Recommendations for a techie looking to expand business knowledge
September 1, 2015 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Technical maven in IT looking to expand business knowledge; What can you recommend in terms of books and other media I can look at to grow in this area?

Currently acting as an IT Business Analyst at my company with a heavy background in modern technologies ( with JQuery/Knockout/React/you name it, heavy SOA background, and branching out heavily into mobile technologies). My business acumen is currently limited to many of the projects I've been on, but I'm looking to expand my knowledge into other areas of our business. I'm interested in all realms, but I'm not really sure what exactly they teach in MBA courses or what would help me.

I'm heavily interested in general business knowledge at a more granular level than 'we sell this, get money for it'. I've dived into financial courses via Khan Academy and other sites, but I'm trying to round out my knowledge and potentially focus on moving into an architect role.

What can you recommend in terms of books and other media I can look at to grow in this area?
posted by MMALR to Work & Money (4 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
For the sausage-making side of business life:

For finding textbooks:

For popular business books:

Also, read the WSJ. Hope this helps!
posted by The Ted at 2:04 PM on September 1, 2015

Given what you have said about your background and objectives, I would recommend focusing first on business strategy and value creation -- how you help your company determine what products to build. [I'm a VP of Engineering at a Fortune 500 company, have a MBA and a BSEE, and have been in engineering management, marketing management and M&A evaluation roles in my career.]

There are a lot of opportunities via MOOC's to dive into this subject at the college level -- for instance Coursera has a 5 course specialization in Business Strategy that starts mid-September that looks pretty good from a content perspective.

I recently looked for a book on this subject to recommend to my engineering team and came up with Value Proposition Design -- it hits the high points.
posted by elmay at 2:50 PM on September 1, 2015

This is an odd choice, but I would recommend Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results, by Alison Green. Although it is aimed at the non-profit sector, it is one of the best introductions to general management skills and tools which I have read. I'm suggesting it for you because one of the goals is to introduce specialists to general management skills. I give it out at work, and I don't work for a non profit.
posted by frumiousb at 4:29 PM on September 1, 2015

Check out this book list. Pretty comprehensive, just pick from the categories you are interested in.

Seconding elmay's suggestion of Value Proposition Design -- I used it with my start-up, and it was great. It's illustrated and concise, so even the non-business folks on my team liked it.
posted by ananci at 5:10 PM on September 1, 2015

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