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Comparsion on MBA course structure and Josh Kaufman’s Top 40 Self-study Books for MBA

Comparsion on MBA course structure and Josh Kaufman’s Top 40 Self-study Books for MBA

A while ago, Seth Godin stated one can receive same knowledge as MBA course and able to better use of time and money than actual experience combined with a dedicated reading of 30 or 40 books. This statement would be correct if we take out the following aspects/advantages of attending MBA courses:

  • Networking
  • Discussions during the class
  • Assignments on writing analysis on applying theories into case study or your experiences

If we omit (or don’t care) the advantages of those aspects in MBA classes and you are self-motivated enough to set aside time per day to self-study on books, you can definitely receive the same knowledge from books than attending MBA course.

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Recently, Josh Kaufman extended Seth’s idea and developed a book list that able to substitute MBA. It is a very good book list.

For me, I am studying Master in Business, majoring Human Resource Management and I am seeking to closing this course with just a Graduate Certificate and move on to MBA. I have been looking into MBA course for a while now. Because I am seeking for options – for instance gaining knowledge without having to pay expensive fee to attend MBA, I looked into Josh’s book list and compared topics of the book and the subjects that MBA offers.

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I categorized the core subjects of a MBA course structure. Combining the subject list with the list on categories on minors/concentration, I also categorized the book to topics which Josh Kaufman recommended and see if they cover similar knowledge areas in MBA.

An example on university MBA course structure:
Core subjects:

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  • Managing in the Global Business Environment – [General Management, Global]
  • Understanding Data – [Statistics, Analysis]
  • Financial Statements Analysis 1 – [Financial, Analysis]
  • Strategic Management – [Strategy]
  • Human Resource Management Issues – [HRM (Human Resources Management)]
  • Business Communication – [Communication]
  • Fundamentals of Marketing Management – [Marketing]
  • Organisational Behaviour 1 – [HRM]
  • Entrepreneurship – [Entrepreneurship]
  • Business Law 1 – [General Law]
  • Financial Management 1 – [Financial]
  • Understanding Leadership – [Leadership]
  • Creative Problem Solving – [Creative thinking, Problem solving]
  • Managing Technological Innovation – [ICT (Information and communication technologies)]
  • Economics in Business 1 – [Economic]
  • Business Plans 1 – [Strategy]
  • Corporate Accountability and Governance – [Corporate Law]

Concentrations/Minors categories:

  • Accounting
  • Arts & Cultural Management
  • Business Communication
  • Corporate Governance
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Health Services Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Information Technology Management
  • International Business
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
  • Strategy

Josh Kaufman’s recommended book list for personal MBA:

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  1. Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fullfillment by George Leonard – [Learning]
  2. Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton – [Motivation – Strength]
  3. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen – [Self-help – Time Management]
  4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – [Self-help – Productivity]
  5. What the CEO Wants You to Know : How Your Company Really Works by Ram Charan – [Business – Focus]
  6. Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business : 10 Tools You Can Use Monday Morning by Ram Charan – [Business – Growth]
  7. Michael E. Porter on Competition by Michael Porter – [Economic]
  8. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne – [Strategy]
  9. Seeing What’s Next: Using Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change by Clayton M. Christensen, Erik A. Roth, Scott D. Anthony – [Strategy]
  10. The Essential Drucker: Management, the Individual and Society by Peter Drucker – [Management]
  11. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman – [Management]
  12. The One Thing You Need to Know : About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success by Marcus Buckingham – [Management, Leadership]
  13. The Essays of Warren Buffett : Lessons for Corporate America by Warren Buffett & Lawrence Cunningham – [General Business]
  14. Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger by Charlie Munger – [General Business]
  15. The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Finance for Nonfinancial Managers by Robert A. Cooke – [Finance]
  16. Essentials of Accounting by Robert Newton Anthony and Leslie K. Pearlman – [Accounting]
  17. The Goal : A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt & Jeff Cox – [Process, Decision-Making]
  18. Lean Thinking : Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated by James Womack & Daniel Jones – [Management, Process]
  19. The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, & Consciousness by Virginia Postrel – [Economic]
  20. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman – [Creative thinking, Design]
  21. Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt – [Economic]
  22. The Marketing Playbook: Five Battle-Tested Plays for Capturing and Keeping the Lead in Any Market by John Zagula & Richard Tong – [Marketing]
  23. The Art of the Start : The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki – [Entrepreneurship]
  24. The Bootstrapper’s Bible: How to Start and Build a Business With a Great Idea and (Almost) No Money by Seth Godin – [Entrepreneurship]
  25. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler – [Communication]
  26. On Writing Well, 25th Anniversary : The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser – [Communication, Writing]
  27. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie – [Communication]
  28. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini – [Communication]
  29. The Little Red Book of Selling : 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness by Jeffrey Gitomer – [Sales]
  30. The Flawless Consulting Fieldbook and Companion : A Guide Understanding Your Expertise by Peter Block – [Consulting]
  31. Real Estate Principles for the New Economy by Norman Miller & David Geltner – [Economic, Real Estate]
  32. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Fisher, Ury, and Patton – [Communication]
  33. Principles of Statistics by M.G. Bulmer [Statistic]
  34. A Primer on Business Ethics by Tibor Machan & James Chesher – [Ethic]
  35. Brand New : How Entrepreneurs Earned Consumers’ Trust from Wedgwood to Dell by Nancy F. Koehn – [Entrepreneurship]
  36. American Business, 1920-2000: How It Worked (The American History Series) by Thomas K. McCraw, John H. Franklin, and A. S. Eisenstadt – [General Business]
  37. The Little Book of Business Wisdom: Rules of Success from More than 50 Business Legends by Peter Krass (Editor) – [Management, Leadership]
  38. Re-imagine! by Tom Peters – [General Business]
  39. The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun – [Project Management]
  40. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch – [Self-Help – Time Management]

In my opinion, couple of points on my end:

  • From comparing the general category of the books, Law and Financial Analysis would be the two areas which are missing from the list.
  • A specialized book on Global and International Business would be nice to have too.
  • I am not quite sure why Real Estate Principles for the New Economy by Norman Miller & David Geltner is on the list. Is it essiental to understand the economic in real estate point of view?
  • I see the importances of self-help ( as this is the main theme of this site), and it does help development and maximize your productivity on your job – however does it fall into MBA course and topics?
  • Most of the books on the list are hands-on style. I love practial books and I am all for it. A seperate list of theory books for MBA that similar to what MBA course use would be a good for reference too.

What are your views on Josh’s book suggestions for MBA?

The Josh Kaufman “Personal MBA” Program

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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