Book review: Professors share business lessons learned on road trips
"ROADSIDE MBA: Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners," by Michael Mazzeo, Paul Oyer and Scott Schaefer, Business Plus, $27, 279 pages (nf)
"Roadside MBA" charts six road trips from three ramblin' men. Well, they're not actually rambling men — at least not at first.
Michael Mazzeo, Paul Oyer and Scott Schaeffer, who have doctorates in economics and teach at schools in Chicago; Palo Alto, California; and Salt Lake City, come together for an annual road trip that is bound for fun and insight in America's back country.
Their purpose is to capture lessons from a diverse group of entrepreneurs and business owners who have something to say on how to cut costs, save on the bottom line, hire effectively and all other aspects of running a successful business.
Each trip is catalogued with case studies from local businesses. The authors provide descriptions of face-to-face interactions with the business owners, and their initial reactions of various restaurants, banks and shops are analyzed and presented from the eye of scholars not in the classroom. They even go as far as to describe the physical features of each character they interact with, as if the book were a film script. The authors, described as Hollywood look-alikes, pilot the adventure for the reader.
One stop on a trip from Tennessee to Iowa is at Braces by Burris, an orthodontist practice that centers its business in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and oversees satellite locations. The authors note that by keeping employees and business operations in one location, the company is able to operate its off-site locations from a home base. The orthodontist and his staff are able to travel — flying in the company plane — to each site regularly in order to reach their customer base throughout the state of Arkansas.
On the trip from Montana to Oregon, the authors talked to a retired banker in Post Falls, Idaho, who promotes a sense of community by hosting weekly barbecues at Community 1st Bank that target clients who are typically turned away by banking institutions.
The list goes on. Each stop has something for the aspiring business owner or seasoned entrepreneur.
Schaefer, the driver of the group, is based in Salt Lake City and is a professor of finance at the University of Utah. Oyer, the navigator, is an economics professor at Stanford University, and Mazzeo, who sits in the back seat, is an associate professor of management of strategy at Northwestern University.
The book has a few swear words but no sexual references or described violence.
"Roadside MBA" is a book that shows the sights of the authors' road trips as they share pertinent business lessons along the way.
If you go ...
What: Scott Schaefer book signing
When: Thursday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.
Brandon Schembri is a graduate of the University of Utah and lives in Salt Lake City. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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