The Automatic Customer

The Automatic Customer is about subscription businesses with a view to showing you how introducing subscriptions to your business could work for you. The author uses examples of businesses that do this so that you can see how it works in practice. The argument is that this is the way that a lot of businesses are going, physician so it’s something that you should consider as a business owner.

It’s a very interesting book and one which held my attention throughout. However, for sale I was a little put off by it being very America-centric. It is after all an American publication so that’s not the book’s fault, but I did find that:

  1. The tone is a little strong for my British palate. The first part of the book was very strongly arguing the case for subscription businesses and I found this a little too strong. It felt a bit like it was saying “if you don’t do this you will FAIL”. And I got to the point where I wanted to say very politely “Come come, my good man, I’m convinced now. Please continue with some more detail rather than repeating the same argument again”.
  2. The example businesses are on the whole American businesses. Again, nothing wrong with that as such – but a UK version of this would be even more interesting to me.

But there’s no denying that it is an interesting read crammed full of real-life examples. It didn’t give me a lightbulb moment of ‘Aha, this is what we can do with our business’ but I am definitely interested in the idea of subscriptions – it would just take more thought on my part to come up with how to apply it.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy “The Automatic Customer” from Amazon >

101 Business Ideas That Will Change The Way You Work

Well, there I’ve read the 101 Business Ideas and has it changed the way I work? I’m afraid not. It did however make me realise something about myself … something that I should keep in mind when choosing business books. Although I’m a massive fan of lists that doesn’t translate to being a fan of books made up of lists. It just doesn’t do it for me.

In theory I should have really enjoyed this book – it’s well laid out, each idea is nicely structured, there are entertaining illustrations throughout. I should have skipped through it joyfully. But instead I found it a bit of a drag. Although I like books that are arranged into short readable sections, when each section deals with a completely different idea it just doesn’t flow for me. There wasn’t anything to get my teeth into.

Apart from the style of the book not suiting me, I found that most of the ‘ideas’ didn’t change anything for me in the context of running a smallĀ  business. For example “Dullness and diligence trump charisma and charm as great qualities to look for in a CEO” doesn’t give me anything to help with running my two-person business. Maybe they would mean a lot more to someone working for a large organisation.

At best, for me, the only use these ideas would have for me would be to provide a topic of conversation at a networking meeting. Maybe I should have one or two up my sleeve for my next event. Now, that is a bit harsh – there were a handful which did strike a chord with me. But it was only a handful in a book of 101.

To be fair, the book is intelligently written and each idea is backed up with further reading, which definitely scores points with me. I feel like I should have liked it a lot more but it comes down to personal preferences, and unfortunately this falls into a category of book that I personally don’t get on with. I will remember to avoid anything that has a number in its title in future.

Buy “101 Business Ideas That Will Change the Way You Work” from Amazon >

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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