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In 1986, fresh out of college, Paul Downs opened his first and last business: a small company that built custom furniture. With no idea how to run a business or how to build custom furniture, Downs spent a year teaching himself the business, and in 1987 he hired his first employee. That was when things got complicated.
As his business began to grow, he had to learn about management, cash flow, taxes, and so much more. Furthermore, globalization and the arrival of the Internet made a big impact on the economy, causing him to have to reevaluate, restructure, and reinvent. Most important, Downs is keenly aware that every small business, no matter the product it makes or the service it provides, starts with people. He writes with tremendous insight about hiring employees, providing motivation to get the best jobs out of them and incentive to maintain their loyalty and respect, and the difficult decisions he's made to let some of them go.
With honesty and conviction, Downs tells the true story behind building and sustaining a successful company in an ever-evolving economy, often airing his own failures and shortcomings to unveil the difficulties that arise from being a boss and a businessperson. We've heard countless stories from employees about their managers; Boss Life seeks to tell the other side of that story.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Liz Reisch-Picarazzi on 08-07-15
Close to home
I heard Paul Downs on WNYC Brian Lehrer this week and knew that I needed to read or listen to this book. As a small business owner in the trades, I feel profoundly related to his account of a year in the life of a boss. And feel understood.
Particularly resonant are his explanations of the complexities of the cash flow cycle, and the difficulty in finding craftsmen who are both good workers and good communicators.
I plan to recommend this book to peers and employees. And may even convene a book club to discuss how we can incorporate some of insights into the business.
Paul, thanks for writing this!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By dan on 01-08-17
14 year owner here
I would like to meet Paul. People like us don't socialize because we are interested in running a business. Not talking about weather and small talk. Paul pays his employees more than I do and gives a good reason. But I fire salesmen much quicker which nets great income. So I'm considering paying more to get better staff after boss life. It's also nice to hear real life. Not a Facebook fake life. Real problems and real solutions.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful