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The Visual MBA: Two Years of Business School Packed into One Priceless Book of Pure Awesomeness

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Jason Barron spent 516 hours in class, completed mountains of homework and shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to complete his MBA at the BYU Marriott School of Business. Along the way, rather than taking boring notes that he would never read (nor use) again, Jason created sketch notes for each class—visually capturing the essential points of his education—and providi Jason Barron spent 516 hours in class, completed mountains of homework and shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to complete his MBA at the BYU Marriott School of Business. Along the way, rather than taking boring notes that he would never read (nor use) again, Jason created sketch notes for each class—visually capturing the essential points of his education—and providing an engaging and invaluable resource.   Once finished with his MBA, Jason launched a widely successful Kickstarter campaign distilling these same notes into a self-published book to help aspiring business leaders of all backgrounds and income levels understand the critical concepts one learns in business school.   Whether you are thinking about applying to business school, are currently in college studying business, or have always wondered what is taught in an MBA program, this highly entertaining and visual book is for you.  


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Jason Barron spent 516 hours in class, completed mountains of homework and shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to complete his MBA at the BYU Marriott School of Business. Along the way, rather than taking boring notes that he would never read (nor use) again, Jason created sketch notes for each class—visually capturing the essential points of his education—and providi Jason Barron spent 516 hours in class, completed mountains of homework and shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to complete his MBA at the BYU Marriott School of Business. Along the way, rather than taking boring notes that he would never read (nor use) again, Jason created sketch notes for each class—visually capturing the essential points of his education—and providing an engaging and invaluable resource.   Once finished with his MBA, Jason launched a widely successful Kickstarter campaign distilling these same notes into a self-published book to help aspiring business leaders of all backgrounds and income levels understand the critical concepts one learns in business school.   Whether you are thinking about applying to business school, are currently in college studying business, or have always wondered what is taught in an MBA program, this highly entertaining and visual book is for you.  

30 review for The Visual MBA: Two Years of Business School Packed into One Priceless Book of Pure Awesomeness

  1. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    I'm not persuaded that this oversimplification / visual approach is the best there is. Anyway, DNF-ing this one pretty early. Plus: Nice graphics. Minus: I sort of don't see the point of learning common sense things. I'm not persuaded that this oversimplification / visual approach is the best there is. Anyway, DNF-ing this one pretty early. Plus: Nice graphics. Minus: I sort of don't see the point of learning common sense things.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fred Forbes

    Packed is the word! Distilled to the essence is the result. Quick read due to the diagrams and illustrated notes. As an MBA holder, I must admit he covers the topics fairly well, but as in many things, the devil is in the details. And frankly, doing the assignments is what really leads to a level of comfort and understanding so no book of notes will ever replace that. Still, a useful guide for those who wish to "hold their own" in basic business discussions but who have no desire to get bogged dow Packed is the word! Distilled to the essence is the result. Quick read due to the diagrams and illustrated notes. As an MBA holder, I must admit he covers the topics fairly well, but as in many things, the devil is in the details. And frankly, doing the assignments is what really leads to a level of comfort and understanding so no book of notes will ever replace that. Still, a useful guide for those who wish to "hold their own" in basic business discussions but who have no desire to get bogged down in scholarly academic writings. The book also makes one appreciate the use of real life case studies common to most MBA programs and the interaction among the students of various specialties that tend to mimic real life interactions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    roxi Net

    I loved this book -- as I try to get motivated to get my master's degree (preferably in Library Science), I've been debating on MBA. Just the thought of going back to school makes me tear my hair out. Why can't there be more books like The Visual MBA where we can read, take a test, and be done with it all? It's a great resource (I just wish it came with a degree). I loved this book -- as I try to get motivated to get my master's degree (preferably in Library Science), I've been debating on MBA. Just the thought of going back to school makes me tear my hair out. Why can't there be more books like The Visual MBA where we can read, take a test, and be done with it all? It's a great resource (I just wish it came with a degree).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melody Warnick

    Gleaned some useful info, but there's a reason MBAs take two years and not a few hours. Gleaned some useful info, but there's a reason MBAs take two years and not a few hours.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tatsuhiro Sato

