By Eleanor Biddulph on June 1, 2011
Before I share how much I like this book, let’s talk about the title first, because you might be thinking the same thing I was. From day one, I was not crazy about the title of Feuer’s book. Anything related to dictatorship runs counter to my view of business leadership. However, I thought there had to be a reason this title was chosen, and why it made it past the publicist, so I did a little research. Here is what I found:
A benevolent dictatorship is a form of government in which an authoritarian leader exercises political power for the benefit of the whole population… A benevolent dictator may allow for some democratic decision-making to exist…
If we take that definition and apply it to business, we have an idea of what this book is about. How can an entrepreneur get an idea to market quickly and successfully? How can a business owner beat the competition? How can you manage a business through fast-track growth?
A benevolent dictator knows what this book tells readers. You need a little leadership for the whole group, a little dictatorship when things just need to get done, a little wisdom based in experience, and a little bit of luck for good measure.
Feuer guides the read through the four phases of a business or product life cycle: idea development, build out, continuous improvements, and cash out. These phases are shared through 40 lessons based on Feuer’s personal experience as co-founder of Office Max, and Dustin Klein’s experience as publisher and executive director of the Smart Business network.
A sampling of the chapter titles reveals the type of information shared. Lesson #9 is “Business is a series of “go” and “no-go” decisions. Lesson 16, “Managing people is about achieving objectives.” Lesson #26, “When communicating, cut to the chase.” Lesson #38, “Payday…and lessons from the IPO roadshow.”
I found the story aspect of each chapter to be very interesting. The narrative style makes this a fairly easy book to read. Though I am not entrepreneurial by nature, understanding the viewpoint a successful business owner brings to the table can only add value to my experiences. If you are considering taking a product to market or launching a new business, it would be a good idea to read this book. If nothing else, you may be reminded to look into something you may have forgotten. And, lessons learned through someone else’s successes and challenges can’t hurt either!