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Chris Reads: “Originals” and “The E Myth”

Chris reads “Originals” and “The E Myth” and talks about the nature of startups and what tends to contribute to their success

Hey all!

Here are a couple books I’ve read in the past couple months. The first was Originals by Adam Grant. The book was very interesting and had some pull-outs that could be applied directly to running a pharmacy. The book felt similar to Gladwell’s writing style as there were 7 or 8 independent examples that wove a theme of originality into the book. One of the most interesting case studies was looking at the make-up of the teams of successful startups in Silicon Valley. They examined the early phases of a company and what was most important to their success. The three things they examined were tech skills, hiring all stars, and hiring people who fit their culture.

The first group hired the people who were most proficient in there task. The best programers, highest producing sales reps, proven performers were all snatched up quick. The second group hired the people who were motivated achievers. They figured if they got awesome people, they could train the skills later. Having the most talent possible would lead to a win regardless of background. The third basically took people they liked the best and would fit the best into the company culture. Which group do you think did best?

Far and away, shared culture was most important in the formative stages of a startup. The key to success was everyone buying in and having shared beliefs. It is kind of the opposite of what we learn in business school. We hear diversity and hiring people at the top of their game, the all-stars, leads to success. We hear that group-think is bad. Turns out this is only true as the business matures. Too strong of an adherence to culture can hinder growth. This is usually not until they get to the point they are about to go public or are on the decline of a growth curve. I found the talks about Bridgewater fascinating. I have heard of them but had no idea they had that type of culture there. Seems like an interesting place to work.

Overall, Originals was a quick, solid, and fun read as nothing was too technical. If you like Lewis, Gladwell, or the Freakonomics guys, you’ll enjoy the book.

I also dusted off a book I haven’t read in 4 or 5 years called The E Myth by Michael Gerber. Some of you might have heard of it as it was named the #1 business book by Inc 500 CEO’s in 2001. Since we are opening up a new marketing firm here, I wanted to go through and make sure we are covering everything we should in the startup phase. It’s important that we are getting our bases covered as a business team. If you have not read this book and you are a pharmacy owner I highly, highly recommend it. Especially if you started out working for someone else, then went to owning your own store. The book has some skills and ways of thinking you can use immediately in operating your business.

It talks about the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician. They are all different roles and a key to success is the integration of them all. It highlights the importance of an organizational chart. Visualizing how you want your business to look when it’s done, then how you can work backwards to reverse engineer your way to success. If you own a business, you need to read this book. It’s a quick read in (3-4 hours) and will give you tools you can use right away.

Anyway, I try to read a book a week so I’ll come out with one of these every month or so, next time I’ll talk about my last trip I took, traveling to Spain hiking the Camino de Santiago and what I saw in pharmacy practices there versus in the U.S.

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