Reading makes you richer.
Remember, landing a Big 4 job is just the first step to long term career / personal success. Why not borrow the brains of people who have been there / done that? Here is a list of books that are sure to help shape your career and personal development:
The Back of the Napkin – as you’re sure to discover, you will be doing a TON of PowerPoint work in a Big 4 job. Wow your Partners with your ability to effectively convey thoughts and ideas using visuals. This book is the foundation for a lot of the specific training material they will give you, so take the time to read this through and understand the power of visualization.
The Pyramid Principle – yes, this book really is from 1995 and has held the test of time. A great foundation into logical thinking and reasoning, this classic is sure to help you with your interviews and critical thinking skills.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – another oldie but goodie. Learn what truly influences and persuades people. A foundational business book that everyone in college should read.
The Checklist Manifesto – I’m drawn to people that hold high and mighty titles but still realize they can screw up. The author of this book is a surgeon (he was also rated one of the top thinkers in the world by Time) and walks you through his efforts to develop a checklist to reduce complications from surgery, and hones in on the issue of getting his peers who all think they’re reallllllllly big deals to follow his checklist. You will realize how important “managing upward” is once you start working in a Big 4 environment, and this book contains numerous lessons on that front. If you’re feeling
lazy efficient, here’s the corresponding TED talk.
How to Win at the Sport of Business – Cuban is so hot right now. Between Shark Tank and the Mavs it’s Cuban’s world and we’re all just lucky to be a part of it. This “book” is really just a collections of his blog posts put in logical order. It’s awesome though – he takes you back to his college / post college days when he was a poor, and you can really see how hard he hustled to get to where he is now.
Liar’s Poker – whether you’re in accounting, consulting, banking, or sales, this is just one of those books you have to know about (and ideally, read). It’s funny, and gives a great first person insight into the absurdity of the life of a wall st bond trader.
The Big Short – another Michael Lewis book, this one tells the stories of a few people who either made or lost LOTS of money during the financial crisis. Some chapters are pretty technical and use a good amount of finance jargon, but by the end you’ll have learned a lot about the crisis, what happened, and how everything got so messed up.
Too Big to Fail – one of the more comprehensive accounts of the 2008 crisis. Looks at both the mayhem on Wall Street and in DC. It’s long, and there’s an HBO movie that’s not exactly the same thing but close enough if you’re lazy.
Blue Ocean Strategy – the basic message in this is don’t try to compete in crowded, bloody “red” water- instead go after a market no one is targeting (the clean, “blue” ocean”). The example that stuck with me was how Yellowtail wines went after beer drinkers rather than try to compete with fancy schmancy established winemakers for the hardcore wine drinker market.
The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferris, a guy who does a lot, writes a whole book telling you to do less. Even if you don’t have your own business, a lot of his productivity / efficiency tips can be applied to your career.
Lone Survivor – oh your job is hard? Training sucked? Read this book and you will feel like a complete panzie every time you ever complain about something again. Read the book, watch the movie, and youtube as many interviews as you can find. The SEALS are the most ridiculously amazing and dedicated guys out there. Heroes.