The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

The E-Myth Revisited is Michael Gerber’s seminal work. It has a tremendous amount of importance for any business owner – most especially those who find themselves working in the business more than they work on the business.

Michael Gerber wrote “The E-Myth” originally in 1986,  but it underwent a major revision in 1995 into a more polished volume with the “Revisited” suffix that has been in widespread use since.  The book deals with what Gerber refers to as the “Myth” of Entrepreneurship and how it actually works.  The book’s format is that of a conversation with “Sarah” and her bakery and how Gerber coaches her through the stages of the business developing.

Relevancy for Business Size

This book is relevant mostly for single-person and small businesses, but medium-sized businesses will find some jewels here as well.

Relevancy for Reader’s Position

You should read this book if:

  • you’re a skilled technician or worker thinking about opening your own shop
  • a manager somewhere thinking you could run the company better
  • if you’re a small business owner wondering why you ever opened your doors.

Author’s Purpose

Without giving too much away, it’s obvious from the first few pages of the book that Gerber has a passion for making people see the world of small business the way he does.  Gerber argues one central point over and over during the book, and that is the question of whether you “own a business, or own a job”.  If you own a business, it’s a profit making entity that does not explicitly need your input in order to continue doing what it’s doing.  If you own a job, then you make payments, pay leases, etc in order to keep getting a paycheck.  Gerber wants you to see how to achieve being a business owner.

Summary of Contents

The book is split into 3 main parts.  The first part discusses the stages of understanding your business from Infancy (if I can produce X, then I can run a business that produces X) through adolescence (maybe I need some assistance to run this business) through maturity and seeing a business as an investment and something that you should be owning, not something that owns you.

The second part of the book goes into detail about the idea of serial entrepreneurship and specifically the idea of Turn-Key businesses, ala the McDonald’s method.  If a business is good enough once, then do it right and do it often.  The idea seems a little dated in the modern era of business, but it’s the process that Gerber proposed for doing it that is the key, and something worth reading.

The third part of the book goes into great detail of the planning aspect of building this repeatable business and asks some challenging questions of Sarah, and thereby the reader.

The whole book does a great job of creating an emotional connection to a relatable character.  Anyone who has worked in Small Business (as most of us have) is going to see familiar struggles and feel the pain of Sarah as she works through getting her business running the right way.

Overall this book is a great introduction to business books, especially for the small business owner.  If you’ve gotten to the “I need help” stage of your business then this is a great place to start.  Personally, this book helped me crystallize many of the projects that I knew deep-down needed to get done, but that I couldn’t necessarily articulate why.

We at BizBookReviews give this book 5 library cards out of 5.  In fact, this book is currently our Golden Bookshelf Award Winner in the Small Business category.  It’ll be hard to knock this one out.  For more books on our Golden Bookshelf, visit BizBookReview.com.  Make sure to give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our YouTube channel as well.

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