What books would you recommend for aspiring Consultants in terms of general knowledge ?

business acumen general inde
New answer on Jun 09, 2020
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 01, 2020

Hi,

I am more interested in the business and sort of "general knowledge" side of the content (not for case preparation purposes).

Thank you !

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Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 03, 2020

Hi there,

I would say there are 3 types of books you might consider. And some suggestions in each type below:

(1) Fundamental business and finance knowledge, especially for people who didn't study business or finance major.

  • Any business school books (or recommended reading list) on business strategy, finance, and basic accounting can be helpful.
  • HBR articles
  • Some books published by the MBB firms are quite good. E.g.I recommend "Your strategy needs a strategy" by BCG.

(2) Self-management books:

  • The 7 habits of highly effective people
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
  • Nice girls don't get the corner office (this book is for ladies)

(3) Books related to the latest trend and the new way of working (agile is now everywhere)

  • The lean startup
  • The startup way
  • From zero to one

Best,

Emily

(edited)

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Réka
Expert
replied on Jun 01, 2020
3+ years McKinsey consulting experience|Oxford MBA|On a break

Hi,

Directly related to consulting:

- Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies

- Centered Leadership (we have an amazing training in McK which is based on this book)

- The Pyramid Principle

Other non-fiction many of my colleagues read

- Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

- Bad Blood

- The Formula or Linked: The New Science of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

- Lean In

- The Power of Habit

- Why We Sleep

Best,

Réka

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Anrian
Expert
replied on Jun 01, 2020
Ex Kearney Senior Manager | Ex McKinsey Engagement Manager | Interviewer & Case Coach at McKinsey (200+ Real Interviews)

Hi There,

Here is a list of books that I have read to sharpen my consulting toolkit

  • The McKinsey Way
  • The Pyramid Principle
  • The Back of the Napkin
  • Made to stick
  • Say it with chart
  • Say it with presentation
  • Storytelling with data
  • Thinking Fast and Slow

Hope this helps!

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 01, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I'm "new-school" and think articles etc. are a more effective (read: time efficient) way of gaining knowledge. Hence, I recommend the following:

1) Read the Economist AND the Financial Times daily

2) There are some excellent articles written about all sorts of topics (especially consulting) here: https://www.spencertom.com/category/management-consulting/

3) Read BCG Insights and McKinsey Insights

4) Anything by Malcolm Gladwell (it's not consulting-specific but I daresay his books are the most quoted/referenced among consultants...due to the type of thinking/communication he embodies)

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 01, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

it depends what you mean by general knowledge – the term is a bit general ;)

I would rephrase the question with which books really changed my way to look at the world. 3 which in my opinion are must-read (for different reasons) are:

  • Factfulness
  • How to win friends and influence people
  • The compound effect

Best

Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Jun 01, 2020

Hi there,

Too many books out there - if you need to focus on only 3, I would recommend:

  • 7 habits of highly effective people - helps in creating a more stable and solid foundation for personal growth and synergies with others
  • Why we sleep - helps to put in perspective the importance of sleep and the radical negative impact of choosing to de-prioritize it (watch the TedTalk first to see if it intrigues you)
  • 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy - bite-sizehistory of the core elements of today's economy (it doesn't hurt to have some fun facts with which you can impress your client and partners)
  • Extra recommendation: Good strategy/bad strategy: memoirs of a consultant retelling the conversations he had with top executives

Happy reading

Best

Khaled

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 01, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

On top of the insights already shared in the post, and in particular to tackle the FIT part:

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It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes, since we still have some left from the launch!

Hope you find it useful!

Best,

Clara

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Axel
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 01, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi!

To get wider exposure to various industries and more general knowledge I would recommend reading the economist, FT, and Harvard business school case studies. This will also give you the added benefit of staying up to date with current events in the global economy.

In terms of specific books that are interesting and can impact how you think about businesses and leadership, I like "Good to Great", "Measure what matters" and also "Freakonomics" will give you a good insight into how incentives impact human behavior and thus economic decisions.

I hope that's useful!

-A

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Anonymous replied on Jun 01, 2020

Hi,

For general business knowledge instead of books I would recommend to read the business publications like Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The Economist.

If what you want is basic business knowledge like finance, marketing, HR, operations then any textbook used in business schools (Underdrad / MBA) will be a good choice.

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Anonymous replied on Jun 09, 2020

Dear A,

So many nice books recomended here. From my side I would add the most important to me:

"7 habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey - bestseller about leadership and time management

Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking by Barbara Mynto - the name says by itself

And any business you will find

Best,

André

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