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Small Giants

October 1, 2006

Filed under: life,review — Terry Wohlers @ 18:27

Dr. Ping Fu, Inc. magazine’s 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year, recommended that I consider reading Small Giants, so I did. The book is about companies that choose to be great instead of big. Bo Burlington, Inc. magazine’s editor at large, wrote the book. Burlington identified 14 companies to use as examples of small giants. Among them were Anchor Brewing of San Francisco, Hammerhead Productions of Studio City, California, Righteous Babe Records of Buffalo, New York, and Union Square Hospitality Group of New York City.

Having been a part of a small company for 20 years, I could appreciate what was discussed in the book. (From the beginning, I made the decision for Wohlers Associates to remain small and resisted the temptation repeatedly to expand with more employees and office space.) I was especially pleased with Burlington’s discussion of what makes a company “successful.” It’s not necessarily size or producing staggering amounts of money. It’s treating employees, customers, and suppliers with respect, supporting communities and charities, and having the integrity to do what’s right. The small giants discussed in the book place importance on family, lifestyle, and a range of values that are often not recognized in the corporate world.

From reading Small Giants, you will discover that there is no magic recipe for success in small business. Each of the 14 companies took different paths. Each operated from a custom crafted set of principles, coupled with endless passion and a hands-on approach that helped them to be the very best at what they do. If you are an owner or manager of a small company, I highly recommend this book.