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Customer Review

301 of 338 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Greatly disappointed for myself - can see usefulness for others, July 26, 2012
This review is from: The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business (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. I simply would like to point out that if you have a fair amount of academic or practical business knowledge already, this book may not be as enlightening as you would like it to be. I will not discount my own fault here because I should have read more about the book rather than judged it by the title... shouldn't I have learned that by now?

On a side note, I would like to take some time to mention how impressed I am that the author has responded to many reviews here on Amazon, especially the negative reviews. In one of his responses he writes something that summarizes my feelings regarding this book excellently. I quote him in response to someone on a negative soapbox thinking MBA programs are the greatest thing since sliced bread:

:Quote: "If a reader who isn't familiar with business can learn the essentials in a few hours for a few dollars, the book is a worthwhile investment. For experienced readers, the value is conditional: it depends on your willingness to step back, reexamine your assumptions about how businesses work, and reconsider how you're operating. The biggest barrier to learning something new is usually realizing you still have something to learn." :Unquote:

I cannot help but admire his response and I think it is a very valuable three sentences to read before purchasing this book. If you know nothing/little of business, this is going to be a great read for you. If you studied it in college and like to read business books on occasion, then I would say that spending visiting his blog with an open mind would be just as beneficial in the long run.

At the end of the day, with well over 100 reviews and nearly 5 stars, many acolades from very successful business people, and a successful following on his blog, this book is not going to waste your time. I believe the author is challenging the status quo in a vocal, logical, and well thought out way and for that I wish him the best on his journey to convince people to self educate themselves. It is a powerful lesson that everyone can challenge themselves more on.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 10, 2013 1:21:12 PM PDT
Oscar says:
What an educated review. This by far has been the best review I have read. I bought the book, I can agree about all these statements. Would you suggest me please a good business book?

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2013 8:21:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 22, 2013 8:22:56 PM PDT
P. Jackson says:
I think the author makes it clear at the beginning and throughout the book that he can't cover every topic in-depth but he does give very high level overviews of business principles and directs you towards other authoritative books that drill down into individual topics. Having much business experience myself and history of process improvement, this book helped me shape and organize my thoughts and reminded me of some things that are immediately applicable in my side work consulting on some friends' businesses.

Posted on Jun 17, 2013 9:30:17 AM PDT
FloridaSU says:
So you're saying that you knew too much for the book to be useful to you and gave it two stars? How is that the fault of the book? It's obviously targeted at people who don't have much business education, very eloquently explained by the author himself as you yourself said. And again, you yourself said it's great book for it's target audience, those without much previous business experience.

I'm really tired of these boorish reviews-in-a-vaccuum that I see a lot of here on Amazon. "I needed something for a specific purpose. I went ahead and purchased something obviously not fit for that purpose. I'm upset that it didn't perform well under circumstances it was not designed for. Waste of my time. 1 star." Or: "I purchased something and functionally it was excellent but I don't like how the cable sticks out. 1 star."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2013 2:26:58 PM PDT
John Markle says:
Hi P. Jackson,

Thanks for the comment. The book that I am assuming that you read is the second edition which was updated with a new opening chapter. There is another low star review on Amazon where the author mentions he will make the purpose of the book more clear in the future edition.

I picked up the revised copy and read the opening chapter and was very happy with how it was updated. I still wish that he would take the time to go into more detail on many of the subjects but it is now clear that it is not his intent (unlike in the previous edition). Glad you enjoyed the book and were able to benefit from it!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2013 2:46:02 PM PDT
John Markle says:
Hi Oscar,

Sorry for the delayed response. To be honest, I follow the trends when reading books so most of my recommendations would be on the Amazon best sellers list. With that said, have you ever read Good to Great by Jim Collins or My Years with General Motors by Alfred Sloan? Those two are favorites of mine but note that My Years with General Motors can be slow in parts.

I think it is important to determine what area you want to grow in knowledge in order to narrow the scope a bit. Since there are so many business books out there, it is intimidating for me to just pick the next one if I don't have an idea of what I want to gain from it. For a fun read, check out Freakonomics or for a consumer behavior book check out INFLUENCE the Psychology of Persuasion. Finally, I just read a self help book called Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden that I thought was excellent. I was in a bit of a rut in regards to feeling productive with my time and it really helped put my mind back on track.

Posted on Sep 6, 2013 1:41:16 PM PDT
Pichler says:
I think there is no silver bullet book. I don't expect a book cover deeply a wide area like is the Business Administration. But I believe that this is a good starting point to you research about the subjects you read.

I perfectly agree with your review but I think you could gave one more star.

Posted on Jan 10, 2014 5:31:23 AM PST
Jason Blum says:
Why am I, as many other Americans, trained to think a degree guarantees success? I would love to obtain an MBA. I truly enjoy management/business strategies, and the whole concept of adapt or be pushed out of the marketplace. Simplistic I know, but read a lot of business books and I work in government. The books make me think differently than my peers. I think far more strategically. I am hoping my purchase of this book will add to that.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2014 8:28:34 AM PST
J. Avellanet says:
I'm with you - if it's not a 3 or 4 star review, and at least 2 paragraphs, I don't even bother reading it any longer.

The 1-star reviews tend to be silly ("the shipment from Amazon was 1 day late") and the 5-star reviews seem to be 50/50 divided into "this is the greatest thing since sliced bread" or a truly honest appraisal, and it can be difficult discerning which is which. So thus, the 3 and 4 star reviews hold more and more value for me.

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 1:41:10 PM PDT
I dont read business books from people that have not actually started or managed a business.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2014 8:24:27 PM PST
Student says:
Managing By The Numbers: A Commonsense Guide To Understanding And Using Your Company's Financials
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