This book will make those in positions of power think twice about the weight their own words can carry and will reassure anyone who has ever walked away from an interaction feeling invisible that they had impact.”

— Reshma Saujani, New York Times best-selling author of Brave, Not Perfect and founder of Girls Who Code

“Bohns guides us to the insight that we are influential beyond our wildest dreams. Through her rigorous research and relatable voice, she helps us make sense of the world and our non-trivial place in it. The result is an exhilarating, evidence-based, expert read that you will not want to miss.”

— Dolly Chugh, best-selling author of The Person You Mean to Be

Must-Read Books: The Power of Giving Away Power by Matthew Barzun

The Power of Giving Away Power: How the Best Leaders Learn to Let Go by Matthew Barzun

Major Themes: Management, leadership, organizational Behavior, nonfiction, self help, business

About the book: What happens when leaders find the courage to distribute power—rather than hoard it? According to Barzun, that’s where the magic happens. Creativity multiplies, trust deepens, inclusivity expands, and a new kind of order emerges. The Power of Giving Away Power layers lessons across history and industries with the author’s own experiences as an internet entrepreneur, political organizer, and US ambassador to the United Kingdom and Sweden. This read encourages us all to recognize, as Barzun writes, “the power we can create by seeing the power in others,” and making the leap to lead together.”

About the author: Barzun has always been fascinated about how we can stand out and fit in at the same time, and it’s his goal to help his readers crack the code. He helped countries do both when he served as US ambassador to the United Kingdom and to Sweden. He helped citizens do both as National Finance Chair for Barack Obama by pioneering new ways for people to have a stronger voice in politics. And he helped tech consumers do both as an entrepreneur when he helped build CNET Networks in the early 90’s. 

What readers are saying: 

“A gift. This is certainly the path to the collective leadership we need to tackle today’s challenges and shape a better future.”

— Wendy Kopp, Founder, Teach For America

“The book is illuminating. It challenges you to take a hard look at your own leadership style…it’s that good.”

— Stacey Wade, CEO and executive creative director, Nimbus

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers

We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers

Major themes: Gaining economic power, tactical wealth building, money mindset, legacy building, financial freedom.

About the book: In her own words, author Rachel Rodgers wants to help you feel like a flourishing, wealthy badass who is completely unstoppable. Want to unlock a game plan to make more money, change your reality, and create a positive community impact in 2023? If you’ve been itching to dive into the data surrounding all the systemic disadvantages in women’s lives that affect wealth building, but you want actionable steps to change your financial future – read this book. Rodgers points out how on the whole, women earn less than men, pay more for our debt than men, are less likely to invest than men, and are 80% more likely to be impoverished in retirement. 

With a focus on underrepresented groups, We Should All Be Millionaires explores the widened wealth gap for Black women, women of color, LGBTQIA+ women, disabled women, women who are not thin, women who grew up low-income, and all women with intersecting inequalities. Arguing that when marginalized populations become wealthier, everyone wins, Rodgers outlines how women can stop shrinking and start expanding to make more money, understand how an unequal system prevents women from reaching financial goals, and engage in effective methods to gain prosperity. 

About the author: Author Rachel Rodgers is an intellectual property attorney, business coach, and writer. Rodgers started her career working for state and federal judges, nonprofits, and Hillary Clinton. She is also the creator of the Hello Seven Podcast and the founder of We Should All Be Millionaires: The Club.

What readers are saying:

“As Black women, we are accustomed to the story that we are required to struggle in order to find financial stability or success. This book needs to be read by every woman who is ready for a blueprint for being joyful, finding ease, and growing wealth while standing up for causes that need our voices and attention.”

— Rachel Cargle, Author and Anti-Racism Activist 

“This book will shift your entire mindset around finances, wealth and worth, and success.” 

