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May 12, 2008

Michael Port Makes Systems Thinking Sexy Again! Review of "Beyond Booked Solid"

When I was first getting into business, I read The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge and its companion volume The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook.  I loved it because it was all about business processes and how to improve your business via making systems more efficient.  Except I never really got to implement the ideas.  I was in a HUGE organization at the time and had little hope of affecting change in short order.  Plus getting everyone to read those 1000+ pages - daunting!

Enter Michael Port!

Bbs_book Following on the success of Booked Solid, Michael has written a practical how-to manual for getting BEYOND Booked Solid (hence the name of the book :)  Michael knows that the secret to an entrepreneur's success is the "making money while you sleep" idea - or getting your business to do more while you work less.  And the best way to do that is to fine-tune your business architecture - the systems and processes that are core to your business - so that can happen.

Why do I like Beyond Booked Solid?

Readable.  Michael has a pretty breezy style (including witty parenthetical remarks) that make BBS a fun book to read.  His tone is a nice blend of humble confidence that I find unusual in a business book.  There were a few spots where the writing was a little rough, but I had an advance copy, so I think it hadn't been through the final edit.

Actionable. Between you and me, I'm tired of business books that are really just a lot of hand-waving and cheerleading around a clever metaphor.  BBS isn't like that.  In addition to the step by step methods in the book, Michael also provides a downloadable toolkit to help entrepreneurs work through re-architecting their business.

Believable.  BBS shares detailed case studies of seven entrepreneurs and how they each worked on their business, often in radically different ways, to grow and take it to the next level.  And three of the case studies are Canadian! 1-800-Got-Junk, FundNet.ca and Cupcakes by Heather & Lori.

Quotable. It's nice to have one or two core ideas to repeat as a mantra when you're trying to make a key change in your business. 

Systems enable you to work on your business while you're working in your business and on yourself.

Corny?  A little.  But when you read it in context he really gets to the heart of what drives an entrepreneur and meets objections to spending time on systematizing a business head-on.

Base every process in your business on a desired outcome and measure the success of the process.

So simple, yet so rarely done.  As an entrepreneur, I find myself repeating this one a lot.

Contextual. Possibly my favourite thing about Beyond Booked Solid is that Michael provides both an historical business context for his ideas as well as references modern peers and experts; an appropriately rich, but not overwhelming bibliography.

So, for you entrepreneurs that read One Degree, Beyond Booked Solid is definitely worth checking out. Michael has posted the Table of Contents on his site and you can also register to get a free chapter.  I found Beyond Booked Solid inspiring and actionable - the best you can hope for from any business book.
 

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Comments

Hah, your second point on cheerleading around a metaphor is dead on. This kills me as well. Will pick this up, thanks for the referral!

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