As I take on more people and product management at my job, I’ve wanted to learn more about business. I’ve learned a lot through the work I did on the curriculum at Compass Partners (now known as Social Impact 360) and at subsequent jobs. But I thought Josh Kaufman’s The Personal MBA would be a good overview of business concepts and a useful jumping-off point for learning more about specific topics (e.g. marketing, finance, etc.).

Kaufman organizes the book around some fundamental principles that make businesses successful. Some of these were obvious, some less so. The most useful parts of the book were his rubrics for evaluating business ideas and personal effectiveness. For example, a list on how to evaluate a market describes ten factors to score on a scale of one to ten:

  1. Urgency
  2. Market size
  3. Pricing potential
  4. Cost of customer acquisition
  5. Cost of value delivery
  6. Uniqueness of offer
  7. Speed to market
  8. Up-front delivery
  9. Upsell potential
  10. Evergreen potential

Ideas that score above a 75 on his scale are worth pursuing, whereas ones below that threshold will need more refinement or may not be worth it at all. Kaufman has a number of lists like this in his book, and I appreciate having these concrete frameworks to evaluate new ideas.

Although I wish the book had gone into more depth on some of the specific principles, Kaufman does provide a recommended reading list that includes more detailed books on a wide range of topics. It looks like a good list and I will certainly be reading some of them soon.