Your Self-Study Way to MBA

Some days ago, I came across an interesting site about Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. The idea is, instead of spending a lot of time and (especially) money for a real MBA program, you can get roughly the same knowledge through actual experience and reading 30-40 good books. This way, not only you can save time by keep working and advancing your career, you also do not need to pay the huge amount of money required for an MBA program.

Just to do a bit of calculation, an MBA program costs tens of thousand dollars (if not more). On the other side, purchasing 40 books – by assuming that each book costs $50 (many of them cost less actually) – will cost only $2000. What a bargain !

The site compiled a list of 42 books which are divided into 21 categories:

  • Master Yourself
  • Manage Your Life and Work
  • Learn the Fundamentals
  • Strategic Thinking
  • The Only Thing Constant is Change
  • Masters of Management
  • The Finest Minds in Business
  • Dollars on the Books
  • Numbers and Negotiations
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • Form and Function
  • Project Management and Marketing
  • Do Your Own Thing
  • Speak Your Mind
  • The Delicate Art of Human Relations
  • Sell, Sell, Sell !
  • Economics and Worldviews
  • Business, Past and Present
  • Rules and Morals
  • Analyze This
  • Voices of Experience

You can read these books in your own pace and adopt the knowledge to your working style. You can also discuss with another “Personal MBA students” in the forum.

Since I myself is one of those people who are interested in business program but do not have the time and money (ehm), this is very interesting for me. Actually I’ve read the idea about gaining MBA knowledge by reading 30-40 books some time ago from Seth Godin, but there he didn’t give the list of what those books are. Personal MBA site addresses this problem by giving a clear reading list.

After going through the list, apparently I have read only 2 books out of 42 ! It seems that I won’t be running out of books to read anytime soon.


  1. thank you for this information ,but i want to ask you some questions ;
    1-can i got mba certificate exams after i read this 42 books?how?
    2-whats the name of this books and how can i got by less cost?
    3-what avrege time take to read all 42 books?
    4-do you know anyone who passed mba by this way?
    thank you sir

  2. hello
    please can anyone reply on my quastions
    my mail is
    thank you

  3. Hi, I can only answer your first and fourth questions: no, you can’t earn an MBA by reading these books. They give you knowledge that’s comparable to an MBA program but you won’t get any degree.

    You can find more information about Personal MBA at

  4. I am from india and just wanted to know that how can i prepare for the CAT entrance without coaching. Can you help me?????????

  5. It’s a very cool site, looking forward to reading people’s analysis. I hope you’re all going to read all those books 🙂

  6. […] in 2006, I wrote an article about The Personal MBA, a project that helps you study business on your own without taking an expensive MBA program. […]

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