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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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Leon Ho

Founder of Lifehack

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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