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The Tiny MBA: 100 Very Short Lessons about the Long Game of Business

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No longer available directly from Amazon. Please find the Paperback or Kindle-compatible Ebook at stackingthebricks.com/tinymba/ You don't need an MBA or fancy investors to succeed in business. Use the 100 ideas in this tiny book to evaluate your current situation: your advantages, your relationships, your potential choices, and the most likely outcomes. BONUS! If you enjoy No longer available directly from Amazon. Please find the Paperback or Kindle-compatible Ebook at stackingthebricks.com/tinymba/ You don't need an MBA or fancy investors to succeed in business. Use the 100 ideas in this tiny book to evaluate your current situation: your advantages, your relationships, your potential choices, and the most likely outcomes. BONUS! If you enjoy The Tiny MBA and want to go deeper on the topics lessons and themes in the book, check out the Tiny MBA Podcast Tour with the author! In each episode, Alex visits with the host of a different podcast or livestream to dig deeper into that hosts favorite pages of the book, and explore specific examples or stories rooted in these lessons. Check it out now at stackingthebricks.com/podcast/ and subscribe to get new episodes every week.


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No longer available directly from Amazon. Please find the Paperback or Kindle-compatible Ebook at stackingthebricks.com/tinymba/ You don't need an MBA or fancy investors to succeed in business. Use the 100 ideas in this tiny book to evaluate your current situation: your advantages, your relationships, your potential choices, and the most likely outcomes. BONUS! If you enjoy No longer available directly from Amazon. Please find the Paperback or Kindle-compatible Ebook at stackingthebricks.com/tinymba/ You don't need an MBA or fancy investors to succeed in business. Use the 100 ideas in this tiny book to evaluate your current situation: your advantages, your relationships, your potential choices, and the most likely outcomes. BONUS! If you enjoy The Tiny MBA and want to go deeper on the topics lessons and themes in the book, check out the Tiny MBA Podcast Tour with the author! In each episode, Alex visits with the host of a different podcast or livestream to dig deeper into that hosts favorite pages of the book, and explore specific examples or stories rooted in these lessons. Check it out now at stackingthebricks.com/podcast/ and subscribe to get new episodes every week.

30 review for The Tiny MBA: 100 Very Short Lessons about the Long Game of Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave Ceddia

