Josh Kaufman sent me his new book The Personal MBA. His “Personal MBA” started out as list of recommended reading for someone who wanted to really learn how business works, but wasn’t sure an MBA was really worth it. The list grew with input from others and now consists of this list organized by topic along with reviews of each book.
Eventually Josh decided to distill what he had learned into his own book and the result was The Personal MBA. I think the book is excellent. He first talks about his quest for learning how businesses really work and lays out a pretty effective argument that top MBA degree programs are:
- A poor investment – If you use the things you learn in business school to evaluate whether to get an MBA, you’ll probably decide against it.
- Have no correlation with your ability to make money or perform well in business.
These are interesting conclusions. In Never Hire an MBA I wrote that an MBA degree is often overvalued in the hiring process by employers who run small businesses. However, the fact that at least some employers will overvalue the degree seemed to provide a pretty good justification for getting one. Josh makes a very good argument and cites some interesting research. If you are thinking about getting an MBA you should at a very minimum read the first section of The Personal MBA.
The rest of the book tries to cover everything Josh has learned about business in his pursuit of self-education. The book is organized into 12 sections. Each section contains a large number of short chapters. The sections are:
- Why Read This Book?
- Value Creation
- Value Delivery
- The Human Mind
- Working With Yourself
- Working With Others
- Understanding Systems
- Analyzing Systems
- Improving Systems
Most of the short chapters have a URL that takes you to a link highlighting the key points, questions and a short video of Josh explaining that chapter. For example, here is a video on Social Proof.
The videos are different from the contents of the book, but they can be helpful if you are looking for a bit more discussion around a particular topic. They also serve as an interesting marketing tool for the book because they can be embedded and shared using social tools.
Whats great about this book is that it gives you a simple way to think more in-depth about all kinds of different aspects of your business. If you have a job or own a business, this book will help you. It is really a great resource. On the other hand, I don’t think the book does away with the value of the Personal MBA reading list. The list has a lot of great books. However, The Personal MBA book does a great job of synthesizing a number of ideas and bringing them together in one place. It offers a tremendous amount of value in only 400 pages of easily readable ideas.