This book is definitely a good read – simple and direct. I’m not the ideal audience, because he’s encouraging business owners to reach a level that I don’t want to reach, but at least half of the book is applicable in any business situation. Especially the chapter on Hiring and Firing practices.
In the world of mega-corporations, I do think there ought to be room for actual small Mom-and-Pop style businesses that are okay with the idea of either selling after 25 years, or passing on the legacy to a member of the family or a friend. I’m in favor of ducks and beavers ruling their small ponds well. Dave Ramsey wants to encourage people to rule as Titans of the business world – to be sharks and whales. There should be some of those in the vast open sea, but the statistical likelihood of someone becoming a whale are a great deal slimmer than someone becoming a beaver.
Chapters Worth Reading
- “Don’t Flop Whoppers” – practical tips on micro businesses and actual small businesses.
- “Business Is Easy, Until People Get Involved” – every small business owner should read this chapter. For the sake of your team’s health and your own sanity, please get rid of the people who do not belong! They will either be happier somewhere else, or happy griping about how terrible you were. Either way, they don’t need to poison the well.
- “Financial Peace for Business” – If I had listened to the idea that you should only pay cash out of your business to launch into bigger and better stages, I would have a lot fewer regrets in life. Members of Congress would do very well to read this chapter – a few times.
Come to Jesus Moments
- Focused Intensity Over Time is a magical formula. “Writing and publishing a book is about a year of focused intensity. I wrote my first book, Financial Peace, in 1992, and that is still selling thousands of copies a year.” Likewise, a year of physical sweat and toil would do amazing things for our couch potato bodies, whereas “ten days of that exercise program won’t move the needle on the scale.” (Page 85)
- Public Jerk moments can happen to any leader. On pages 156 and 157, Dave outlines just how he has violated the law of making all reprimands private rather than public. He also steers clear of the line of justification/excuse by saying that a leader’s need to address things now does not counteract the fact that a reprimand given in front of others “seriously [damages] your ability to lead the person you just thumped…This is very efficient for the moment and extremely inefficient over time…I know you can never take back your screwup completely.” True.
- Not everyone in the company is like the founder. When Dave sits in multiple meetings, discussing why people started to leave, he slowly realizes that he’s assuming that every team member is a tiger, roaring their entrepreneurial way through the jungle and killing anything that moves too slow. He learns to appreciate some deer and oxen and koala bears (cute and cuddly but enabled to kill) on the team, via profit-sharing. (Page 278)
The Conclusion Says All
“Realize your team is your secret weapon. Bad companies become so worried about Q1 profit that they squeeze their secret weapon and kill the culture that brings profit. When in doubt, be generous. You will live with fewer regrets and you will profit more by attracting and keeping extremely talented and passionate people.” Preach it.
All in all, I recommend it, because even though sometimes he seems to be saying that everyone should do as he has done, he still bluntly admits his areas of incompetence or some of his more public sins (like yelling at a manager in front of staff members). That kind of business honesty is hard to come by.
For more reviewing fun, see my Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/1668075-linda