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June 27, 2010

SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE | in less than 300 words

The following continues my irregular postings of business book summaries. I’m striving to keep these summaries to less than 300 words. Sometimes its doable, other times not. This summary is closer to 400 words. Enjoy

SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE | summarized in nearly 300 words

The failure rate of new Amish businesses is astoundingly low. According to a recent study, less than 5% of Amish businesses fail within their first five years. That’s astounding considering 50% of small businesses fail within their first five years.

Why do Amish businesses succeed while others fail?

In SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive, Eric Wesner explains why. However, the answers are surprisingly unsurprising.

The Amish, as a way of background, are deeply religious and live a traditional lifestyle that avoids most modern technology. Their daily life focuses on family, faith, integrity, and simplicity. Those same virtues also guide the daily business practices of the Amish, here’s how:

Amish Vision Puts the Why Before the How
Growth and financial success are not why Amish businesses exist. Instead, sustaining a growing family and supporting their church community are the reasons why the Amish start businesses. According to Wesner, “… the WHY springs drive and ambition. The WHY checks a person who is in danger of overstepping limits or sacrificing integrity. And fulfilling the WHY is what brings real joy and contentment in the long run.

Maintain a Learner’s Attitude
The Amish businessman is always seeking knowledge. Their learner’s attitude begins early in their business life. The Amish gain hands-on experience in their chosen trade before they start their own business. From there, the Amish will seek out mentor relationships with respected community business leaders to continue their business education. The successful Amish entrepreneur views every learning opportunity, including learning from competitors and customers, as vital sources of business knowledge.

Follow Time-Honored Principles
Hard work. Providing quality goods at a fair price. Treating employees and customers with respect and dignity. Those are the basic principles that guide the daily business practices of the Amish. These principles may not be trendy today but they have stood the test of time and when practiced, these principles, as exemplified by the Amish, will guide a business to lasting success.

Slowly but Surely
Fast growth isn’t in the vocabulary of the Amish businessman. Growing slowly but surely is how the Amish approach business growth. Maintaining quality before growth is of upmost importance according to Amish businessman Dennis Miller, “I’m always looking to grow, and I’m always looking to … get into new specialty markets. But your employees have to be trained … and it’s real easy to overcommit, and then your quality starts lacking.

Eric Wesner details more principles guiding the successful Amish businessman in SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE. However, do not expect anything overly complicated because, as Wesner puts it, “the lessons of the Amish are simple [but] simple does not mean easy.


[NOTE: I often receive free copies of biz books from publishers and publicists. However, I spent my money for my copy of SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE.]


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Interesting..... Do not expect anything overly complicated...

The Amish businessman is always seeking knowledge.

This reminds me of everyone I meet in "business" not reading books.

The sales person that's never read anything by Ziglar...

The marketing team that's never read anything by Godin...

I don't get why people expect they already know everything they need to know, and don't need to continue gaining knowledge, mentorship, coaching, experience.

Looks like a cool book.

But how many become millionaires
How many Amish franchises are there?

Sarah ... as the book points out, the Amish aren't in business to become millionaires. They are, however, in business to support their family, community, and church.

The Amish define success differently than most businesspeople. Perhaps that's why their success rate for starting new businesses is astoundingly higher than those businesses started by the non-Amish.

Was honored to get a review on Brand Autopsy John! You picked out some nice key ideas from my book here.

Another of my favorites is the emphasis Amish place on humility, ie: "I'd never ask an employee to do something I wouldn't be willing to do." Amish bosses tend to walk the talk. Thanks for a great blog.


Erik, appreciate you chiming in here. Your book is a fascinating look into a community which most people would never look for insight into business success. You've dispelled preconceptions about the Amish and in the process, distilled the Amish recipe for business success. Loved the book. Loved the insights.

Thanks John, I'm looking forward to reading the book and sharing it with others interested in the development of economically challenged American neighborhoods. Introducing people to the Amish simplicity of life and success could serve to counteract some of the pop culture influences setting a useless example for a lot of people. A positive culture clash conversation.

I can see a great lesson in this. Matters of faith, integrity, and family values often get trumped in the quest for material gain in most businesses. It's a simple matter of priority. Which comes first, business or family? I'll bet most Amish folks put family first!

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