Tag Archives: josh-kaufman

Personal R&D

Many successful companies run expansive research and development departments, allowing them to enhance their capabilities and discover and exploit the new opportunities this speculative research often brings.

Josh Kaufman suggests that we create our own personal R&D budgets–akin to those of corporations–for our personal development:

What would it look like if you set aside 10-20% of your monthly income as a personal R&D budget? […] That money can then be used – guilt-free – in any way related to improving your skills and capabilities: purchasing books, taking courses, acquiring equipment, or attending conferences.

Personal finance gurus might disagree with me here, but I think having a robust personal R&D budget is more important than maximizing savings. I’m all for having a well-funded emergency account and saving a minimum of 10-20% of what you earn each month, but savings can only get you so far. Investments in improving your personal skills and capabilities can simultaneously enrich your life and open doors to additional income sources. New skills create new opportunities, and new opportunities often translate into more income. Your ability to save is limited; your ability to earn is not.

The 12 Core Human Skills

Elaborating on a concept from one of my favourite posts written by Dilbert creator Scott Adams (career advice: either “become the best at one specific thing” or “become very good (top 25%) at two or more things”), Josh Kaufman of Personal MBA suggests the 12 core human skills that we should strive to become very good at (top 25%) if we wish to succeed.

  • Information-Assimilation
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Decision-Making
  • Rapport
  • Conflict-Resolution
  • Scenario-Generation
  • Planning
  • Self-Awareness
  • Interrelation
  • Skill Acquisition

As Josh says, “take a moment to imagine all of the things you’d be able to accomplish if you improved your skills to the point where you ranked in the top 25% of the human population in each of these areas”.

On Business Books, Self-Education, and Mental Models

I mentioned the Personal MBA Book List last week, and today have come across this interview between Josh Kaufman and Ben Casnocha, author of My Start-Up Life.

Josh runs the Personal MBA Recommended Reading List — a list of the best business books one would need to read for a comprehensive business education. It’s a terrific resource that’s well worth reviewing. In our exchange, we talk about the list of books and whether recently published ones should be excluded, and then meander into the difference between books offering systems / models and practical advice, and conclude on how prominent a role books should play in the self-education process.

The Personal MBA Book List

The Personal MBA is a site dedicated to helping people gain an MBA education without the expense of business school. It’s a self-study guide to advanced business topics and concepts. As Kevin Kelly—the founding executive director of Wired—says:

No matter what they tell you, an MBA is not essential for landing or handling a good business job… Pursue your own Personal MBA in tandem with actual experience doing some kind of business. If you combine study with actually trying stuff, you’ll be far ahead in the business game.

An impressive introduction comes in the form of the Change This Manifesto, and one of my favourite pages on the site is the book list: The 99 Best Business Books.