What if I told you in just 60 days, you could go from complete noob with zero-to-middling knowledge of business concepts, to holding all of the business Infinity Stones in your gauntlet, ready to snap your fingers and win every negotiation in every job interview and every pitch. That’s the premise of today’s book recommendation.
It’s been 25 years since I’ve done a book report. This should be fun…
We’re talking about Business Made Simple by Donald Miller. “60 Days to Master Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Execution, Management, Personal Productivity and More.” This thing is rich with concise and actionable tips; not just about business, but about life in general.
There is a chapter in here about personal productivity that’s worth the price of admission. It covers so much, and as the title implies, it’s simple. Now, it doesn’t go super deep, but it gives you an introduction and some quick wins at a variety of topics. I’ll go through the table of contents real quick just to give you a taste.
Chapter One: Two Week Quick Start. This is actually a mindset session.
It talks about the characteristics of a value driven professional. Day one see yourself as an economic product on the open market. This sets the stage for the whole book. Imagine yourself with a dollar amount floating over your head. Now, on one hand, everybody is precious and invaluable, and you have intrinsic value inside of you that nobody can take away from you.
On the other hand, you get a paycheck and that’s usually determined by how valuable you are perceived to be by your employer or if you’re self employed and you’re selling yourself any service to people, they want a return on their investment. Your clients aren’t just going to give you money because you have a nice face. People are making an investment in you and they expect a return. They expect to extract value from you. And the whole premise of this book is to increase the value you can offer people. And by just turning up the dial a small notch across all of these concepts, you can significantly increase your perceived value.
Chapter Two: Leadership Made Simple.
Chapter Three: Productivity Made Simple. That’s the good one.
Chapter Four: Business Made Simple. They put the whole book in a single chapter. Actually, that one’s pretty cool. It talks about the components of a healthy business and how you can view your business as an airplane. It needs fuel, which is cash. It needs engines, sales and marketing. It needs the cockpit, the leadership in there. And it just digs into this illustration and how everything needs to be held in balance in order to get lift and not crash.
Chapter Five: Messaging Made Simple
Chapter Six: Marketing Made Simple. That’s another whole book inside a chapter.
Chapter Seven: Communication Made Simple Sales Made Simple Negotiation Made simple Management Made Simple Execution Made Simple first time each of these chapters are broken down into daily readings, which are just a few pages long. It takes you five or ten minutes to get through it, and there’s actually a companion video series that you get access to when you purchase this book.
Now I’m going to back up real quick. If you’re not familiar with Donald Miller, this guy has an interesting way of showing up at key times in my life. He wrote Blue Light Jazz, which was a memoir, and it had thoughts about life and faith. I ate this thing up. When I was in College earlier in his career, he was primarily a memorized, and he wrote in a really just fun approachable style. And he takes that voice into his new business books. 20 years later, he’s taking his knowledge of story, and he wrote Building a Story Brand, Building a Story Brand taught businesses how they can take the macro elements of storytelling and apply that to their branding and messaging and invite their customers into a story.
I can do a whole video review of that, and that’s at the stage for everything to follow. Story Brand became a successful seminar and workshop that people could join, and they had coaches kind of walking distances through how to actually create a brand script. And then they built a whole video platform that taught some of the material and expanded on that. Marketing Made Simple came out a little bit after that. They took the Story brand framework and laid that on top of marketing tools like your website, lead generators, email, nurturing sequences.
And they created that as a course that went back into this new business made Simple University video learning platform that they built. This book is a nice sampler platter of everything that they are creating. Their mission is to offer a valuable business education to everybody. You don’t need to get your MBA to be able to be a value driven professional. In fact, their whole angle and soft claim not a claim is that this book could be more valuable than a business degree.
You could graduate with a four year degree or an MBA and go into a real life business situation and still not actually have the practical business knowledge that you need to start making that company money. I knew exactly what to do, but in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.
So, Donald Miller and his team are setting out to make a business education much more accessible. This book retails for $22.99 more. If you’re Canadian, and his video platform is only $250 a year, compare that to the price of most MBA programs. So I know I’m not saying an undergrad or graduate degree are not valuable. They definitely serve a purpose, and they are an important credential that most companies still require. I got my MBA, and I’m glad I did I got a lot out of that experience. I will say my main takeaway from that program and my earlier undergrad College experience was the experience I grew a lot through.
It just on a social level, a personal productivity and time management level, and just like, push myself hard and see if I could actually get this done level. There’s some information in the courses that I took that I apply every day, but a lot of the information has since fallen out the back of my brain, and I honestly don’t know how much of it I will return to in my day to day. I don’t necessarily need to run evaluation on a company and project gosh. I don’t remember 90% of the finance stuff (Don’t tell Professor Kang).
The way Business Made Simple was written is down to Earth common sense. It’s really easy to remember. It’s really easy to return to and refresh yourself on a certain topic. I use the material in this book much more often than I return to anything that I got out of the MBA.
It’s great actionable content, and I think they succeed in doing what they set out to do, which is provide legit value to anybody who picks up a copy. Did I say it comes with an accompanying video series? So with each daily reading, there’s a daily video that you can watch. You’ll get most of the same stuff out of the video as you do with the book.
But there’s, like, a little bit in the video that might not be in the book. There’s a little bit in the book that might not be in the video. But if you just did one or the other, I don’t think you’d really miss out on anything crucial. It’s also their way of kind of drawing you into their video platform. And there’s a bunch of courses on there that unpack the things this book introduces.
There’s like ten pages on negotiation in here. There’s two or 3 hours worth, of course, material on negotiation on the platform. So that’s today’s book recommendation. I’ll leave a link below in the description so you can pick up a copy, start working through it. Check it out.
There’s so much to unpack. Check out the platform. Check out Donald Miller’s other books, Marketing Made Simple and Building a Story Brand. Check out Donald Miller’s earlier stuff, too. I really respect him as an author, and like I said, he’s kind of like showing up at interesting moments in my life, like earlier in my college days, exploring my faith in life.
And now, as I set off to be a self-employed, value driven professional, he’s here again. So thank you, Donald, for writing this. I appreciate you. I appreciate your team.
Oh, and check out the podcast too. They have a podcast that’s like they have some great interviews on there. It’s just really fun to listen to. So if you have not met Donald Miller and his team yet, I’m pleased to make the introduction.