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The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business [Kindle Edition]

Josh Kaufman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $9.92
You Save: $8.08 (45%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Master the fundamentals, hone your business instincts, and save a fortune in tuition.

The consensus is clear: MBA programs are a waste of time and money. Even the elite schools offer outdated assembly-line educations about profit-and-loss statements and PowerPoint presentations. After two years poring over sanitized case studies, students are shuffled off into middle management to find out how business really works.

Josh Kaufman has made a business out of distilling the core principles of business and delivering them quickly and concisely to people at all stages of their careers. His blog has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to the best business books and most powerful business concepts of all time. In The Personal MBA, he shares the essentials of sales, marketing, negotiation, strategy, and much more.

True leaders aren't made by business schools-they make themselves, seeking out the knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to succeed. Read this book and in one week you will learn the principles it takes most people a lifetime to master.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kaufman, a former middle manager at Proctor & Gamble and founder of, argues that those interested in business would be better served by skipping the M.B.A. and focusing on the critically important concepts that really make or break a business. According to the author, much of what is taught in business schools is outdated; you're better off saving the expense and finding other ways to learn about these core principles--which Kaufman synthesizes--in such areas as value creation, marketing, sales, and finance. He also explores the psychological side of business and examines how consumers take in information, make decisions, and decide what to do or not to do. Acknowledging the panoramic overview his approach necessitates, he includes a fairly lengthy list of sources to seek out if more information is needed. While Kaufman's rallying call will not eradicate the need or desire for M.B.A. degrees, he does provide a surprisingly solid alternative full of information that even those already in the workplace will respond to. (Dec.) (c)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


"A masterpiece. This is the 'START HERE' book I recommend to everyone interested in business. An amazing overview of everything you need to know. Covers all of the basics, minus buzz-words and fluff. One of the most inspiring things I've read in years." 
- Derek Sivers, founder of and

"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 of Wired and author of What Technology Wants

"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

"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

"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 Safavi, executive director of international sales and distribution, The Walt Disney Company

Product Details

  • File Size: 867 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0670919535
  • Publisher: Portfolio; Reprint edition (December 30, 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046ECJ8M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,144 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
175 of 193 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
As someone who is opposed to higher education for the same reasons the author is against it, I was very excited to pick up The Personal MBA to feed my own opinion as well as learn from someone much more informed than me. After coming across the author's blog I wanted to shout "hallelujah amen!" and shake his hand as he went on about the questionable economic sense of an MBA. When I was finally able to pick this book up and dedicate some time to it, I was very excited as I read through chapter one "Why read this book?". However, I was greatly disappointed when I got about a quarter of the way into it and fully realized how shallow/limited of a view we were taking of each topic.

In chapter one the author writes "The Personal MBA is a set of foundational business concepts that you can use to get things done. Reading this book will give you a firm foundation of business knowledge you can use to make things happen." Unfortunately, I would take issue with the author's claim that after reading this you will have a firm foundation in the topics covered. I felt that the book read more like a Spark Notes encyclopedia or dictionary and did not make me equipped to adequately think or apply any of the topics to my own professional life. It was as if there was a machine gun firing off all of these quick topics that followed the outline of casual story or comment and then one paragraph of depth. When I purchased this book, I was looking forward to more detail than the author presented and I think the first chapter does not adequately set the stage for what the author's goal is.

More examples could be given buy my intent here is not to berate the author.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily In My Top 5 for Business June 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I went to college and got a business degree, and was offered the opportunity to get a more advanced degree. I turned it down for several reasons:

1. College is super expensive.
2. Nobody seemed to care that I got my first degree.
3. I was getting A's, yet not learning anything and getting bored out of my mind.

As someone who reads several business books a month, I've had a chance to peruse a lot of helpful material. On the top of the pile sits the Personal MBA.

Kaufman makes a clear argument for personal education, which is everyone's responsibility regardless of whether they are in college or not. From there, he discusses all the major points he has found up to the point of publishing this book that have helped shape his thoughts and become more productive in the corporate and self-employed environments.

