Michael E. Gerber on purpose and legacy

Michael E. GerberI’ve just finished one of the most moving interviews I’ve ever conducted on The Extraordinary Business Book Club. Last year I ran an online summit – World-Changing Writers – and one of the many stellar book folk I interviewed was Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth series. 

(When I left coprporate life to set up my own business, at least five different people recommended I read The E-Myth Revisited. I did, and then I understood why.)

Michael has just turned 80 years old, and to celebrate he’s just released a new book, Beyond The E-Myth: The Evolution of an Enterprise: From a Company of One to a Company of 1,000!. Michael describes it as the last book in the trilogy, but it’s significantly shorter than its predecessors, The E-Myth Revisited and Awakening the Entrepreneur Within.

What particularly struck me about it, and was reinforced as I spoke to Michael himself, was that it is infused with a sense of urgency. There’s lots of very practical material in the book, but the most powerful parts are to do with legacy and meaning. 

And Michael’s final words in our interview were starkly challenging. I asked him, as I always ask my guests, for his one best tip for aspiring business authors, and he didn’t mince his words: 

Look at yourself more seriously. Stop thinking about how you’re going to get by, and start pondering what you’re going to leave behind… ‘Who am I?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘What is this all about?’ And until you bring that to bear on everything you do every day, you’re simply succumbing to a state of mind which allows you to avoid asking those questions because they’re too difficult to answer. 

It was a moving reminder that great books don’t come from a vacuum – they’re infused and informed with a passionate sense of purpose. 

The full interview will be broadcast in The Extraordinary Business Book Club next week, on 26 December.