    Such a good book, surely not detailed, but the illustrations are brilliant, at times teaching more than business, teaching about life. Surely a good starter for any MBA aspirant.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    The book is clearly not a replacement for an MBA program, but it is a good refresher on common frameworks and topics. Having earned an MBA from a top program, I prefer some of the models specific to my professors, and I got more in-depth and useful critical thinking structures from my classes, but many of the basic "must know" items are covered decently here (e.g., Porter's Five forces, Steve Blank's entrepreneurship process, 4 Ps of marketing). What's missing is application, examples, and the s The book is clearly not a replacement for an MBA program, but it is a good refresher on common frameworks and topics. Having earned an MBA from a top program, I prefer some of the models specific to my professors, and I got more in-depth and useful critical thinking structures from my classes, but many of the basic "must know" items are covered decently here (e.g., Porter's Five forces, Steve Blank's entrepreneurship process, 4 Ps of marketing). What's missing is application, examples, and the stories, cases, and simulations that help these concepts stick. The visuals are nice, but it's hard to internalize these tools until you've used or practiced them. This is especially true with networking and leadership principles - and therein lies the real value of an MBA. It's a 1-2 year laboratory where you can try on new ways of thinking, behaving in teams, and approaching problems. If you really want to maximize the value of this or any similar business book, get together with friends or coworkers and put this knowledge into practice.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chanh Nguyen

    After reading Visual MBA, I wished I read this earlier, don't agree with these dimension in depth. However, It's a fantastic combination ever that you have a full picture of how to run a business, become GM. It reminded about my favorite quote: “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” ― C.G. Jung Leadership Corporate Financial Reporting Entrepreneurial Management Managerial Accounting Business Finance Marketing Operations Management Strategic Human Resource Management Business Negotiations S After reading Visual MBA, I wished I read this earlier, don't agree with these dimension in depth. However, It's a fantastic combination ever that you have a full picture of how to run a business, become GM. It reminded about my favorite quote: “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” ― C.G. Jung Leadership Corporate Financial Reporting Entrepreneurial Management Managerial Accounting Business Finance Marketing Operations Management Strategic Human Resource Management Business Negotiations Strategy Business Ethics Entrepreneurial Finance Judgment and Decision Making The General Manager’s Role Strategic Thinking Creativity and Innovation Startup Marketing Essentials Performance and Incentives Global Management”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Wolcott

    Unique idea that aligns well with visual thinking and combines a large amount of information succinctly. The book itself takes only about 1-1.5 hours to read. The downside of the visual aspects is it did not allow for too much depth in the information so it feels like major principles were missing or that it would be difficult to apply without sufficient understanding.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jason Smith

    A good reference material. It's like reading the powerpoint slides for various lectures covered in the span of an MBA's coursework. The inclusion of course numbers by some of the sections is superfluous unless you're attending the same institution as the author. Overall it achieves its purpose. A good reference material. It's like reading the powerpoint slides for various lectures covered in the span of an MBA's coursework. The inclusion of course numbers by some of the sections is superfluous unless you're attending the same institution as the author. Overall it achieves its purpose.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nang Aung

    Overall : Learnt very very superficially. May be just some business terms. Not for a beginner learner in business which I was. Some chapters are confusing to me which I only binge read for those. Very few I can apply. (Review : Honest and Personal)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Omar El-mohri

    Very nice approach where you get right to the idea, I think this is mostly for people who are already familiar with the business world and want to have a quick overview than maybe going deeper into ideas when needed, but for someone who is not, he will be mostly lost

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dejan Pekter

    Interesting overview of MBA program, but without previously being at least informed on the topics covered it would be pretty hard to follow. Since I’m visual learner, this book definitely delivers on that field. Graphics are creative and beautiful, some pretty hard concepts are illustrated very simply. Structure of program gets lost from time to time, and I was like: this doesn’t belong here. I really liked some of the frameworks mentioned here, so I definitely learned something new in this book Interesting overview of MBA program, but without previously being at least informed on the topics covered it would be pretty hard to follow. Since I’m visual learner, this book definitely delivers on that field. Graphics are creative and beautiful, some pretty hard concepts are illustrated very simply. Structure of program gets lost from time to time, and I was like: this doesn’t belong here. I really liked some of the frameworks mentioned here, so I definitely learned something new in this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ishan Korde