— Jeneta Hot, MBAchic Founder 

Must-Read Books: Lead to Win by Carla Harris

Lead To Win by Carla A. Harris 

Major themes: Business, transformational leadership, power, Pearls of Wisdom

About the book: In the follow up to Expect to Win and Strategize to Win, multi-hyphenate and powerhouse Carla Harris dives into the evolution from individual contributor to manager and all the transformation that is required of an emerging leader. Drawing on decades of experience as a veteran on Wall Street, a speaker, author, mentor and accomplished gospel singer, Harris shares the eight things leaders must invest in, to have real impact in their workplace and beyond: authenticity, building trust, creating other leads, clarity, diversity, innovation, inclusivity and voice.

This book comes at a time where everything about how we live and do business has changed. Harris examines the changes required of modern leaders to remain influential and successful at managing organizations and developing the next generation of leaders. 

About the author: Carla Harris is a Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, previously serving as Vice Chairman of Wealth Management and Chair of the Morgan Stanley Foundation. Harris has extensive industry experience in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and healthcare sectors, and was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council. She sits on corporate and nonprofit board and previously served as Chair of the prestigious national organization, The Executive Leadership Council. She joined Morgan Stanley after completing her MBA from Harvard Business School and is the author of Expect to Win and Strategize to Win

What readers are saying: 

“Our world has changed — and so must the way we lead. Thank goodness, then, for Carla Harris. In this powerful book, she draws on the wisdom accumulated during her own astonishing career to illuminate how leaders can become more intentional, effective, and transformative.”

— Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE POWER OF REGRET, DRIVE, and TO SELL IS HUMAN

“In Lead To Win, Carla Harris shares her battle-tested ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ for powerful leadership in the 21st Century,  pandemic impacted environment. Her focus on the pearls of Intentional Leadership is thoughtful,  practical,  and executable.  This book offers a recipe for leadership success if you are already sitting in the C-suite, a founder of an early stage company,  or someone aspiring to lead others in any venue. An insightful add to your must-read list.”

— Robin L. Washington, Board Director, Salesforce, Honeywell, and Alphabet, former CFO, Gilead Sciences

“Carla Harris is a powerhouse who has always inspired our community, and Lead to Win describes how much of our leadership evolution relies on investing in and building trust and faith in ourselves. I’m reminded of a conversation a few years ago that MBAchic joined with our friends at the HBS Women’s conference, where Harris shared that ‘fear has no place in your success equation.’ Immediately after she said that, MBAchic’s discussions were ablaze with praise and confirmation that Harris said exactly what we all needed to hear. To lead powerfully and impactfully, the journey starts from within, across a number of dimensions.”

— Jeneta Hot, MBAchic

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

Must-Read Books: Edge by Laura Huang

Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage by Laura Huang 

Major themes: culture, success, perception, personal characteristics, performance, business nonfiction, self help, leadership, psychology, productivity, management, negotiation, persuasion, social perceptiveness

About the book: Adversity and discrimination are unfortunate realities of our professional lives, but Edge offers up digestible, relatable, and real stories and psychology to explain why that’s not a reason to give up on goals and teaches readers tools to turn can adversity into greater succeed in a world that throws all the obstacles your way. Huang says people generally underestimate how hard it is to get your foot in the door as an outsider, and how wide those same doors are open once you’re inside. Her 4 phase approach outlines how you can enrich, delight, guide, and effort your way to finding your “edge” and ensures that readers never disengage thanks to her constant reference to some amazing stories. Instead of addressing bias directly, Huang suggests we should all be guiding others to attributions we want them to make about us so we won’t be at the mercy of unfair stereotypes. 

About the author: Author and award-winning Harvard Business School professor Laura Huang currently serves as Distinguished Professor and Faculty Director of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative at Northeastern University, and is on the board of Wharton Alumni Angels. An electrical engineer by training, Laura’s research focuses on ‘quantifying the unquantifiable’ where she examines the role of intuition and signaling in behavioral interactions and economic decisions.

She’s a dear friend and supporter of the MBAchic community, hosting a talk about her book and offering advice for the MBAchic community one week into pandemic shutdowns, sharing with us her well-balanced MBA reading list (looking at why almost every list related to MBAs or business or leadership is dominated by predominantly white male authors and why we can do better), and more.

