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The business book you should read this month: The E-Myth Revisited

Forget romantic versions of entrepreneurship, Carl Reader encourages you to read this "seminal" classic to understand what business is "really all about"

Business book: The E-Myth RevisitedThe E-Myth
Recommended by: Carl Reader, author and director of d&t chartered accountants.

What is The E-Myth Revisited about?

The E-Myth (Entrepreneurial Myth) Revisited is one of the seminal business books that all entrepreneurs should read. It promotes the vision of Michael E. Gerber (the author) that all businesses should develop extraordinary systems to help them build their business to a new level.

Whilst I believe that some of the concepts are now dated and not applicable to today’s business world; it is still essential reading. Simply put, it was one of the inspirations behind my book, The Startup Coach.

Gerber asserts that ordinary people working with extraordinary systems create extraordinary results, whilst most businesses rely on extraordinary people working with ordinary systems. At the time of writing, his observation was spot on. Nowadays, we are much closer to an automated world, and businesses can purchase world class systems for peanuts. We’ve also moved along a generation, and realised that business isn’t B2B or B2C, it’s H2H (Human to Human). On that basis, I believe that to compete now, businesses need both extraordinary people and extraordinary systems.

Target audience?

Anybody who is starting a business, or looking to grow their business. It is written in a compelling way, allowing the reader to become part of the story whilst they learn the lessons that the author preaches. It’s likely that many business owners have already read this book: it is one of the very few books that sells more copies than the year before, year after year.

I was fortunate enough to have lunch with Gerber last year, and he puts his success simply down to “writing good books”!

What’s the best bit of The E-Myth Revisited?

It's so easy to read. Most business books are awful; in that they are full of jargon and only serve to inflate the authors ego. This book is easy to read, engaging, and full of great lessons.

Why should business owners read The E-Myth Revisited?

Simply put, I have not come across a more easily accessible book about the need to systemise a business.

3 top takeaway points for start-ups:

  1. Gerber’s definition of personality types: He references the fact that a business owner is a technician, manager, and entrepreneur all-in-one, and an understanding of each will help any entrepreneur with employment decisions.
  2. Gerber's definition of the ‘franchisable prototype’: Whilst you may not be looking to franchise your business, Gerber identifies the need to systemise and document your processes as if you were planning on it, so that anybody can pick up your business and run with it as a ‘turnkey business’.
  3. The E-Myth itself: That most people are accidental entrepreneurs (this is the ‘e-myth’). Instead, the majority of business owners are technicians who have suffered an ‘entrepreneurial seizure’, and have decided to work for themselves rather than someone else.

Excerpt business owners can learn from?

“The E-Myth is the myth of the entrepreneur. It runs deep in this country and rings of the heroic. Picture the typical entrepreneur and Herculean pictures come to mind, a man or woman standing alone, wind-blown against the elements, bravely defying insurmountable odds, climbing sheer faces of treacherous rock – all to realise the dream of creating a business of one's own.

“The legend reeks of nobility, of lofty, extra-human efforts, of a prodigious commitment to larger than life ideals. Well, while there are such people, my experience tells me they are rare.

“Of the thousands of business people I have had the opportunity to know and work with over the past two decades, few were real entrepreneurs when I met them. The vision was all but gone in most. The zest for climb had turned into a terror of heights. The face of the rock had become something to cling to rather than to scale. Exhaustion was common, exhilaration was rare.

“[…]Where was the entrepreneur who had started the business? The answer is simple: The entrepreneur had only existed for a moment. If the entrepreneur survived at all, it was only as a myth that grew out of a misunderstanding about who goes into business and why. A misunderstanding that has cost us dearly.” (p.9)

Book name: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
Author: Michael E. Gerber
Date published: March 2001
RRP: £7.99
Synopsis: A popular read, business consultant Gerber looks to dispel the common myths around entrepreneurship and offers up advice for building businesses in a more productive, effective way. Drawing a distinction between working on your business and working in your business, The E-Myth covers all stages from starting up through to mature growth and looks at the ways that the franchising model can be applied to any business – even one that's not a franchise.



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