A Review of The Tiny MBA

By 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. I’m really not the best at finishing books.

The Tiny MBA lives up to its name, though: it’s not much over a hundred pages. This one, I finished.

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.

Back in 2015, I enrolled in a course called 30x500, taught by Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman of Stacking the Bricks. The course promised to teach me how to build a business by researching my audience, helping them with what they needed, and creating products I could be confident they’d want.

This blog you’re reading now was born out of that class, and I can pretty safely say it would not exist had it not been for Amy and Alex and 30x500. The tens of thousands of folks who stop by to read this blog every month, the thousands of email subscribers, the friends I’ve made along the way, the job I was able to quit to strike out on my own… I owe a lot to those two.

So I was super excited when I saw that Alex was publishing The Tiny MBA. I preordered it as soon as I was able, and then I got to check out an early PDF copy.

I already mentioned it’s a quick read: 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.

The PDF spans just 124 pages – and that includes the front and back covers. 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 :)

The Tiny MBA is filled with tweet-sized advice and insights that pack a punch.

Here’s page 9, for example.

Page 9 of The Tiny MBA

I like this idea, and I like how it applies to both programmer and business worlds, e.g. avoid creating an abstration until you’ve felt the pain of duplicating the code a few times. (read Amy’s article The Fine Art of “Flintstoning”)

The book is full of little insights that made me stop and think, and more than a few that I made a note to take action on.

Speaking of programmers and businessfolk – who is this book for, anyway?

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!