What readers are saying: 

“This book will change how you navigate your career and overcome obstacles along the way. Do yourself, and those you work with, a favor and read it now!”

— Marie Forleo, author of Everything is Figureoutable and founder of B-School

“When hard work alone isn’t enough, what do you do? Edge is an invaluable guide to decoding the biases and harmful perceptions about you and your work that might be standing in your way. Huang masterfully weaves together original research and powerful stories that will leave you newly inspired and empowered to take charge of your biggest challenges.”

— Susan David, Harvard Medical School psychologist, author of Emotional Agility 

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: Grit by Angela Duckworth

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth 

Major themes: developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, success, performance, workplace psychology, perseverance, personal achievement

About the book: Who doesn’t want in on the secret to build a successful life? Duckworth spills in this New York Times best seller – the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” She’s also found scientific evidence that grit can grow over time. Sharing new insights from her landmark research, Angela explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success, and why some people succeed while others fail.

Watch Duckworth’s TED Talk here.

Readers can dive into unique stories and research featuring teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and even young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. Learn what Duckworth has gathered from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll in this page-turning exploration of personal performance. They can also get a glimpse at how Duckworth’s personal journey has shaped how she views the world. Her parents are Chinese immigrants, but she didn’t get lectured on the salvation of hard work. Against stereotype, she can’t play a note of piano or violin. “The morning the MacArthur was announced,” she writes, “I walked over to my parents’ apartment. My mom and dad had already heard the news, and so had several “aunties,” who were calling in rapid succession to offer congratulations. Finally, when the phone stopped ringing, my dad turned to me and said, “I’m proud of you.” I had so much to say in response, but instead I just said, “Thanks, Dad.”

About the author: Author Angela Lee Duckworth is the co-founder, chief scientist, and a board member of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance scientific insights that help children thrive. She is also a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and in 2013 was named a MacArthur Fellow. Angela has advised the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.

What readers are saying:

“With a mix of masterful storytelling and the latest science, she shows that perseverance and passion matter at least as much as talent and intelligence. And far from simply urging us to work harder for the sake of working harder, Grit offers a truly sane perspective: that true success comes when we devote ourselves to endeavors that give us joy and purpose.”

— Arianna Huffington, New York Times bestselling author of Thrive

“When I first saw Angela’s TED Talk two years ago, I was hooked right away by the grit concept and how pursuing grit can lead to an optimistic, process-driven environment conducive to individual and team growth. As a coach, I’m convinced there are no more important qualities in striving for excellence than those that create true grit. Here, Angela does a great job describing those qualities. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.”

— Brad Stevens, Coach of the Boston Celtics

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: The Memo by Minda Harts

The Memo by Minda Harts

Major themes: Gender wage gap, career guide, women of color networking, corporate success

About the book: The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table centers around empowering women of color to take action and face workplace obstacles head on in a pursuit of higher achievements and greater selfcare. From microaggressions to the wage gap, The Memo serves up actionable advice to navigating barriers and building a sustainable path to success. Specifically tailored for women of color, Harts acknowledges “ugly truths” that keep women of color from having a seat at the table in corporate America. Explore tactics to traverse office politics, negotiations and create impactful change to the system in this far cry from one-size-fits-all business books. 

To learn more about what healing looks like for women of color in the workplace and what role leadership can play in creating equitable environments where everyone feels empowered, valued, and seen, MBAchic sat down to speak with Minda Harts in 2022. Check out our full interview here to learn more about how Minda says we can all be working towards building more equitable workplaces.

About the author: Workplace and Equity Consultant Minda Harts is a bestselling and award-winning author of The Memo, Right Within, and You Are More Than Magic. She has built her post-corporate America career on speaking her truth and helping others to sift through the uncomfortable moments to find their own. Harts believes every person has a voice: it’s just a matter of deciding how to use it. She hopes everyone from prospective employees to C-Suite executives will consider how their piece of the collective puzzle can make their workplace better than they found it.

What readers are saying: 

“An essential and honest guide to taking our rightful place in the C-Suite with tangible solutions about how to break barriers and pave a new path for ourselves and the next generation.”