    I’ve read a bunch of business books. And by “read,” I mean I usually get about half way through – get distracted – and never go back. The Tiny MBA lives up to its name, though: it’s not much over a hundred pages. This one, I finished. Taking notes on nearly every page, it took me a couple hours to read through. The pages had plenty of whitespace for notes, too! A nice side effect of the concise writing. This is the sort of book that you could skim through quick, nodding like a bobblehead… but it’s I’ve read a bunch of business books. And by “read,” I mean I usually get about half way through – get distracted – and never go back. The Tiny MBA lives up to its name, though: it’s not much over a hundred pages. This one, I finished. Taking notes on nearly every page, it took me a couple hours to read through. The pages had plenty of whitespace for notes, too! A nice side effect of the concise writing. This is the sort of book that you could skim through quick, nodding like a bobblehead… but it’s also the sort of book that you’ll get a lot more out of if you pause, consider, and take notes. In the spirit of the book, I will jump right to the point: should you buy it? Is it worth your money and your time? YES, and definitely. It’s like ten dollars and will take you 30 minutes to read, if you don’t stop and think along the way. I really suggest you stop and think along the way, though. The Tiny MBA is filled with tweet-sized advice and insights that pack a punch, many that made me stop and think, and more than a few that I made a note to take action on. Whether you’re a freelancer, a SaaS founder, a solo infoproducteur like myself, or someone who aspires to work for themselves in some capacity, there’s something here for you. Some of the advice is specifically about clients, and building a business that attracts good ones. Some of it touches on taking investment (spoiler: not recommended). Some of the insight is on hiring a team. There’s thoughts on money psychology, and how to succeed at the long game. I also really appreciated Alex’s book recommendations throughout, and it was great to see titles recommended that aren’t the usual suspects. If you’ve ever read a book that made you think “this could’ve been a blog post” as they repeat the same thing again for the 10th time and then say it again slightly differently and then once more but with a story this time… well, you won’t have that problem here. I believe the ideas in The Tiny MBA will be helpful for anyone who creates and sells a product or service, or wants to. Check it out, if that sounds like you!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    Reading this book reminds me of my many conversations with Alex over a drink (a coffee, a beer, an Easy Rider). Why does this matter to you, a person considering spending some time with this book? Because Alex is one of those people that loves to dig in deep to push past “current thinking” or commonly held misconceptions to get to the counter-intuitive heart of the matter. This book is filled with those hearts. I will caution the reader that Alex is not “giving you all the answers”. You will have Reading this book reminds me of my many conversations with Alex over a drink (a coffee, a beer, an Easy Rider). Why does this matter to you, a person considering spending some time with this book? Because Alex is one of those people that loves to dig in deep to push past “current thinking” or commonly held misconceptions to get to the counter-intuitive heart of the matter. This book is filled with those hearts. I will caution the reader that Alex is not “giving you all the answers”. You will have to truly bring yourself to the endeavor of starting or improving your business but I think that’s the point Alex is trying to make. He trusts you too much to pretend that’s even possible. It will be hard. What he is giving you is permission to do things in your own way and to trust and invest in yourself. One last caveat. If you are just starting out in business, many of these ideas that Alex is sharing will make some sense now but if you stick with your business I guarantee they will make more sense or even mean something completely different each subsequent year. All that to say, maybe make a note to reread every so often. And just because this is relevant, I’m one of Alex’s business partners and feel lucky to call him a friend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Krystal Elliott-Johnson

    I want to start by saying that I have little to no experience/knowledge when it comes to starting or owning a business. I picked up this book because I am curious about potentially stepping into the realm of entrepreneurship, at some point in my life. While I won't say that this book created a foundation of knowledge, I will say that it definitely gave me points to consider, that I would not have come up with on my own. Because it was a short read, it was easy to pick up, at leisure. Some of the I want to start by saying that I have little to no experience/knowledge when it comes to starting or owning a business. I picked up this book because I am curious about potentially stepping into the realm of entrepreneurship, at some point in my life. While I won't say that this book created a foundation of knowledge, I will say that it definitely gave me points to consider, that I would not have come up with on my own. Because it was a short read, it was easy to pick up, at leisure. Some of the content feels a bit out of place, but for the most part I enjoyed the little blurbs of knowledge and i especially appreciated the references provided, so I could dig in to a topic a bit more. My only real criticism is of the letter at the beginning of the text. It felt uncomfortable to read, but I think that's due to a lack of editing--this book and writing style definitely intend to be more casual. Overall, I would recommend it if you're curious about owning a business and are short on time or attention span. 😉

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Tilghman

    This book is the a culmination of every important piece of advice that you wish someone had told you when pursuing your graduate degree and/or jumping into entrepreneurship. It’s the perfect reference book of reminders, and the perfect way to better your professional pursuits. I only wish there were more book references!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Frantz

    I appreciate the concise approach of this book. Without having to slog through case studies and comparisons of similar businesses, the author describes patterns he has observed running his own business. The reader can use these short statements to think more deeply about how it relates to their own experiences or keep them in mind as a reference later.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Voytko

