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EntreLeadership - Dave Ramsey (2011)

I've read business books. I've read leadership books. But what I haven't read is a real, honest-to-goodness, practical play-book of how to do small business. Until now. Dave Ramsey's book, EntreLeadership, is just that- a fairly comprehensive and integrated manual for growing small businesses that (whether they know it or not) will need training in leadership development and core business skills.  For those that don't know, Dave Ramsey is a radio show talk personality who largely is known for his on-air advice to callers on the topic of personal finance. Something of a combination of Suzie Orman and Clark Howard, with Christian values contextualizing his perspective, Ramsey is strongly opinionated but has proven to be practical and effective as an advisor on money matters, especially concerning the topic of debt.

Ramsey's advice and radio show have been the centerpiece of a company that also sells products and training services to millions of people looking to manage their finances and pay off their debts. The success of his sales of those goods and services has turned him into the leader of a small but growing and successful enterprise in its own right. The author clearly knows what it takes to actually build a business, and he understands how to effectively dissect and represent good thinking about the strategies that can be transferable to other people. In short, Ramsey is as capable a coach as he is an implementer, and this is a rare trait.

EntreLeadership not only defines the generalities of vision, mission and goals, he gives play-by-play details on very well thought out execution plans for sales, marketing, employee management, financial oversight, leadership and much more.  Actually, I found that Ramsey abbreviates points I've heard in other books, but does so with sharper focus than other business "leaders" who tend to leave their advice open-ended to work with various situations. Dave Ramsey is more "black-and-white" than most. And to be frank, this makes his book worth its weight in gold because he doesn't mince words. He has some opinions about how to get things done - sales for example- and they are about 99% right. I caveat the remaining 1% because he falls trap ever so slightly to one of his own mentioned vices- believing his own press.

I suspect that this comes from Ramsey's unflappable personality, but more than once, the author expounds his success as a validation of his book. For sure, this is essential for any great teacher- do first, then teach to do. Ramsey's success is certainly a proof for his passing on his wisdom. But his salesmanship bleeds through. In the introductory section of the book, Ramsey goes from saying "our tremendous success"1 to declaring "This is the personal play-book of an ultra-successful EntreLeader."2 in just a few sentences. Microsoft, Dell Computer and Chick-Fil-A are examples of "ultra-successful" leaders and companies (all examples that Ramsey acknowledges in his book). But self-identifying Ramsey's company as "ultra-successful" seems comically ill-advised.

However, that minor brush of hype aside, no small business leader should pass by a chance to read this book and put its points into practice. It really is a succinct and arduously well organized course that can do nothing but help anyone trying to "make it big" with their big idea.  Ramsey is a great doer and an even greater instructor. Don't skip over EntreLeadership. You can't afford to. It's that good.


Amazon Book link:


Review by Kim Gentes

1. Ramsey, Dave (2011-09-20). EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (p. 2). Howard Books. Kindle Edition. 

2. Ibid. Pg. 2

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