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Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed

Tekijä: Jeremy Short

Sarjat: Atlas Black (1)

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näyttää 4/4
Is it a graphic novel, or is it a college textbook? Happily enough, it is both! Young Atlas Black, college student and daydreamer, takes the first steps into entrepreneurism in the entertaining and informative book Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed. In this book, co-written by Jeremy Short, Talya Bauer, Dave Ketchen, and Len Simon, I laughed at (but sometimes with) Atlas as he learned what makes businesses succeed – or fail.

As a happy-go-lucky daydreamy type myself, I often identified with Atlas and his similar personality. He wants to have it all, but isn’t interested in working overmuch to achieve his goals. It struck me that while some of that attitude is laziness, more of it is fear. The business world is large and can seem overwhelming. In this book, the first of two focusing on Atlas Black’s new career and the principles of business, Atlas learns that major concepts can be broken down into understandable pieces. He learns what it takes to create a successful business. Most importantly, he learns that he can learn. In the process he matures, and I mature a bit with him. We both come to see that there are frameworks and rules that make sense of the business world. An entrepreneur need not embark blindly into the cut-throat world of business. Some groundwork, planning, and attention to detail can go a long way toward creating success rather than failure.

If asked what sets this book apart from other college textbooks, the obvious answer is ‘it’s presented in graphic form’. Less immediately obvious, but more important, is that the business concepts this book teaches are presented in several ways, capturing different types of learners. For example, in Chapter 4, Atlas and his friend David are planning to interview a prospective employee. First, in graphic novel form, Atlas mentions several interview questions he’d like to ask and David points out the unsuitability of the questions. Next, in a traditional chart, I read an outline of proper and improper interview questions. Rather than being redundant, the two ways of presenting the information complemented each other. When, a couple of pages later, I read the actual interview, I knew that the questions Atlas asked were good ones. Like him, I had learned something about the interview process.

Working in the early education field, I see firsthand that students need material presented to them in a variety of ways. This book goes a long way toward meeting that need. Entertaining, factual, and enjoyable, Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed is visually appealing and welcoming to read. As businesses must find new and creative ways to gain and keep customers, this book, utilizing such creativity, should be a welcome addition to colleges across the country. ( )
  Merryann | Apr 26, 2013 |
This book is an intriguing new format for a business management classes that might help attract the interest of some students who otherwise would not be paying attention in class - the same type of person depicted in the graphic novel. The protagonist, Atlas Black, is the perfect example of what not to do in order to graduate from college. He does not pay attention, does not study, can't even be dependable enough to show up on time for class. On top of that, Atlas Black is unemployed and can't seem to keep a job long enough to pay his rent and other bills from month to month. Perhaps Atlas Black is supposed to be humorous, but his problems are realistic enough that they are no laughing matter, and, at least for me, the humor falls flat. This type of character gains no respect or even sympathy from me as most of his problems are of his own making.

That said, the business concepts covered in this graphic novel text are interesting, and covered differently than the texts I used during my own business management classes not so long ago. I loved reading about the relevant examples used to explain the topics discussed; however, the main thing I like about this book is the affordability and various formats in which it is made available. The authors and publisher have given their attention to the fact that people learn differently. The graphic novel is a highly visual format. The graphic format tends to slow me down while reading. For some students this slowing of pace can be good, as important information is less likely to be missed when reading slower. Each page covers lots of information, incorporating the story of the protagonist as he makes his way through his last business class before graduation with the business management concepts. The availablity of the book in audio format will be a boon to those students who learn better from traditional lecture-type classes.

Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed would be a great text to use for those condensed classes, which try to cover a variety of topics in a limited amount of time. As supplimental material for a class using another book as the main text, the availability of individual chapters of the Atlas Black text books would be a boon to instructors, providing additional material for study and discussion at very affordable prices. The splitting of the text into modules A and B helps keep the book light and portable for students, as well as contributing to the affordability, since the student need purchase only the part of the book required for their specific class. Kudos to the publisher of this fine text book for recognizing the financial burden of college students and doing something to help. For easy review, each chapter closes with a synopsis of the concepts covered in that chapter and a quick overview of the next chapter.

