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Books Reviews

The 80 Minute MBA

The website of the book The 80 Minute MBA says: “You don’t need an MBA to be Master or Mistress of the Universe. If you have a couple of years spare to sit in business school seminar rooms, no problem. If not, we bring to you the Reduced Shakespeare Company of the commercial world – Richard Reeves and John Knell – who have done the hard work for you.”

The book is dedicated to ‘all those who refuse to see business education as an oxymoron’. That made me laugh.

The Introduction is equally captivating and funny: “…for those of you with no intention of reading any further, our thanks for your time. You’ve clearly gleaned what you need. If you haven’t yet bought the book and the spine is undamaged, you can probably put it carefully back on the shelf (and try to forget that between us we’ve got five children).”

However, I had to plod through the first chapter – Sustainability. It is twenty-five pages long, replete with graphs, statistics and advice.

The chapters on Leadership and Culture are quite good. The chapter on leadership has interesting sections, such as ‘Books to Ignore’ and “Stuff to Forget’. In the chapter on Culture, the authors say that they have never been very fond of the phrase ‘human resources’. They prefer ‘culture’ instead, and the chapter is about how to build good organizational culture.

The chapter on Cash seemed simple but I skimmed through it. I am not too fond of finance/accountancy terms and ignore them unless absolutely necessary.

The chapter named Conversation is extremely relevant since this is the age of new media.  It has sections, such as ‘From Marketing to Communication’, ‘Community – Friend or Foe?’ and ‘From the Four Ps to the Four Cs’. The Four Ps being Product, Price, Place and Promotion and the Four Cs being Community, Co-creation, Customisation and Conversation.

The chapter General Resources mentions a lot of helpful websites.

The book, on the whole, concentrates on changes in management – sustainability, ethics, from the Four Ps to the Four Cs etc. Although it covers almost all the regular subjects in an MBA course, it is not a reference book. The authors have given more importance to some topics than others; so, the content seems imbalanced. It might fare better as the topic for a talk or presentation.

The 80 Minute MBA is slightly biased against existing education. So an MBA holder might not be too pleased with it. One of my former bosses, who had an MBA from an American university, saw me reading it and said scornfully:  “Oh! So maybe all the money and effort I spent on my MBA course was a waste? I should have just read this book.”
Well, I think managers and MBA holders need to shed their sense of self-importance and have a greater sense of humour.

There are some typos and a wrong graph axis. I also winced quite a few times when I read sentences, where they had used verbs, such as ‘opines’, and unnecessary noun forms.

If you wish to know more about The 80 Minute MBA in less than 80 minutes, here’s a summary of the Key Lessons and Concepts from the book by Gil Dekel, PhD.
After all, the book has a page that says Citius est Melius (Quicker is Better).

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