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Don’t Want to Pay $100,000 for an MBA? Read These 12 Books First

MBA programs don’t have a monopoly on business knowledge. Rather, learn directly from the source. These 12 books cover topics from the foundation of PayPal to the brand loyalty of Apple.
by Rob Gillham | Jan 7 2022

A Master’s degree in Business Administration has long been considered an invaluable graduate course that teaches the business-minded the fundamentals of accounting, business law, finance, and entrepreneurship over two years.

However, for many, setting all that time and spending as much as $100,000 is becoming increasingly less appealing, so alternatives to the traditional MBA are becoming increasingly more popular.

One alternative is to “pick the right source,” as Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky explained in an interview with Fortune. Instead of trying to learn everything about a particular topic, Chesky spent time researching the best source of knowledge in each aspect of an MBA, from entrepreneurship to accounting. In his words, “if you pick the right source, you can fast-forward.”

So, if you want to go to the source of business know-how, the Blinkist knowledge app is the ultimate tool. The app takes key information directly from nonfiction books and breaks it down into ideas that can be enjoyed in under 15 minutes. In addition, the app gives you bitesize key insights from top books in audio and text format, so you can effortlessly learn life-changing ideas during your day.

To get you started on your own MBA, we’ve selected 12 of the best books on business from the Blinkist library of over 5,000 explainers. These titles will give you the necessary skills that form the core of an MBA — from people management to economics, finance, entrepreneurship, and marketing. However, you don’t need to set aside half a year to read these titles; instead, Blinkist has explained their core ideas, so you can get the principles of an MBA in just 3 hours.

Ready to get the foundations of an MBA with Blinkist? Let’s get started!

Lesson 1: Level up your entrepreneurial skills and build a business

The Lean Startup gives practical advice on how to build a sustainable business model. If you’re a sparky entrepreneur or you’re into tech, then take these tips from one of the best books on entrepreneurship, an essential addition to any founder’s library.

Lesson 2: Learn how to lead

No Bullsh*t Leadership dispels the myths about what makes a great leader. Whether you’re managing a company, school, or sports team, the principles behind effective leadership aren’t rocket science. Nor do they require impressive titles or expensive suits. Instead, CEO Chris Hirst explains how we can learn the philosophy behind outstanding leadership if we put our minds to it.

Lesson 3: Startup your small business the right way

Starting a business often sounds like one of the most challenging endeavors. People spend years in the undertaking. But maybe it’s not as difficult as it may appear. This is the argument behind ReWork. Building from a model that emphasizes leanness and action, the book offers a modern vision for today’s entrepreneurs.

Lesson 4: Learn from the mistakes of those who came before

Founders at Work reveals what went on in the early days of over 30 influential US startups. In their own words, the founders of landmark companies such as Hotmail and tell their stories about the ups and downs it took to make their ideas a reality. They also share the lessons they learned and the insight they’ve gained looking back on the trials and tribulations of those chaotic early days.

Lesson 5: Become a marketing master

An innovative idea doesn’t always lead straight to success. Sometimes marketing a game-changing product to the mainstream can feel like walking a tightrope or Crossing the Chasm, as Geoffrey A. Moore titled his book. In this work, Moore offers strategies for accomplishing this monumental task.

Lesson 6: Found your business the right way

This is one of the best books on business for those who have their fingers on the pulse of the startup scene. Written by Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and backer of numerous companies like Facebook and N26, it’s considered one of the best books to come out of Silicon Valley.

Lesson 7: Discover the secrets behind the success of big names

Keynote business speaker and branding expert, Denise Lee Yohn, sheds light on her quarter-century of experience in this popular business book – and suddenly, the processes that have made commercial giants out of Nike, Apple, and Starbucks don’t seem so out of reach.

Lesson 8: Learn how not to run a business

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s worth a watch, but for the real insider scoop on how Enron met its end, then you have to get your hands on this book. Almost a what-not-to-do guide, the authors look at how Enron became known for innovation on Wall Street, and how they set themselves up for a nasty fall!

Lesson 9: Learn the power and danger of the human race

One of Silicon Valley’s favorite nonfiction titles, Sapiens traces the evolution of our species — from the rise of our most ancient ancestors to our current place in the modern, technological age. So, how have we, a hairless, tailless ape species, managed to dominate the entire planet completely? These blinks show you the developments and trends that have allowed Homo sapiens to rise to the top.

Lesson 10: Learn how the government and business can save the world

The Entrepreneurial State sheds light on the state’s role as a daring investor in emerging technology. From the iPhone to sustainable energy, these blinks reveal the central role governments have played in creating the world we know today, and how they can help secure our planet’s future.

Lesson 11: Become a better people person

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age is a modern adaptation of Dale Carnegie’s classic text, which has helped countless individuals improve their work and personal lives by developing their interpersonal skills. Designed to help you navigate the social media age, it will guide you in using digital tools to form deeper connections with others.

Lesson 12: Get practical lessons from the real world with The $100 MBA Show Hosted by Omar Zenhom

Blinkist doesn’t just break down books, it does podcasts too. Blinkist Shortcasts is a pioneering audio format created by the team at Blinkist. Produced in tandem with top podcasters, Shortcasts are shorter versions of podcasts episodes that are perfect for busy podcast fans who want to discover new ideas and learn new things quickly.

The $100 MBA Show Shortcast helps anyone get better at business with practical business lessons for the real world. Host Omar Zenhom shares some of the best lessons, concepts, examples, and insights that can master the art of business. In his show, Omar also calls upon some of the industry’s top experts as guest teachers on the show.

Become a Master of Anything

The Blinkist app goes much further than business and finance. There are 5,000 titles in the app, with new additions every month chosen from the bestseller lists of major publications like The New York Times and the most popular nonfiction books from Goodreads. Enjoy titles like The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

Blinkist is also filled with collections of great titles compiled by the content team on essential topics such as mindfulness, social justice, and stoicism so you can binge through a list of great works and get informed in an area that fascinates you.

Start your MBA Today

Why not download the Blinkist app today and start your MBA? With thousands of titles to discover, you will never be short on new ideas.

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