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How to talk business if you were a lit major

March 28, 2014

Home Blog How to talk business if you were a lit major

One of the distinguishing features of the information profession is that everyone generally has diverse undergrad backgrounds and almost none of them feature business in any of the degree descriptions.

Usually it’s more things like comparative literature, history, cultural anthropology—all highly valuable knowledge bases, but not much help when the guy across the conference table is throwing around terms like demand forecasting, group capacity assessment or supply chain management.

The good news? There’s an app for that. Well, okay, actually it’s a 1600-page doorstop of a book that pretty much will answer nearly any question a non-MBA type might have when it comes to business concepts, definitions, thought leaders and classic books on key business topics. It’s called Business: The Ultimate Resource and it can help you get up to speed quickly on business topics or to prepare for one of those interdepartmental projects where you don’t want to sound clueless about what the IT or Marketing or Risk Assessment groups are talking about.

Like an MBA in a box, the most recent (third) edition of Business follows the format of previous editions: hundreds of articles by topic thought leaders under the broad heading of “Best Practices”; a “Management Library” that includes overviews of important business books; a section devoted to profiles of fifty key business thinkers and “management giants” (both historical and contemporary) and the ideas for which they’re best known; a dictionary of more than 7,000 key business and management terms; and over 200 pages of business information sources, organized by topic (example: accounting, intellectual property, learning organization).

The great thing about Business is that all of the explanations are given in language that makes sense to the general reader (also known as those of us who graduated with liberal arts degrees), so if your accounting or marketing vocabularies are rudimentary at best, you can quickly check to learn what you need to know about asset turnover or customer equity. It’s a great resource for quickly learning how to speak business.

Law, Jonathan. Business: The Ultimate Resource, 3rd ed. A&C Black, 2011. 1760p. ISBN 140812811X.


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