There seems to be a general consensus that the MBA degree alone is not worth much. However the networking you can do with others can prove to be priceless from the MBA program. Also there are factors such as debates, discussions, and sharing with others that is lacking from a book reading substitute.
On the other hand, many believe that the real benefit from an MBA is the skills you gain. These can be gained from reading books. They can also be gained by taking courses online at a significantly reduced price. Some go as far as saying that hands-on experience itself is the best teacher.
There was a list of books linked from the LifeHacker post that constituted a replacement for the MBA degree. The link itself was not good. However somebody else shared the list of books. Here are some of the ones that I have read or are familiar with. I recommend anybody read these, whether or not you are going to get an MBA.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
- Getting Real by 37signals
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
- The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
- The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley & William Danko
- Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston