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The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,782 ratings  ·  112 reviews
"Never started a company before? Struggling with little or no cash? Have no experience, no baseline to judge your progress against? Thank God! You've got a shot at making this work." So says Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, a business book that is so uniquely useful, so raw and entertaining, it reads like the brainchild of Steve Jobs and Chris Roc ...more
Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published (first published September 30th 2008)
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Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is a book written in a conversational and humorous tone on how to get started with your business, even in hard times. Mike Michalowicz takes a down to earth approach in explaining serious business concepts. Unlike most business books that advocate for a business plan as a cornerstone for any business, the book suggests that business plans may not be plausible after all.

Other topics covered include the three sheets of paper needed to effectively start and grow a succ
Dave Ciancio
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoy reading "big thinking" books, as I like to call them. They stimulate my creative juices and desire to be successful at all things in life. This is the first one that really boils it down to important action items, not just concepts. In fact, reading this book made me feel like all the other books of this nature are just too vague or too big thinking and not enough hardcore advice. You can click my screen name, I don't write a lot of reviews but I felt incredibly compelled to sp ...more
Donna Frano
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remarkably entertaining for a business book.
Theresa Peoples
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Take action in your business!

This is the second book that I have read by Mike michalowicz. I have found that his books are easy to read, very informative and offer Real World experience to be applied to your situation. I have read Profit First and was very impressed and I am as well impressed with the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. You need this book if you're just starting out or if you have a business already and want to define clear actions to move forward and be accountable. I highly recommend t
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- Mindset discussion on limiting beliefs
- "Three Sheets" business plan replacement
- Inspiring and interesting anecdotes of real entrepreneurs
- Focus on the entrepreneur first, customers/clients second
- An entertaining and super quick read, I read it in an afternoon!

- Philosophies on finance and borrowing
- Emphasis on multi-million dollar businesses
Dominic Heng
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book on telling us how to bootstrap our company with little resource as possible.

Timeless principles that I will be applying
Lilly Ferrick
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book and am a big fan of Mike Michalowicz now, after having been introduced to Profit First last year. I gave 5 stars because I had some major takeaways and exercises I did and now do each week.

I did his "Prosperity Plan" exercise. You write out what's in your heart about why you do what you do and where you want to go (destiny). He challenges you to dig deep. Yeah, I'd done that before but he has you read it weekly so I have it show up in my task list on Monday and take 3 m
Scott Friedman
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the book, but given that it was based on a lot of the experiences of the author, I would have liked to read more about his specific experiences. The author extrapolated general lessons to make the book more applicable to the general audience, but the stories backing up the lessons were not included. While I didn't expect the book to be an autobiographical tome, it could have well been written by the academic that the author disparages, since the personal specific examples were missing ab ...more
M A Shuttle
Oct 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Never started a business? You may find this useful.

But if you've already launched and are looking for new ideas or perspectives, you won't find them here.

The toilet joke gets old quickly - and to be honest the whole book just feels like a pretty long winded way of saying "Got limited cash or resources? Hustle your backside off and find free or cheap alternatives to all the things you'd usually pay for."

It's fine. But as someone who's been in business for a few years, I've heard it all before
Phil Willis
May 15, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Short. Entertaining. Crude.
Good exercises on planning
Emphasised putting yourself and your values first when designing your business - otherwise you've just created another job you hate.
This is the first book I've read that really stressed not taking money up front if you can avoid it. Don't take debt and *definitely* don't raise money with equity.