    This book is probably best suited for those who have already done a MBA course and want to use this as a reference material. For everyone else, this book offers little to no value in my opinion. While the sketch-notes are pretty, the book does not go into the details for any of the business concepts. While I obviously was not expecting this to be a substitute for an MBA course, I did not expect to be reading a glorified table of contents.

  14. 5 out of 5

    alfred

    Really good. Chewed through it. Will return to this for reference heaps.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    Easy to follow, nice & simple approach.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo Rosas

    I guess this is not how I learn.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This book is basically a 200-page semi-visual summary of a guy's notes taken during business school. He explains basic concepts and offers insight into how MBA students are taught to think about things. The takeaway is that you get a better idea of the mindset of someone with an MBA, as that sort of education is about realigning the way people see the world. The illustrations and diagrams are amusing. I wish he had included additional concrete examples of certain concepts. I was amused by how th This book is basically a 200-page semi-visual summary of a guy's notes taken during business school. He explains basic concepts and offers insight into how MBA students are taught to think about things. The takeaway is that you get a better idea of the mindset of someone with an MBA, as that sort of education is about realigning the way people see the world. The illustrations and diagrams are amusing. I wish he had included additional concrete examples of certain concepts. I was amused by how thin the chapter on Business Ethics was, but of course this is an MBA we're talking about...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Lubin

    This book was really great. I loved the visual format and have actually searched for books similar because it makes it so easy to read. Like a storybook for adults about adult topics. I got a lot out of the book too. I made a lot of highlights. If you are thinking about getting your MBA or if you want to be better at business, pick this up and read it. It's as easy as scrolling through Instagram. This book was really great. I loved the visual format and have actually searched for books similar because it makes it so easy to read. Like a storybook for adults about adult topics. I got a lot out of the book too. I made a lot of highlights. If you are thinking about getting your MBA or if you want to be better at business, pick this up and read it. It's as easy as scrolling through Instagram.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Day

    I am a visual learner so this book was completely perfect for me. I have my masters degree in marketing, but have always wanted to get my actual MBA. However, the thought of working on the degree scares me. I loved that this book provided the knowledge I desire while being done in a way I can comprehend and absorb. If you are a visual learner...which I believe so many people are now...and want to increase your education I highly recommend this book. So much value!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kamil Tatol

    How to squeeze 86 class days (516h) into one (not that long) visual-notes book? The Visual MBA is the answer. The Visual MBA is a quick guide to the most essential topics of the Master of Business and Administration Programme. I believe every one of us remembers the day when we felt lost before some critical exam, with no idea how to catch up on everything. I, personally, been saved a few times by helpful friends of mine who shared colorful and extensive notes from the lectures. This book almost How to squeeze 86 class days (516h) into one (not that long) visual-notes book? The Visual MBA is the answer. The Visual MBA is a quick guide to the most essential topics of the Master of Business and Administration Programme. I believe every one of us remembers the day when we felt lost before some critical exam, with no idea how to catch up on everything. I, personally, been saved a few times by helpful friends of mine who shared colorful and extensive notes from the lectures. This book almost feels the same (except there's no exam unless you treat life as one). I don't think this is an ultimate guide to business, strategy, and leadership topics, but rather a pocket guide, which will let you remind a few interesting ideas, concepts, or frameworks. In my opinion, it makes sense to read this book if you're somewhat familiar with most of the topics covered in the book and rather treat it as a quick re-cap. If you're looking for an extensive lecture on MBA, I would instead read The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mr A Dhanani

    Very light I think I read the description wrong,I assumed that the book was going to be full of revision diagrams about topics. It's nothing of the sort and is not very helpful. Sorry for the poor review but is really not worth the bother. Very light I think I read the description wrong,I assumed that the book was going to be full of revision diagrams about topics. It's nothing of the sort and is not very helpful. Sorry for the poor review but is really not worth the bother.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Oge

    Cute doodles, good intentions, but overall too shallow to be useful. Occasional good insights and reminders (to read more about certain topics).

