8 Books You Should Have Read in School and Their Business Lessons

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Eight books which may not have been required reading in school, but should've been. Reading them now may just help you in business today.

During our school years, we are supposed to read a good number of books. Depending on your school, it can be a very large number of titles, indeed.

And yet, some essential books, those that will actually make a difference in our future careers, might not have been on your list of books to read.

But now that you can decide what to read, you should have a look at the list below and see if you have missed any of these books. If you do, go to the nearest library or bookstore and get a copy, or download them as ebooks. You won’t be disappointed.

Related Article: Read Like an MBA: Top 5 Books Ivy Leaguers Read in Business School

1. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

As a businessperson, you will have to learn how to stand up your ground and speak your mind. And this classic, that became a success as soon as it was published, winning a Pulitzer Prize, will show you how to do it. The story of “To Kill a Mockingbird” will wake up all your emotions.

Book Cover: To Kill a Mockingbird

The plot is based on real facts that occurred in the neighborhood where Harper Lee lived as a child, which makes of it even more dramatic. This book will talk about racism, injustice, moral values, and much more. Even if you have watched the movie, you shouldn’t miss the book for anything in the world.

2. "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding

A company is a human community, and, sometimes, it can be one of the hardest models to lead and make work. Still, it also creates a perfect opportunity for self-improvement. And if you want to see the ultimate scenario of this struggle, you need to read this book and see what would happen if a group of pre-teens boys got stuck on an uninhabited island and decided to find a way to govern themselves.

Yes, probably a lot of chaos, but it would also create the perfect scenario to grow up and mature. The conflict in this book reveals the deepest side of human nature and it is the plot of "Lord of the Flies", the first novel written by William Golding.

3. "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

With more than 65 million copies sold around the world, "The Catcher in the Rye" is a classic novel about adolescent rebellion. The book written by J.D. Salinger discusses several themes about growing up and dealing with adulthood, but it is much more than that. You will get into the mind of the cynical Holden Caulfield and feel everything that he feels in this that is considered one of the best novels of the 20th century. And you will relate to his feelings of strangeness for being in a new environment, the same you might set when you start a new job and have to go to a meeting with a client.

Related Article: 10 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read for Inspiration

4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

Survival is what pushes George Milton and Lennie Small to move around during the Great Depression in the United States. They are migrant ranch workers and the search for job opportunities takes them to many adventures. But what Milton really wants is a place in the world and to be “somebody”, despite feeling powerless considering the country economic circumstances. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck has been banned from several schools, but it only shows what it used to be and how many people used to think and act during those years.

5. "1984" by George Orwell

The fear of a society in which the government has full control over the individuals, including about what they think, becomes real in "1984", written by George Orwell.

Book Cover: 1984

This book will show what Big Brother really is (certainly not a reality TV show) and from where the concepts of Room 101, thoughtcrime, and memory hole were created. But what makes this book an essential read for your next holiday is the fact that what is on its pages still can come true in the very near future.

6. "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley 

You might have been surrounded by vampires and werewolves recently, but "Frankenstein" has its place as a classic for both science-fiction and horror genres. Mary Shelley was just 18 years old when started writing it, after joining a competition with her future husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori regarding who would write the best horror story. And we all know that the horror that this story brings to us is not about being afraid of the Creature, but of the Victor Frankenstein that might lay dormant inside of us, the impulse of doing anything for our careers, power and fame.

7. "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett

What about a story that has brought up so many interpretations that will keep your mind wondering for months after you read it? This is "Waiting for Godot", a play written by Samuel Beckett, a book that will help you to take your critical thinking skills to the next level. While Estragon and Vladimir are literally waiting for someone called Godot, there will be conversations and elements from religion, psychoanalysis, politics, sociology, and other topics. Even Beckett himself never cared to explain in detail what he meant with this play, merely stating that “why people can complicate a thing so simple I can’t make out” and that “it was all symbiosis”. So why don’t you give it a go and try to draw your own conclusions?

Related Article:The Most Inspiring Books for Small Business Owners

8. "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller

Have you been in a situation at work where you must take a hard decision, but all options available seem pretty bad? This is all about "Catch-22", a book written by Joseph Heller, which will lead you to a world of contradictions during the World War II.

Book Cover: Catch-22

Follow the saga of Yossarian, a bombardier who dreams to go home but seems unable to manage it due to the smart catch-22 rule created by Colonel Cathcart. It has never won any important prizes and has been overly criticized for its style over the years, and yet "Catch-22" still is one of the most significant books of American literature.

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