Required Reading: The MBA List

November 13, 2014, 12:45 PM UTC

Never went to B-school or don’t have time for a ­semester-long refresher course? Neither do we. Instead, Fortune reached out to top business schools to find out which books their professors have added to the fall syllabus. The titles range from an analytical look at the health care industry to an explainer on big data—and are all recent publications. Here are five texts that will help you get up to speed with the next generation of talent.

Scaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao

Stanford professors Sutton and Rao -tackle one of business’s -biggest challenges: maintaining quality while growing quan-tity. The result of seven years of research, the book has been lauded by the likes of LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Fellow Stanford professor Margaret Ann Neale uses it as an additional resource in her classes. “It marries research with rich cases and is of use to leaders at every level,” she says. “It is chock-full of practical tips and advice.

Published 2014

Catastrophic Care: Why Everything We Think We Know About Health Care Is Wrong by David Goldhill

After Goldhill’s father died from an infection acquired at a hospital and that hospital received a huge Medicare payment, he decided to write a book about the dysfunction of the U.S. health care system. Harvard -Business School professor William Sahlman says, “He took a hard look at how health care in the U.S. differs from traditional business. He writes about the absurdity of the system.”

Published 2013

On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership by Alison Levine

Levine, a former Goldman-Sachs associate, packs her bestselling leadership book with lessons she learned scaling Everest and crossing the South Pole. Wharton professor Michael Useem includes it on his recommended reading list. “Levine helps us appreciate the preparation, determination, and decisiveness essential for moving our own teams across business terrains that sometimes also turn extreme,” he says.

Published 2014

Data Science for Business by Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett

Provost and Fawcett answer the questions, What exactly is big data? How does it work? And what can
it do for business? Professors at MIT, -Insead, and Northwestern have assigned it to students. “There is no other book on practical data science for business applications that simultaneously has as much authority and as much clarity,” says Sinan Aral, a management -professor at MIT’s Sloan. “Students cannot stop raving about this book.”

Published 2014

The Risk-Driven Business Model by Karan Girotra and Serguei Netessine

Insead business school professors Girotra and Netessine unpack risk management and explain how to make risk work for businesses. Professor Antonio Moreno-Garcia uses examples for his Operations Management class at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. “This book presents a new framework for business model innovation that helps firms change the way they do business by better managing and shifting risks,” he says.

Published 2014

This story is from the December 1, 2014 issue of Fortune.

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