Sunday, January 20, 2008
E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
E-Myth stands for entrepreneurial myth- I felt the need to mention this as my guess is that most people will assume it refers to something involving the internet.
This is a quick read and an excellent book for anyone involved in a small business or business start up. It is rudimentary but covers most of the essentials in a very readable way. The author records conversations between himself and a woman who has made all the common mistakes in her own business and is at the end of her rope. He discusses the mistakes and walks her through the steps she needs to take to make her business a success. I appreciated most of what he had to say. An example would be the process he goes through in helping her understand what her "product" is. She sells fresh baked pies. Initially she thinks that pies are her product, but he shows her that if she is to be successful, she needs to understand that her product can't be pies. Lots of people sell pies, what sets her apart? That is her product. Her product is that feeling people get when they come to her store and eat her pies, that feeling that they are in their grandmother's kitchen... This is what she needs to sell. His basic idea is that new business owners should treat their business like it is going to be a big franchise (begin with the end in mind)- like McDonalds. In doing this, in thinking this way (and he spells it out pretty clearly) they will not make the common mistakes, and even, if they never become a big business with lots of franchises, their business will be much more successful, and they will enjoy it much more.
Culture Shock: Turkey Culture Smart: Turkey
I found these two books very helpful (and mostly correct) as introductions to Turkish customs and ways. They gave me something from which to start and saved me some embarrassing and offensive mistakes. I was also able to take what I read and ask questions of friends here in Turkey. In this I was able to both clarify/confirm things in the book as well as have an avenue for building relationships. Lastly, I was able to know what to expect in certain situations and when I was being mistreated. Often foreigners make mistakes by either assuming a situation will be like they are used to at "home" (when it is not) or assuming it must be different here (when in fact it is the same). These books helped in at least a few situations like the above mentioned.
I think these are part of a series that covers many countries. I would recommend them.
Glittering Images by Susan Howatch
In this first book in Howatch's church of England series set in the 1930's, 37-year-old widower Dr. Charles Ashworth, a doctor of divinity, is sent on a mission by Dr. Lang, the archbishop, to check on Dr. Alex Jardine, the bishop of Starbridge, who has recently lambasted the archbishop in the House of Lords regarding a controversial bill that will widen the grounds for divorce. Ashworth falls for Mrs Jardine's helper, Lyle Christie, and gets caught up in a web of lies and deceit that will rock him to his core and force him to face his own demons. The glittering images are the masks/personalities that the characters wear to hide their true selves. Ashworth must learn how to discard his glittering image in order to truly be able to serve God live a life of freedom. I found part 2 in which he goes through this process to be very helpful and thought provoking as I think of my own "glittering image" and how I tried to conceal certain parts of my "self" and how that keeps me from truly loving the people God has put in my life. [Note: there is one explicit sex scene. I wonder if the author included it to make the book more "secular" as it does not seem necessary, in my opinion, to include the details she includes. The event is important to the story, just not the details.]