Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies By Michael E. Gerber Book Review

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My rating: 3 Stars

Awakening the Entrepreneur Within Review:

If you’re someone who is considering to start their own business and need a book that will bring into some basic insights about starting, running and making the business work; and to read something that will motivate you as well – then I can suggest you to read this book. Don’t expect to from this book to be your only guide that you need to read and hop right in into the implementation of your business idea(s). This is very basic book, but it’s well put together and contains right balance of example stories and tips you need to know. Only reason for my 3 star rating, is that I know already 90% of things from this book.

This books is focused on four main dimension that you need to master before you went into starting your own business. And those are:

  • The Dreamer
  • The Thinker
  • The Storyteller
  • The Leader

This book is also good for people who are good workers and thinking to start your own business. It’s good because it touches the subject of why many of those businesses fails. The truth is that many of the businesses started by great peoples, who are hard workers, but end up with failing businesses. There are many more skills that needs to be taught to have a successful business. On this subject I would rather suggest you to read another book from the same author, and it’s called The E-Myth. This books goes more in depth about creating a business system that works. But I would say that it’s not perfect, because everything comes down to the experience, and you’ll not be able to read a couple of books and create great business for yourself. There are many obstacles on the way.

As for this book, once again, go ahead and read it if you’re someone who feels motivated lately to start your own business. You’ll get some insights and then proceed to the another book that I’ve suggested above. If you are someone who is already running their own business and have a bit os struggles with it – then I’m not sure that this book will be helpful for you. The last part might be helpful (it was for me) to get better understanding of importance of taking good care about your customers. This part is good for those who already have their own business.

If you like, you can read my other reviews of Self-Help Books

Also, check out my Best Business Books List

Awakening the Entrepreneur Within Summary:


Over the past thirty years, I have worked intensively on the subject of entrepreneurship with tens of thousands of owners of small, medium, and large companies around the world trying to discover why people start companies, why so few succeed, what those that do succeed have in common, and what lessons others can learn from the dialogue I’ve been engaged in with these owners.


Yes, the start-up is you and nothing but you. For you to be successful at creating an entrepreneurial company, something quintessential has to occur inside of you before you open your business’s doors, something I call the Moment of Inspiration, or that “sudden seeing.”


1 A Conversation with My Mother Leads to the Dreaming Room

My mother is ninety-six, lives an active life, looks to be no more than sixty, and has a wonderful sense of humor about it all. “One day I won’t be here,” she says with a twinkle in her eye, “but don’t give me up for dead yet!”

2 The Five Realities of the Entrepreneur

  1. An entrepreneur is an inventor, although few inventors are entrepreneurs.
  2. Entrepreneurs do not buy business opportunities; they create them.
  3. Invention is contagious. People love to experience an original business idea that has been successfully manifested in the world.
  4. To an entrepreneur, the success of the invention—the business—is measured by growth. The faster the business grows, the more successful is the invention. The slower the business grows, the less successful is the invention.
  5. Everyone possesses the ability to be an entrepreneur—to invent, to conceive of a great idea for a new business, and to create an original business based upon a simple but explosive idea.

3 The Four Dimensions of the Entrepreneurial Personality


Surprisingly, the Dreamer is the least known and understood personality within the entrepreneur. You would think it would be exactly the opposite. Everyone knows that entrepreneurs dream, but few people truly know what it means to dream. They think of dreaming as daydreaming, as wishful thinking.


The Thinker is the Dreamer’s most important companion, his most important ally. He listens carefully to the Dreamer’s thoughts, and knows that without the special role he plays in the manifestation of the Dreamer’s vision, the Dreamer would be lost.


The Storyteller could be called by his other name, the Performer. He is the one who evokes excitement when the Dream is conveyed to other people. The Storyteller knows that without a compelling story, no Dream would become a reality in the world of ordinary people in which the Dream is intended to manifest itself as a striking reality. The Storyteller knows that without a compelling story, no Dream would ever become a reality. The Storyteller digs deeply into the Dreamer’s Vision and the Thinker’s formulation of that Vision, and looks for the creative arc that lies at the heart of every great story.


The Leader is the one who assumes responsibility for moving the Dream forward, takes accountability for fulfilling the Dream, for knowing where he is going, how he is going to get there, when he’s going to get there, and what the venture will look like when it gets there. The Leader takes on the Vision and the formulation of the enterprise. The Leader knows the Story, buys the Story, lives the Story, is committed to the Story, and tells the Story in concrete terms that are evidence of the fact that the Story is more than just a story but rather a tangible reality that can be lived and experienced.


4 The Awakening

The awakening to the mystery of life is a revolutionary event; in it an old world is destroyed so that a new and better one may take its place, and all things are affected by the change. We ourselves have become mysterious strangers in our own eyes and tremblingly we ask ourselves who we are, whence we came, whither we are bound.

5 The Realization

That day, the Awakening came forth in me with a stunning, glowing, irresistible force. And the Dreaming Room was born just as the E-Myth had been born thirty years before it.

