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Behind the Scenes of The Barstool MBA

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Publisher's Summary

What can working in a bar teach you about launching a successful startup? The answer - as bar owner Dan Maccarone and best-selling author Bob Sullivan reveal in The Barstool MBA - is just about everything.  

In February 2009, Dan Maccarone, a digital product design executive who works with some of the world’s top brands, walked through the doors of what would be his new bar, Destination, in Manhattan’s East Village. The overwhelming stale-beer smell, ruined floor, and “Happy New Year 2008” banners that hung from the walls were the least of his worries. He had just six weeks and a budget of $150,000 to turn the place into the neighborhood’s new favorite hang-out - and start turning a profit.     

For Maccarone, the experience of building out Destination was an unlikely crash course in conceiving, launching, and running a startup. From hiring the right staff to keeping the lights on, from getting patrons through the door to keeping them on their stools, Maccarone saw that the lessons he was learning day in and day out in the bar could be applied broadly to the challenges many of his clients on the digital product side faced when trying to get their businesses off the ground and keep them alive.     

To tell this story, Maccarone teamed up with best-selling author Bob Sullivan, whose side-gig as a musician sends him to bars around the country. They spent two years interviewing dozens of bar owners, managers, bartenders, and industry insiders to uncover the secret wisdom behind running a successful bar and what it can teach us about business. With strategies and a-ha insights that can be applied to any new venture, The Barstool MBA is a delightfully unconventional and surprisingly practical resource for anyone weighing the cost of business school versus jumping right in.    

This Audible Original is read by the authors. 

©2019 Dan Maccarone and Bob Sullivan (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

What listeners say about The Barstool MBA

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not my normal book

I am getting ready to start college. Been getting ready for a few years now but serious this time. Anyways business is my degree path so i have been looking for books i can listen to while i drive to help get a better understanding ahead of time. The authors did a great job of teaching the underlying concepts while explaining them in ways i could relate to experiences I have had in the military, maintenance, and my current job. Good job.
One small thing if the authors ever read this. Trust but record, I think it was. Try the military term. Trust but Verify because at the end of the day as the manager you are responsible.

10 people found this helpful

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Funny. Informative. Inspiring.

As a bartender of 15 years, I love hearing the tales of the bar. Also love hearing other discuss all the small details that go into everything. Dan and Bob’s stories are funny, informative, and ring true. Also, their mentions of the little things are great reminders of how important those little things are.

Also, love the correlation between the bar world and the start up/tech world. All these little things they discuss apply to not only every business, but just how to approach every day life.

9 people found this helpful

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Fun, engaging and informative.

This is a funny, engaging and informative book. Dan and Bob do a great job of balancing humour, with tips on running a successful bar, linking these to to online and startup business. I forgot i was learning, but have loads of takeaways. Highly recommend this.

8 people found this helpful

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Informative and Entertaining!

Whether you're thinking, "Help! I'm running a business and can't afford to lose everything," or "I'm just looking for an enjoyable read," this step-by-step guide has you covered. Using their day-job business expertise, personal experience, and the entertaining backstories of popular companies they've advised, this book is a great resource and read for any listener. I have no interest in opening a business, yet loved it!

8 people found this helpful

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An MBA refresher for those with an MBA

I really loved this book and the lessons it conveys. specifically, it gives invaluable advice around leading a team, operations fundamentals, and the importance of understanding your customer value proposition. I mentioned my own MBA to call out that if you have earned an MBA, there probably won't be much content that is 100% new but the contextualization of that material to a hospitality environment serves as a great refresher (and if you want to open a bar it will at least make you think twice about the reason why).

Awesome book worth a listen!!!

7 people found this helpful

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Honest and invaluable look inside bars + business

Great insight on building lasting relationships in business with quick take away reminders to last a lifetime. This book dissects the basic components of face to face communication and interactions that are becoming a lost art in society. It's a refreshing and motivational read for anyone who may be feeling uninspired by our current cultural norms.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent business and bar guide

Extremely cool book, the way the stories of both authors weave to leave you a more educated and entertained listener. Worked on a bar for years and they hit points I never thought of. Great read

3 people found this helpful

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Relevant and insightful — love the creative lens

Yes! I guess I wasn’t expecting a “how to” but it’s perfect! Definitely walks along side other industry launches and I love it. Reminds me of the old days at Mad Anthony’s.

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Should be entitled "The Rent a Runway " course

This title was in and out of my wishlist before I decided to purchase it. I have always been intrigued by the practical aspects of running a successful bar / pub / tavern etc. . Connecting the details of managing a bar to the insights needed to earn an MBA seemed an interesting twist that promised to teach me more about business and the business of bars.
Unfortunately that interest is being dissipated the more I listen and the deeper I get into the book. I am half way through this title and have just about decided to abandon it. The narration is not compelling ( swear words to add urban authenticity I guess, unexplained slang, poor diction and a forced camaraderie between two narrators who sound like they were recorded in different places and the audio spliced together ). There have been very few actual insights into the bar business except for the broadest and most generic Intro to Business Marketing conceits and concepts: Hire good people . Train them well. Develop trust. Understand your customer . etc.
While I have not put a stop watch to it, it seems as if the authors spend more time talking about a dress rental business Rent the Runway. I know nothing about this company and do not wish my comments to be seen as derogatory to them in any manner as they are not meant to be. The company has a compelling story, it just offers little to the notion of a barstool MBA and the authors go out of their way to shoe horn something about them into every chapter . If I wanted a rent-a-dress MBA that is the book I would have sought out. It became comical. As new concepts were introduced in the narration, I began to make side bets with myself as to whether or not and how soon Rent the Runway would show up. I won more often than I lost. There are plenty of other forays into different industries but they like RTR do not shine the insights onto the bar business that these authors so desperately wish you to accept.
The learnings from this book have some generic value but the book does not live up to its selling premise. I am learning basically nothing about how good bars run ( find a way to keep people in the bar for one more drink, get people to come in on slow nights, how to select the libations on offer, margins, pour control, shrinkage control , glassware, seating etc etc etc. ) and definitely nothing that is indicative of an MBA. May be the interesting details will come later but I don't have the stamina to stay with this dull slog. I am the customer who feels the craic isn't 90 and is putting on his coat to leave.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting stories but common sense advice

It was an interesting listen but I didn't learn much. If you're new to business this might be a great introduction. If you've been in business for any length of time then most of this advice will be common sense.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Reginald pelle
  • Reginald pelle
  • 07-17-21

Useful and insightful

This book is useful and insightful. Full of in-depth information about what to do or not, within running a bar.