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Beyond The E-Myth by Michael Gerber

The full title of this book by Michael Gerber is

Beyond The E-Myth: The Evolution of an Enterprise: From a Company of One to a Company of 1,000!

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave it a kind Three Stars.

Here is my review.

Sorry but it’s a non-essential follow-up to The E-Myth Revisited. Small business owners are different to entrepreneurs.

I have recently written a blog article about the 12 best books to give business owners a great business education.

The very first book on that list was The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber. However I gave a big warning about the writing style and admit that the Summary: The E-Myth Revisited: Review and Analysis of Gerber’s Book has the advantage of giving you the big ideas without the drivel.

If you ignore the first half, E-Myth Mastery: The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company has also got plenty to recommend it.

In this book, Gerber refers to bad reviews from haters so I want to make it clear that I don’t hate Michael Gerber and nor do I wish to undermine his contribution to small businesses around the world.

In 2016, Michael Gerber has a new book and The Rolling Stones have released a new studio album.

If you’re a Stones fan, you’ll believe from repeated experiences that it’s unlikely the band have returned to the glory days of Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street. Keen fans will try it and may delight in having something new from their heroes but they’ll know it’s not worthy of comparison to those 40+ year old classics.

I felt the same when I was offered the chance to review Michael Gerber’s new book before it was released. I was regularly disappointed with his new books and I ignored the emails. When you get something for free, it’s hard to write a critical review. Then I had an email to say that it was available as a Kindle book for a very low price so I thought I’d give the author another chance to impress me.

It hasn’t happened although I’m pleased to tell you that the slushy, sentimental writing that ruined the first half of E-Myth Mastery and all of Awakening the Entrepreneur Within has been avoided.

The writing style is still irritating. I was getting so irritated by the never-ending sentences, I counted one. 62 words and I don’t think I picked the longest. It’s also repetitive as he’s trying to brainwash you into seeing the world his way.

The problem is that Gerber is frustrated. The subtitle of The E-Myth Revisited is Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It and by and large, that’s what he did through the E-Myth coaching programme. Businesses that were shaky were made sound.

He didn’t fix the business owners. Creating a good small business isn’t good enough for Gerber, he wants his followers to create great big businesses. The next Apple or Google or Walmart.

That’s a terrific objective if that’s what you want to do but I think it’s a mistake to disparage the ambitions of the small business owners around the world who don’t want to do anything close to creating a giant organisation.

In fact, I feel it’s a sell-out to one of the ideas that I liked most about The E-Myth Revisited. In that book he talks about living your life intentionally and getting clear on your Primary Aim (for your personal life). He even suggests drafting your own eulogy looking back at your life so that you are clear on the mark you want to leave on the world. Your business becomes a means to creating that end because you design your business to give you the life you want.

The problem is that true entrepreneurs are a totally different breed of person to the normal small business owner. I’m not at all sure it’s a good idea to try to convert one to the other and certainly not by making the business owner feel bad and unworthy.

Read this book as a treatise on entrepreneurship.

Much of what he says is more relevant if you are starting out wanting to create a big business of a 1,000 or more people. Entrepreneurs love the process of creation and proving the concept in the marketplace but are not necessarily the right people to take a company through the growth stage into maturity.

It makes sense to think about selling the business from the start and who might want to buy it. I’m sure there are plenty of tech start-ups who are dreaming about being bought out by Google, Facebook or Microsoft.

The E-Myth Revisited book has been criticised by some for wanting to follow the McDonald’s path. For many, its consistently mediocre product is not something to aspire to. That’s misunderstanding what Gerber means. The franchise prototype which guarantees consistency across different locations is something to aspire to for businesses that want to grow that way. The downside is that it makes change much harder as bulk reduces agility in the face of changing market wants and needs.

Even as a book for entrepreneurs, this is clumsy and I don’t think it’s particularly inspiring either. He admits that he’s going to tell the reader what to do and why but not how to do it. If you want fast growth when you’re well beyond the start-up phase, look for books about “scaling up”.

I’m surprised that he says this is a trilogy to be read with The E-Myth Revisited and What to Do About It and Awakening the Entrepreneur Within. It feels like a rewrite of the Awakening book with little bits of The E-Myth and Power Point (aka The E-Myth Enterprise), a bit like a dodgy greatest hits CD when the hit songs belong to another record label and have been re-recorded when the band are tired and uninspired.

Just like The Rolling Stones, Michael Gerber is finding it hard to capture the glories of his early years when he had something new and important to say. This isn’t a 5 or 4 stars book as far as I’m concerned.

Is it worth 2 or 3 stars? I’ve given in 3 but I feel I’ve been generous. I don’t hate Gerber and I don’t hate The Stones. I just feel that their most important works were decades ago.

There are many thousand of business books, you can see the full list of my reviews at Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister (Please click). I've also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs (Please click).

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