Personal MBA – An Attempt to Read 99 books in Two Years

The Personal MBA was created by Josh Kaufman who compiled (updates periodically) a list of business books to mimic much of the knowledge learned in an MBA program. I attempted to start reading this list a few years ago but didn’t get through the first book. In high school and college I was an avid reader of business books, they had a great a effect of getting my mind running but I didn’t have an outlet for the ideas I would get from content. This ultimately drove me crazy and I stopped reading them.

I turned to biographies about political, business and entertainment leaders. I think it’s time to go back. With a year under my belt and looking for new inspirations to continue to build my business, I’m going to attempt to read all 99 books by the end of 2016. This is a tall order and it has a great chance of crashing down in the first week. I’m a strong reader but not particularly a fast one. I have a habit of taking notes as I’m reading which I end up placing in random places never to be seen again. What I’m going to attempt to do is read through the list and post in this blog my notes.

I’ll publish produce any ideas or concepts that the books use an apply them to arbitrage.

Book List (As published on the Personal MBA website)

Value-Creation & Testing

Go It Alone – Bruce Judson

The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

The Knack – Norm Brodsky & Bo Burlingham

Ready, Fire, Aim – Michael Masterson

Escape from Cubicle Nation – Pamela Slim

Bankable Business Plans – Edward Rogoff

Value-Creation & Testing

Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

The New Business Road Test – John Mullins

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas – Dan Kennedy


All Marketers Are Liars – Seth Godin

Permission Marketing – Seth Godin – Notes posted February 1st, 2015

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries & Jack Trout

Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got – Jay Abraham


The Psychology of Selling – Brian Tracy

Pitch Anything – Oren Klaf

The Ultimate Sales Machine – Chet Holmes

Value-Based Fees – Alan Weiss

SPIN Selling – Neil Rackham


Indispensable – Joe Calloway

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement – Eliyahu Goldratt

Lean Thinking – James Womack and Daniel Jones

Finance & Accounting

Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs – Karen Berman and Joe Knight

Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits – Greg Crabtree

The 1% Windfall – Rafi Mohammed

Accounting Made Simple – Mike Piper

How to Read a Financial Report – John A. Tracy

Venture Deals – Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson

The Human Mind

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Brain Rules – John Medina

Making Sense of Behavior – William T. Powers

Driven – Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria

Deep Survival – Laurence Gonzales

Productivity & Effectiveness

Getting Things Done – David Allen

The Power of Full Engagement – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Tom Rath

Bit Literacy – Mark Hurst

10 Days to Faster Reading – Abby Marks-Beale

Problem Solving

The 80/20 Principle – Richard Koch

Accidental Genius – Mark Levy

Learning from the Future – Liam Fahey and Robert Randall

Behavioral Change

The Power of Less – Leo Babauta

The Path of Least Resistance – Robert Fritz

Re-Create Your Life – Morty Lefkoe

Self-Directed Behavior – David L. Watson and Roland G. Tharp

Decision Making

Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions – Gary Klein

Smart Choices – John S. Hammond et al

Ethics for the Real World – Ronald Howard and Clinton Korver


On Writing Well – William Zinsser

Presentation Zen – Garr Reynolds

Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath

The Copywriter’s Handbook – Robert Bly

Show Me The Numbers – Stephen Few


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Crucial Conversations – Kerry Patterson et al

The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene


Bargaining For Advantage – G. Richard Shell

3-D Negotiation – David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius

The Partnership Charter – David Gage


First, Break All The Rules – Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

12: The Elements of Great Managing – Rodd Wagner and James Harter

Growing Great Employees – Erika Andersen

The Essential Drucker – Peter F. Drucker


Tribes – Seth Godin

Total Leadership – Stewart Friedman

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith

The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan – George Bradt et al

The Halo Effect – Phil Rosenzweig

Project Management

Making Things Happen – Scott Berkun

Results Without Authority – Tom Kendrick


Thinking in Systems – Donella Meadows

Work the System – Sam Carpenter


Turning Numbers Into Knowledge – Jonathan Koomey

Marketing Metrics – Paul W. Farris et al

The Economist Numbers Guide – Richard Stuteley


Thinking Statistically – Uri Bram

How to Lie with Statistics – Darrell Huff

Corporate Skills

The Unwritten Laws of Business – W.J. King

The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker

The Simplicity Survival Handbook – Bill Jensen

Hire With Your Head – Lou Adler

Corporate Strategy

Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies – Nikos Mourkogiannis

Competitive Strategy – Michael Porter

Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Seeing What’s Next – Clayton M. Christensen et al

Creativity & Innovation

The Creative Habit – Twyla Tharp

Myths of Innovation – Scott Berkun

Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Peter F. Drucker


The Design of Everyday Things – Donald Norman

Universal Principles of Design – William Lidwell et al


Getting Started in Consulting – Alan Weiss

Secrets of Consulting –  Gerald M. Weinberg

Personal Finance

Your Money or Your Life – Joel Dominguez and Vicki Robin

The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas Stanley and William Danko

I will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi

Fail-Safe Investing – Harry Browne

Personal Growth

Lead the Field – Earl Nightingale

The Art of Exceptional Living – Jim Rohn

A Guide to the Good Life – William Braxton Irvine


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