Personal MBA

So I came across this interesting idea – a 42-book syllabus to improve one’s knowledge about business and improve one’s effectiveness at work, like getting an MBA is supposed to. As the manifesto clearly states, it’s not a substitute for the MBA one’d get at a business school, but investing in the syllabus would mean learning about business at a relatively low cost.

I already have some of the books in the syllabus, and some of the others cover topics I’ve been wanting to read about for a long time, so I am very intrigued. Also, I’ve always thought graduate school was a definite further down the road for me. This looks like a good way to clarify my thinking on graduate school…

I'm an ISTJ

So I just took a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (aka MBTI; you can find out more about it here; it categorises you in 4 dimensions – extroversion/introversion, intuition/sensing, feeling/thinking, judging/perceiving – based on your preferences) on an Excel sheet, and it turns out I’m an ISTJ. Well, okay, it’s not quite as simple as that; the analysis broke it down this way:

Introversion – clear preference [This means I prefer to focus my attention on and get my energy from ideas and impressions rather than external items like people and things. I think that’s fairly accurate, except that I do find myself energised by the close personal relationships that can arise from deep, involved interactions with other people, like if we work on a big project together, or share life-changing experiences. Hmm…]

Sensing – moderate preference [This means I prefer to take in information directly through sensing the here-and-now, compared to information that is conceptual and more abstract in nature. Again, I think that’s fairly accurate, but it’s a preference that can change based on one’s job and training. I believe I am comfortable with both types of information, but the preference for sensing seems, intuitively, to be an accurate assessment.]

Thinking – slight preference [Ah this means I prefer to make decisions based on analysis and logic, as opposed to values and the feelings of other people. I really think I straddle both sides here, and sometimes it’s difficult to decide how to make decisions because of this.]

Judging – moderate preference [This is an interesting, more complicated one. This means I prefer to categorise or order the outside world (via the feeling/thinking function), rather than to accept and experience the outside world as it is (via the intuition/sensing function). Again, this agrees with what I think/feel about myself.]

This shall go into my profile :) And if you’re interested in taking your own MBTI through that formatted Excel sheet – I should clarify that the best way to understand your preferences and what they mean is to take an MBTI administered by someone qualified – just drop me an email; I can send the Excel sheet to you.


So last Friday, after a wonderful BBQ spread with steak, tiger prawns, stingray, squid, fried bee hoon, pizza and franks, we had a spirited game of Pictionary at my boss’ house, an old one-storey place off Dunearn Road. (Before I forget, this one-storey place was the temporary harbour of an interesting couple, whose current mission is to “drive from Sydney to London going overland as much as possible”. Although the trouble in East Timor had scuppered some of this “going overland”, they were still determined to drive on, through Pakistan, China etc. all the way to London, which they figured they would reach in seven months. They have a web site at

During the game,

  • A colleague drew an intact building, and then a mess. Thought that was a really smart way of doing “ruins”.
  • Another colleague drew a house, then an arrow pointing inside the house and then a syringe and a bottle of medicine. Thought drawing a house with a cross on it would make people think more immediately of “hospital”, but hey – someone guessed it before the minute was up.
  • A colleague drew a stick figure with lines sticking out of it, and then other stuff with single, short, straight lines coming out, and got more and more frustrated as it became clear no one knew what on earth she was drawing. Then she changed tack, and started drawing a car – first the few archs that make up the car’s body, then the wheels; and her teammate started bouncing up and down on her sofa in the “I know I know” fashion, and shouted out, after getting it caught between her brain and her tongue a few times: “acupuncture”. Brilliant.
  • A colleague drew a stick figure with arms up and legs tucked in, clearly in the midst of a jump, and added a few archs after the figure, depicting its path. So the guesses came thick and fast: jump; leap; bounce; jump, jump, jump; frog… but none were right. He changed tack, and drew a ear and then drew a stick figure with a hoop around it. So the word sounded like “hoop”. Time was running out, but we couldn’t think of any “jump”-like word that sounded like “hoop”. Eventually, the answer was revealed: “hop”. Someone commented that perhaps we didn’t get it because we typically hop on one leg, and the colleague drew his stick figure with both legs tucked in. Maybe he could have drawn a bunny instead of a stick figure…
  • A colleague drew some wavy lines, and a horizontal, elongated thing beneath the lines. So this was underwater. We started guessing: submarine; torpedo; octopus. But she then drew a tank on this thing’s back. And immediately: scuba; scuba diving; diving; snorkelling… But she drew an arrow, aimed insistently at the tank. Okay, so it was scuba tank. Only it wasn’t. Then another colleague went: “oxygen”, and that’s what it was. This was my favourite – I have no idea what I would draw if I had to do “oxygen”, and I think the idea of an oxygen tank is really creative.
  • Another colleague had to do “silver”. She tried drawing some jewelry, but gave up halfway. Tough to draw “silver”, even if you break it up into “sail” and something. We all commiserated.
  • Another colleague had to do “Swiss army knife”, and did decide to break it up. We got “knife”, but despite her drawing the Swiss flag and a couple of stick figures with helmets and guns and bullets shooting out of the guns, we failed to get the rest. A colleague said it might have been easier to draw the actual Swiss army knife, and I think he was right :)

The 13 of us played past 10pm. I wish I had the drawings, but they were binned soon after the game.

That was a fun night.