At the end of October, I was at the Goodwill Superstore with my daughter, who was on the hunt for pieces to her Halloween costume. While she searched the clothing racks, I wandered to the book section to see what people had exchanged for a tax write off. I don’t shop at Goodwill often, but I am amazed every time I go in there at what is available. I’ve seen everything from brand new mountain bikes to high end leather sectionals for sale for a song. If you’re willing to paw through the stacks, you can find designer brand items, too, in practically new condition. But that’s a different topic altogether. 🙂
Great Business Books
So, back to the books. Goodwill is smart and organizes everything into categories. Books are featured based on type, just like at Barnes and Noble or Powells: history, biography, romance, horror, self-help, business. The business section had a variety of Suze Orman offerings, along with old, outdated editions of the Dummies series: Windows 95 for Dummies, HTML for Dummies (circa 1996), Photoshop for Dummies, etc. I enjoyed leafing through some of these relics as I scanned the spines.
One title caught my eye. It was small, tucked between two larger books. At a mere 146 pages, Built to Sell: Crating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrilow isn’t long, but it sure packs a punch. Right away, I knew I had to read it.
The Number One Mistake Most Entrepreneurs Make
On the back cover, the copy reads: “According to John Warrilow, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies too heavily on them.” A light bulb immediately went off in my head. I didn’t know what this meant exactly, but I suspected I was one of those entrepreneurs. I added it to pile.
Goodwill’s price for this little gem was 99 cents. Even if it had been on sale for its jacket price — $24.95 — I would have bought it. Now that I’ve read it, I can say it’s the best 99 cents I’ve ever spent. Written as a parable, the book takes the reader through the process of rethinking how to structure your business from the point of view of a man named Alex, who is struggling to break away from his business. Alex loves his work, but he’s been at it for awhile and is getting tired. He is like so many small business owners: ambitious, dedicated, passionate, and trapped.
Without giving too much away, I will say what Warrilow does in Built to Sell is reveal some very valuable lessons any entrepreneur would be wise to learn. Don’t let its simplicity fool you — it may be a fast read, but it’s packed with value. I can’t guarantee you will be as lucky to get the 99 cents price I got, but no matter the price, it is definitely worth your investment.
What’s the best business book you’ve read lately?