The Emyth Revisited

Michael Gerber, a saxophone playing, poetry and pulp-fiction writing, dope smoking, mystic drifter and successful encyclopaedia salesman (according to the apparently autobiographical section), wrote the original "E-Myth" in 1986, and revisited the ideas in this book in 1995, having by that stage established E-Myth Worldwide (see []) as a major force in what has come to be known as life and business coaching. He has a rather better claim, I suspect, to having originated "business coaching" than Brad Sugars (see "The Business Coach") although he does not use that term and is quite free in acknowledging his antecedents via a quotation at the start of each chapter.

Gerber's aim was (and presumably still is) to "bring the dream back to American small business" and the book is written in a very American, perhaps even specifically Californian, style, which may grate slightly on British readers, especially where his "spiritual" side shines through. The central theme of the book is an extended conversation between the author and "Sarah", proprietor of a struggling one-woman business in the form of a pie shop (apple rather than steak and kidney, although that doesn't really matter).

There can be no doubt that Gerber's own success suggests that his methods have worked for many small businesses. He suggests that there is an "Entrepreneurial-Myth" that all small businesses are created by Entrepreneurs, while the reality is that that are created by frustrated Technicians after a moment of "entrepreneurial seizure". Technicians enjoy doing the work but are neither interested in nor equipped to develop businesses and find that they don't so much own a company as a job - and that the demands are punishing. The solution, he suggests, is to think like an entrepreneur and to work ON the business rather than IN it, setting up systems that would allow the business model to be franchised (as a business system franchise like McDonalds), even if that is not the owner's intention. The aim is to create a "turn-key" business that someone else could operate in exactly the same way as the owner with staff with "the lowest possible level of skill" consistent with their roles.
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