The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do about It

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do about It

4.2 102
by Michael E. Gerber

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E-Myth \ 'e-,'mith\ n 1: the entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs 2: the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work

Voted #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs.

An instant

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E-Myth \ 'e-,'mith\ n 1: the entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs 2: the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work

Voted #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs.

An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.

Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business—from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed—and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise. Most importantly, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.

The E-Myth Revisited will help you grow your business in a productive, assured way.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Indicating that 40 percent of small businesses fail within their first year, Gerber, a small business expert, talks about how to be successful. In this revision of his 1986 book, he describes the "E-Myth," which basically states that a person with technical but few management skills can do well in business. Gerber describes developing a precise business system that produces consistent results because it has been tested and refined. He says that businesses thrive because of innovation, quantification, and orchestration. Visualize what is true success to you as a person, Gerber advises, and work from the ideal to the specific. While the author is a consumate salesman who reads his material in soothing tones, he offers too many abstract ideas and too few concrete plans. There is little useful content here.
-- Mark Guyer, Stark City District Library, Canton, Ohio

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HarperCollins Publishers
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The E-Myth Revisited
Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

The Entrepreneurial Myth

They intoxicate themselves with work so they won′t see how they really are.

--Aldous Huxley

The E-Myth is the myth of the entrepreneur. It runs deep in this country and rings of the heroic.

Picture the typical entrepreneur and Herculean pictures come to mind: a man or woman standing alone, wind-blown against the elements, bravely defying insurmountable odds, climbing sheer faces of treacherous rock--all to realize the dream of creating a business of one′s own.

The legend reeks of nobility, of lofty, extra-human efforts, of a prodigious commitment to larger-than-life ideals.

Well, while there are such people, my experience tells me they are rare.

Of the thousands of businesspeople I have had the opportunity to know and work with over the past two decades, few were real entrepreneurs when I met them.

The vision was all but gone in most.

The zest for the climb had turned into a terror of heights.

The face of the rock had become something to cling to rather than to scale.

Exhaustion was common, exhilaration rare.

But hadn′t all of them once been entrepreneurs? After all, they had started their own business. There must have been some dream that drove them to take such a risk.

But, if so, where was the dream now? Why had it faded?

Where was the entrepreneur who had started the business?

The answer is simple: the entrepreneur had only existed for a moment.

A fleeting second in time.

And then it was gone. In most cases, forever.

If the entrepreneur survived at all, it was only as a myth that grew out of a misunderstanding about who goes into business and why.

A misunderstanding that has cost us dearly in this country--more than we can possibly imagine--in lost resources, lost opportunities, and wasted lives.

That myth, that misunderstanding, I call the E-Myth, the myth of the entrepreneur.

And it finds its roots in this country in a romantic belief that small businesses are started by entrepreneurs, when, in fact, most are not.

Then who does start small businesses in America?

And why?

The Entrepreneurial Seizure

To understand the E-Myth and the misunderstanding at its core, let′s take a closer look at the person who goes into business. Not after he goes into business, but before.

For that matter, where were you before you started your business? And, if you′re thinking about going into business, where are you now?

Well, if you′re like most of the people I′ve known, you were working for somebody else.

What were you doing?

Probably technical work, like almost everybody who goes into business.

You were a carpenter, a mechanic, or a machinist.

You were a bookkeeper or a poodle clipper; a drafts-person or a hairdresser; a barber or a computer programmer; a doctor or a technical writer; a graphic artist or an accountant; an interior designer or a plumber or a salesperson.

But whatever you were, you were doing technical work.

And you were probably damn good at it.

But you were doing it for somebody else.

Then, one day, for no apparent reason, something happened. It might have been the weather, a birthday, or your child′s graduation from high school. It might have been the paycheck you received on a Friday afternoon, or a sideways glance from the boss that just didn′t sit right. It might have been a feeling that your boss didn′t really appreciate your contribution to the success of his business.

It could have been anything; it doesn′t matter what. But one day, for apparently no reason, you were suddenly stricken with an Entrepreneurial Seizure. And from that day on your life was never to be the same.

