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Book Review: The Engine of America

The book reviews keep rolling in!  Since doing my last book review on "An American Hedge Fund", Hector Barreto contacted me to request a review his new book "The Engine of America: The Secrets to Small Business Success From Entrepreneurs Who Have Made It!".  Of course I agreed as I enjoy business/finance related books and even more so when they're free.  Speaking of free, if you would like a free copy of this book keep reading to the end of this review. 

For those of you considering a career in small business,  "The Engine of America" is the book for you.  The book is separated into 2 parts.  Part 1 deals with the principles of success in small business.  This includes inspirational stories of small business entrepreneurs who have beaten all odds to become successful.  Part 2 is lists some of the helpful tools for small business entrepreneurs in America.

Who is Hector Barreto?  

Here is some background information on the author from Amazon:

… Barreto (Los Angeles, CA) is the former five-year administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration where he directed a $60 billion support system for American entrepreneurs. He has lived and worked in all regions of the country, and is currently the Chairman of the Latino Coalition and a frequent speaker on small business topics. Robert Wagman (Washington, DC) is the former Capitol bureau chief for Scripps Howard’s Newspaper Enterprise Association. He is also a former field producer for 60 Minutes, editor of the World Almanac on Politics, and author of many business and political nonfiction books.

What are the main points made by the book?

Here are some principles that are required to become a successful small business entrepreneur:

  • Plan – Don't Just Wing It.
  • You Must Know What You Don't Know.
  • Challenge the Conventional Wisdom.
  • No Guts, No Glory – Mistakes, Risk and Change.
  • Seek an Edge by Finding Your Niche.
  • The Key is the People Around You.
  • Disaster Always Looms – Survive the Potholes

What I liked?

  • I enjoyed that he used true stories of overcoming challenges to succeed in the small business world.
  • Each of the principles listed above are followed up by excerpts from successful small business entrepreneurs. 

What I didn’t like?

  • As the title of the book is "The Engine of America", there are parts of the book specifically geared towards the U.S. More specifically part 2 that details small business tools contained links/resources that were U.S only.  As a Canadian, there were basically 50 pages or so that I skipped over.

Who should read this?

  • Anyone interested in the world of small business.  Whether you are considering small business, a budding entrepreneur, or a small business mogul, this book is worth the read.  

Final Thoughts:

  • Great read for the (potential) small business entrepreneur as it contains many lessons that will help you and your business. 
  • It's well worth the $20 that Amazon.ca is asking for this hard cover.
  • Canadian readers probably will not find much value in the "Tools" portion of the book (50 pages out of 200). 

Want a free copy?

A free copy of this book will be given to the Million Dollar Journey top commentator of Oct 2007.  To see the current Top Commentator standings, scroll down the right side bar and you'll see the list.  So with about half the month left, it looks like anyone's game.  Thanks to Blain from StockTradingToGo for the idea.

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).

FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Avatar The Financial Blogger October 17, 2007, 7:57 am

    Here you go! another war of comments :-D I love them !

    Hey FT, what happened to the 5 copies of “An American Hedge Fund” ? And where do you take the time to read all of this?

    Thx for hosting those contests!

  • Avatar Jonathan October 17, 2007, 8:04 am

    You know what gets me is when people think success comes from limited work. It sounds like this book emphasizes hard work (planning/overcoming challenges) which makes it sound legit. When I see the infomercials saying I can make 10k/day working just a few hours per day, I roll my eyes. Both my mother-in-law and I are small business owners. I don’t know two people who work harder.

  • Avatar FourPillars October 17, 2007, 9:04 am

    Top commentator eh??

    You’re going to get some lame comments out of that kind of contest, but not from me! (I hope) :)


  • Avatar FrugalTrader October 17, 2007, 10:03 am

    FB, yes, i’m manually extracting all the names into a “hat” per se, and going to be doing the draw tonight or tomorrow. I will be announcing the winners this Friday or Saturday.

    Jonathan: Yes, the book does emphasize hard work which I agree is one of the most underrated requirement of entrepreneurship.

    FP: Looks like your in the running for top spot!

  • Avatar The Financial Blogger October 17, 2007, 10:15 am

    FP, be prepared to stick to your keyboard for another 2 weeks ;-D

    FT, you are courageous, that’s a lot of piece of paper, I hope you have a big hat ;-)

  • Avatar Telly October 17, 2007, 10:40 am

    Ooo, good contest idea. :)

    I’m actually not interested in this book…I’m too lazy to start my own business. ;) I do agree that there’s a lot of work involved in owning (and especially starting up) your own business. In fact, sometimes owning rental properties feels like too much work.

  • Avatar FrugalTrader October 17, 2007, 1:05 pm

    Telly, how many rental units do you own? Do you manage them yourself or through a property manager?

  • Avatar the Wealthy Canadian October 17, 2007, 1:16 pm

    A business is a lot of work. Most people dream of striking out on their own and being ‘free.’ They often don’t realize that being self-employed may take far more time than a nine-to-fiver.

  • Avatar Telly October 17, 2007, 1:25 pm

    Ft, we own two student rental properties that we manage ourselves (for the most part). We spent a lot of time on pretty serious renos on one of the houses over the summer so it’s probably skewing my perception a bit!

  • Avatar Bubs October 17, 2007, 4:34 pm

    Just thought I would stop by and see what your blog is all about, your always commenting on the same blogs as me.

    On the topic of the book I think The Wealthy Canadian nailed it, most people underestimate the amount of time needed to start a successful business. I myself was guilty of this same thing when I started daytrading, was expecting good results right away.

  • Avatar Blain Reinkensmeyer October 18, 2007, 12:54 am

    No problem FT, it works like a charm to spur some extra comments! Hey, count me in please :) Also check your email, sent you my posts for Friday.

  • Avatar Nabloid October 18, 2007, 2:25 am

    I’ll review some books too! Great review btw! Sounds like an interesting book!

  • Avatar Gates VP October 18, 2007, 1:02 pm

    Thanks for the review FT, but the only innovative thing that I can see here is the 50 pages of americo-centric information. Of course, those 50 pages are clearly the author’s forte given his background.

    But the rest of the tips just read like a standard issue top 10 (top 8?) list for running your own business. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my Small Business Kit for Dummies (for Canadians) covered all of these points, if not exactly these points, with examples of their own.

    Given that your readership is primarily Canadian, it seems kind of pointless to recommend a book that’s 25% useless and 75% redundant.

    Just my $0.02 (I’ll still be here tomorrow).

  • Avatar FrugalTrader October 18, 2007, 1:07 pm

    Hey Gates, where have you been?

    Yea, the tips are pretty standard. But in my opinion, what makes this book good is that he uses real life entrepreneurs to backup his statements.

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