6 The Negative Reaction

The drive back to Arnie’s was a memorable one. Arnie was dumbfounded at how I could have put him and me in such a ticklish situation. What was he supposed to say to Bob about what I had promised to do for him?

7 The Personal Dream

There are many kinds of dreams. There is the dream of the lonely man or woman, there is the dream of the lustful lover, there is the dream of the old man wishing to become young, of the young man wishing to be older, of the spinster wishing for a companion, of the companion wishing for a lover. There is the dream of the “D” student wishing for good grades, of the single mother wishing her son would get a job, of the plain woman wishing for beauty.

8 The Impersonal Dream

What do I mean when I say “the impersonal dream”? I mean just that—it is anything but personal. It is not about you and it is not about me. It is about the act of creativity, about that “sudden seeing” of a possibility we have never seen before, when we suddenly become aware, intensely aware, of some condition, some reality, some frozen particle of time and space that is just dying to be fixed, or changed, or reinvented, or transformed.

9 The Sudden Shock

It happens to every one of us at one or more times in our life. If we’re lucky, that is. What happens is a sudden shock. It is an absolutely necessary component of the awakening of the entrepreneur within us. No sudden shock, no dream worth pursuing. My sudden shock in 1975 was to see the world and each and every business within it as a complete, unified, intelligent system.

10 The Dream Is Born

Without a great Dream, no business is sustainable. There’s not enough energy to sustain it. The great Dream, the entrepreneurial Dream, the intentional Dream only comes to you when you are thinking of something other than yourself, since the entrepreneurial Dream is always about someone else. The entrepreneurial Dreamer rarely thinks in terms of what he or she wants.


11 Taking the Dream Apart

When the Dreamer is done, the Thinker comes onstage. Where the Dreamer is all about What, the Thinker is all about How. The Dreamer, of course, is never really done, but there is that exquisite moment when every Dreamer knows it’s time to hand off the Dream to the Thinker, without whose active engagement the Dream will float adrift.

  • All businesses require a Vision.
  • All Visions are both personal and impersonal.
  • Every company is an organization, an organization of work, and, subsequently, an organization of people.
  • An organization is an organization of systems.

12 Taking the Dream Apart Again

In the Dreaming Room, I came to the realization that my Dream of awakening the Entrepreneur within my fellow participants was something quite different from what I thought it would be. I was faced with the challenge of trusting my judgment and intuition with an entire array of people that I had never met. I knew nothing whatsoever about them, what was working and what wasn’t in their lives and in their businesses, what business they were in, or what business they wished to be in, and what their single biggest problem was. All I knew was that I had promised to turn their single biggest problem into their single biggest opportunity.

13 The Vision Begins to Take Form

As Tom and I dug deeper into our Vision, as we began to get a taste of what our system would look like if it were to be able to transform small business worldwide, we began to see it more literally, rather than figuratively, as had been the case up to this point.

  • There is no such thing as customer service.
  • Master the money from the bottom of the business to the top of the business.
  • Your people are not your business, and conversely, your business is not your people, either.
  • Your business is an idea. It is either a great idea or a bad idea.
  • You know more about your business than anyone else does.
  • A business must mean something if it’s to be able to make a difference in the world it serves.

14 The Vision Continues to Take Form

Yes, the Vision does continue to take form. Without a clearly defined Vision, the Dream is aborted. Your Dreamer unconsciously knows this (and consciously as well, but will rarely admit to it), but resists the work of it nonetheless. The Thinker needs to be patient with the Dreamer at this point in the process. He or she needs to learn how to nurse the Dreamer along.

15 Coming to Grips with the Business Model

Just as I had struggled and exulted with the pleasure of creating The Michael Thomas Corporation prior to and after founding it in 1977, so have I wrestled with the process of inventing In the Dreaming Room, LLC, prior to and after the day I founded it in 2005.

It was to be a bundled set of services to Awaken the Entrepreneur Within, and then to provide them with all of the inspiration, education, training, coaching, and, most important, the turnkey services they needed to make the job of building a great business easy, affordable, and consistently successful beyond belief.

The crucial word is turnkey.


16 Defining Purpose to Capture Your Imagination

Similarly, this book is not about you. It’s about what we are all called to do, if we are called to do anything, that is. This book is about someone hiding in you. It’s about the one who creates.

Of course, I have said all this before. I said it when I called this the Age of the New Entrepreneur. I said this when I talked about the Personal Dream as opposed to the Impersonal Dream. I said this when I wrote that entrepreneurs do not create businesses for themselves, they create businesses for others. No self-respecting entrepreneur would create a business for himself or herself. My God, such a business would have only one customer!

17 Pursuing Your Story

In the Dreaming Room, at the very beginning of the process, people walk in nervously wondering what is going to happen to them. You can see it on their faces, you can feel it in their bodies, the way they walk, the way they introduce themselves to the people on either side of them, the way they laugh nervously, or the way they stay to themselves.

