Book review: The Bootstrapper’s Bible

Book cover for The Bootstrapper's Bible by Seth Godin

I would consider myself a follower of Seth Godin. I discovered his blog over 10 years ago and have been a daily reader ever since.

Seth has also written a lot of books on marketing and business, but I hadn’t read any of them. I might be changing my tune after recently reading The Bootstrapper’s Bible.

I typically read around 5 business books a year. I’ve found that good business books provide actionable advice. The best business books provide actionable advice and stand the test of time. Since Godin published The Bootstrapper’s Bible in 2004, and it’s still relevant today, I would put it in the latter category. In other words, The Bootstrapper’s Bible is one of the better business books you’ll read.

Here are the three things I particularly liked about the book:

  1. The book is concise at just over 100 pages. It’s obviously directed at busy business owners because it gets right to the point(s). Godin isn’t trying to hit a page count, and he doesn’t fill the book with gratuitous stories and fluff to fill white space.
  2. The advice he provides is direct and actionable. He doesn’t beat around the bush. He lays out precisely what you need to do to build a business that doesn’t require outside investment and is self-funding, which, by the way, is over 98% of the businesses that are started every year.
  3. The book applies to bootstrapped companies of all types. You don’t need to be in the technology or media space to benefit from the advice. It applies to media companies, internet companies, software companies, hardware companies, brick-and-mortar stores, local service businesses, and professional services and consulting businesses.

The Bootstrapper’s Bible is one of those books I wish I had read 15 years ago when I started my business, although I’m not sure it would have had the same impact. I was determined to raise money and not so sure I would have agreed with his bootstrapping thoughts. With experience as my teacher, I found myself agreeing with just about all his advice. I felt my head nodding as I read his thoughts about finding a business model, the differences between a freelancer and an entrepreneur, understanding the value chain of your business, advice around debt, being sales focused, and the importance of advertising.

The value of the book may be best summarized as follows. In a free market economy, it’s easy to start a business, which is great. The downside is that it’s easy to start a business and get in over your head. The Bootstrapper’s Bible is the book that puts you on the right path and in position to do the right things when starting a business while not losing your shirt, or your mind, in the process.

So what’s the absolute best part of the book? Seth Godin has made it available for free! You can access and download it by clicking here. If you’re thinking about starting a business, just starting out in your business, or have been in business for years, I highly recommend reading it. You won’t regret it, and better yet, I’m certain you’ll discover insightful advice that you can immediately apply to your business.

(And while you’re at it, you should consider subscribing to his blog, too.)