The Beermat Entrepreneur; By Mike Southon and Chris West; Prentice Hall Business pounds 12.99
I've been overtaken by a conspiracy that I thought I'd invented and claimed for my own. It started out with books with edgy titles, such as Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. And then people started to write about business - grey, dreary old business. The books were typically 'safe', with the emphasis on toeing the company line and announcing the quarterly results in the FT. So I decided it was my mission to make business fun and exciting. Why couldn't entrepreneurs be shown as fun-loving and creative, as interesting as pop and sports stars? You don't have to be a boring bastard to be successful.
But now everybody's doing it, including people like Mike Southon, author with Chris West of The Beermat Entrepreneur. Southon has been involved in seven different start-ups, including The Instruction Set, which he successfully sold to Cap Gemini. Now he's written his formula down so everybody can copy him.
What I really liked about this book was that it was easy to read. There are too many half-finished books by my bed that would have helped get me there years ago if I had just finished them.
Yet I read Beermat in just one sitting; I enjoyed the book and related to it. I came out liking the authors and wishing they hadn't retired so they could come and run one of my companies.
And yet the Beermatters were just ordinary blokes who started a company, had a vision, worked hard and prioritised how they got on with each other and their employees. They also thought hard about what did and didn't work and changed things accordingly, so that by the time they'd got the big cheque they had a formula that worked. They reckon it's the formula. It's not, but if they hadn't reckoned it was the formula it probably wouldn't have worked for them.
I think - and I suspect they think - that one day anybody who's anybody will work for themselves, providing services instead of time to employers. I've never met a person who has regretted following their dream.
I imbibed plenty from the Beermatters, some of which filtered down into my nervous system, where the important decisions are made after sifting all the info. You'll find your own filter-down bits in this book; it's likely they'll be different from mine, but if you don't find any, think about resetting the tripometer. This is best read if you want to join the revolution.