Personal MBA, by Josh Kaufman | #2 | 2022 Centobibliennial Reading



This book is about the process of knowing what to expect in the business world. It is meant to contain the information one would expect from an MBA, including economics but also psychology.

Josh Kaufman

Yaselweliance “Yasle” Gwikor

He is a business adviser who once worked for Procter & Gamble where he developed their global online marketing measurement strategy. He mentions how he developed this book during his final years pursuing his MBA at the University of Cincinnati.



One of the major themes of the book involves how important the customers are to the business, since they ultimately determine its fate. As such, appealing to specific demographics is important, since they ultimately determine whether to buy the product they need. Kaufman also mentions appealing to particular customers who are loyal and keep coming back; and if they do not drain the company, rather actually contribute. It is also important to be honest with the customer, so they know when to prepare for any risks.

Necessity is an incredibly important factor in how successful a business can become. In the case of plumbing or electrical companies, they deal with dangerous situations, yet are incredibly well-paying careers.

Time is an underestimated resource, since it is important to how the business can function. At some point, a single person cannot do multiple tasks at once, rather they would need to hire more people to do it for them. Time is also a determiner of how value and profit are accumulated overtime, whether it has to do with expenses or loan payments. Kaufman also makes sure that time becomes an incredibly important subject, which affects the reader in more ways than they realize. The issue of helpful habits, scheduling, and taking a break are incredibly important in the face of long-term goals.

There is also taking into account time that has yet to happen. In other words, the need to prepare and schedule is important when keeping in focus the plans for the business. This is also rue for disasters that occur. When a Black Swan event happens, it is beyond anyone’s control, and it is best to adapt to it. As for every other problem, it is best to make precautions and preparations in case such problems occur.

As far as maintaining the business, there is importance to keep in mind about the series of payments that are either paid or are paying towards the business. In the case of loans, they function to bestow long-term payment towards the business. As far as subscriptions, they consist of fees in order to maintain the business’ products or services. Subscriptions are recurring payments for recurring products or services to put it simply. There are also compounding in order to accumulate wealth at the bank in order for a small business to stay afloat.

Another way for the business to make profit is through the selling of physical or digital products. While digital products are not reliant on factories, in the case of physical products, they rely on a production chain. Kaufman encourages the business owner to have as less complicated a production chain as possible in order to avoid multiple problems.

Historical Context

Kettesten Hwedheldusek

Kaufman does mentioned how the 2008 recession happened. It started with leverage, which is a risky financial move that could devastate the financier when done incorrectly. There is also the problem of speculation which artificially adjusts the interest rates, which creates bubbles that inevitably pops. Kaufman highly discourages this if you have too much to risk and do not know what you are doing.

Kaufman also mentions Toyota and how they managed to keep track of every flaw of their business in order to address them as soon as possible. This enabled them to become a successful vehicle company.



As far as loans are concerned, Yuval Noah Harari noted in “Sapiens” the importance that the establishment of loans had in human economies. It enabled humans to foresee future payment and to make plans in order pay them as such.

This book can also relate to Christian Mabsbjerg, primarily with the appeal to demographics. He mentioned how Ford tried to sell their vehicles to foreign buyers, without realizing that people all over the world have different attachments and uses of their cars than Americans do, which resulted in a reduction in profit. The book of Mabsbjerg’s book is to show that there is a humanities element even in the market-driven world. As to how this would apply to Ford, they did not take into account culture; and as for how this applies to Kaufman’s book, it is important to note that potential buyers’ cultures depend on whether or not they want to make a sale.

Another point that connects to Mabsbjerg is the issue of pattern recognition–or as Kaufman calls “pattern matching.” This develops from years of experience in order to develop a sense of proficiency in any field. Mabsbjerg pointed this out in stressing the importance of liberal arts majors in the career world, since they develop this type of flexible thinking as part of their curriculum.

