This book is 100% down to earth business know-how. No fillers here. This is a must have if you are starting your own business. You can even search Paul's company which it is still in business after 30 years since he published his book. This book is all principals, not temporary sounds to good to be true ideas. This is a book that your children and their children will find useful because it is full of business common sense. This is not your flight by night hot shot CEO story that Fortune complements one year and next year he/she is getting fired for not making sound common sense decisions. They should also fire the board since they approved the senseless things the CEO did in the first place.
I read this book and watched the TV series around 1990. I credit Growing a Business, as much as anything I ever read or heard, for the success of my company today. In 1992 a group of first-time entrepreneurs started a company together. Some of the group had a blueprint of how a company is supposed to start. Get capital. Build something. Launch it. Succeed. They had not read the book, or they had but did not believe it spoke to us. Some of the group had a more organic idea, inspired in part by this book. Each company has its pace, its flow, its learning curve. The CEO is the clock, the pacer, the navigator. There is a constant calculator going on each decision, each day, extrapolating payoffs, comparing the costs and benefits. And there is a recognition of what we are going into business for and structuring the business to support those objectives. For example, we wanted a great place for employees. Each employee would share the experience and benefits. The "Startup 101" types of books treat this topic as an add-on after you do all the important things. Hawken makes it primary. It is primary if you want a place for the best people to do their best work. Structure your company around the employee experience and all else falls into place - if that is the kind of company you want. An important lesson from this book is serious initial capital for inexperienced entrepeneurs can be a mistake. Hawken describes this. So important. So easy to overlook. Large amounts of startup capital allows you to outsource parts of a company you may not totally understand yet. It makes some mistakes very expensive. It dulls the creativity at times, the innovation to do more with less. It might encourage one to do things just because you see other companies doing them. It tempts you to make large steps, when it is critical in modern markets to learn to make many smaller steps. And so on. This book may not fit every entrepreneur. It certainly does not provide all the information you need for growing a company. But for some of us it describes a pattern for growing a good company. If you are thinking about starting a company, or are in the early stages of a startup, I recommend this book. It might change how you do things, and you might get more satisfaction from the adventure as a result.
I love this book and the homely advice Paul shares about building and running a business. In doing so, I think he helped me unlearn a lot of the big corp MBA stuff I learned in school. I wish I'd read and practiced this book's teachings instead of sinking six figures in an MBA degree.
I've had a chance to revisit growing a business recently, after about 15 years since the first time I read it, and it is as timely and important now as it was then. I teach entrepreneurship and do private-sector seminars as well, and in that role I find myself recommending this book repeatedly. If what you want is your own business, doing something you like, then even if you read nothing else about business, read this book.
Actually though, you shouldn't read nothing else about business. Read Guy Kawasaki's "The Art of the Start" as well, and, ok, then you're done. Sorry, I digress.
I founded and still run a company that now has 35 employees and market leadership in its segment. I've bought several copies of this book to share with my employees. It's a reminder of core values, and core values are important.
What Hawken does better than other business books is focus on the core values that make a start-up work, not business theory but caring about what you do, building the business by offering value to people and believing in what you do. The simplest example is the story of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, which started out as two guys in a single store who loved ice cream and wanted to share.
A lot of this book is stories of successes, like Ben and Jerry's, with a focus on how and why. It's a very easy read, fun, and valuable.
Hawken focuses on the core: the why of business, more than the how.
Against popular belief, business can and should be humane, if for no other reason that it is good business. What a pleasure to find such book. Greed and crass greed are not the best business guide. I fell in love with this lovely and yet pragmatic book. Inhuman human relations practitioners, please take note of how to select employees instead of the customary cold blooded set of rules.
Paul Hawken has so many useful points here that you realize why this is a classic. A truly fascinating read. I love how the author took something so complex and made it so simple. The author was innovative in their approach and really thoroughly sought to bring their main points to life. I would purchase again!
A great read for those thinking of going into business for themselves. A successful author who encourages, owns mistakes, and shares successes. He also calls out those in business who think that they are above others when there are no better than anyone else. He is very encouraging of those who want to go into business for themselves. The book is chock-full of practical advice.
Different things strike different people. This is the most referenced and referred to book on business I have ever bought.
There's a part where Mr. Hawken indicates he never hires experts as those experts cannot be trusted to admit mistakes and are generally inflexible precisely because they are brought in as experts has been exactly my observation. That alone was worth the price of this stellar book.