Style is pretty flippant.
Very "if you believe it you can achieve it".
Crude humour might not be for everyone.
Low on specifics
Not much new info
Bartosz Majewski
That's a book quite similar to Chris's Guillebeau's 100$ startup. Only poorly written. With less concrete information. And focused on offline businesses mostly. What's a strong side is managing profitability and actionable tips about managings scarce resources and cash. It's less than 200 pages but i've struggled a bit through it. Author was a founder of 3 businesses but now he doesn't run any business besides his podcast, books and speaking gigs. I should know better. ...more
Michael Reyes
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. It was entertaining, light-hearted, humerous and packed full of suggestions, recommendations and ways to start your business. For anyone contemplating starting a business, this is a must read. The content easily flows beginning to end and an easy read. No big complex words or ideas to confuse or make the reader feel inferior. Just positivity.
Gina Nielsen
I loved the premise of this book: starting and building a business requires effort and a healthy dose of confidence in one’s abilities (more than education or a lot of money). If it weren’t for so much inappropriate language and humor, I would happily give it a higher rating. Mike Michalowicz has great ideas and a fairly engaging writing style - too bad his language spoils an otherwise good business book.
Joseph Rwabose
Mar 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Mike just made it to the list of my favourite Entrepreneurship-book=authors!

Having read Profit first, now TPE & soon The Pumkin Plan, i love his 'colorful' & humorous writing style.

TPE is a good read, more so for those just starting out in business. I like the 3 plans he states should replace the conventional business plan: Prosperity Plan for your business, The Quartely Plan & The Daily Metrics plan.

Mar 19, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Useless motiational book with very little actionable stuff. Typical american "you can do it just believe in it" bollocks. I bought the book because Profit First was great. This is not. Most annoying is that he picks succesful people as case study and juxtapositioning himself and his invented "toilet paper entrepreneur" idea as if they were related. I get it, this is marketing, it's just cringe-y.

Already regretted to have preordered his next book.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great practical advice; great how-to guide

He’s very good at telling stories. I like his writing style. His sense of humor is irreverent but clever. I can definitely see the image of a frat boy when I read his stuff. But he also has a very down to earth personality. He’s not pretentious and he seems to have a genuine desire to help people.
Dave Williams
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book!

If you're a first time entrepreneur then this is the book for you. It's no nonsense and has great advice and motivation for starting a business, especially if you have limited resources. A must read!
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Practical, unconventional, and motivating.

Worth the read if you plan on starting a business and don't know where to start. Has useful exercises to get you in the right mindset, and get the ball rolling.
David Hoos
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've really enjoyed all of the Mike Michalowicz books. His writing style is very easy to digest. While this isn't my favorite of his, it was still a solid all-around book about the need to be resourceful if you want to be an entrepreneur. ...more
Carol Bogere
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!

I really enjoyed reading this book. The author tells you the truth with a sense of humour. The exercises are great and give you something to think about and action at the same time. Would recommend to anyone starting out on their journey of entrepreneurship.
Jeremy Smith
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great Book

Book delivers on its premise. Plenty of highlighting and notes taken. Covers mindset, action steps to take, and enough anecdotes and historical information to support the author’s stance. Recommended for beginner entrepreneurs specifically.
Mandy C.
I am a fan of Mike and I was hoping to find insightful business ideas from this book. Unfortunately, I found that this book is written for probably collage kids who have yet started anything. There are a lot lines along "why you need to start" and "follow your passion", which I find very cliche. ...more
D. Eugene
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Sometimes we forget about how we struggled to get our business where we are today after 20 years. It’s good to go back and maybe consider reinventing yourself, or start over again in another adventure. Thanks for the inspiration!
James White
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another great book from Mike

Mike’s books are fun and entertaining and inspiring for entrepreneurs around the world! Nice and short and easy to read with many useful practical tips you can use in your business today.
April Baskin
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wish I’d read this sooner, but glad I accessed it when I did!

Very helpful and uber pragmatic. I’m enriched and inspired and want to read for a second time to more deeply metabolize all the value and insight!
Crystal Griffith
Some really great points about how to look at building a business. I’m not a fan of the writing style I.e. (everyone else is wrong but me). Some of his thinking is very black and white. Not bad just not as great as I expected.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this when it first came out. Wish I'd paid more attention. The information is pure gold. ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good -short to the point

I like it short - very relatable
The beginning sound very good - but get little boring at the end
William Beldham
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Good points. A strain to read.
Harmony T.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is some great advice on here that I wish I had heard when I was first starting my business. This book isn’t quite so helpful for established businesses.
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