Atlas Black, the slacker turned entrepreneur, defied the odds and found his way in Managing to Succeed, thanks to graphic novelist and Texas Tech University Rawls College of Business Associate Professor of Management Jeremy Short.
Now, the unsung hero of sorts has come back to life in a second graphic novel just released this week in Atlas Black: Management Guru?
The book is currently available at Amazon.com for $14.95 and also from Short's publisher, Flat World Knowledge.
Since the release of Short's first book, Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed, Black's graphic adventures have captured the minds not only of college students at the Texas Tech University Rawls College of Business, but across the country as well. The graphic novel is required reading in both undergraduate and graduate classes taught by Short, and has since made national headlines - garnering attention from universities nationally, and making headlines as a new approach to teaching - and maintaining - the attention of students.
"Our goal in creating these books was to transcend boring, expensive textbooks on the one hand and pop management books that advocate fads and overlook decades of research on the other," Short said. "What we tried to do was combine the academic rigor of textbooks, the fun factor of pop management books, excellent artwork and a compelling storyline."
And they have.
Short co-authored Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed with Talya Bauer, the Cameron Professor of Management at Portland State University and Dave Ketchen, the Lowder Eminent Scholar in Entrepreneurship at Auburn University. Len Simon, who has also worked on such projects as Anastasia, Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights, Fat Albert and Curious George, is the illustrator for the book.
"Atlas faces challenges in both books, from working odd jobs (in Managing to Succeed) to getting through school that offers a little 'real world' experience," Short said. "He even has challenges with his ex-girlfriend.
"Management Guru? focuses on how Atlas Black secures funding to start his business with all the challenges that go along with it," he said. "And for anyone who has continued to maintain a business, we all know the challenges that entails."
While the book is used as an integral teaching tool for university students, Short has quickly found many across the country are picking up the novel as a guide for most anyone interested in starting - and maintaining - a business of their own.
Wrote one reviewer of Short's first book, "I'm 65, have heard of this kind of publication without ever having purchased or read one, and have always been a worker, not a manager, owner, or stockholder. I got through four years of college without ever taking a single business class. However, I have worked for difficult bosses in three distinct fields over the past 30 years, been fired from two early jobs, once for being a "slacker" ... So, as with many Americans, I have had a love/hate/fear/need relationship with "business." Well, Professor Short and his team hooked me pretty quick. This is a "management text" that has almost as many illustrations as words, and tells a tale about an imperfect, immature guy being educated against his will in the realities of our economic and labor systems. I was sorry that this volume ended at the moment its reluctant, idealistic, lazy hero, Atlas Black, was beginning to see a way to become a contributing and responsible member of society. Complex management ideas are presented here as simply as they could be, and because of the reader's growing fondness for Atlas and his friends, an investment in the final outcome is created almost against our will. The collaborators on this serious "comic book" style project are really on to something, and if they learn the right lessons from each step, future volumes will be even more compelling."
For Short, he said he feels confident Atlas Black: Management Guru? will indeed continue to compel not only students, but also readers of all kinds in round two of our unsung hero's rise to success.
For more information, please visit www.flatworldknowledge.com or the publisher's link to the book at www.flatworldknowledge.com/node/128047 or www.flatworldknowledge.com/node/118714. For interviews with Jeremy Short, please contact him at 806.833.5555.