    Discovered this presale through some essays written on stackingthebricks.com. As someone who is business-curious, I liked the idea of getting a ground-up foundation in business (MBA) from one of the writers of the site. The format (100 prompts to use for reflection) has hard tradeoffs. The value seems to come from the insight that the reader can provide - "WHY is this true? Is it untrue? When have I seen examples of this? When have I seen counterexamples? Can I draw a generalization from that?" P Discovered this presale through some essays written on stackingthebricks.com. As someone who is business-curious, I liked the idea of getting a ground-up foundation in business (MBA) from one of the writers of the site. The format (100 prompts to use for reflection) has hard tradeoffs. The value seems to come from the insight that the reader can provide - "WHY is this true? Is it untrue? When have I seen examples of this? When have I seen counterexamples? Can I draw a generalization from that?" Paradoxically, a beginner stands to gain the most from these exercises, but they're in the worst position to do so. They don't have any experience to use for reflection. They can't stick anything to the few sentences in the prompts. The prompts make as much sense as someone telling me that Pikachu turns into Raichu. I'll say "ah, that makes sense," but it's gonna bounce right off of me. The other tradeoff of the book is that there are probably sections that don't apply to you. For example, I've never freelanced, and I've never had a business partner. So you find yourself galloping past them. And then you realize that you were just reading and page-turning for a while. There were a bunch of prompts you could have reflected on. I read the book twice -- not because I immediately had to reread it, but because I was sure that I had missed pages that I should have reflected on. The book made other stylistic choices that I liked. I liked that it wasn't run by a copy editor, and that the language erred on the colloquial side. It made the little bits of content feel more conversational. I ended up getting value from some of the prompts, so I rated it up from my original 3-star rating based on my struggles with the format. But I can't shake the feeling that more experienced readers got a lot more from it than I did.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    This book is so good it got me to reactivate my goodreads account after years of forgetting it existed. Amazing. oblique strategies for business. picked it up on a recommendation from a friend and already see years of value. 10/10 recommendation, more valuable than books you'll pay 2x or spend 10x the time reading. It's so important you understand it's only a "book" in its form. It's a 1990s style 365 day desktop calendar, a magic 8 ball, an oblique strategies deck, a trusted advisor, a random guy This book is so good it got me to reactivate my goodreads account after years of forgetting it existed. Amazing. oblique strategies for business. picked it up on a recommendation from a friend and already see years of value. 10/10 recommendation, more valuable than books you'll pay 2x or spend 10x the time reading. It's so important you understand it's only a "book" in its form. It's a 1990s style 365 day desktop calendar, a magic 8 ball, an oblique strategies deck, a trusted advisor, a random guy yelling at you on the street, an investor turning you down, whatever you want it to be. For those of us already on the journey, it's a list of "we did that" and "hmm yeah good point" and "ugh shit i don't want to think about this" — and those aren't static, they will change. and at no point will you feel - dumb - condescended to - confused - in over your head like a lot of other biz books that try to take a "i've been there, done that, check out my press photo and speaking engagements" approach to what we know are not one-size-fits-all problems. i just love this. it's delightful. thank you for writing it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Askins

    Honestly, I've been getting more out of reading the Tiny MBA than most business coaches I've paid for. I've been keeping the book by my desk and flipping through the lessons whenever there's a lull in my day. Some of the lessons I've learned the hard way in the past 6 years of building our business, and are a comforting reminder. Some are a nudge to continue improving. Reading it feels like chatting with one of my entrepreneur friends. The best part of the Tiny MBA though, is how tiny it is. So m Honestly, I've been getting more out of reading the Tiny MBA than most business coaches I've paid for. I've been keeping the book by my desk and flipping through the lessons whenever there's a lull in my day. Some of the lessons I've learned the hard way in the past 6 years of building our business, and are a comforting reminder. Some are a nudge to continue improving. Reading it feels like chatting with one of my entrepreneur friends. The best part of the Tiny MBA though, is how tiny it is. So many business books feel like they need to be long to be valuable. The result is I get halfway through and never pick it up again. The Tiny MBA is the antithesis of this. And it's not prescriptive either. It's not trying to sell you on the right way to do things, but just trying to help you think more clearly. I love it. Beautifully designed too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alex G

