The Visual MBA

2 minutes estimated reading time

Jason Barron’s book The Visual MBA looks to distill down business principles into more easily understandable formats. The Visual MBA has been translated into a number of European languages since it was published in 2019, which is a good indicator of the book’s utility. So I thought I would take the time to review The Visual MBA and see how I got on with it and whether it lives up to its premise.

The Visual MBA

Areas covered in The Visual MBA

The content of The Visual MBA is broken down into a number of areas including:

  • Leadership
  • Corporate financial reporting
  • Entrepreneurship (management and financial focus)
  • Management accounting
  • Business finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations management
  • HR
  • Strategy
  • Ethics
  • Decision making
  • Startups

The book itself is a robust hardback book that would be fine in a daypack lugged around campus. As with any book there are things that could be put in and taken away. My impression of the content is that would be useful to someone studying business at A’level or in the first year of an undergraduate degree. I personally found the marketing section frustrating. Part of the reason for this is that the depth of the subject was barely scratched. Readers were not prompted to even ask the right kind of questions.

There was nothing that would spur you to read more and read widely. I suspect that this would be the case with the other areas covered by the book as well. It creates the false confidence that would appeal to a surface player. I think that is dangerous for readers and the businesses that they work for.

Do I think the premise of the book works?

The book neatly summarises many of the key concepts that would be taught in a general business course and it explains the points in a simple manner. For instance the idea of balance sheets reminded me of the first semester in the first year of my marketing degree in terms of its explanations.

Where I am less sure of the book’s benefits was whether the illustrations would make me retain any better the content of the book? I will ignore the fact that for some pages the drawings weren’t illustrated but instead representations of the headlines in a hand drawn typography. I might the book beneficial if they were my diagrams that I was sketching in my notes. But I don’t think they have the same effect on a reader of the book.

In summary I would recommend that one buys the book as a simple guide to business studies or commerce rather than the visual aide memoire that the book seems to promise. If this sounds of interest to you you can get more information here.