We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
Boss Life Audiobook

Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business

Regular Price:$41.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (128 )
5 star
 (88)
4 star
 (30)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.6 (112 )
5 star
 (85)
4 star
 (15)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.5 (114 )
5 star
 (80)
4 star
 (22)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Liz Reisch-Picarazzi 08-07-15 Member Since 2017

    Brooklyn entrepreneur, mom, corporate refugee. Founder and CEO of Checklist Home Services, inventor of the CitiBin trash enclosure.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Close to home"

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louie 04-10-17
    Louie 04-10-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great book for any small business owner"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it gives a detailed account of one man's small business, from the good to the bad. It is a refreshing and good read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Paul is blatantly honest about himself and his business, which is rare to find.


    What does Jonathan Hogan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Rather than having a narrator that is not realistic, I was able to picture Paul himself as the narrator because of the way that Hogan narrated/sounded.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It was definitely humorous at times. Amazon, what is with this weird question?


    Any additional comments?

    Paul's book was a pretty amazing read. As a woodworker by trade and local to Paul's shop, I always thought of him and his shop as being on a much higher tier. I randomly happened upon his book and was pleasantly surprised. His detailed, honest, and humble account of this trade was extremely refreshing and came at the perfect time for me. I was looking for a book about this industry and randomly came across Paul's, and I am very thankful that I did. Even if I was not a woodworker, I feel that, as the other reviews say, he finds a way to make even the business side of things, detailed and numerical, quite interesting and keeps you intrigued. Also, even though the book is centered around woodworking, it is not TOO specific and definitely helps to see the intricacies of any small business, and helped me see the big picture of mine. Thanks Paul for the awesome read, going to have the rest of my shop get a copy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Martinez 04-03-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointed"

    Not much to take from this book, unless you own a custom furniture business. Stopped listening half way through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dan 01-08-17
    dan 01-08-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "14 year owner here"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-04-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good story, but..."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lael M. 10-05-16
    Lael M. 10-05-16 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bad decisions equals bad results. Its not complicated!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Cardais 09-17-16 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exceptionally interesting and entertaining."

    This was an exceptionally interesting and entertaining book.

    It's one of the most interesting and enjoyable books I've read this year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dimitris 06-02-16
    Dimitris 06-02-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Book for someone wannabe Boss"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaun Enders 05-19-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Refreshingly honest"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mastiff Enthusiast Colorado Springs, CO United States 05-15-16
    Mastiff Enthusiast Colorado Springs, CO United States 05-15-16 Member Since 2014

    mastiff enthusiast

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    68
    40
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great documentation of small business life"

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.