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The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business Paperback – Aug 28 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; Reprint edition (Aug. 28 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781591845577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591845577
  • ASIN: 1591845572
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"I've run across few people who conceptually 'grok' how to get things done better than Josh Kaufman."
-David Allen, author of Getting Things Done

"File this book under NO EXCUSES. After you've read it, you won't be open to people telling you that you're not smart enough, not insightful enough, or not learned enough to do work that matters. Josh takes you on a worthwhile tour of the key ideas in business."
-Seth Godin, author of Linchpin

"No matter what they tell you, an MBA is not essential. If you combine reading this book with actually trying stuff, you'll be far ahead in the business game."
-Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor, Wired, and author of What Technology Wants

"A creative, breakthrough approach to business education. I have an MBA from a top business school, and this book helped me understand business in a whole new way."
-Ali Safa vi, executive director of international sales and distribution, The Walt Disney Company

"An absolutely amazing book! I'm highly recommending this to all creative types, for the best overview of the modern business mind-set they need."
-Derek Sivers, founder, CD Baby,

"Josh has synthesized the most important topics in business into a book that truly lives up to its title. It's rare to find complicated concepts explained with such clarity. Highly recommended."
-Ben Casnocha, author of My Start-Up Life

"An enterprising and thrifty way to hack business school. This is a fantastic resource for motivated autodidacts looking to get into business."
-Gina Trapani, founding editor,, and author of Upgrade Your Life

About the Author

Josh Kaufman helps people make more money, get more done, and have more fun. His first book,���The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, is an international bestseller. He lives in Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up this book more out of curiosity than a planned event or intent. Besides all the MBA programs that exist in business schools across the continent, there is also a rising trend in executive education programs, where people in middle management (or line management) can enrol in a course, typically lasting forty hours to learn about what is advertised as "MBA Essentials". That is, getting managers up to speed on all the pertinent essentials in a typical MBA program.
Josh Kaufman has challenged the status quo by suggesting that you don't have to go to a very expensive business school (and rack up huge debts) to effectively learn the principles of business. I am sure he will have numerous challengers to that premise. That being said, Josh has done an excellent job putting this work together in almost 400 pages. As the publisher puts it, this is "A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume". As a reader, you will definitely come away with a clear and concise knowledge of the five fundamentals of every business. He will stretch your mind on how to effectively work with yourself, in teams and with systems. Although the book is nearly 400 pages, it is an easy read as he divides this into easily manageable chapters. Finally, the Personal MBA "Recommended Reading List" is a treasure trove of business knowledge. This will remain as an ongoing reference on my book shelf.
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Format: Hardcover
Here's a book that takes out all the fear, doubts and worry out of the business world. As someone who has been owndering how to create value for the world, you sometime come to wonder how to read a wide audience. This book has given me the basics ( and so much more) about how the industry of fufilling needs and wants work. There's something incredibly fun about reading a well organized, concise and precise book like this one. If you never read anything about this field, this is a great book to begin with. Not only will you learn, but you'll understand and be able to actually do it!
On top of it, Josh put the 49 questions articles and the 100 books to read at the end as a reference. Pretty cool.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not a replacement for an MBA. The author contrives an argument to say that MBAs are a waste of money. That's a moot point but is really just a tag to get people to buy the book..

I have an MBA and read the book. Both are valuable but in different ways. This book is not an either/or but 400 pages of insight in a wide range of areas in business. There are no magic "secrets" but well written summaries of established thinking and best practice.

Go buy the book - it's good value. And if you are thinking of an MBA, do it by distance at a top tier school - that's where the smart money goes!
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Format: Hardcover
As a business student in unviersity, I can personally confirm that the education you can give yourself through Josh Kaufman's Personal MBA program is far supperior in terms of content than what is taught in the classroms of business school. This book is absolutely the best place to start if you want to gain business knowledge that works in the real world. After finishing this book, the Personal MBA reading list material will give you all the information you need to give yourself a fantastic business education. Consider this book the foundation to build your business education on. If you've already gotten a business degree, be sure to pick up this book to learn what you weren't taught in the classroom.

I'd just like to reinforce a point that Josh makes. Simply reading this material will not be enough to turn you into a business genius. The real magic happens when you start applying the material and seeing how it works in real life. Personally, I chose to do this by taking a part time job at a start up company. Josh provides all the knowledge you will need to be successful in business, but ultimately, you need to take the initiative and make that knowledge work for you.

If anyone has any doubts that you can give yourself an education better than the one you'd pay tens of thousands of dollars for in university, here's a concrete example of the effectiveness of the Personal MBA. My university recently put on a business competiton to encourage entrepreneurs. It is the biggest annual competition in the school, and awards $5000 to the winner. Dispite being the youngest student competing, with the fewest completed credit hours, I was able to win the competition using only the material I learned from the Personal MBA program.
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Format: Hardcover
'You dropped 150 grand on an education you could have gotten for $1.50 in late charges at the public library.' Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

In The Personal MBA Josh Kaufman makes a very compelling case (as does Will Hunting) that for people considering an MBA, the economics aren't that great. For many graduate students (not just Business majors), it feels like a Casino: everyone takes the tests, and gets primed, then takes out a huge loan from the bank (often a six-figure amount) hoping that when they come out the other side, there will be an awesome, high-paying job waiting for them. It's a financial transaction, not really an educational one. In fact, much of the education gleaned from an Master in Business Administration is theoretical and marginally updated from the projects and Case Studies done in Bachelor of Business and Economics programs; after all, how can you possibly sit in a classroom and 'learn' how to be a Manager, or an Executive? Of course you can't. But the schools are more than willing to let you try, as long as the cheques clear.

Provided those cheques do clear (in many states in the US, the juice, as they say, is running the day you take your first class, not after you graduate), students can expect a marginally better income (in this economy? yuck) awaiting them on the other side; it turns out they're getting a crash course in finance after all! Ouch.

In the beginning of The Personal MBA, Kaufman reveals something striking: research shows there is little evidence that getting an MBA has any correlation with long term success in Business. Top tier Business programs make sure that they only accept brilliant students, which is why many go on to greatness.
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