    Having started a business in the last year and climbing up the metaphorical hill Tiny MBA has been a bit of a forecaster and mind reader for me. Some passages are future insight of what I'll run into and I can only say that because I ended up seeing what Alex wrote in the book play out in real life. Other passages are already answering questions I had about businesses especially ones about partnerships. I believe most of the value comes from not having to read fluff in business books. While I agr Having started a business in the last year and climbing up the metaphorical hill Tiny MBA has been a bit of a forecaster and mind reader for me. Some passages are future insight of what I'll run into and I can only say that because I ended up seeing what Alex wrote in the book play out in real life. Other passages are already answering questions I had about businesses especially ones about partnerships. I believe most of the value comes from not having to read fluff in business books. While I agree with other reviewers that an expanded version with real examples of why/how those things happened to Alex would have been super nice. I think it's also great that is IS short. It allows for a quick read several times over the span of a year and keeping the insights in mind as you build a business.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ben B

    The lessons are direct and the point, without the usual fluff and padding of business books. This book is as short as it could be, not as long as the content could be stretched. You'll probably read this book two ways - the first time quickly, because you will want to read it all immediately and it truly is the *tiny* MBA so it won't take long. The second reading will be to come back and reflect on the lessons with more time to reflect on them. Maybe you'll do the second read in an orderly start t The lessons are direct and the point, without the usual fluff and padding of business books. This book is as short as it could be, not as long as the content could be stretched. You'll probably read this book two ways - the first time quickly, because you will want to read it all immediately and it truly is the *tiny* MBA so it won't take long. The second reading will be to come back and reflect on the lessons with more time to reflect on them. Maybe you'll do the second read in an orderly start to finish re-read, maybe you'll come back via the index to relevant topics, or perhaps you'll just flip at random, Oblique Strategies style. But I think most people will come back to this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    J.F.Nailed.It. Must read for all business owners, solopreneurs, & wantapreneurs. I seriously want to hand this out to anyone going into business or who has been in business <5 years. Pg 102 is spot on. Spot. On. If I had a dollar for every business owner who I heard blame others on their way down the toilet, I'd have enough to do #1 (above). Tongue and cheek comment: I was a bit disappointed that page 36 & 37 weren't exactly the same. #missedopportunity Would totally recommend it. You could read i J.F.Nailed.It. Must read for all business owners, solopreneurs, & wantapreneurs. I seriously want to hand this out to anyone going into business or who has been in business <5 years. Pg 102 is spot on. Spot. On. If I had a dollar for every business owner who I heard blame others on their way down the toilet, I'd have enough to do #1 (above). Tongue and cheek comment: I was a bit disappointed that page 36 & 37 weren't exactly the same. #missedopportunity Would totally recommend it. You could read it in less than an hour, or study and apply it for a year. Either way, you won't be sorry.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robert Rowe

    I purchased Tiny MBA primarily to support the author, whom I have a personal, deep respect for in the entrepreneur and creatives community. That said, the book is incredible for anyone looking for tips and wisdom regarding interacting with others in a business setting. Tiny MBA is extremely approachable, and wonderfully laid out, taken from a series of Tweets and conversations Alex has had throughout his career. I've been able to apply some of the lessons to my life as a professional musician an I purchased Tiny MBA primarily to support the author, whom I have a personal, deep respect for in the entrepreneur and creatives community. That said, the book is incredible for anyone looking for tips and wisdom regarding interacting with others in a business setting. Tiny MBA is extremely approachable, and wonderfully laid out, taken from a series of Tweets and conversations Alex has had throughout his career. I've been able to apply some of the lessons to my life as a professional musician and music-teacher, as well as my "day job" at our local homeless shelter, proving that this book goes well beyond "business", in my opinion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katel LeDu

