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Hello everyone. I recommend the following website for an excellent list of business books:

[url]http://personalmba.com/manifesto/[/url]

Good community also.

Regards!
Emilio
Monterrey, Mexico

emilioolivares's picture

I guess some background on the link would be good, enjoy!:

What is the Personal MBA?

“You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.” - Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon), Good Will Hunting

The Personal MBA (PMBA) is an experiment in educational entrepreneurism. This manifesto will show you how to substantially increase your knowledge of business on your own time and with little cost, all without setting foot inside a classroom.

The PMBA is more flexible than a traditional MBA program, doesn’t involve going into massive debt, and won’t interrupt your income stream for two years. Just set aside some dedicated reading time, pick up a good book, learn as much as you can, and go out and make great things happen.
It’s All About the Books

“If I read a book that cost me $20 and I get one good idea, I’ve gotten one of the greatest bargains of all time.” – Tom Peters

“The difference between where you are today and where you’ll be five years from now will be found in the quality of books you’ve read.” – Jim Rohn

At the core of the PMBA is a list of 42 books and periodicals. By investing time and effort in using these resources, you will progressively develop a greater understanding of business and increase your effectiveness at work. Even if you only read a few, you’ll get a substantial return on your investment.

stewartlogan's picture

Considering that you can get everything for free (if you wish), it's not a bad "investment." Good reading selection and hits a good bit of what is reviewed/taught during the MBA period.

Only thing is, you can't add it to your resume.

emilioolivares's picture

True, you can't put this in a resume, but neither can you put the fact that listening to the "Manager Tools podcast" made you a more effective manager.

A formal MBA has it's place (I'm actually in the middle of one), but I think this is a pretty good list of books.

Cheers!
Emilio

joshkaufman's picture

Glad you like the Personal MBA! I just saw this site in my referrer statistics and came to check it out... this is a great forum.

[b]Re: not being able to add the PMBA to your resume... [/b]

If you decide to work through the PMBA, I highly recommend putting it on your resume. Many employers and managers highly regard self-motivation, and look favorably on people who have the motivation and discipline to educate themselves. At the very least, it'll be a conversation-starter that will allow you to highlight your positive qualities during the interview process.

The knowledge you gain by reading these books is practical and useful, so you'll also be able to have an intelligent conversation about what you've learned, which can be even more impressive than a few lines on a sheet of paper. Hope this helps! :)

mjpeterson's picture

Putting a PMBA on your resume may get it noticed, but probably with a postive outcome as much as a negative outcome. You will get some who may understand what it means and may be intersted. However, if I had not read any thing on it, I would have thought is was resume padding and/or the person was a flake. It may be better left as something to discuss in your interview, where you can explain it more thoroughly.

regas14's picture

Folks, there is a reason educational institutions are accredited by independent auditors. The Personal MBA is tantamount to a company claiming to have Personal ISO Certification or Internal Debt Rating of Investment Quality or Internal Audit Approval of Financials. It's just not the same.

The internal or individual drive to pursue high standards of learning, education, quality, consistency, accuracy, etc. is important. You can debate than an MBA is not worth the price, or that there are varying degrees of value from different B-Schools. You cannot elude to the fact that you have an MBA based on reading books in isolation.

The Personal MBA, as outlined on the site mentioned, is a great guide for personal growth and development, but that's how it should be discussed on a resume and in an interview. It is not a credential or a degree, it's a personal commitment to building knowledge and understanding.

stewartlogan's picture

[quote="regas14"]Folks, there is a reason educational institutions are accredited by independent auditors. The Personal MBA is tantamount to a company claiming to have Personal ISO Certification or Internal Debt Rating of Investment Quality or Internal Audit Approval of Financials. It's just not the same.

The internal or individual drive to pursue high standards of learning, education, quality, consistency, accuracy, etc. is important. You can debate than an MBA is not worth the price, or that there are varying degrees of value from different B-Schools. You cannot elude to the fact that you have an MBA based on reading books in isolation.

The Personal MBA, as outlined on the site mentioned, is a great guide for personal growth and development, but that's how it should be discussed on a resume and in an interview. It is not a credential or a degree, it's a personal commitment to building knowledge and understanding.[/quote]

There are pros and cons to it, of course. Just like there are pros and cons to attending B-school (the biggest being who is paying for it).

I don't equate the PMBA with the MBA, however, in some instances as an employer, I WOULD hold it in high regard, due to the fact that it's 100% self-study. Granted, a large portion of B-school is working in groups, and that's something you would miss out on.

But more knowledge is better than less, and the more one tries to improve themselves always gives an advatage.

joshkaufman's picture

regas14,

You're quite correct that the Personal MBA is a guide to personal development, not a degree or certification. If someone tried to claim they had the equivalent of a traditional MBA from a college, they're misrepresenting themselves. Fortunately, a quick Google search by the prospective hiring manager will dispel any illusions that the PMBA is a degree.

Personally, I don't care whether or not people use the words "Personal MBA" on their resume - it's the learning, not the name, that makes a difference.