I was also shocked to see that systems theory plays a role in this book. This may relate to Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s theory about systems, however there are key points to consider about the business system. It is best to avoid dependencies that slow down the business, and it is better to have subsystems in place in order to ensure that business continues. As for how to quantify the system of a business, an important factor would have to be the production chain. If there is automation in this system, it can be a closed system, however the problems that would arise would be difficult to solve. As such, business tends to be an open system, just like biology, which was an example used as part of system theory being applied to business.

Connecting To Previous Book

Ow Juna Dhe Lyver Gens

This book can definitely apply to Tokugawa Ieyasu, since economics played a role in his reign. There was the establishment of the Bakufu, which was the bureaucratic readjustment of the Japanese government which ensured that the daimyos and even the emperor would not do as they pleased. One accomplishment is the establishment of a centralized banking system, which ensured that gold would not fix the prices of anything. This was also in light of trade with the European powers, specifically Spain. Ieyasu established trade with them in order to acquire new forms of technology.

As for the mental processes written in Personal MBA, it would definitely apply to Ieyasu’s life. For one, he was not materialistic nor indulged himself in delicacies. This could be related to how Kaufman discusses how the hedonic treadmill would make materialistic wants lose value in the eyes of the buyer; and how eating healthy requires discipline and focus.

Kaufman even quoted Tokugawa Ieyasu when it came to Sustainable Growth Cycle.

Writing Style

Gis Skrifedh

Kaufman makes use of a lot of terms throughout the book, particularly by boldening them. One such word that is important is profit, since it is differentiated from cash. Profit is the overall net worth of a business after expenses, taxes, and maintenance.

There are also plenty of mathematical equations throughout the book, since finance does require a lot of math and its terminology.

As far as the eligibility towards any non-MBA readers, it is definitely helpful. One way that it helps is when there are countless examples and analogies being made as to how and why each business precept is relevant.

Real-World Application

Omrians Vys-Wir

Business is really the study of human behavior, mannerisms, and inclinations; more specifically how they apply to commerce. Kaufman frequently makes mentions of psychology throughout this book.

Kaufman could note the irony that MBAs teach about business management, yet might have terrible long-term costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. It is important to take into consideration whether a degree is worth pursuing if there is no guarantee of a good paying job. Even if that guarantee exists, you would probably face fierce competition. If a liberal arts degree is important, then it also comes at the risk of having to settle for an adjunct position and be lucky enough to apply for tenure.

Inspiration To Myself

Awen Dhybm Ow Honan

I find the concept of priming incredibly important, since it abides by the unspoken rule of life which is to know what you’re getting yourself into. This would be important for any long-term goal that would be set out for. What I can take away from this book is that the future is not something to be feared, rather prepared for.



While it might be important for anyone to read, you should definitely keep in mind that a lot of the tips are better off written down than memorized. The reason why I gave this score such a juxtaposition is because while I find the information important, the title Personal MBA is definitely one that sets an incredibly high price tag, especially if it claims to contain information from an academic program worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Recommend This To…

Komendysen Ma Dhe…

  • Anyone interested in making money. Although whether this book can give you the ethos to compete with traditional MBA’s is not something I have any stake in, nonetheless the information is incredibly useful.



  • Cornish Dictionary – Gerlyver Kernowek.” Akademi Kernowek.
  • Harari, Juval Noah. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.” 1st Edition. Harper-Perennial. 2018.
  • “Joshua.” Behindthename.
  • “Kaufmann.” Behindthename.
  • Kaufman, Josh. “The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business.” Revised Paperback Edition. Penguin Random House. 2012.
  • Madsbjerg, Christian. “Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of Algorithm.” Hachette. 2017.
  • Sadler, A. L. “Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu.” 1st Tuttle Edition. Tuttle Publishing. 1978.
  • Von Bertalanffy, Ludwig. “General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications.” Revised 18th Edition (2015). George Braziller. 1969.
  • Williams, Nicholas. “Desky Kernowek: A Complete Guide To Cornish.” 4th Edition. Evertype. 2013.

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