Master the Art of Business

Review Review Review Review Review

Author: Josh Kaufman

I anticipated this book for some time after learning that Kaufman was writing it.  When I first really got into finding the best books for business myself, at some point I crossed paths with Kaufman through his website and book recommendations and I was happy to see he overlapped my reading list and recommendations very closely.  That led Kaufman on to bigger things and eventually to writing his own book on the subject of business by consolidating so much of that knowledge into this new all in one book, The Personal MBA.

I definitely enjoyed the book and he covers a vast amount of material in a concise and useful manner, but it is like few other books on his own list and a different kind of book to read, which may not be for everyone, which I’ll come back to.  The subjects go very deep in the major chapters of the book:

    • Why Read This Book
    • Value Creation
    • Marketing
    • Sales
    • Value Delivery
    • Finance
    • The Human Mind
    • Working with Yourself
Working with Others
  • Understanding Systems
  • Analyzing Systems
  • Improving Systems

Each of these are broken into great categories for learning about business and they go into immediate action lists, recommendations and methods needed for each topic.  This makes the book a great reference guide and it gives many examples, step by step plans and reasonable tools to start with in each area whether you are training and skills in it already or just needing to explore something you’ve not done before.  I found myself being reminded of other training, books and courses I’ve taken at many points and in many others, learning something completely new.

The book has so many topics (226 in fact) they are very hard to digest and as I mentioned above, you can’t get a lot out of this book if you read it like a standard book, cover to cover.  It is far better to speed read through it, browse it or familiarize yourself with all the categories and topics and then use them in areas you need or want to expand.  You really have to change focus to switch some of the topics and I found this hard to absorb much from if I was not able to apply it something I do in my work or experience I’ve already had.  I’m sure those topics will become useful at some point, but more as a reference when I need them and knowing they are there, than I could have possibly remembered from it all.

Kaufman introduces the book with a very discussion and perspective of why he feels that an traditional MBA is a waste of money.  From the extremely high costs, to the poor statistics of graduates among many other factors, he gives a very convincing and reasonable explanation why it is so important to have methods to learn business on your own.  I cannot concur more after my own considerations of doing an MBA, which I’m very glad I never pursued for all those same reasons.

The sections are well organized and do flow together quite well, which clearly shows just how much thought and learning Kaufman has applied when putting this book together.  Without getting into too much more on the content itself since it covers so much, I have to just say that if you have ever thought about an MBA or have any interest or reasons to learn more about business, then this is the best money you can possibly spend on the subject.  Its a valuable book and one you should add to your bookshelf.

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