If a person commits the time and energy necessary to read these books and apply what they learn, that commitment and dedication should absolutely be mentioned on the resume in some way. I have the PMBA listed alongside notable extracurriculars I participated in while in undergrad, with an explanation that it is a "self-designed, systematic curriculum for individual study of advanced business concepts."

Hope this clears things up a bit... thanks for a great discussion! :)

regas14's picture

If I saw this listed on a resume it would create a negative impression of the candidate in my mind as it seems to be padding the resume with some made-up credential. I would much rather see a section that lists reading as a personal interest and far more preferable is to find ways to highlight your commitment to learning in the interview.

stewartlogan's picture

[quote="regas14"]If I saw this listed on a resume it would create a negative impression of the candidate in my mind as it seems to be padding the resume with some made-up credential. I would much rather see a section that lists reading as a personal interest and far more preferable is to find ways to highlight your commitment to learning in the interview.[/quote]

Reading as a personal interest on a resume? In a business setting, I liken this to a mission statement that reads "My goal is to be content and happy."

Reading is a great thing, but a structured, focused reading program is much better.

davidmould's picture

I have been looking to study and MBA but don't have the time given my workload and different work locations.

I saw this thread in the MT Forums and so went off to have a look. I like the idea and when I do get around to studying for that MBA I figure I would already have expanded my reading background and have a very useful reference library.

So I registered, I guess I wasn't one of the successful one "registration does not mean you will be successful".

So I was wondering if any of you out there had more luck?

stewartlogan's picture

Mark-

Any chance we can get your opinion on this? I know you're back and reviewing everything you missed, but I'm curious if you're skipping this for now, or just preparing a missive on this.

regas14's picture

[quote="stewartlogan"][quote="regas14"]If I saw this listed on a resume it would create a negative impression of the candidate in my mind as it seems to be padding the resume with some made-up credential. I would much rather see a section that lists reading as a personal interest and far more preferable is to find ways to highlight your commitment to learning in the interview.[/quote]

Reading as a personal interest on a resume? In a business setting, I liken this to a mission statement that reads "My goal is to be content and happy."

Reading is a great thing, but a structured, focused reading program is much better.[/quote]

I agree, so that tells you something of my opinion of having a Personal MBA on a resume.

Mark's picture

Folks-

Sorry this took me so long.

I'm loathe to be less than enthusiastic about someone else's web-based effort, but as an interviewer I look askance at anything pitched as an accomplishment that I don't have a net for. I'm particularly loathe to be seen as not recommending professional reading, though I might disagree with some of the books.

It would feel to me like a baited hook - and that's not what resumes are for.

I also get the feel that there's some marketing going on here, and while I surely understand that, let's be clear that interviews are hard enough, and resumes are messed up enough: don't make it harder.

In the end, it boils down to this, for me: the name of the effort attempts to gain credibility by equating itself with programs that are much more expensive and generally shown to be much more effective.

I love the program, but using the name on the resume is misleading. Read the books. Talk about them.

But it's not an accomplishment.

And how come folks all of a sudden have room on their one page for this? :wink:

Mark

sverrir's picture

I like the idea of a structured reading list like this and surely you can learn at least as much as the least applied MBA student by reading on your own.
But I can´t help but wonder if extending your professional network isn´t at least half of the benefit being in an MBA program.
I´m about to finish my M.Sc. in engineering (Environment and construction) and have had my share of business and management courses on the side. I´ve been thinking about taking an MBA in say 5-10 years to give my career an international and professional boost by meeting some cool fellow students. Any reflections on this approach?

JorrianGelink's picture

I thank emilioolivares for posting the link, most importantly has anyone been through the program???

Anyway, as a test subject I'll do the Personal MBA which I may start in the spring or summer.

I want to do the Personal MBA because I enjoy reading books like these and taking the strong points out of them or sharing the ideas.

I wouldn't put the Personal MBA as any "course" though but I would let any future employer know I have the knowledge of the books from the course and have executed the actionables.

I'll let you guys know how it goes!

bffranklin's picture

[quote="JorrianGelink"]I thank emilioolivares for posting the link, most importantly has anyone been through the program???

Anyway, as a test subject I'll do the Personal MBA which I may start in the spring or summer.

I want to do the Personal MBA because I enjoy reading books like these and taking the strong points out of them or sharing the ideas.

I wouldn't put the Personal MBA as any "course" though but I would let any future employer know I have the knowledge of the books from the course and have executed the actionables.

I'll let you guys know how it goes![/quote]

Jorrian,

How quickly are you planning to proceed through the personal MBA? I've been interested in going the same route. Perhaps we could compare notes?

JorrianGelink's picture

Bffranklin that's awesome, I would love to start ASAP but I need to have $1400 first to spare! I'll let you know within the week and PM you about it.

sbockh01's picture

Perhaps we could all split the cost of the books and perform a swap. Then after a certian period of time (say three books are rotated) we could collaborate and discuss all the topics. Gettings 3-5 people together in a group builds a small network (like MBA schools do), and helps cut costs (we all like that).

Thoughts?

