Entrepreneurs are always looking for a silver bullet to solve their problems. Especially their talent problems! In my three decades as an entrepreneur, CEO, and angel investor, I’ve been guilty of this as much as the next guy. I have a feeling this is why there are so many business books out there. Who wouldn’t want a magic cure we can flip through at the gym or on our next flight?
Unfortunately, in life-and in business-there is no silver bullet—no way to solve all of your problems with one simple pull of the proverbial trigger.
Before I go much further, let me say that there are a few business books that I do actually love, and highly recommend. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, Start with Why by Simon Sinek, and Rocket Fuel by Mark C. Winters and Gino Wickman are a few that have shaped my thinking as an entrepreneur (and advisor to fellow entrepreneurs).
Those few aside, I’ve got a far bigger stack of business books on my nightstand that I just can’t get through. Most of them have at least something worthwhile to share—a pearl of wisdom or a new perspective that I hadn’t considered before. But they usually don’t have enough substance to carry me through the entire book. My bet is that in every “amazing” business book, only about 20 percent is truly worth reading. The rest? Well, you’ve got to hit page count somehow!
Look, I get it, no one’s buying a 25-page book. But can you at least tell us which 20% is worth reading?!
But my beef with “traditional” business book goes beyond the fact that they seem to be mostly filler. I also think most of them are simply, well, too fluffy. They’re written by successful leaders who tell you that all you need to do to be amazing like them is to follow their “10-Step Process” or “27 Keys to Business Success”. These books are predictably filled with rainbows and unicorns. There’s almost never any focus on everything that can, and inevitably does, go wrong!
So if I hate business books so much, why did I write one?
Great question! That came up many times throughout the process of writing this book—from friends, colleagues, editors, even my own writing team!
There are two key reasons I decided to write Who’s Your Mike? A No Bullshit Guide to the People You’ll Meet on Your Entrepreneurial Journey. First, I truly believe in the power of stories to teach valuable lessons. Second, the stories I’ve been telling for years have resonated so much with fellow entrepreneurs, I felt compelled to share them with a broader audience.
I truly believe that the best way to learn is from the school of hard knocks—by getting knocked on my ass! But over the years I’ve also learned to listen to others and learn from their experiences, as well. It’s almost like an entrepreneurial cheat code!
I’ve been telling stories for years. If we’ve ever met at an event or conference, you may have heard me talk about “Mike”—your college buddy who joined you as employee No. 3 because he could figure out QuickBooks and you trusted him with your life. A few years later you’re doing over $10 million in revenue, and Mike is in WAY over his head as “CFO.”
I used to ask friends or clients if they had anyone on their team that they’d outgrown, and 95% of the time they’d say “NO!” Then, I’d tell them my full Mike story, and ask… “So, Who’s Your Mike?” Suddenly, it hit home for them. I wrote Who’s Your Mike? for that lightbulb moment, when you realize you’ve got a Mike and you have NO idea what to do next.
Dealing with people is HARD. Sometimes we need advice. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the patience for more fluff pieces or jargon-filled workbooks on how to hire effectively. Enough with the buzzwords, the platitudes, and the empty rhetoric. Tell me your story and it’ll stick with me. Not just the glory stories–tell me the gory stories. The bigger the shit show, the more likely it’ll resonate with me!
That’s why I wrote Who’s Your Mike? – it’s a book about the cast of characters you’ll meet along your entrepreneurial journey, based on REAL stories from my experience—both as an entrepreneur and an advisor to hundreds of entrepreneurs through the years. Most of you will recognize several of these peeps—whether you’ve interviewed them, worked with them, or hell, even have some of them on your team right now! My hope is that you’ll be able to take these characters, stories, and advice and apply them to your own situation; so you can take the steps needed to take your business to the next-level!
Who’s Your Mike? isn’t a traditional business book: every chapter guides the reader through a different people challenge, so you can quickly identify how to solve troubling scenarios. In fact, I encourage entrepreneurs to “choose their own adventure,” by reading just the sections that’ll be most helpful to their situation. Here are just a few of the things readers will learn:
- There’s no secret formula to hiring smart – we all make hiring mistakes
- Whether you’ve outgrown members of your current team, and what to do next
- How to handle the people you’re sure to meet on your entrepreneurial journey