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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 October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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