  23. 5 out of 5

    James

    While this book had its moments, it is mostly a loose connection of mnemonic devices and sketches of various business concepts. Although placed into meaningful chapters, the overall synthesis and flow is poorly edited, with some ideas left hanging. This book might have been an easy 4-stars if the author/editor would have done a better job introducing, scaffolding, then concluding each chapter. Instead it’s pretty loose. Some sections works quite well if you have prior or relevant special knowled While this book had its moments, it is mostly a loose connection of mnemonic devices and sketches of various business concepts. Although placed into meaningful chapters, the overall synthesis and flow is poorly edited, with some ideas left hanging. This book might have been an easy 4-stars if the author/editor would have done a better job introducing, scaffolding, then concluding each chapter. Instead it’s pretty loose. Some sections works quite well if you have prior or relevant special knowledge. In those cases these are well crafted reminders of concepts. One chapter in particular, was very poor: “ethics”. Barron seems to acknowledge some moral hazard but nothing approaching even a reasonable discussion on ethics. At its simplest it should include the recognition or the paradox of two “rights” or ethical dilemma (versus right versus wrong) values, obligations, and consequences. Not surprisingly Barron cites nothing for this lame chapter. Unfortunately, on the whole, this is just ok but only because I was reminded of a few things and saw some simple models I might use (2-stars).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I had a lot of issues with this book. The first being that the title is misleading- I thought the author would use clever visual symbols, infographics and illustrations to represent the main concepts covered in an MBA but basically he wrote superficial summaries and drew pictures that depicted the summaries. Pointless. Another is my philosophical objection to most business things- the at best cursory discussion of ethics and ‘other cultures’. Of course this is an American book but having an offe I had a lot of issues with this book. The first being that the title is misleading- I thought the author would use clever visual symbols, infographics and illustrations to represent the main concepts covered in an MBA but basically he wrote superficial summaries and drew pictures that depicted the summaries. Pointless. Another is my philosophical objection to most business things- the at best cursory discussion of ethics and ‘other cultures’. Of course this is an American book but having an offensive and stereotypically outdated drawing of an ‘Asian’ man to represent adapting business models for different markets is deeply troubling. Finally, and I’m willing to admit this is my own fault, this is a painfully simplistic book, but that is what you will get when you buy something called the Visual MBA. Kudos to this guy for sucking in publishers and readers. Shame on us for buying and reading it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Byers

    I will continue to come back to this book! First off, as a creative, sketchnotes intimidate the heck outta me, but now I really want to try to take notes this way! So it definitely inspired me in that way! Second, business-peeps & marketers easily fall into a trap of saying lots without actually saying anything at all. I feel like this book occasionally falls into that trap, but having taken marketing classes (advertising major, here) I know that's also kinda just how the classes are. I feel like I will continue to come back to this book! First off, as a creative, sketchnotes intimidate the heck outta me, but now I really want to try to take notes this way! So it definitely inspired me in that way! Second, business-peeps & marketers easily fall into a trap of saying lots without actually saying anything at all. I feel like this book occasionally falls into that trap, but having taken marketing classes (advertising major, here) I know that's also kinda just how the classes are. I feel like he does the best he can while being vague enough for every business. It's a great book, that makes your realize how disappointing an MBA program is, haha! But, like I said, I'll be going back to this! There are a lot of great things (like all the equations) where my brain kinda glosses over, that I'll need to look over again and research more. All in all, I'll be recommending it to a lot of people and keeping it on my shelf!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Genc Tasbasi

