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 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.

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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.
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13 years ago

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Gates VP
13 years ago

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).

13 years ago

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

Blain Reinkensmeyer
13 years ago

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.

13 years ago

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.

13 years ago

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!