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Growing a Business

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,119 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Paul Hawken demonstrates that the answers to small business problems today cannot be solved by college degrees, training or money—but only by you.

Nearly everyone harbors a secret dream of starting or owning a business. In fact, a million businesses start in the United States every year. Many of them fail, but enough succeed so that small businesses are now adding millions
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 15th 1988 by Simon Schuster (first published January 1st 1987)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,119 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
When I decided to start my own business, I have bought a couple of books on starting a small business.
I did not expect that reading books will solve all my problems, but I have figured that they will answer some questions, and give some ideas.

Growing a business was so far my favourite.
Plain language, no jargon, no buzzwords, simple examples.
The fact that it was first published in 1987 should not scare you away. The ideas and concepts are so basic and so eternal that time will hardly change them
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great book - my fave outakes:

The innovative mind is nurtured by experience

Being a good human being is good business

Entreprenurial ideas spring from a deep immersion in some occupation, hobby, or other pursuit. Spurred by something missing in the worls, the entreprenuer begins to think about and envision a product or service, or a change in the existing product or service. The entrepreneur is often the first one to spot the opening, and if things work out that person will have a successful busine
Sep 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
I first read this book shortly after starting a small business in the late 80's. At that time, I found it wonderfully encouraging. While not a memoir, Hawken excels at clear-eyed sharing of many practical lessons he learned along the path of starting his own first company, Erehwon Natural Foods, as well as his more famous later business, Smith & Hawken, which grew into a multi-million dollar gardening supply company.

In addition to his own experiences, Hawken tells educational tales of success s
Feb 11, 2009 rated it liked it
I found a lot of what he writes to be obvious (but maybe it's not to other people).

If you think that running a business is impossibly complicated or something you could never do, or that you have to have tons of capital to start one, reading this will put those kinds of fallacies in perspective.

Yes, you can do it. People who build businesses are just people, they don't have special powers. They just want to build a business and learn what they need to know to do it. You don't need tons of money
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow, lots of others have felt as clueless and discombobulated starting a new business as I did.

Wish I'd known about this book when Mom and I started Friends Fabric Art
...late is better than never!
Rick Wilson
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Read this instead of pretty much anything else about starting a small business. Real honest advice from people who have done it without mythologizing or blowing smoke.
Lamec Mariita
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Such an amazing book. It's a must read if you are starting a small business. It will help you build value and profitability. The book has marvelous insights made all the better because its author is the owner of a well-known business, Smith & Hawken. By focusing on the inner business, Hawken helps any business person create an enterprise that is ideally suited to its owner. The author ,Mr. Hawken, gives some great advice and makes it seem like anyone can succeed in business if they treat people ...more
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Sort of a how-to book for someone who owns a small business and wants to make it grow larger. Well written, with good anecdotes and solid advice about what works and what doesn't. Reading books like this make me want to run out and start a business. ...more
Elizabeth Lund
Oct 29, 2011 rated it liked it
A pleasant, reassuring, common-sense book about "small" business (anything from a small grocery store to Patagonia) with some interesting ideas. Focuses more on general approaches than specific recommendations, and has aged fairly well. ...more
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Great account of how to start and grow a business intelligently, slowly and organically.

The do's and dont's in plain language. No business school jargon or hard to read advise.
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 100-best
This book was included in my book: The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. ...more
Carol Palmer
Jul 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Interesting read, but it was written before the internet so much of the material is out of date.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010-reads
Great book about the ethics and framework around running a successful business. Loved the definition of "tradeskill" and the 5/15 reports and Go-For-Brokes. ...more
Robert King
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Paul breathes life into a subject that all too often is boring a dull. All in all a great down to earth look at business and how to set your self up for a win in both life and business.
Randy Stapilus
First read this back in the late 80s. It was the first thing I read that made me think I might actually fit doing some kind of business. It is human level and feels real, the kind fo commentary you seldom hear from people about business, even small business. And while a few bits and pieces haven't held up (mainly in the way of predicting trends), nearly all of it has. What Hawken has to say here is timeless. ...more
Ryan Glover
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Though most of the ideas it contains were things that I’d learned from others already, hearing them reaffirmed alongside amusing anecdotes was quite welcome. This is a must-read for folks just getting started in business and running their own things. It’s far less of a practical, step-by-step manual and more of a mindset-shaper; a set of moral and ethical guidelines that will indirectly help you find success in business.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This easily read and highly accessible book presents a kinder and gentler approach to creating and running a successful business. Though it was published in 1987, much of the author's advice is doubly important these days. ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
This book still holds up (despite references to the corporations of the time of writing). It is refreshing to read of business people still focused on the value-add to society, rather than a singular, naked focus on pure profit.
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring book. A great read to doing business with authenticity, sincerity, effort, and patience. It gives a different feel from the often heard message that ambition and shrewdness are utmost importance in doing business.
Mary Kelly
May 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
not much to it
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is quite dated, but the business advices still relevant till today
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
An older book, so some of the descriptions are out-dated, but the over-all mindset and strategies are ageless. Not a must-read, but not a waste of time.
Costin Fasie
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Business explained in plain and straightforward language. A truly valuable experience on growing a business with ethical attitude.
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book at least fifteen years ago and its messages about entrepreneurship stuck with me: if you are skilled but unhireable, small business may be the best way for you to create a niche for yourself; business is as much about giving people fulfilling work as it is turning a profit; there is an alternative to growth at all costs. After reading many other business and entrepreneurship books in the intervening decade(s), coming back to this one was refreshing.

It is in re-reading it that I
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an ‘older’ book which doesn’t even come in a digital format. I actually didn’t realize this and ordered it an a spree of book ordering only to forget about it and then get a paperback book from Amazon.

Unfortunately much of the time physical books end up sitting on my shelf unread due to the fact I can’t easily carry them everywhere with me as I can a Kindle book. I already carry lots of stuff while bike commuting to my office so adding a book to the mix doesn’t happen.

I am so happy that
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Well, first off Paul Hawken seems like a great guy - I'd love to sit down and have a conversation with him. That being said, I wasn't able to really get into this book (although I did appreciate it's humor). I might have enjoyed it more if I had picked it up myself, but instead it was recommended work-related reading. While most of the principles he discusses are fairly universal, a lot are also fairly obvious or things I've picked up elsewhere and it is completely outdated as far as technology ...more
Eric Lawson
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Was looking for a book about starting my own business. Have read several but when I began reading this book I was amazed at what Paul Hawken realized about business back in 1987 when he wrote this book. The principals he lived by were way ahead of his time. His thoughts regarding employee empowerment, being completely customer-focused and working with your employees versus managing them make complete sense. When I start my business I am re-reading this book as it is a template for starting out s ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Paul Hawken's gives you plenty of great advice when starting a business. Although it's primarily a motivatonal tool, he gives you plenty of useful tips to put into action. It would have been great if he went into more detail about writing the business plan, but other than that, great book! ...more
Oct 11, 2010 added it
Contains timeless business principles on how a business should be conducted.
Brian Stewart
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best book on business I have ever read.
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Paul Hawken is the co-founder of several businesses, and lives in Sausalito, California.

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