How it started
I was secretly plotting my escape from my crappy technical support job for AT&T at the time. I was looking for some way to get a programming job. It was a hard task because I didn’t go to college and I had no degree. It was the early 2000’s and every job required a college degree of some sort. Computer programming was still this new shiny thing that companies thought you had to go to school for. I’m almost certain I was one of a handful of people that taught themselves how to code at this point in time.
What is this Personal MBA project?
Randomly searching the internet one day I found out about this project called the Personal MBA. the personal MBA was created because a group of students got their hand slapped after trying to hack the admissions computer systems for Yale, Harvard, and otherIvy league business schools. These students wanted to take the shortcut. They tried to hack admissions and give themselves awesome grades and admissions tests, so they could get into the businesse schools. Somehow they got busted. The schools found out and banned all the students involved from ever getting into their schools for life. The students banded together and came up with the idea to create a reading course. If you read these books and you implented what you learned the next day, you would effectively have the same education as someone that did 4-years and paid $150,000 for their MBA. A quick example is if you were reading a book about accounting on a Monday night, the next day you went to whatever shit job you were doing at the time, you would try to apply what you read about from the night before. The feedback loop was extremely tight.
A big reading list
This group of exiled students came up with a long list of books after a few months. They pruned the list down to 42 or so books. The created categories for each of the books. If you were deficient in a category, you could go straight there and start bringing yourself up to a better level of knowledge. Immediately I bought all the books for communication to help myself become a better people-person. I was a computer geek, most of us suck at personal interaction. As badass as you think you are, you are no match for a seasoned sales person that can read you like an open book just from saying Hi and reading your body language afterwards.
Make friends better
The first few books were the biggest life changing books I could have read. “How to win friends and Influence people” by Dale Carnegie taught me a lot of things literally overnight. Paying attention to people, while talking to them and looking them in the eye was a big game changer for me. Really listening to people was huge. I learned to table my inner thoughts and my inner rebutles until the person on the other side of the table was completely out of words. I got really good at sitting there dead-quiet. Still to this day my friends get intimated on the phone because I hit the mute button just so I don’t speak while they’re speaking and any silence they start filling in the void with more words. This is a great way to practice: hit the mute button, you’ll see how often you interrupt people.
Get good at Negotiating
The next book would be “Getting to YES”. It’s a book about negotiating. Most people suck at negotiating. Talking about a BATNA, or even why negotiations go down the way they do will give you a better edge in personal and business negotiations. It’s a seriously dry-read, but if you can get through it, you’ll thank yourself. I learned that you have to give-and-take. Negotiating is never zero-sum.
Understand how people will try to fuck you
The last book for the suggestions I try to give, is The 48 Laws of Power. If you don’t understand how someone can manipulate you, you lose. The best way to know whats happening is to be aware. Reading this helped protect myself against someone who was trying to strong-arm or manipulate me into doing something. I wanted a level playing field, so I wanted to learn the tactics people were using and could use on me. Sun-tzu motherfucker, Sun Tzu.
That’s about it for the basics of managing