Franchises and Family Business Follies: Texas Tech Business Professor Creates Second Series of Graphic Novel Textbooks

After two successful management textbooks, Short creates graphic novel on franchising.

“You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Well, you probably won’t cry, but you will get a pretty beefy crash course in business 101.”

That’s how Jeremy Short, Jerry S. Rawls Professor of Management in Texas TechUniversity’s Rawls College of Business, describes his newest graphic novel textbook, Tales of Garcón: The Franchise Players.

Short, along with Dave Ketchen, his graphic novel co-pilot and Lowder Eminent Scholar at Auburn University, just completed the first book in a new series about a family business.

Two previous graphic novel textbooks on management, written by Short, Ketchen and others, feature the likeable character Atlas Black, and relate the story of two college seniors starting their own restaurant. The comic-book-like texts have been widely reviewed and well-accepted in the textbook community.

Success with the original books proved the format’s appeal to college students. Short said the primary goal is to provide a better teaching tool by making the material interesting and entertaining for students. The storyline helps students stay focused and engaged.

“Readers will probably like what we’ve cooked up in Tales of Garcón,” Short said. “What I enjoy most about this one is how accessible it is. Like the Atlas Black series, you don’t need an MBA to follow along. But this book improves on Atlas in that it puts much more emphasis on the story and characters. Atlas was probably 80 percent textbook and 20 percent plot; Tales of Garcón is more like 50/50.”

Short describes the lead character as a charismatic entrepreneur and adventurer.

“We were inspired by larger-than-life figures like the Most Interesting Man in the World from the beer commercials and Charles Muntz from the movie “Up,” without the evilness of course,” Short said. “We took the idea and ran with it, fleshing out a pretty quirky and fun story based on a similar character whose family business is looking to branch out.”

Like the earlier books, Short said the text is full of very plain-English explanations and demonstrations of business concepts. This time it’s all about franchising – pros, cons, puns and folly – as Garcón’s son, who is about to inherit the family hotel, flirts with the idea of expanding through franchising.

“Our focus on franchising and family business targets two huge markets – there are about 700,000 franchises in the United States alone, and 80 percent of all businesses are family-run,” Short said.

“I still can’t believe we’re the only ones pushing this market. The graphic-novel-meets-academia formula just makes sense, and I figure it’s only a matter of time before other folks start realizing it.”

The book, published April 28 by Flat World Knowledge Publishers, is available online.

Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at www.media.ttu.edu and on Twitter @TexasTechMedia.

CONTACT: Jeremy Short, associate professor, Rawls College of Business, (806) 742-2171, or jeremy.short@ttu.edu.