When columnist Paul Downs was approached by the New York Times to write for their You're the Boss blog, he had been running his custom furniture business for 24 years strong - or mostly strong. Now he embarks on a book-length essay that intends to show a portrait of a real business, with a real boss, a real set of employees, and the real challenges they face, in hopes of promoting a better understanding of the behaviors of small-business owners.
In 1986, fresh out of college, Paul Downs opened his first and last business: a small company that built custom furniture. With no idea how to run a business or how to build custom furniture, Downs spent a year teaching himself the business, and in 1987 he hired his first employee. That was when things got complicated.
As his business began to grow, he had to learn about management, cash flow, taxes, and so much more. Furthermore, globalization and the arrival of the Internet made a big impact on the economy, causing him to have to reevaluate, restructure, and reinvent. Most important, Downs is keenly aware that every small business, no matter the product it makes or the service it provides, starts with people. He writes with tremendous insight about hiring employees, providing motivation to get the best jobs out of them and incentive to maintain their loyalty and respect, and the difficult decisions he's made to let some of them go.
With honesty and conviction, Downs tells the true story behind building and sustaining a successful company in an ever-evolving economy, often airing his own failures and shortcomings to unveil the difficulties that arise from being a boss and a businessperson. We've heard countless stories from employees about their managers; Boss Life seeks to tell the other side of that story.
©2015 Paul Downs (P)2015 Recorded Books
Brooklyn entrepreneur, mom, corporate refugee. Founder and CEO of Checklist Home Services, inventor of the CitiBin trash enclosure.
I heard Paul Downs on WNYC Brian Lehrer this week and knew that I needed to read or listen to this book. As a small business owner in the trades, I feel profoundly related to his account of a year in the life of a boss. And feel understood.
Particularly resonant are his explanations of the complexities of the cash flow cycle, and the difficulty in finding craftsmen who are both good workers and good communicators.
I plan to recommend this book to peers and employees. And may even convene a book club to discuss how we can incorporate some of insights into the business.
Paul, thanks for writing this!
I would like to meet Paul. People like us don't socialize because we are interested in running a business. Not talking about weather and small talk. Paul pays his employees more than I do and gives a good reason. But I fire salesmen much quicker which nets great income. So I'm considering paying more to get better staff after boss life. It's also nice to hear real life. Not a Facebook fake life. Real problems and real solutions.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who would like an insight to how a boss life is. However do not purchase it if your plan is to absorb any techniques etc to implement in your business as it's vague on that. I believe the writer is honest and genuine hence why I finished the audiobook.
While I can relate to some of the author's hardships as I have launched several businesses myself, the author often seems to make himself out to be the victim even though most of his hardship comes from 25 years of poor decision making. A "boss" has no rights in his own company during a startup. I was hoping for a clearer pivot point in his story but was disappointed.
This was an exceptionally interesting and entertaining book.
It's one of the most interesting and enjoyable books I've read this year.
This book is in my top 1% of what I ve ever read!
As I am turning to a boss myself on my late twenties , I found a strong dose of reality and practical ideas by reading this great book.
I feel lucky!
To find a full year of documented business activities is rare. This book highlights the true emotional and financial challenges every small business owner experiences.
while this book does not offer any solutions or advice, it is a very nice document of what it's like to own a business. I feel a lot of sympathy for Paul and a lot of his issues. I enjoyed hearing about his trials and tribulations, gives me some hope for the future. While I don't necessarily have a better way to do my own business it was a nice read
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. He talks his trials and tribulations I both business and life. I was surprised how much I related to the story. If you are looking for a fresh new perspective on how to achieve success this is your book.
This really does a very good job of illustrating the challenges that come with running a small business. The story is fun to follow - I found myself anxious to see what happens next every time I came back to the book.
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