WSU Online MBA Programs 2021 Reading List

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The Carson College of Business Online MBA Programs is proud to share its reading list for business leaders based on recommendations from program faculty and staff to ring in 2021. Our recommended reading list covers leadership, communication, growth and development, and emotional intelligence. We encourage you to use this list to jumpstart your 2021 reading goals and even share with your team.

Dean’s Recommendation:

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Author: Daniel Kahneman

Recommendation by: Chip Hunter, Carson College of Business Dean

Subject: How we think and make decisions

Reason for recommending: Kahneman is a Nobel Prize winner in economics, even though he is trained as a psychologist. This is a fascinating summary of his work – and a great read. Every page seems to have something in it that we can use to improve our decision-making.

Associate Dean’s Recommendation:

The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity

Author: Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott

Recommendation by: Cheryl Oliver, Associate Dean, Professional Programs

Subject: Personal growth

Reason for recommending: Using psychology, sociology and economics, the authors reframe our old notions about education, work, and recreation. They focus on creating and re-creating who we are at different phases in our lives for long term enjoyment and fulfillment.

Graduate Programs Faculty Recommendations:

Blindsight: The (Mostly) Hidden Ways Marketing Reshapes Our Brains

Author:  Matt Johnson and Prince Ghuman

Recommendation By: Darrel Muehling, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing and International Business (Online MBA)

Subject: Marketing

Reason for recommending:  “Blindsight is a rigorous examination of how top brands sneak into our brains and grab the best real estate. Deftly mixing neuroscience, psychology, and fun stories, the book is a delight to read; it will grip you from the start, and leave you feeling smarter.”


The 5% Zone: Visibility Strategies that Get You Recognized and Rewarded in Any Organization

Author:  Stephen Krempl

Recommendation By: Debi Mundell, M.Ed., 599 Course Instructor (Online MBA)

Subject: Communication, strategy, and leadership growth

Reason for recommending:  After experiencing Stephen Krempl’s talk at a conference last year, I knew the 5% Zone book would be a great, helpful read. With competition in the workforce, how are you able to communicate more confidently, connect personally, and standout to senior management ahead of your peers in your organization? This book shows you the visibility strategies that will get you recognized and rewarded in any organization! It will outline the mindset, tips, techniques, and the five situations where you can make the most impact.


The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator

Author: Timothy C. Winegard

Recommendation By: Jerman Rose, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of International Business (Online MBA)

Subject: History and science

Reason for recommending: COVID has taught us that factors outside the courses taught in business school affect every personal and business decision. This fascinating study demonstrates this lesson in a very readable account of how mosquito borne diseases literally changed the course of history. I recall a friend of mine who served two tours as an army medic in Vietnam saying he lost more men to malaria than to combat injuries.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Author: Susan Cain

Recommendation By: Garth Mader, MBA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship (Online MBA)

Subject: Emotional Intelligence, Interpersonal Relationships, and Group Dynamics

Reason for recommending: In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.


How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery

Author: Kevin Ashton

Recommendation By: Michael Jordan, DBA, Adjunct Faculty (Online MBA/Executive MBA Programs)

Subject:  Creativity

Reason for recommending:  This book is about the “process” of creativity—the underlying energy behind all great discoveries.  Rather than the myth of the “eureka moment,” creativity is driven by intention, passion, focus and lots of work. Creativity resides within all of us; it is our natural birthright. By way of example, Ashton discusses the back stories behind several creative efforts from Mozart to the Wright brothers. In short, everyone should cultivate creativity with themselves. Creativity = Purpose = Prosperity.

Graduate Programs Team Recommendations:

The Happiness Trap

Author: Russ Harris

Recommendation by: Mitch Swanger, Director of Admissions and Student Services

Subject: Personal wellness

Reason for recommending: A mindfulness-based book for reducing stress, overcoming fear, and creating a rich and meaningful life.


The Power of Moments

Author: Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Recommendation by: Matt Beer, Military and Veteran Affairs Manager

Subject: Business and Leadership

Reason for recommending: Whether you are building a team, serving a customer, or nurturing personal relationships…moments matter. Creating shared opportunities for connection, pride and insight do not just happen on their own, and this book reveals research and shares practical ways to intentionally shape and elevate your most important moments.


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Author: Dr. Richard Carlson

Recommendation by: Meghan Steinbeiss, Senior Student Support Advisor

Subject: Self-help

Reason for recommending: I know that you all have more than enough pages of reading to do for class, so I am recommending a quick, easy read that packs a big punch. This book was “prescribed” to me by my own doctor to help me get through graduate school. Dr. Carlson’s ideas are simple, but they will remind you to pick your battles and lend your headspace to the issues that are most important.  The chapters are short, so you can work your way through 1-2 chapters in just a few minutes when you need a boost. This book will help you to accept imperfection, recognize when you are ruminating, and lighten up overall when life gets tough. Enjoy!


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