If you take a minute and reflect upon your academic life - ask yourself a question. What made you apply to the Telfer School of Management? Was it your career prospects? Was it your interest in the business world? Whatever the reason, we all know that in order to get our degree, we’ve got to get through the hard stuff first. Assignments. Midterms. Lectures. And of course, the textbook readings. Now, textbooks have a wide array of information — useful information, in fact— but they definitely aren’t the only way to gain knowledge about business. Let’s not forget about the books — or the television!
By reading books, we expose ourselves to thought-provoking and groundbreaking ideas. These ideas can in turn help us gain better perspectives on the world — specifically the business world. Since we are business students, as we read through chapters of books, we can essentially put our business knowledge to use by relating the concepts in the books to what we’ve learned in our classes.
One of the best business books is called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. For over 60 years now, the advice provided through this book has helped numerous individuals (famous people amongst them) climb up the ladder of success in both their business and personal lives. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is also another national bestseller which captures readers through an intellectual journey surrounding the world of outliers, the best and brightest of business professionals — and how their success is inclined towards opportunity and circumstance. A book which relates directly to the Effective Business English and Business Communication Skills course is Writing Well for Business: A Complete Guide to Style, Grammar, and Usage at Work by Sandra E. Lamb. Topics covered in this book include everything from resumés to presentations, and everything in between! Books like these are certainly relatable to the knowledge and skills we’ve learned at the Telfer School of Management.
Watching the television is a completely different way to channel your business knowledge and provoke your ideas. While it has been perceived by people that books are good and TV is bad, the truth is that books and TV affect our minds in different ways. Different positive ways, that is. But the thing about TV is that many people feel guilty while watching it, as they could be doing “other productive things” instead. However, the great thing about watching television in this day and age is that not only is it interesting, but it can also teach people a lot of about the business world.
Take the show Mad Men for example. The series is about a team of advertising executives at a fictional firm. In the show, both gender dynamics and sexism are major themes, and these themes can be directly related to the “glass-ceiling effect” that many women face in their working environment. Like Mad Men, there are several other shows that revolve around the theme of business, including Shark Tank, Undercover Boss, House of Cards, the Apprentice and, of course, Ted Talks.
On an ending note, hopefully the next time you read an enticing book or watch an entertaining TV show, you can relate it back to the world of business!