Scott

greencat's picture

I'm currently working my way through this list - and out of the 10 or so books I've read so far only one has been a stinker in my view. There's a lot of really useful practical advice contained in the books too - which along with Manager Tools :wink: is starting to transform my work.

With regards to cost I've managed it in 4 ways.

1. A few of the older texts are available dirt cheap (1p plus postage) in the secondhand section of Amazon.

2. I've stuck others on my Xmas present list.

3. Got a couple out of the library.

4. Managed to persuade my boss to spring for some of them - providing I promise to review them and say how I'm going to action the things I've learnt. I buy them first - read and come up with the action plan - and then ask the boss if I can claim on expenses.

Finally - you do not have to buy them all at once. In fact I'd probably recommend you don't as you could end up with a monster library of reading that will look too daunting. Doing it section by section seems to be working for me - with the occasional forays into other areas.

I also highly recommend pre-reading the first hundred pages of so in your local bookshop before buying any book (after reading the 10 days to faster reading book, of course).

I gave myself 2 years to read them all - but at this rate I might be through them in six to eight months.

joshkaufman's picture

[quote="greencat"]I'm currently working my way through this list - and out of the 10 or so books I've read so far only one has been a stinker in my view.[/quote]

Glad you're finding the PMBA valuable - which book didn't deliver for you? I'm always interested in hearing feedback - it helps me make better selection decisions and improve the list better over time.

Thanks,

Josh

greencat's picture

[quote="joshkaufman"][quote="greencat"]I'm currently working my way through this list - and out of the 10 or so books I've read so far only one has been a stinker in my view.[/quote]

Glad you're finding the PMBA valuable - which book didn't deliver for you? I'm always interested in hearing feedback - it helps me make better selection decisions and improve the list better over time.

Thanks,

Josh[/quote]

I was hoping to avoid answering this as my opinion is probably not indicative. I'm afraid I didn't get "Leading the field". It seemed just a little too obvious to me and I couldn't get into Earl's creaky voice. I think Seven Habits or How to Win friends cover similar ground more usefully.

That's not a bad hit rate though and as someone who is wary of the latest management fads and purveyors of snake oil I've found it a very useful starting list.

cholloway's picture

I have been a fan of manager-tools for a while and I actually came to these forums to post a topic about my new Personal MBA meetup group in Dallas. Just stumbled on this post.

I really don't understand what the debate is about. Perhaps it is because the name might someho suggest that a personal MBA can replace a traditional MBA. That answer is highly controversial, and it really just depends on a persons own goals and situation.

The truth is, after having some time to review the "curriculum", I am more excited about it than when I began. You can't take an honest look at these books and say you will not learn a ton of useful stuff by going through them. It is just like Manager tools in that you are going to practical knowlege that B-school would never touch. On the other hand, this program is not going to touch a lot of stuff that b-school is actually really good at teaching. My OWN personal opinion is the two perspectives really compliment each other.

Check it out on your own, and see if it would be valuable in your own life. Don't look it from the perspective of replacing an MBA.

If you happen to be in the Dallas area, you can check out our group on meetup.com (meetup.com/dallas-pmba/). We read a book every two weeks then get together and talk about it.

ChrisBakerPM's picture

 I came here to say that the Personal MBA book is worth considering (so searched for "Personal MBA" to see whether it had been recommended already and than found the existing discussion interesting). The book  works through many business concepts at a very summarized level. The writing is clear and easy to understand. The book duplicates material that is on Mr Kaufman's website, but the printed book puts things in a useful reading order and allows space for marginal notes.

Clearly the content of the book is not all you need to know, but it can be useful to start your exposure to an idea with a clear summary of an idea, or to be reminded of what the idea is in a simple form. Then it is down to you to do more research and thinking where that seems worthwhile.

Buying the book and reading it is a very trivial investment of time and money c.f. doing an MBA. The issue is whether you get a good return on buying a book for about £8 and taking the time to read it. For that investment, I think I only need to see a couple of useful ideas to be in profit, which has certainly happened. So whether studying to book is truly equivalent to doing an MBA course does not interest me very much (Except perhaps in reflecting that making that assertion is an interesting bit of marketing. Mr Kaufman's marketing chapter recommends getting attention and being remarkable. Also considering being contraversial. Perhaps he is implementing his own ideas here!). 

Links: 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Personal-MBA-Master-Business/dp/1591843529 (US Amazon store)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Personal-MBA-World-Class-Education/dp/0670919519 (UK)

Dave75's picture

This is a great book to gain a base level understanding of business.  I have also read about 15 of the books on the list and have found them very informative and mostly actionable.

As far as putting PMBA on your resume... Why not just implement the good advice and information in the books, turn that into great results, then put those results on your resume!

 

Thanks Josh for a great book.

 

Dave

pegman's picture

 Hi everyone,

I am about a quarter through the book and am finding it very insightful, relevant and well written. I work as a strategic consultant and find the material very relevant to many situations I find with my clients. After completing my CPA, project management qualifications and studying a masters I highly recommend this book as a must read.

Enjoy!