Consulting Career Academy

Best Business Books for Consultants

May 7 2020 By The MBA Exchange
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By Stephanie Horn (Managing Consultant) and Matt Strickler (Senior Advisor), Consulting Career Academy at The MBA Exchange

Andrew Hill of Financial Times has published his “lockdown reading list” – his favorite business books from his sixteen years awarding the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year. We have selected a few that are especially appropriate for consultants, so that you can improve your skills and learn from CEOs and top researchers.

Good Strategy/ Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
Rumelt explores the logic of good strategy from examining a variety of events and personal experiences, avoiding simplistic formulas for success in favor of an honest look at how taking advantage of outside factors including exploiting inertia, or harnessing change, drives results. He also candidly examines the pitfalls and fallacies to be avoided. Hill recommends this book for “dissecting the hapless state of strategic planning and offering this mordant, still highly relevant, observation that ‘winging it is not a strategy’.”

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
Pixar co-founder and President Ed Catmull describes the ideals that have made Pixar so widely admired, and profitable. He defies conventional wisdom with lessons like “the cost of preventing errors is far greater than the cost of fixing them” or “It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks – it’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.” Hill recommends this book for the hard look it takes at examining and analyzing Pixar’s failures as well as their successes.

Give and Take by Adam Grant
During this stressful period, it is comforting to read a well-researched book on the benefits of giving. Adam Grant demolishes the idea that a businessperson must either be a taker, or rely on a matching, quid-pro-quo, strategy to succeed. While givers like to give more than they get, they enjoy the benefit of building better reputations and more useful networks. Giving is also contagious, leading to the establishment of positive norms within a company.

As the economy starts opening up again and firms re-start their hiring processes, these books can provide some new ideas to help you think strategically about solving business problems. Of course, this is also the time to make sure your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills are at their best to take advantage of your upcoming opportunities. If you’d like a candid assessment or any support, we can help. Please contact us for more information.