Great Reads: Behavior & Business

We asked Foster School faculty members to weigh in on their favorite books in the area of behavior & business—that is, the motivations of consumers, employees, investors and organizations. Here’s what they said:

Thinking Fast and SlowThinking, Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)

“Kahneman summarizes years of cognitive psychology and behavioral economics research on how the unconscious and conscious mind duke it out when a decision has to be made. He argues that too often the conscious—meticulous collector of information—gets overwhelmed and defers to the unconscious—intuitive snap-judgments based on emotion, memory and heuristics. If you’ve ever thought about thinking and thinking better, it’s a must read.”

-Vandra Huber, Professor of Human Resources Management

Give and TakeGive and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (Adam Grant)

“Using his own groundbreaking studies, Grant reveals that most people operate as takers, matchers or givers.  Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return, and who achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. This book is brimming with life-changing insights while proposing a revolutionary approach to success.”

-Xiao-Ping Chen, Professor of Management, Philip M. Condit Endowed Chair in Business Administration, Chair, Department of Management and Organization

Re-imagine!Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age (Tom Peters)

“This book seriously expands upon the thought that ‘change is the only constant in business today.’ A very provocative read that strikes a nerve and forces you to accept change rather than irrelevance.”

-Jack Rhodes, Lecturer of Marketing, director of the Sales Program

Influence: The Psychology of PersuasionInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Robert Cialdini)

“A scholarly yet easily accessible perspective on persuasion.”

-Shailendra Pratap Jain, Professor of Marketing, James D. Currie Professor of Marketing, Chair, Department of Marketing and International Business


Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to LeadLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Sheryl Sandberg)

“A potential game-changer for the participation and empowerment of women in the workplace.”

-Shailendra Pratap Jain, Professor of Marketing, James D. Currie Professor of Marketing, Chair, Department of Marketing and International Business


Higher Aims to Hired HandsFrom Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise (Rakesh Khurana)

“Articles critical of business schools and the formal study of management continue to proliferate. This book offers exceptionally thoughtful perspectives that caused me to rethink some of my assumptions and reconsider how the future of business education could be crafted. The book carefully explores what management study was meant to be and can be,  how and why business schools evolved to where they are in the present, and what needs to happen for business education to develop the great business managers and leaders we need in the future.”

-Dan Poston, Assistant Dean for Masters Studies

The No Asshole RuleThe No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t (Robert Sutton)

“I like this book a lot not because of the title but in spite of it. For me it is a strong reminder that there is much more to organizational citizenship than dong one’s job. Each day we have an opportunity to impact positively those around us… their work lives, their satisfaction, their productivity, and—ultimately—the organization’s overall ability to achieve its mission and fulfill its vision.”

-Dan Turner, Principal Lecturer in Marketing, Associate Dean for Masters Programs, Faculty Director, Technology Management MBA Program, Peter and Noydena Brix Endowed Faculty Fellow

Made to StickMade to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive While Others Die (Chip Heath & Dan Heath)

“This book provides six factors that make an idea memorable and persuasive, or ‘sticky.’ It is relevant to anyone who wants to effectively communicate their ideas.”

-Ann Schlosser, Associate Professor of Marketing, Evert McCabe Fellow

Weird Ideas That WorkWeird Ideas that Work: How to Build a Creative Company (Robert Sutton)

“Sutton writes a clever, easy-to-read and evidence-based book on hiring, managing and encouraging creativity in companies. Plus, it’s fun to read; it made me laugh.”

-Tom Lee, the Hughes M. Blake Endowed Professor of Management, Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs

Talent is OverratedTalent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else (Geoffrey Colvin)

“Do great performers possess an innate talent that enables them to outperform others or do they achieve excellence through a specific kind of hard work called ‘deliberate practice?’ In its attempt to answer this question, Talent is Overrated provides entertaining anecdotes and a bit more scientific evidence than its more popular counterpart, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.”

-Frank Hodge, the Harrington Family Endowed Professor, Chair, Department of Accounting

Brain RulesBrain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School (John Medina)

“People spend time figuring out how their cars or cell phones works so that they can better utilize their features. Most do not do the same with their brains. This book will help you understand in simple terms how your brain works so that you can get the most out of it.”

-Frank Hodge, the Harrington Family Endowed Professor, Chair, Department of Accounting

The Boys in the BoatThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Daniel James Brown)

“This one of the great stories that most of us have never heard, regarding an amazing collection of men who came together to achieve what most people would have said was impossible. The story is engaging, and it covers many important principles relevant to becoming truly effective teams and extraordinary people.”

-Bruce Avolio, Professor of Management, Mark Pigott Chair in Business Strategic Leadership, Executive Director, Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking

Predictably IrrationalPredictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (Dan Ariely)

“Ariely introduces behavioral economics into our daily lives, showing where we go wrong and offering practical advice on how to counter our partially innate tendencies to behave irrationally.”

-Stephan Siegel, Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics, Evert McCabe Faculty Fellow

The Hour Between Dog and WolfThe Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust (John Coates)

Before he became a noted scientist, Coates ran a derivatives trading desk on Wall Street. In this new book, he demonstrates how our bodies produce “gut” feelings, how workplace stress can impair our judgment and damage our health, and how sports science can help us toughen our bodies against the ravages of stress.

-Stephan Siegel, Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics, Evert McCabe Faculty Fellow

The Righteous MindThe Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Jonathan Haidt)

“Haidt is an NYU professor who discusses the research on values in ethics. Readers come away with a good understanding of how people who have different values from themselves make moral judgments.”

-Christopher Barnes, Associate Professor of Management

The Honest Truth About DishonestyThe Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves (Dan Ariely)

“Ariely discusses the research literature of behavioral ethics, focusing on why people are often dishonest.”

-Christopher Barnes, Associate Professor of Management


Liar's PokerLiar’s Poker (Michael Lewis)

“Before Flash Boys and The Big Short came Liar’s Poker, Michael Lewis’s first book. In it, he provides a colorful look inside Wall Street trading floors of the 1980s. It isn’t about behavioral finance, but it is about the (mis)behavior of some finance practitioners.”

-Jennifer Koski, Associate Professor of Finance, John B. and Delores L. Fery Faculty Fellow

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