    I've mixed feelings about this book. It started as a 5* book for me, even before I turned the first page (as I liked the idea of the book, visual presentation). Then I moved to 4*, as some pages miss the point and not clear enough. Author just assumed putting a nice illustration explains whole concept. It does not. Later on in some pages I thought the book is really worth only 3* as it does get annoying (ie 'Quarterback' example on page 170 - I've zero interest in American football and have NO ide I've mixed feelings about this book. It started as a 5* book for me, even before I turned the first page (as I liked the idea of the book, visual presentation). Then I moved to 4*, as some pages miss the point and not clear enough. Author just assumed putting a nice illustration explains whole concept. It does not. Later on in some pages I thought the book is really worth only 3* as it does get annoying (ie 'Quarterback' example on page 170 - I've zero interest in American football and have NO idea about what a QB does. So didn't get the concept there). In some places book just got the ideas from other famous ones (Start with Why, Simon Sinek and "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel K. - which is already as long as he put these into references (I didn't check but probably he did). Anyway, still recommended as I found it fun and interesting.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Massimo

    I did not really expect the whole MBA knowledge to be packed in this book. But I expected to learn, at least, something. For me, learning does not mean memorizing formulas or acronyms, but understanding how to use some instruments (may these be formulas or frameworks or whatever), when to use them, and why. This book does not provide any of this for most of the content presented. It is like reading a colored Table of Content of a manual. I finished it, and felt like "Ok, now what?". Maybe it can b I did not really expect the whole MBA knowledge to be packed in this book. But I expected to learn, at least, something. For me, learning does not mean memorizing formulas or acronyms, but understanding how to use some instruments (may these be formulas or frameworks or whatever), when to use them, and why. This book does not provide any of this for most of the content presented. It is like reading a colored Table of Content of a manual. I finished it, and felt like "Ok, now what?". Maybe it can be useful for MBA's holders, but not for people seeking a high-level MBA knowledge, and not for people seeking to understand if an MBA is a good fit for them (I belong to the latter two).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pete Halsted

    I suspect the book itself is pretty good, however, it didn't translate well to my kindle paperwhite. Many of the images were hard, if not impossible, to see well on the Kindle. I would also call it more of a reference book, than a book to read. The majority of the information is in the images, which is the point of the book, and it has a few sentences here and there to explain it to you, however, this makes it not very pleasant to sit and read cover to cover. Bottom line there is a lot of good b I suspect the book itself is pretty good, however, it didn't translate well to my kindle paperwhite. Many of the images were hard, if not impossible, to see well on the Kindle. I would also call it more of a reference book, than a book to read. The majority of the information is in the images, which is the point of the book, and it has a few sentences here and there to explain it to you, however, this makes it not very pleasant to sit and read cover to cover. Bottom line there is a lot of good basic business knowledge in the book, but I would use it more as a reference to pull down for a particular situation, than anything else

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lailatus Soimah

    2yrs experiences in MBA packed in this one sketchnote book! My fave part is how to come up with creative and innovative bussines ideas which should hit the sweet pot. Besides how to generate ideas, this book tells about financial statement, precise and effective marketing, management and leadership in business too. Not to detail, not really hard to be understood for lay people , and the sketchs is helping much! Apparently the writer not only bluffing about creativity but apply it to his own book 2yrs experiences in MBA packed in this one sketchnote book! My fave part is how to come up with creative and innovative bussines ideas which should hit the sweet pot. Besides how to generate ideas, this book tells about financial statement, precise and effective marketing, management and leadership in business too. Not to detail, not really hard to be understood for lay people , and the sketchs is helping much! Apparently the writer not only bluffing about creativity but apply it to his own book too :D

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Hunt

    I thought this might be a good book for my high school senior to give her an overview of business concepts. After reading it I think this would tend to be way over the head of someone who didn't already have a background in business. it was a weird mix of too complicated and too simple at the same time. On the plus side, I loved the illustrations and I only wish my college notes looked like this! Had I sat in on these specific classes, I think this would be a great way to cement the lectures in I thought this might be a good book for my high school senior to give her an overview of business concepts. After reading it I think this would tend to be way over the head of someone who didn't already have a background in business. it was a weird mix of too complicated and too simple at the same time. On the plus side, I loved the illustrations and I only wish my college notes looked like this! Had I sat in on these specific classes, I think this would be a great way to cement the lectures in my head. Absent this, it was a little hard to process. Quick read, though, and fun pictures!

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