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Business Made Simple by Donald Miller: Book Review

At Evolve Global University, we’re big fans of StoryBrand and Business Made Simple, all created by author, CEO, and business guru, Donald Miller. So, when we heard that Miller had a new book coming out, we knew that we had to get our hands on it ASAP. Today, we’re going to give you our honest reactions to Miller’s newest book, Business Made Simple: 60 Days to Master Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Execution, Management, Personal Productivity and More

To foreshadow the rest of our review — we loved the book. It was practical, easy-to-understand, and super beneficial for anyone reading it, whether you’re a successful business owner or aspiring entrepreneur-to-be. When you’re done reading this blog, go buy the book as soon as you can. You never know, it might be the book that changes your life… Keep reading to find out why!

Business Made Simple: An Introduction 

Business Made Simple: 60 Days to Master Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Execution, Management, Personal Productivity and More is a book that teaches you about all things business in a very practical way. You can either read the book by itself on your own time or go through it in 60 days and follow along with the daily videos you get access to when you buy the book. It goes over all types of business and leadership-related topics, such as sales, being a value-driven professional, marketing, communications, and much, much more. 

Miller’s goal with this book was to create a resource that can help anyone improve their business, without having to go to college and get a degree. He believes that our current educational system doesn’t actually teach people the practical skills that they need to know to succeed in the business world, plus it’s really expensive. We’ll get into whether or not we think this book does that later in the blog, but for now, all you need to know is that this is the goal of the book — to teach you what you need to know to be successful in business. 

More than almost anyone we know, Donald Miller is well-equipped to write a book about this topic. Here are some of the things he is known for:

  • StoryBrand, a 5-part framework to clarify your brand messaging (psst…this is what we use for our marketing clients at our sister company, Evolve Global Marketing, and we LOVE it).
  • Business Made Simple University (BMSU): No, not the book. Miller’s book is actually named after his educational platform, which offers different types of business courses ranging from negotiation to communication to proposals and more. We’ve gone through BMSU and can vouch for how helpful it really is. 
  • Author: Miller has written several well-known books, including Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Marketing Made Simple: A Step-By-Step StoryBrand Guide for Any Business, and others. 

Now, let’s get into the good stuff!

What We Loved About the Book

#1: All the FREE Resources

Without a doubt, one of the best parts about this book is all of the free resources that you get with it. From helpful website links to free downloadable templates to the Business Made Simple Daily Planner, this book is stock full of invaluable resources that you get for free when you buy the book. It makes it feel like you’re getting so much more for your money than just a book, because you really are.

#2: The “10 Characteristics of a Value-Driven Professional” Section 

How many times have you heard that leaders need to “create value”? Chances are, the longer you’ve been in business, the more you’ve heard it. The thing is, the phrase “creating value” is usually used in such a vague way that nobody knows what the universal idea of value is, nor what it looks like across different businesses, disciplines, and careers. That’s why we loved this part of the book, where Miller goes into the 10 characteristics of a value-driven professional. While there isn’t a solid answer to what creating value means, Miller talks about the 10 characteristics that every value-driven professional needs, no matter your field or role, and it’s so valuable, no matter what stage of your career you are in.

#3: The Discussion on Productivity 

The book’s discussion on productivity was incredibly interesting as it talked about having a mission for your business and a personal mission for your life. As business owners, we’re so busy all of the time. By figuring out and writing down what our personal mission, our life plan, is, we give ourselves a reason to be doing all of the crazy, time-consuming things that we do every day. Our personal mission is the legacy that we’re leaving behind. It’s powerful. That’s why we loved this section so much, because it gave us a mechanism by which we could remember why we do what we do, what to say yes and no to every single day, and what’s going to get us to our end goal. 

#4: Reminder of Why Businesses Exist

We know, you’re probably thinking, “I know why my business exists.” It’s to make shoes because you love making shoes, it’s to offer consulting services so that you can help other businesses grow, it’s to build community in your neighborhood. NOPE. According to Miller, businesses only exist to solve problems for paying customers. If you stop solving problems, your business goes away, if customers stop paying, your business goes away. This section broke it down for us really clearly and reminded us about what’s really important. You have to stay focused every single day on what your customer need is and how you solve that problem to gain the greatest return for your company. 

#5: The “Made Simple” Sections

Now we really get into the practical, “meaty” portion of the book — the “Made Simple” sections. Here, Miller goes through several essential business parts and basically makes them easy for you to understand. 

They include:

  • Messaging Made Simple
  • Marketing Made Simple
  • Communication Made Simple
  • Sales Made Simple
  • Negotiation Made Simple
  • Management Made Simple
  • Execution Made Simple

Whether you’re an experienced business professional or not, you will learn tons of valuable golden nuggets in the Made Simple sections of the book. Our personal favorite was the Management Made Simple section, as it talked about how to be a great business coach (and that’s what we do at Evolve Global University!). 

This is a super consolidated list of what we loved about the book, because in truth, we loved almost every single part. It is so worth your money, no matter what stage of your career you’re in. For a more detailed overview of these sections, you can check out our book review video on YouTube

What We Didn’t Love About the Book

While we give most of the book a five-star review, there was one major point of feedback that we have and that we want you to know before you buy the book. Now, this wasn’t necessarily a criticism of the book, it’s more what isn’t included that you should know before you buy. 

We mentioned earlier that the goal of the book is to create an educational, practical resource that teaches you what you actually need to know about business. The point is that traditional educational methods (i.e. going to college, getting degrees) are really expensive and time-consuming, but don’t actually teach you what you need to know. 

This book does give an overview of businesses and teaches you what topics you need to learn about to be a successful business owner, but you won’t suddenly become extremely knowledgeable in all of the business skills after you read the book. In order to actually get the education and skills you need to build a business, you have to go through the Business Made Simple videos and modules and work with someone like a coach or mentor to develop the skills you need. It’s one thing to read the book but it’s another thing to actually learn the skills and execute them, so definitely make sure you know that when you buy the book – you’ll learn which core competencies you need to know, but you won’t get the skills you need to implement them. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you couldn’t already tell, we definitely recommend this book. We know Donald Miller’s strategies from his other companies and books, they’re proven to work well, and we’ve seen them in action. This book really does make business simple, and it’s a great (and super affordable!) investment, whether you already own a multi-million dollar business or are just starting off. As we mentioned earlier, if you haven’t already, check out our YouTube video that gives a full book review with more details about each of the sections, and go buy the book

What are your favorite business books that are a must-read? What books would you like to see us review? Let us know in the comments below!

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