Monday, January 07, 2008


An MBA for the price of a library card

Are you succeeding in business without an MBA? Moving up the management ladder without a formal business education?

If so, join the club (it's a BIG club). Despite the myriad advantages of investing the time and money in a formal, post-graduate business management education, for the rest of us there are far more resources available - many for free - to help you blend your current, real-world education with a more academic approach.

I, for example, graduated from the University of Washington with a political science and journalism degree. No business classes, no MBA. Everything I've learned about business, marketing and management has been either on the job, or through active networking and voracious, constant reading.

In addition to the wide variety of fantastic blogs out there, I've recently discovered and highly recommend the Personal MBA program.

At it's core, the program is a list of 69 well-organized, tested and recommended books on a thoughtful variety of business topics. Many books you'll have heard of, and most are available for free at your local library.

I discovered this program late last year, and of the 69 books I've already read about six of them. So I've created my own four-year MBA program. I've got 63 books to go, and will tackle approximately 15 every year. If I read faster than that, great. But with a day job and family life also competing for my time (not to mention mixing in a few novels here and there), one book approximately every three weeks sounds about right.

If nothing else, read the Personal MBA Manifesto and take a look through the program and reading list, and discover some books you need to make a priority in your self-education this year. The site makes it quite easy to buy a copy of every book from Amazon with a single click, but your tax dollars already paid for copies of these books at the library. Might as well start there first.

Jan 8 Update: Fortuitously timed post on today with several examples of how to consume more books this year.


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