    What if you could build a business that aligned with being human? Not some impossible, even gross-feeling manifestation of what we’re often told BIZ should look like—but an authentic, sustainable version of what you, a real person, could put into a business and share with the world. Wherever you are in the process of starting a business—regardless of size or industry—stop. Read this book. That’s exactly what Alex will help you do with this tiny yet powerful guide.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    "The Tiny MBA" will officially be my little rumination "deck of business oracle cards" that sits on my desk. It's the type of book I'll pick up each morning and choose a random page to read – contemplating as a sort of intention setting exercise for the day/week. On the first day of owning it, it's already helped me consider things I can work on to improve my business. There are some major gems inside these pages. I'm really happy I grabbed a copy! "The Tiny MBA" will officially be my little rumination "deck of business oracle cards" that sits on my desk. It's the type of book I'll pick up each morning and choose a random page to read – contemplating as a sort of intention setting exercise for the day/week. On the first day of owning it, it's already helped me consider things I can work on to improve my business. There are some major gems inside these pages. I'm really happy I grabbed a copy!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten Lambertsen

    I love this book of business meditations. OK, they might not be meditations in the strict sense of the term. But it's how I like to think about and use this book, one "meditation" per page. No plowing through anecdotes and long lead-ins about how or why the author came to his conclusion. He gets straight to the point. We're getting the baby without the labor pains here! And I'm here for it. It's honest, pithy, quotable and shareable. I love this book of business meditations. OK, they might not be meditations in the strict sense of the term. But it's how I like to think about and use this book, one "meditation" per page. No plowing through anecdotes and long lead-ins about how or why the author came to his conclusion. He gets straight to the point. We're getting the baby without the labor pains here! And I'm here for it. It's honest, pithy, quotable and shareable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Hackett

    As a graphic designer turned UX and product designer, I’ve always yearned for more practical business knowledge, acumen, and language. I’ve always wanted an accessible frame of reference for understanding business needs as they evolve and grow into a longer service. Beyond portfolio development, timesheets, pitch/critique sessions, quotes, and billing—traditional design schools simply do not prepare designers for the business world in which they will likely (hopefully) be offering their minds, se As a graphic designer turned UX and product designer, I’ve always yearned for more practical business knowledge, acumen, and language. I’ve always wanted an accessible frame of reference for understanding business needs as they evolve and grow into a longer service. Beyond portfolio development, timesheets, pitch/critique sessions, quotes, and billing—traditional design schools simply do not prepare designers for the business world in which they will likely (hopefully) be offering their minds, services, and ethics. I’ve read (or attempted to read) several business books for beginners and non-MBA audiences, and they’ve always felt inaccessibly daunting to me. Where to start in applying these lessons in your real work after you’ve closed the book, right? In their breadth, a few of these books were lacuna. Other books in this category never decouple from highly esoteric or technical language. The language in Tiny MBA reminds me of how Rutger Hauer famously rewrote the ‘tears in rain’ soliloquy at the end of Blade Runner because he said it contained too much ‘opera talk’ and ‘hi-tech speech.’ This book is written like the re-written scene we all know. Tiny MBA just scales and builds in this practical business application with solid and direct business principles and observations. There is a good blend of the timeless and the now. The pacing and tone of this little book are unassumingly authoritative (from a ‘hey we’ve been there on this stuff, trust us’ point of view). I found myself just jumping in at any page and looking up the references for further reading, listening, and viewing. This is not a book you have to read in page order. It’s more of a map reference where one thing leads to another as your thought expands or as your business questions arise. I’ve enjoyed Tiny MBA because I’ve felt myself learning and getting more confident in product design discussions at my job and in my side passion projects. Alex Hillman has crafted a mighty gem here.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    It really put a lot into perspective for me, and I've vowed to myself that whenever I doubt myself, it'll be in my regular book inventory. This is the perfect coffee and shorter inspiration book. It comes chopped with the lessons that any new start-up or small business owner would need without having to read a million books. Of course, the recommendations for further reading are nice too, but I do think this is a great read for anyone who's bogged down by getting their business started. Disclaim It really put a lot into perspective for me, and I've vowed to myself that whenever I doubt myself, it'll be in my regular book inventory. This is the perfect coffee and shorter inspiration book. It comes chopped with the lessons that any new start-up or small business owner would need without having to read a million books. Of course, the recommendations for further reading are nice too, but I do think this is a great read for anyone who's bogged down by getting their business started. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in a giveaway.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    The Tiny MBA is a great, short and sharp read that I’m excited to re-read, especially while I’m working through specific problems in the future. Full of helpful tips and prompts for questions to consider! Overall a great book to flick through while planning, problem-solving or reflecting and I recommend it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Curtis