Inside your mind it sounded something like this: "What am I doing this for? Why am I working for this guy? Hell, I know as much about this business as he does. If it weren′t for me, he wouldn′t have a business. Any dummy can run a business. I′m working for one."

And the moment you paid attention to what you were saying and really took it to heart, your fate was sealed.

The excitement of cutting the cord became your constant companion.

The thought of independence followed you everywhere.

The idea of being your own boss, doing your own thing, singing your own song, became obsessively irresistible.

Once you were stricken with an Entrepreneurial Seizure, there was no relief.

You couldn′t get rid of it.

You had to start your own business.

Copyright C 1995 Michael E Gerber

The E-Myth Revisited
Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
. Copyright © by Michael E. Gerber. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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E-Myth Revisited 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 99 reviews.
HyperionDn More than 1 year ago
You need to buy this book if you're a small business person or a sole practitioner or artist of any sort thinking of starting a small business. Gerber has a very important concept that is so often overlooked: to turn yourself from an artisan to a business person, you need to stop working IN your business and start working ON your business. The best way, he says, to think of this is to imagine if you had to "franchise" your business. Is the way you're doing things systematic enough that it can be replicated all over the country? In reality, of course, the odds that you WILL franchise your business are negligible, but the same method of thinking will allow you to: ...expand your business to include more employees ...allow you to go on VACATION with a free and easy conscience ....allow someone else to pick up the slack if you fall ill. There are some other good points in here (the value of consistency, etc.) A definite must read for the small business owner. Having said all this, I am not really sure why Gerber "revisited" his original E-myth. If you can find a copy of the original, it was even better, lacking the superfluous "sarah" character who mars and confuses this revised edition slightly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Book E Myth was recommended to me by a good friend. He insisted that I read this book before I go into unchartered territories of starting my new business. I thank him everyday for pushing me to read this book. If you ever have thoughts of becoming a small business owner,or currently have a small business make sure to read this book. Michael E. Gerber must be physic, because it seemed as if he was reading my mind. The clarity in which he talks about why most individuals start a business was phenomenal. The way he described the average small business owner and there struggles really hit home. I re-evaluated my entire plan and thanks to Michael E Gerber and E Myth Revisited, my business has been successful from the start. Great Book, would encourage all entrepreneurs current and future to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this book over-simplifies some businesses. If you are the owner of a "service" based type of business, (a few examples would be, a decorator, investigator, massage therapist etc.....), it is not as easy as to say that one can hire unskilled labor to run such a business. There are many businesses owned by people, which "their" creativity/skill cannot be duplicated, like "putting pickles on a bun". There are a few ideas that may be of value for some people from this book, but unless you are actually "making" something in your business, this book doesn't have as much value. If you want to "franchise" your business or buy a franchise - read it. If you are the "person" that your business is about (again, examples that were given previously), you cannot expect to pay unskilled labor to duplicate your work, you will have to pay dearly for skilled-degreed/certified people, not to mention if your business involves going into other peoples homes, the environment cannot be duplicated either. I would suggest if you have a "creative" "service" business and need help to try to find a mentor in your field, or call a local trade school/college for help because this book won't.
Sherwin-gws More than 1 year ago
Michael E Gerber's "The E-Myth Revisited" is an informative read, especially suited for the new entrepreneur / engineer or technician contemplating starting their dream business. The material brings to light a number of, "Oops I never thought of that", gotchas that are often the driving cause of business failure. My only reasons for not giving five stars, is that the referenced website is really no more than a paid services storefront, with no easily available synopsis or other material. I also think the book would have been better, had it included a set of appendices, that brought the various points together in a concise outline form, so that the reader could easily apply the process, without repeatedly reading through the book to find the area of current interest. Worth buying, just could be better.
RuthVermouth More than 1 year ago
My husband and I have both read this book and it has absolutely changed our lives. This is an absolute MUST READ for any business owner or aspiring entrepreneur. Easy to read and understand, this book provides simple, yet profound, solutions to implement into your own business (and life). If you follow Michael Gerber's guidelines, he will help you lay down a solid foundation for your business, assist you in defining your future (outside of the business), give you the ability to streamline your business' processes so that your business can operate regardless of whether or not you are there, and much, much more. SIMPLY AMAZING.
Demetrius_Minos More than 1 year ago
This book is striking from the beginning because it was like a refreshing breeze on a hot and humid summer day. In an age where many businesses are chaotic, without vision, and without direction this book reminds us of the power, and wealth-building potential, of engineering, uniformity, and simplicity. While the book is targeted to small business many of the biggest corporations can definitely benefit from its wisdom. Some of the worlds' most famous franchises are evidence the utility of an engineered approach to business. In my opinion this should be required reading, and mastery of concept, for any executive.
coolreem More than 1 year ago
If you are ever asking the questions, "Why dont I start my own business," or " Why do I continue to work for this crazy company," then you need to pick this book up and you are thinking about starting your own business, then this book is for you. This book is also for people who have a small business and are trying to make it grow. This book does what other books do not do. It describes people who are real good at a skill and say, it is time to start my own business. And after 4 months or so in, they are burnt out mad, unsuccessful and wonder why. This book is not a technical boring book. It is a real easy read and it is very pratical. I recommend this book before you quit your job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book is an easy read and gives you tools for digesting problems with your company. It gives an interesting perspective to the makings and success of a small business, could even be applied to a medium size business.

