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Art of the Start

Posted by Al Doan under Book Reviews

17

Jun
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

Well contrary to what my slow down in posting frequency may seemingly indicate, I am still reading books, working hard, and learning all the time.  About a month ago I finished Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start.  I had heard a lot of great stuff about it and was excited to push through it.

I was not impressed. I think it would have been more applicable if I was in the process of fleshing out an idea and clueless as to where to begin in business, as it goes step by step through the entire process of figuring out if you have a decent idea, to how to structure your elevator pitch, to how to pitch.  It’s such granular detail I got bored about midway through and seriously contemplated not even bothering to finish it.

There is some good material to be found, but it should be used as a reference manual and not as an educational read.  If you aren’t working on a |brand new idea| you are already past a large portion of the material and the book won’t be of much value to you.

If you have an uncle with an idea who doesn’t know where to start, put this in his stocking as it’s right up his alley.  If you’ve tried your hand at the entrepreneurial shtick before, chances are you’ve already observed all the cute witticisms Guy Kawasaki finds in starting a business.

For a take-away, I realized I know more about starting a business than I gave myself credit for.  That’s something I learned.

I give it 2/5 stars only because it’s valuable content, just not at all valuable to me.

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Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

Richest Man In Babylon

Posted by Al Doan under Book Reviews

25

Mar
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

So I have been a bit absent as of late, and I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t confess that my productivity dips a bit during March Madness, but it’s a guilty pleasure I look forward to the great basketball each year. Regardless, just because I haven’t been writing does not mean I have not been learning.

I’ve got two books I need to review, a couple of shows for you to watch, and two business write-ups that are waiting for my finishing touches so I can hit publish on them. Lots to talk about though, so let me get going on catching you up.

First, I finished “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason after 2 ½ days at my 40 pages a day reading schedule. It is short and sweet, and really one of those books that could be read as leisure reading and left on the table next to the couch. It had been recommended to me several times before, but it wasn’t until now that I actually got around to reading it. It was certainly worthwhile, but not revolutionary – it seemed pretty straightforward, lessons put into parable form that, for me connected a few dots that were previously looking for more meaningful connections in my brain.

-Lessons from the book-

Prepare for the opportunity

We are all given opportunity in life, but whether or not we recognize it as such is a direct product of the preparation and effort we put into our time now. We all have equal portions of time, how do you divvy it up and where are you wasting it? The answer to that is likely the delimiter between you being ready to act on an opportunity because you are poised to move versus not recognizing it or being too slow to act when opportunity comes-a-knocking.

Your entire time spent in school should be spent preparing for and practicing taking advantage of opportunity, because really that’s what it is all about when you distill education to its foundation. You are entering school with the assumption that when you leave you will be offered an opportunity and that you will be prepared to take advantage of it. So practice. Be involved, start businesses, try and then keep trying. It should be your primary focus. When I attended school, I found ways to travel abroad, develop upper level courses for fellow students, get leadership experience, run a company, have two failed startups, and more, all because I was actively seeking out opportunity and practicing by taking advantage of it as I found it. It is a mindset I continue to this day. It is not being flighty mind you, finish what you start, but save your pennies and be willing to pack your bags and hop on a plane, because great things want to happen.

Other Lessons

Save your money, make your money work for you, don’t spend money just because you have it, etc. One of the guys on ABC’s tv show Shark Tank is fond of saying “My money is like my little army, and I send these soldiers out to go and conquer other money and bring it back to me” so like a money pimp I guess. But that’s how I approach wealth management myself, when you send your money out to work (savings/investments/funds/etc), how successful a campaign will it wage, how likely is it that your little soldiers will be returning at all, let alone with other captives? Anyway, the lessons from the book, like I said, are not earth shattering, but still, a good read because it puts it into a teachable format those lessons that are obvious to you though sometimes difficult to share.

Thanks to Jim and Dave both for the recommendation.

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Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
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