Book Review: 101 Things I Learned in Business School

September 2, 2010

6:42 pm

Don’t have funds, time, or desire to go to Wharton, Harvard or even a community college class to get a handle on business principles? Michael W. Preis has an answer for you wrapped up in a 5×7 book called 101 Things I Learned™ in Business School. It is a quick read and half the pages are pictures, but I must admit it is a good fundamental business principle guide book all for a whopping $15 bucks.

Business Flip Book
Use 101 Things I Learned™ in Business School as your personal business consultant flip book, jumping to micro-mini lessons on accounting, finance, marketing, management, leadership, strategy, and human relations. Each mini lesson is a gateway to dive deeper into the subjects that “starters” and seasoned entrepreneurs need to operate in today’s fast changing business landscape.

Business Lessons
Michael W. Preis, with coauthor Matthew Frederick, includes many tried and true business lessons and new business models. Preis starts out with value creation; successful companies today create a need in the marketplace, create a viable business model, and get employees working together on core values and strengths.

Preis covers the 20-80 Pareto Principle (aka “the 80-20 rule”), property protection, push and pull strategies, and the Long Tail business model.  He also includes “going green can make more green”. It’s all in this tiny book. More business lessons include…

  • Anticipate new markets
  • Find your personal connectors
  • Organization’s culture is important
  • Market while you are busy
  • Cannibalize your own sales
  • Free – part of your business model
  • Do fewer but better things
  • Repetition makes a statement believable
  • Focus on customer solutions
  • Complaints are a good thing

“Form, storm, norm, perform” for team development is one of Preis’ lessons. Wikipedia gave me additional insight on this Tuckman’s Group Development Model for effective teaming, first proposed in 1965. The trick to using 101 Things I Learned™ in Business School effectively is following up with your own research online – the book provides the right starting points.

Business Strategies
What’s next after you have read 101 Things I Learned™ in Business School? How can you utilize these lessons? Here are a few learning strategies I present when consulting with businesses.

The Private Business Group
Preis reminds us that “all businesses have similar concerns and responsibilities” and “even a one-person business has departments.”  MBA schools pitch that an important part of their experience is to have a room full of peers to bounce off ideas. One way to simulate that experience and incorporate the needs of the one-person company is to form your own business group. Invite hand selected people into a close knit group to exchange ideas and work on areas that are not your core business. WordPress or mobile app companies still need to know about accounting, finances, and marketing. By working together, you can create solutions, facilitate growth, eliminate redundancy, and move faster through the business learning cycle.

Look for people at your next conference or among your online social networks to create this group of professionals. Make sure you include “T-shaped” people who are both specialists and collaborators across multiple disciplines. Of course don’t forget to give your group a really cool name and plan an annual business retreat!

Sticky Note Strategy
How can I move the ideas from 101 Things I Learned™ in Business School to a real strategy and a functioning workflow process?

Gather your employees or your newly formed business group to work on your most important business needs. Next conduct a sticky note brainstorming session. I have become a firm believer in sticky note strategy since assisting Adaptive Path leaders many times during user experience events and workshops.

You could literally extract lesson pages from the book and post them on your walls then add ideas via sticky notes. Move them around in order of importance. Prefer a virtual sticky note wall?  There are many online sticky note tools available.

Create your own Curriculum
Being business savvy without an advanced business degree is totally possible. MIT Sloan Business School offers free online business school course materials and Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders are on iTunes. Many more webcasts are available at top universities including UC Berkeley and UC Irvine. Don’t forget to check YouTube.

I hope to one day be reading about your innovative company or your business group in the next book on business strategies. We will be looking forward to it.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Gloria Antonelli. She is a social media mentor and web design consultant. You can connect with Gloria at and follow her on Twitter at: @gloriaantonelli.

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Gloria Antonelli is a social media mentor and web design consultant. You can connect with Gloria at and follow her on twitter at @gloriaantonelli.