The prototype is a lot of work and the detail envolved and why the prototype is needed is clear cut. Most of what is said is common sense, but we all need direction to get our minds thinking - it is a great guide for bigger things.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This might be the best book ever in terms of learning how a successful business runs around a 'system'. He uses great examples throughout the book. Using Sara as a backbone example, I like the way she tries to explain what she just learned in her own words (sometimes helps the point he just made 'click'). Make sure you have a highlighter for this one so you can keep track of all the useful information when coming up with your own system for your business! This book is priceless!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bought this book on the recommendation of a friend who is also starting his own company. Don't get me wrong--it's full of lots of helpful information. It's also full of lots of superflulous crap. The book does a really good job of building up to the point of making the reader realize s/he has to make changes in her/his company, then when it starts to give advice on how to make and impliment those changes, it backs down. Unfortunately, this happens 2/3 of the way through and you're left reading the last 1/3 of the book, hoping to come across something useful and don't. It's like in high school where you write 'he was a very very very very very big man' to try and get the paper's word count in. You get the feeling that somebody's just trying to get the word count in. So, worth a skim, but not a read. Check it out from the library don't buy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am young and have not graduated college yet, but can't keep from thinking about owning my own business someday. I found this to be a great read simply b/c it was informative on an issue that I have no experience with. Overall it's a good starter book for those interested in running a business.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The e-myth deals with the concept of working 'in' your business and working 'on' your business. Most entrepreneurs do not realize the difference and end up spending their time trying to do it all only to wind up exhausted and wondering why they got into their business in the first place. I think this book does a good job of explaining what business owners need to understand in order to ensure the success of their business.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book addresses many good ideas but offers no answers. There is a good reason for this. At the end of the book, there is contact information for the author's consulting company. They want at least $800.00 per month for phone consulting only by people with unknown qualifications.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Gerber is a profoundly insightful entrepeneur. The E-Myth Revisited will help you focus on the mechanics of your business so that you can forget about them. His style is easy to read but incredibly impactful. You'll spend weeks afterwards realizing how much to implement. I personally used this system to build my company.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a worthwhile read for any small business owner. The author makes the point that (if I may paraphrase Shakespeare) he comes not to answer questions but to raise them. And this he does, forcefully and persuasively. He has the 'Technician' small business owner pegged perfectly, and anyone who does not recognize this person in himself is probably self-deluded. Gerber uses the Business Format Franchise idea as the framework with which to describe what is otherwise known as Business Process Re-engineering, and it is very effective. It succeded in making me look at my own enterprise from a different perspective. Where the book lets the reader down is that it takes him along a path to the door of the author's consulting firm, leaving him with the aftertaste of an infomercial. On the whole, however, I consider this a 'must read'.
NZJEWELRY More than 1 year ago
it is amazing how this book was published literally decades ago and every single thing it talks about still stands true today. It really talks about what's going on within you and your thoughts & struggles when it comes to starting a business. such an easy read and great takeaway points all over.
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Enjoyed the read.
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