— Jamia Wilson, Director and Publisher of the Feminist Press

“We originally connected through Minda’s Secure the Seat discussion years ago, and I was immediately drawn to her honesty and openness in sharing her journey and expertise around experiences that were not widely discussed before 2020. The Memo is a book that everyone should read, to make you a stronger manager and contributor to any workplace and community.”

— Jeneta Hot, MBAchic Founder

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list: Originals by Adam Grant

Originals: How Nonconformists Move The World by Adam Grant

Major Themes: Motivational, Personality, Personal Growth, Leadership, Workplace Culture

About the book: This engaging read delves into the art of championing new ideas and breaking free from the clutches of groupthink. Author Adam Grant takes us on a captivating journey through business, politics, sports, and entertainment, to illustrate his points with surprising studies and captivating stories.

Within the pages of this book, Grant unravels the secrets of recognizing a promising idea and how to effectively voice your opinions without being silenced by the status quo. He also explores the importance of building a coalition of like-minded individuals who share your vision and knowing when the time is right to take action. Additionally, Grant provides insights on how to navigate fear and doubt, offering valuable advice for both individuals and leaders. Inside this motivational page-turner, leaders can dive into strategies to establish cultures that not only tolerate but welcome dissent, encouraging diverse perspectives and fresh thinking. Readers will encounter fascinating real-life examples that serve as powerful case studies. 

Prepare to be inspired by an entrepreneur who defies convention by highlighting the reasons not to invest in his start-ups, a woman at Apple who fearlessly challenges Steve Jobs from several levels below, and an analyst who shatters the rule of secrecy at the CIA. Originals is a thought-provoking and eye-opening read that will leave you equipped with practical strategies and a fresh perspective on championing originality in a world that often resists change. 

About the author: As an organizational psychologist at Wharton, Grant has been recognized as a top-rated professor for seven consecutive years. His expertise lies in helping people discover motivation, meaning, and lead more generous and creative lives. Adam has written five books which have been translated into 35 languages with over 2 million copies sold. Adam’s influence extends beyond the written word, as his TED talks have amassed an impressive viewership of over 25 million. Additionally, he hosts the incredibly popular TED podcast WorkLife, which consistently tops the charts.

We at MBAchic have been fortunate to collaborate with Grant and his team, hosting book giveaways and inspiring the next generation of leaders since the early days of our relaunch in 2019. Originals consistently ranks as one of our favorites — every incoming MBA should pick it up.

What readers are saying: 

“Reading Originals made me feel like I was seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party, as one of my favorite thinkers thrilled me with his insights and his wonderfully new take on the world.” 

— Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point

Originals is a fascinating, eye-opening read that will help you not just recognize your own unique gifts, but find the strength to challenge conventional wisdom to bring them to life. Using surprising studies and riveting stories, Adam Grant brilliantly shows us how to champion new ideas, bust persistent myths that hold us back and change not only our lives, but our world.”

—  Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, and author of Thrive

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

So there you have it! Grab your copies, kick back, and immerse yourself in these 14 captivating reads as you head into an exciting, nerve-wracking, unforgettable new chapter. Let’s make this summer a time of growth, knowledge, and excitement as we prepare for the incredible adventure that lies ahead. Love what you’re reading or want to share your thoughts / recommended reads? We want to hear from you! Members can comment below or connect with us on social media – to review a book for MBAchic’s Chic Reads, start here.

At MBAchic, we understand that a supportive community can provide invaluable resources, mentorship, and opportunities that propel us towards success, while also offering a sense of belonging and inspiration. If you’re new to MBAchic, welcome to the Chic Membership. We’re so happy to have you here. Not yet inside? Apply here to join us, learn about the new MBAchic and our Founding Membership. From digital book clubs to virtual workshops and webinars to exciting in-person conferences and mixers, we’re committed to continuing to create a dynamic and inclusive space where you can thrive. 

The bschool bound MBA summer reading list
The bschool bound MBA summer reading list

Photo from Pedro Menezes

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