18 And the Story Grows from Within

We can aspire to give joy to other human souls. We can aspire to reach beyond our human condition. We can aspire to create a world of human abundance, a world in which commercial activity can be fused with the world of spiritual activity to become inspired activity beyond that which our spiritual leaders and our commercial leaders have discovered on their own. We can aspire to merge the best with the best so that the worst we do is better than anything we have ever done before.


19 The Leader

Here, however, I want to discuss the Leader from a completely different perspective. Now I want to talk about leadership before the company has been created. At the blank piece of paper Stage of Leadership. 

20 The Leader Goes to Work

There is a clear path to inventing a new company, and there is a muddy path. The muddy path looks just like it sounds—muddy. There is no order. Stuff happens, and stuff gets done, or it doesn’t, but the people in the business are so busy with their stuff that they have no energy, time, or interest for anyone else’s stuff. And of course they can rationalize it, because, after all, that’s the nature of a new business. Everything is so new that no one has any experience that can exactly correlate with it, so you’re making stuff up as quickly as you can just to keep the boat afloat. And somehow stuff gets done.

21 The Wisdom of Process

Our fictitious friend John Blackwell came face-to-face with the company Who Is Manny Espinosa? when he read the first White Paper, the beginning of the Manny Espinosa Story. To begin the development of the Mission, John reread the following White Paper four or five times before we met to discuss it. I include it here for your review.

One hundred percent participation and accountability will be demanded in exchange for this life-changing experience, beginning with the following skill sets:

Street Skills:

  • Knowledge of the world and what it wants.
  • Knowledge of yourself and what you need to know.
  • Knowledge of results and what you need to know to produce them.
  • Knowledge of what’s next and how to improve upon excellence and move on.

Life Skills:

  • Concentration.
  • Discrimination.
  • Organization.
  • Innovation.
  • Communication.

Work Skills:

The Street Skills and Life Skills with which each Manny E. graduate enters the work force create a solid foundation for the work-specific skills his/her employer will layer onto the development process. And, the employer will come to equate a Manny E. graduate with a completely different attitude that defines commitment and excellence.

22 Beginning the Strategy; Beginning the Plan

Usually, at the beginning of a relationship, there is a great deal of fussing and musing and getting situated. A new manager needs to find his place, get connected to the people he’s going to work with, move into his new office and put the things he always takes with him away, on the wall, on the top of the desk, and in the filing cabinets.

23 The Mission Is Under Way

John Blackwell stood in front of a small group of people I had never met—ten men and four women. I had been invited by John to sit in on this kickoff meeting, the product of many prior meetings he had conducted with restaurant executives and managers, hotel and construction industry leaders, program developers, Cadre prospects, local banks and associations, leaders of the local Latino community, leaders of the cities in San Diego County, and Angel Investors.

24 The Mission Reveals Itself

The Dream is the thing, dear reader. It is. And if you need any more proof than I’ve just given you, you have been sleeping through this Story in the hope of something more substantial, when only the least substantial will do. The least substantial to me is an Idea that has no proof. But, instead, has great whimsy. Sings and trots. Calls to your muse. An idea like the one just mentioned, A Course for Heroes—whoever heard of such a thing?!

25 We Suddenly Understand

As John Blackwell and I worked together to shape the design of the Company called Who Is Manny Espinosa?, we met with developers, restaurant managers, Cadre, and the Mannys themselves, an increasing number of them, as we began to practice telling the Manny Espinosa Story.

26 The Mission Is Being Realized

Thirteen days and counting. A Dream is on its way. Thirteen days and the Cadre is bursting with training, with preparation for the introduction to A Course for Heroes. Will they be ready? Only John Blackwell and the Developers know the final truth. But, then, if we were honest with ourselves, we would all say not one of us knows. We can only feel it. And the feeling was all good.

27 The Revelation of the Golden Pyramid

We are awakening the Entrepreneur within you to build a unique Enterprise. An “Enterprise” is a very large company. It will be large, because nothing else will satisfy the Entrepreneur in you. It will be unique because that is what entrepreneurs do. “Unique” means it does something no one else does, or it does something in a way no one else does it.


  1. Identify Old Co. The skills that you possess are all you have.
  2. Make a list of every single vertical niche market (customer) you could conceivably provide your service to.
  3. Identify your Trading Zone: the geographical area within which the majority of your customers live.
  4. Pick the ten most appealing Customer Categories.
  5. Pick the one most appealing Customer Category.
  6. Learn everything you can possibly learn about this one Customer Category. Make a list of everything you need to know.
  7. Design your Client Fulfillment System.
  8. Design your Lead Conversion System. 
  9. Design your Lead Generation System.
  10. Test the effectiveness of your new Practice.
  11. Document your Practice.
  12. Create your Surrogate Practitioner Agreement.
  13. Recruit your first Surrogate Practitioner.
  14. Train your first Surrogate Partner. 
  15. Build your Business Management System.
  16. Replicate your Business.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780061568152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061568152
  • ASIN: 0061568155
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Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies By Michael E. Gerber
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