My Personal MBA

Before coming to America my former employers were looking at web designers to create a new design for our main product. In the process we had meetings with several agencies one of which I took an interest in. I researched the company and its founders more seriously and discovered one of the founders had started something called the Personal MBA. I did a little more research, found out about the idea and its originator Josh Kaufman and decided to give it a go. The idea is that you teach yourself the key parts of an MBA by reading a series of influential books and saving the money from that big expensive business school degree. Below is the reading list, I will update it by making bold the books I have read. As part of my learning section I will be providing summaries of the books I have read and what I learnt.

Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

Business Creation

Go It Alone by Bruce Judson
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Knack by Norm Brodsky & Bo Burlingham
Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim
Bankable Business Plans by Edward Rogoff

Value-Creation & Testing

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
The New Business Road Test by John Mullins
How to Make Millions with Your Ideas by Dan Kennedy

Marketing

All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout
Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham

Sales

The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes
Value-Based Fees by Alan Weiss
SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

Value-Delivery

Indispensable by Joe Calloway
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt
Lean Thinking by James Womack and Daniel Jones

Finance & Accounting

Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs by Karen Berman and Joe Knight
Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits by Greg Crabtree
The 1% Windfall by Rafi Mohammed
Accounting Made Simple by Mike Piper
How to Read a Financial Report by John A. Tracy
Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson

The Human Mind

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Brain Rules by John Medina
Making Sense of Behavior by William T. Powers
Driven by Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria
Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales

Productivity & Effectiveness

Getting Things Done by David Allen
The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst
10 Days to Faster Reading by Abby Marks-Beale

Problem Solving

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
Accidental Genius by Mark Levy
Learning from the Future by Liam Fahey & Robert Randall

Behavioral Change

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz
Re-Create Your Life by Morty Lefkoe
Self-Directed Behavior by David L. Watson & Roland G. Tharp

Decision-Making

Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klein
Smart Choices by John S. Hammond et al
Ethics for the Real World by Ronald Howard & Clinton Korver

Communication

On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly
Show Me The Numbers by Stephen Few

Influence

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson et al
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Negotiation

Bargaining For Advantage by G. Richard Shell
3-D Negotiation by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius
The Partnership Charter by David Gage

Management

First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner & James Harter
Growing Great Employees by Erika Andersen
The Essential Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

Leadership

Tribes by Seth Godin
Total Leadership by Stewart Friedman
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan by George Bradt et al
The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig

Project Management

Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun
Results Without Authority by Tom Kendrick

Systems

Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows
Work the System by Sam Carpenter

Analysis

Turning Numbers Into Knowledge by Jonathan Koomey
Marketing Metrics by Paul W. Farris et al
The Economist Numbers Guide by Richard Stuteley

Statistics

Thinking Statistically by Uri Bram
How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff

Corporate Skills

The Unwritten Laws of Business by W.J. King
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
The Simplicity Survival Handbook by Bill Jensen
Hire With Your Head by Lou Adler

Corporate Strategy

Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies by Nikos Mourkogiannis
Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
Seeing What’s Next by Clayton M. Christensen et al

Creativity & Innovation

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun
Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter F. Drucker

Design

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell et al

Consulting

Getting Started in Consulting by Alan Weiss
Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg

Personal Finance

Your Money or Your Life by Joel Dominguez & Vicki Robin
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley & William Danko
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
Fail-Safe Investing by Harry Browne

Personal Growth

Lead the Field by Earl Nightingale
The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn
A Guide to the Good Life by William Braxton Irvine

  • Luciano

    Great set of books mate! good luck on your personal MBA, I quite enjoy your site.