A black-and-white paperback desk copy of Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed was provided to me free by the publisher in exchange for this review. This review was simultaneously posted on Amazon.com, Dragonviews and LibraryThing. ( )
1 ääni 1dragones | Jul 3, 2010 |
Managing to Succeed is a new approach to teaching business management techniques. Jeremy Short and company are professors teaching different areas of business management and have collaborated to bring Atlas Black to a Graphic Novel near you. The idea is to update teaching making the concepts easier to convey to students in a form more enjoyable than a dry textbook. I think this has merit and I fully enjoyed the graphic novel, I learned quite a bit about business management and business planning. The characters were fun and engaging, the art work was good and I felt it was worth my time. While I found the book good, I don't think it should be solely depended on for your information but it is definitely a very good starter book and could be excellent supplemental material for class discussions, to help bring the points home.

Atlas Black is a college student going for a business degree and planning on opening his own business after graduation with his friend Chan. Atlas is a carefree individual who doesn't take much seriously and Chan is his polar opposite. The two have a great friendship and Chan spends a lot of his time trying to help Atlas understand all the business concepts and how to apply them in the real world. Overall, a fun and informative read for someone interested in the topics, however, reading the books solely as a graphic novel for the story might be asking a little much. The story was written to help push the learning management agenda and it's not a narrative pushed by the characters story. I'll be reading the next book in the series soon: Atlas Black: Management Guru?. ( )
  readafew | Jun 24, 2010 |
Received a complimentary copy in an author giveaway (via Hobnob with Authors).

Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed is an experiment of sorts, endeavouring to showcase university-level material in a comic book format without compromising content. A storyline is used to organise the material, and humour and popular culture help lighten the tone. I find it successful in this regard, though the overall feel remains that of a textbook rather than an essay or popular science account of marketing in the style of a Malcolm Gladwell or Steven Leavitt.

As a textbook, it has a lot going for it:

(a) As a student, I'd appreciate the various price points of the available formats: print or online, color or greyscale. The storyline provides a ready handle for organizing theoretical and historical details, a ready-made mnemonic that is not only useful for the individual, but lends itself to discussion with classmates and study partners.

(b) As instructor / lecturer, I'd appreciate the flexibility of online modules. (I did not review these, but it's apparent from the print copy that chapters and even smaller sections could be used to highlight a discussion separate from the rest of the text.) I'd be tempted to play around with the idea that didactic content could be minimised during class time, and even if another textbook were selected for the syllabus, this text could provide a focus for group projects or in-class interactive exercises. But it's clearly a primer, not providing detailed examination of concepts or questions. To be fair, I don't think it means to.

Overall, Atlas Black: MTS is most successful in providing an alternative to introductory textbooks, less so in bringing rigourous material to a lay audience. More than once it relies on cliches like fact lists or historical summaries depicted as a scrap of paper or book, which isn't really much different than a bulleted list in an orthodox textbook. I'd like to see better use of the graphic novel format. It doesn’t use images to tell the story so much as illustrate the text. (Seems to me the text could stand alone with little loss of content: the format is a delivery method, not a means of telling the story.) Pedagogically, taking the approach I'm suggesting raises questions, and it's certainly easier to follow the didactic model prevalent in many schools rather than to leave important points implicit or open to interpretation. It's also more difficult to use images this way, so the illustrator would have to be co-author, which was not the case here. But I think meeting these challenges would improve the work. One example of the sort of hybrid graphic novel / non-fiction essay I can think of is Bryan Talbot's Alice in Sunderland, which uses the graphic novel format to provide historical and literary history along with a smattering of memoir. While Atlas Black: MTS doesn't approach this level of innovation, I think it is ushering in graphical formats to instruction / textbooks in a serious way. ( )
  elenchus | May 25, 2010 |
näyttää 4/4
Starring an amusing business school slacker by the name of Atlas Black, the graphic textbook was originally published as a series of short comics chapters focused on different areas of management and incorporated Black’s bumbling efforts to master basic business management principles, get through school and launch his own business.
 

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