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lukeprog comments on The Best Textbooks on Every Subject - Less Wrong

167 Post author: lukeprog 16 January 2011 08:30AM

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Comment author: joshkaufman 17 January 2011 08:37:17PM 17 points [-]

Business: The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman.

I'm the author, so feel free to discount appropriately. However, the entire reason I wrote this book is because I spent years searching for a comprehensive introductory primer on business practice, and I couldn't find one - so I created it.

Business is a critically important subject for rationalists to learn, but most business books are either overly-narrow, shallow in useful content, or overly self-promotional. I've read thousands of them over the past six years, including textbooks.

Business schools typically fragment the topic into several disciplines, with little attempt to integrate them, so textbooks are usually worse than mainstream business books. It's possible to read business books for years (or graduate from business school) without ever forming a clear understanding of what businesses fundamentally are, or how they actually work.

If you're familiar with Charlie Munger's "mental model" approach to learning, you'll recognize the approach of The Personal MBA - identify and master the set of business-related mental models that will actually help you operate a real business successfully.

Because making good decisions requires rationality, and businesses are created by people, the book spend just as much time on evolutionary psychology, decision-making in the face of uncertainty, and anti-akrasia as it does on traditional business topics like marketing, sales, finance, etc.

Peter Bevelin's Seeking Wisdom is comparable, but extremely dry and overly focused on investment vs. actually running a business. The Munger biography Poor Charlie's Almanack contains some helpful details about Munger's philosophy and approach, but is not comprehensive.

If anyone has read another solid, comprehensive primer on general business practice, I'd love to know.

Comment author: lukeprog 18 January 2011 01:49:08AM 3 points [-]

Rather phenomenal Amazon reviews you have, sir.

Comment author: FrF 18 January 2011 02:41:14AM *  2 points [-]

I remember the interview Josh did with Ben Casnocha as being very interesting. (Site contains links to streaming video and MP3 download + written interview summary.)

Comment author: joshkaufman 18 January 2011 08:47:16PM 0 points [-]

Thanks - glad people are finding it useful.