This Summer I’ve read five books that I have intended to review on this blog. Other than writing the review for bounce! I’ve managed to neglect the rest. Call it laziness…or better yet call it prioritizing, since book reviews do take some time and lately my time is better spent growing our business. Regardless of the reason, the other four books have been sitting on my desk screaming “review me” for at least the past month. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I haven’t done it already I’m probably not going to. But I figured I owed it to the authors and publishers to do a quick mini-review of each.
I thought all four were very intriguing in their own right. Each is a completely different flavor, but you can’t go wrong picking up and reading any of these books. So if you need a good book to read this Fall, I suggest any of the four below. You probably just don’t want to pick up and read all four at once 🙂
The Accidental Entrepreneur – by Susan Urquhart-Brown
What it is: written by a business owner and business coach, this book is a short, readable guide that covers the entire spectrum of knowledge needed to start a business. Questions to ask yourself before you start a business, traits of successful entrepreneurs, how to structure your business, marketing, motivation, and more are all covered with very solid information. The short chapters make it a very quick read relative to the amount of information in it.
Interesting thing I learned: The one page business plan, page 59. I’ve long been a fan of ultra-short business plans (unless of course you’re raising money). The author recommends five components: vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plans. I will definitely be using this model in the future.
Who should read it: anyone thinking about going into business, or anyone who has just started a business. I think I may start recommending this book over the now slightly outdated big blue book as a go-to guide for everything for new business owners.
Who should skip it: anyone who has been running a business for a while. If you’ve been at it a few years like I have, you’ve already tackled most of the important things covered in this book.
Finding the Sweet Spot – by Dave Pollard
What it is: a guide to finding meaningful work where “your gift, your passion, and your meaning” intersect. The book takes you through a six step process: identifying your gift, passion and purpose, finding the right partners, researching unmet needs, imagining and innovating solutions, continuously improving, and acting responsibly on principle.
Interesting thing I learned: I find the companies profiled in the book – dubbed “natural enterprises” by the author to be especially fascinating. Mostly because we sort of fit the bill without realizing it. These companies aren’t measured in terms of short term revenue growth and ROI (as almost any company with investors is), rather they create their own form of measurement. It’s nice to see other companies out there like this. Revenue is surely important to us, but so is creating a flexible work environment, providing stable jobs, giving back to the community, etc.
Who should read it: anyone struggling to figure out what they want to do as a career.
Who should skip it: anyone who loves what they do and isn’t looking to change.
Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best – by Donna Childs
What it is: a book about disaster planning for small businesses. I have never seen a book (or really even read an article) on the topic, so this book piqued my interest as soon as I heard about it. The book covers IT strategy, how to handle natural disasters, how to protect workers and their families, and the best way to ensure your insurance policies minimize damage.
Interesting thing I learned: the shear volume of information on IT data disaster planning, which is clearly the most potentially devastating to us and most likely to strike us at any moment. I think we do a good job, but the book has over 30 pages about human error, equipment failure, third party failure, environmental hazards, fire and other disasters, terrorism and sabotage, and more, all with in depth advice on what to do and how to do it. I now have it on my to-do list to revisit all of our data security and backup plans.
Who should read it: anyone who owns a business or is responsible for disaster planning.
Who should skip it: anyone who doesn’t own a business or isn’t responsible for disaster planning.
The Age Curve – by Kenneth Gronbach
What it is: “Why generation size matters to marketers”. The book breaks down five age demographics and goes in depth on how businesses are impacted by the size and buying patterns of each.
Interesting thing I learned: Gen Xers have been unfairly branded as unresponsive consumers and “slackers” in relation to their parents, but in reality there are simply just fewer Gen Xers than Baby Boomers by 11%. That difference is what accounts for the significant difference in spending.
Who should read it: anyone interested in business and the future of business, especially if you are developing a product or service targeted at a specific age demographic.
Who should skip it: business owners pressed for time who only want to read books that directly impact them.