    Alex has distilled key insights for achieving success in the entrepreneurial journey in this book. Having run my own businesses for several years, I found myself nodding time and again as I flipped through the pages and found principles that echoed my own experiences. Any budding business founder would be well-served by pondering the questions and applying the principles found here.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aron Levendel

    Every page is like an excellent conversation starter with yourself (or your team). I’m lucky enough to know Alex in person and reading The Tiny MBA is like talking with him: simple yet moving thoughts you wish to remember at the next challenge in your life. Good news! now you can have it written down so it’s easy to return and get inspired. Anytime. Anywhere.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elayna

    An absolutely amazing book for anyone hoping to strike out on ther own. Loved the way each page felt like a prompt, questioning the reader to think deeper about what and why they *really* want out of being an entrepreneur. Know I'll revisit it again and again! This lil book is a triumph. An absolutely amazing book for anyone hoping to strike out on ther own. Loved the way each page felt like a prompt, questioning the reader to think deeper about what and why they *really* want out of being an entrepreneur. Know I'll revisit it again and again! This lil book is a triumph.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marc Thomas

    I know a book is fantastic when I find myself highlighting almost every page. This is one of those books. Timeless wisdom for entrepreneurs distilled into bite sized (very highlightable) chunks. Thank you for writing this, Alex.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ryder Ross

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's filled with insight that makes you wonder what pain Alex had to endure to learn each nugget. I love these small books where the authors don't need to add a bunch of filler content just to pump up the number of pages! Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's filled with insight that makes you wonder what pain Alex had to endure to learn each nugget. I love these small books where the authors don't need to add a bunch of filler content just to pump up the number of pages!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Simon Le

    I'll Be Back Many, many good bite sized lessons. The book starts with "take a moment with each lesson" and I look forward to coming back when the lessons are more applicable and taking many moments with them. I'll Be Back Many, many good bite sized lessons. The book starts with "take a moment with each lesson" and I look forward to coming back when the lessons are more applicable and taking many moments with them.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Tiny MBA only takes a few hours to read, but you’ll feel like you spent that time with a friendly business mentor.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eric Nehrlich

    The tiny lessons contained in this book are simple and feel like things that you should already know. And therein lies their wisdom - we often discount the simple truths. Taking each page and thinking about how it might apply to my business offered insights into new actions I could take. Sometimes things don't have to be complex to have value, so I appreciated the concentrated learnings expressed by this tiny MBA. The tiny lessons contained in this book are simple and feel like things that you should already know. And therein lies their wisdom - we often discount the simple truths. Taking each page and thinking about how it might apply to my business offered insights into new actions I could take. Sometimes things don't have to be complex to have value, so I appreciated the concentrated learnings expressed by this tiny MBA.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    A very quick read, but full of good value; I look forward to re-reading this one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Seth G

    Alex Hillman's Tiny MBA is exactly that... a tiny MBA. It is full or bite-sized knowledge bombs that will make you better in business and in life. I highly recommend picking this book up. Alex Hillman's Tiny MBA is exactly that... a tiny MBA. It is full or bite-sized knowledge bombs that will make you better in business and in life. I highly recommend picking this book up.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Jones

    Great, quick read. Provokes ideas, triggers opportunities to delve into problems in a more meaningful way.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Avinash Hindupur

    A nice little thought-provoking book with actionable insights. You can use this book as a random prompt or as a reference guide.

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