News and Tribune

January 22, 2013

S.I. BUSINESS SOURCE: Book reviews

Local columnist

— Here’s the hard truth:  every year American entrepreneurs start over one million new businesses nearly 80 percent of which fail within the first five years.

Despite this, the drive to own a business of your own is a challenge dear to the hearts of many.  In today’s economy, many see it as the opportunity to take advantage of tumultuous change; others see it as a frontier for getting ahead.

Many entrepreneurs welcome the opportunity to share their experiences?including those that have often left them exhausted, frustrated and struggling. They also openly divulge their insights, successes and the many satisfactions that come from owning your own business.   

For anyone considering the entrepreneurial road, a number of books were published this year to GPS your journey.  Here are some of best entrepreneur books of 2012:


20 Things I’ve learned as an Entrepreneur by Alicia Morga

Alicia Morga was working for a major corporation and feeling very out of place.  One night, she started a conversation in her broken Spanish with Isabel, the lady who took out the trash.  She quizzed Isabel about her use of the Internet and discovered that at that time, advertisers were not targeting Spanish-speaking users like Isabel.

These conversations gave Morga the idea to begin her own company that would focus on this need.  She founded Consorte, Inc., one of the first digital media companies that focused on the Hispanic market.  The company became both highly successful and profitable.

On the day the company was acquired by a larger one, Morga started writing a list of lessons she had learned as an entrepreneur.  This short book containing her insights can benefit anyone who is considering the entrepreneurial route.  Further, to help those just starting out, the author makes the book available for free on Kindle.


Less Stress and More Profit: How Small Business Owners Can be Happier Today and Richer Tomorrow by Simon J. Benn 

There are thousands of books on how to get rich being an entrepreneur.  Author Simon Benn suggests that being richer is only half of the benefit; the other half is being happy.  

Most people want money because it will supposedly buy things that will make us feel a certain way, Benn says.  This book explains what gets in the way of those feelings and how you can feel them now--as you build an entrepreneurial business.  Being happy is even more important than success; you can’t have one without the other.   

The first part of the book describes the emotional blocks that prevent happiness.  Once you’re happier, you are better able to work the entrepreneurial tactics given in Part Two for greater profitability.

This is a great little book for overworked, stressed entrepreneurs to help focus on what is really important in building a business.


The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in any Field by Mike Michalowicz

If you’re feeling exhausted with books that compare business with everything from anthills to sharks, here’s a book that will restore your faith in the power of a genuine and strong analogy.  The Pumpkin Plan is a brilliantly written, witty and concise guidebook for creating a business.  It is as fun as it is genuine in its passion to help entrepreneurs. 

The pumpkin patch analogy starts with choice of seeds.  Only select seed can grow a giant pumpkin and figuring out which seed you need for your business is crucial for success.  This is the first of seven steps provided to grow a million dollar company in the business pumpkin patch.  

Other important steps include identifying the stronger, faster growing pumpkins, focusing your attention on the big pumpkin and nurturing it and removing diseased or damaged pumpkins.  

The author entertains with his creative approach, but his mission to help entrepreneurs is serious.  He shares his own business accomplishments and failures and provides methods that can lead to entrepreneurial success.  The Pumpkin Plan provides both simplicity and focus in an analogy that leads to clarity and success.

These book reviews originally appeared in the December, 2012, edition of Southern Indiana Business Source, a quarterly publication of the News and Tribune.