WSU Online MBA Programs 2022 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, staff, and students to ring in 2022. Our recommended reading list covers personal growth, communication, management, influence and relationships, and business leadership. We encourage you to use this list to jumpstart your 2022 reading goals and even share with your team.

Dean’s Recommendation:

The Fifth Risk

Author: Michael Lewis

Recommendation by: Chip Hunter, Carson College of Business Dean

Subject: Management and government

Reason for recommending: Lewis writes this as if it’s a book about government, but it is really a story about the difference good leadership and good management can make in people’s lives.  The Fifth Risk is both frustrating and inspiring: frustrating because Lewis shows us that we could be so much better, and inspiring both because of the individuals Lewis features and because he helps we readers see what can be changed.

Associate Dean’s Recommendation:

Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms

Author: Shellye Archambeau

Recommendation by: Cheryl Oliver, Associate Dean, Professional Programs

Subject: Personal growth

Reason for recommending: Overcoming adversity, setting and achieving life goals, creating career strategies and taking actionable steps, making an impact, leaving a legacy and living a life full of love.

Graduate Programs Faculty Recommendations:

Don’t Chase the Dream Job – Build It!

Author: Evan Thomsen

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

Subject: Career building

Reason for recommending:  To begin with, Evan Thomsen is a WSU Executive MBA graduate! His book helps to realize you can build the career you want, and your dream job doesn’t turn out being the dream but can be more of a nightmare. He places emphasis the people you work with and the culture/work environment rather than chasing money as an end goal.  Great book that puts a new perspective on job hunting and career building.


The Art of Noticing

Author: Rob Walker

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

Subject: Creativity

Reason for recommending: A handsome, beautifully produced compilation of meditations and exercises to inspire us to find joy and expand the ways we engage with the people and places, the objects, and tasks we encounter in our everyday lives.


The Innovator’s Dilemma

Author: Clayton Christensen

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

Subject: Innovation, in principle and practice

Reason for recommending: This title should be part of every business leader’s library! Whether you lead or plan to lead a tech or non-tech business, regardless of industry, this book will stimulate your thinking and open new doors. A great read with a satisfying approach to an oft-debated business problem. Read now and be prepared…I promise you’ll face the dilemma as many of us have.


Outliers: The Story of Success

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Recommendation By: Dipra Jha, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Hospitality Business Management (Executive MBA)

Subject:  Personal growth

Reason for recommending: A brilliant read that takes a deep dive into what makes high-achievers different.

Graduate Programs Team Recommendations:

The Tao of Statistics: A Path to Understanding

Author: Dana K. Keller

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

Subject: Statistics

Reason for recommending: Statistics can be intimidating for those who may have never taken a statistics course (or it’s been a long time) and this book does a really great job of breaking down some of the why and how of statistics. I had not taken a statistics course until this last spring, and I was very nervous – this book not only calmed my fears, but also broke down statistics at a beginner level for me.


Talk Like TED

Author: Carmine Gallo

Recommendation by: Matt Beer, Military and Veteran Affairs Manager

Subject: Communication

Reason for recommending: Effective communication might be the hardest task a leader may face. In Talk Like TED, Carmine Gallo distills hundreds of TED talks and interviews experts in psychology, communications, and neuroscience to offer nine elements of highly successful public speaking. Whether you’re giving a wedding toast or developing a professional presentation Gallo’s easily accessible advice can help elevate your communication skills for when they matter most.


Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unforeseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Author: Ed Catmull

Recommendation by: Holly Connley, MBA Veterans Career Consultant

Subject: Business leadership

Reason for recommending: Ed Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar and was the President of Disney Animation up until his retirement in late 2018.  In this book, Catmull artfully discusses the founding of Pixar and the management and leadership approaches that he, Steve Jobs, and John Lasseter took to create a positive organizational culture centered on innovation.  A great read for any business leader!

“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.” – Ed Catmull


How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Author: Patti Breitman and Connie Hatch

Recommendation by: Meghan Steinbeiss, Senior Student Support Advisor

Subject: Self-help

Reason for recommending: This year, I’m recommending another quick, easy read that won’t detract from your mountain of required course reading! This book delivers emotionally intelligent strategies to help you say “no” to your friends, family, and colleagues without feeling conflicted. Time is a limited resource (especially in a graduate program), and these techniques will allow you to reserve your time and energy for the tasks that matter most without damaging your interpersonal relationships. This book is practical, yet powerful. It will open some much-needed space in your life. Enjoy!

Coug Program Ambassador Recommendations: 

Growing Influence: A Story of How to Lead with Character, Expertise, and Impact

Author: Ron Price and Stacy Ennis

Recommendation by: Carol Pérez, Online MBA Class of 2022

Subject: Leadership

Reason for recommending: It was my first time reading a book fictional book like this . It forced me to reflect on my own values in and out of the workplace. The storyline was easy to follow, and I found the topics to be relatable.


Powershift: Transform any Situation, Close any Deal, and Achieve any Outcome

Author: Daymond John

Recommendation by: Aaron Wheeler, Executive MBA Class of 2020

Subject: Influence and relationships

Reason for recommending: It’s a very encouraging read during these uncertain times in business.


Extreme Ownership

Author: Jocko Willink

Recommendation by: Matt Davenport, Executive MBA Class of 2020

Subject: Growth and ownership

Reason for recommending: Extreme Ownership excels at utilizing military examples to be successful in everyday life. The book discusses the value of truly owning your experiences in life, eliminate the excuses, and how that can truly lead to success. Jocko provides a blueprint to extreme ownership, and it is one you can apply to all facets of your life.


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