If you like reading and hate the fact that you can buy only one book to get all this great material, he includes a list of other useful business books so you can keep studying whatever you like.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Struggling to enjoy this. June 14, 2013
By K. Rudd
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
To me, 'The Personal MBA' reads more like a series of blog posts, rather than a book.

It doesn't flow well, because after every point the author asks you to 'share this concept' online. By this, he means to click a link and share a webpage from his website. I find this extremely distracting, and it is interrupting my thought process and enjoyment of the book, to the point where I am contemplating returning it.

I did a count of how many times you are asked to share a concept, and it is well over 100! (My Kindle-for-PC lost count after that.) In my opinion, this is kind of tacky, and something that I would expect from a 0.99 ebook, not a 'real' book for $9.99. It also shows little regard for the reader, by putting the author's needs (promotion) ahead of the needs of his audience (to lose themselves in a good book.)

A more subtle mention, maybe at the beginning and end of the book, would have been plenty.

I've had two goes at reading it so far, and will try again, but unfortunately can't seem to get into it. If I wanted to read something in this style, I would go online and read from blogs, not buy a book.

For what it's worth though, I am enjoying the author's other book The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, relaxed reading March 5, 2012
By Matti
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book offers a lot of refreshing common sense, drawing information from a considerable amount of diverse sources and making a pleasant relaxed reading. Moderately instructive for those who have a business / MBA type of background but quite useful for those really starting from zero. Probably not recommended for the ambitious, career-oriented corporate high fliers.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding crash course February 6, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend the Personal MBA to anybody who wants to learn more about business. Regardless of what industry you work in or your daily responsibilities, this book will educate and embolden you. Each chapter provides a primer on its subject, adeptly balancing theory and real-world examples. As another reviewer pointed out, the quotations alone are worth the price.

At the end of the book, Josh provides a list of the "99 Best Business Books" covering myriad topics. I recommend reading this book first for foundation in each topic, then working through the list at your own pace. It's full of gems that complement and reinforce the Personal MBA's lessons.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love love love love love love this book
i have not completed this book yet but I just received my order about 2 days ago and I cant seem to put it down. Love love love love love love this book.
Published 6 days ago by Kidus Mezgebu
4.0 out of 5 stars The second half the book I find to be pretty much mostly marketing and...
The second half the book I find to be pretty much mostly marketing and thin but the first half is well written to the point where it is a good book. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Matthew Dovell
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
Nice reading! Very direct and clear in all subjects!
Published 10 days ago by Bruno
5.0 out of 5 stars No small business should be without it.
Easy to read, practical and very helpful since I'm starting a business right now.
Published 12 days ago by Terri L. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book that I'll come back to again and again.
Easy to read and reference. Great information and tips. I love that it gives you books and other references if you want to dig deeper in a particular topic. Highly recommend.
Published 14 days ago by TheFranks
4.0 out of 5 stars Specific and thorough.
Specific and thorough.
Published 16 days ago by Howard E. Allen
4.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for entrepreneurs
Enjoyed this thoroughly. Well-written and insightful.
Published 20 days ago by Wayne Yeager
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
A must read before applying for your MBA!
Published 1 month ago by Natalie D
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The Book serves as a good index to many usable mental models. Read it.
Published 1 month ago by klas hagelin
3.0 out of 5 stars this book was very educational for someone is familiar with ...
this book was very educational for someone is familiar with business management, but I felt that it did not go into detail enough.
Published 1 month ago by Lev Shulman
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More About the Author

Josh Kaufman is the author of the #1 international bestseller "The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business," as well as the upcoming book "The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything... Fast!" Josh specializes in teaching professionals in all industries and disciplines how to master practical business knowledge and skills.

Josh's unique, multidisciplinary approach to business mastery has helped millions of readers around the world learn essential business concepts on their own terms. Josh's work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Time, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, and The widely-acclaimed Personal MBA manifesto and recommended reading list has been downloaded over 1.28 million times from hosts over 50,000 readers every month, and has been visited by over 2 million readers since its founding in 2005. Josh's work has directly saved prospective business students millions of dollars in unnecessary tuition, fees, and interest by providing an effective, affordable, and debt-free method of learning fundamental business principles.

Josh's current projects involve ongoing research in the fields of business, education, and skill acquisition.


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