The Personal MBA

You may have noticed, I mention the Personal MBA on my About me page and my resume. But what is a Personal MBA? What makes it personal? And why would people join it?

Founder, researcher and author Josh Kaufman wrote an excellent manifesto about it, which you can download for free. He declares, traditional MBA programmes don't have a monopoly on business knowledge. It's possible to educate yourself in your own time. This makes his programme very flexible. Costs are low as no college expenses are necessary and one's income stream won't be interrupted.

The core of the self-study programma is a list of 99 books. Kaufman read many business books and selected the best according to a few criteria.
  • valuable, action-orientated content
  • acceptable time commitment
  • self-learning friendly
  • reference value
  • comprehensive set of resources

Among others, authors are Stephen Covey, Peter Drucker, Eli Goldratt, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Tom Peters and Michael Porter. The books are categorized so it's easy to choose your next one.

Kaufman emphasizes the course is not easy. It requires commitment, discipline and persistance to keep going. He also admits, just reading isn't sufficient. You have to evaluate and discuss what you've learned. With your friends, at work or online, e.g. at communities on LinkedIn or Goodreads. Then go out and learn by doing.

Well, the Personal MBA took me a whole bunch of time. There are a great number of good books on the list. Understanding the content requires more effort then just reading them once. In addition: the list turned out to be a moving target as Kaufman - still researching - updated it several times. However this enlarged the number of books to choose from. ;-)

I like many of the listed books, for instance The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and The Goal which I reviewed earlier. However I'm not enthusiastic about all of them. Mastery is one of them. Not being a marketing and sales man, I didn't like reading several commercial books in a row. But I do like Kaufman's pragmatic approach. Start reading and practice what you've learned. In this way, barriers are low.

Kaufman himself understands that reading all books will cost you much time. Therefore he wrote a comprehensive book with a somewhat predictable name, The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business . It's kind of a summary of the content of the complete list. If you're interested, this is a good starting point for further education.

Which business and/or educational books do you prefer?

Happy reading!