Self-Directed MBA

I decided about two years ago I didn’t want to get my MBA at the time. I wasn’t interested in a local university MBA and at this point I am not interested in going to one of the top tier schools for an MBA. I also wanted to do something that was completely self-driven that would allow me to create my own curriculum based on the specific areas I wanted to learn. I also didn’t want to just read a bunch of books, I wanted to make it more of an intentional study of the underlying principles each book gave. I would then present each outline or summary for each book as the ‘book report’. I wanted to break it into three phases:

Part One – Gain Knowledge

Part one of the SDMBA is purely theoretical/reading. Below is the list of books I have read broken out into four different focus areas. I updated it as I went in order to show progress. I wanted to get this post up as a quick-reference for all of the summaries. I am getting towards the end of the reading material and getting on to the next stage. I will do another overall post refreshing the status and next steps when I get there. In addition to the last few books I am doing the Y-Combinator’s ‘How to Start a Startup’ lecture series. Below are links for each book to each book summary I wrote for the list of books in the ‘knowledge’ phase.

Session 1- Soft Skills

  1. The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin – finished 3/31/2016
  2. Getting things done – David Allen Finished 4/20/2016
  3. Getting Results the Agile Way – JD Meier – Finished 5/2/2016
  4. Curmudgeons Guide to Getting Ahead– Charles Murray – Finished 5/9/2016
  5. Never Eat Alone– Keith Ferrazzi – Finished 5/24
  6. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie. Finished 6/1
  7. The 4 Disciplines of Execution– Sean Covey et al. – Finished 6/13
  8. Hope Is Not A Strategy– Rick Page – Finished 6/20
  9. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini – Finished 8/25
  10. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries/Jack Trout – Finished 9/5

Session 2- Mindset

  1. The 4 Hour Workweek– Tim Ferriss – Started 8/29, Finished 10/11
  2. Five Dysfunctions of a team – Patrick Lencioni – Finished 10/30
  3. Choose Yourself – James Altucher- Finished 11/15
  4. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill – Finished 12/8
  5. Seven Habits of Highly Successful People – Stephen Covey – Finished 1/5

Session 3- Business Classics 

  1. Good To Great – Jim Collins – Finished 1/15
  2. The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker – Finished 12/14
  3. Getting to Yes– Roger Fisher, William Ury – finished 1/31)
  4. Getting past No – William Ury – Finished 2/6

Session 4- Thinking Like a Startup

  1. Hackers and Painters – Paul Graham: finished 3/6
  2. Zero to One – Peter Thiel: finished 3/11
  3. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson – finished 4/1
  4. Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance finished 4/23 (no summary)
  5. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries (no summary)
  6. The Startup Way – Eric Ries (no summary)

Session 5 – Leadership, Creativity, and Innovation

  1. Strengths Finder – Finished 1/6/19 (no summary)
  2. The Magic of Thinking Big – Finished 1/18/19 (no summary)
  3. The Richest Man in Babylon – Finished 1/23/19 (no summary)
  4. Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink – Finished 2/17/19
  5. Creativity Inc – Ed Catmull – finished 3/14
  6. Thinkertoys
  7. Innovation & Entrepreneurship – Drucker
  8. Multipliers
  9. The Obstacle in the Way
  10. Disrupt You
  11. Rework

This list mostly came from the Thumotic post on the alternative MBA with a couple of books I added.  . I modified it a bit out of the ‘business classics’ section for a couple of reasons: I have read “The Intelligent Investor” which is the more basic version of Security Analysis. I intend to read a couple of Harvard Business Review articles and other summaries on Porter’s theories on competitive strategy. I also added the Essays of Warren Buffet as a supplemental learning – basically the letters to shareholders from over the years. These are highly regarded as having troves of information that should be required reading in any MBA. The last thing I want to do to complete this first ‘part’ is to create a unifying theory of mindset/leadership/business best practices/person best practices into a concise actionable lifestyle list that I can use as a quick reference. The book review/summaries I did were just shorter versions of the book, but I want to take the best of the best out of them to distill something that is extremely actionable.

Part 2 – Action

Reading all of those books helped create a direction and basis for solid business practices. The problem is it is a lot of theoretical stuff: reading, writing, etc… The next step is to put the theory into action. Low risk action of course, but creating a business/revenue stream that comes from a side hustle. It could be something like drop shipping or something more complicated like contract accounting/finance work. I am pretty established in my career right now which is a mixed blessing. It currently takes up a ton of my time between travel, and work, then trying to maintain a social life and healthy lifestyle it gets difficult to fit it all in. That BS excuse aside, this is all about putting the theory to practice. The measurable is to be making $500/month by September 2019 to be successful.