May Reading

May was another month with only one book read, which is more typical for the summer, when I go riding at night or take the kids to the lake. That means all the house cleanup has to happen after we get the kids to bed, which means less time devoted to reading.

Growing a Business

Get Growing a Business on Amazon.

This is an ‘older’ book which isn’t even available in a digital format. At the time I ordered this book, I was on a book-ordering spree, and didn’t actually even notice I hadn’t purchased an ebook until the paperback arrived from Amazon.

Unfortunately, physical books often end up sitting on my shelf, unread, due to the fact I can’t carry them everywhere with me as easily as I can a Kindle book. I already carry lots of stuff while bike commuting to my office, so physical books typically get left behind.

However, this book was one of the ones that made it off the bookshelf. I started reading it every morning before I started my work for the day, and I am so happy I did. The insights I found within are awesome.

Author Paul Hawken has started a number of businesses in his life. Everything from whole/organic food stores to mail order garden tools and supplies. He’s also invested in a number of other successful companies and served as an advisor to them. He has a very unique, down-to-earth perspective on running and growing a business.

But rarely do we really hear what happens inside business. The whopping success stories are glorified, the failures are dissected or shunned. The rest is silence. Our demand for heroes and goats obscures the truth.

One of my key takeaways from this book was this: Contrary to our current tech bubble, Hawken advises that simple money doesn’t solve problems — it only allows unprofitable companies to continue to lose money and become a bigger problem. He’s not opposed to taking investment, but it’s not the magic pill many people think it is. Execution of a good idea by the right team is really what’s key.

Growing a Business is on my list of books to read again because I’ll be ready for new bits of Hawken’s awesome advice.

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