Subtitled: "Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big." I loved this book. It is so passionate and it resonates so deeply to the core of what drives the successful small business. The writing is excellent, which is no surprise since Burlingham is editor-at-large for Inc. magazine and has been associated with that publication from the beginning. In fact the idea for the book came from an article he wrote for the magazine.
He profiles fourteen privately owned small businesses in a variety of industries and traces their beginnings from inception through growing pains, transitions, successions and awakenings to where they are today. Having been a part of several small companies over the last twenty-three years, this book spoke to me in a way that perhaps it wouldn't to a reader who has not had that experience. Throughout it all, Burlingham does not hide his unabashed admiration for what these small giants have accomplished. His enthusiasm and passion for his subjects is what makes the book such a joy to read.
I recently came across a quote from Albert Einstein that I thought was very interesting. He said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a servant. We have created a society that worships the servant and has overlooked the gift." These entrepreneurs have that intuitive gift and used it to build companies that are remarkable. It's very motivating to read a book that chooses to emphasize an aspect of business development that can't be easily pinned down with charts, graphs, tables, ratios and percentages. This is the very human aspect of what it takes to make a vision and a dream a reality - a successful one.
So I've put it on my CEO's desk with a note that I loved the book and hope he will find the time to read it. Much of what Burlingham admires about the entrepreneurs in his book, I also admire about the CEO of our company as well. It's definitely on my "Must Read" list of recommended books.