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A Geek Reads the "Martha Stewart Rules"

Updated on June 15, 2012

Rules for Running a Business


"The Martha Rules"--A Book Review

This article is a review of Martha Stewart's book, The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Grow, or Manage a Business , which is an excellent tome for anybody wanting to run their own business. Martha sets down 10 principles she advocates for budding and experienced entrepreneurs, regardless of their niche.

Clearly, she does have the experience to make the recommendations having developed a business from the ground up, weathering explosive growth, and keeping the business going throughout her well-publicized stint in prison.

I personally am surprised I even picked this book up being that my domestic skills are practically nil and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is practically an institution in upscale domestic arts. But, I looked at the inside flap of the book where the 10 rules are outlined and decided to give it a read anyway.

I was glad I did for the reasons I will detail below.

Now About the Book...

In the introduction to the book, she immediately takes on the fact that she spent time in Alderson prison, a result of her insider trading conviction. She speaks of two of her fellow prisoners in a compassionate way who sought her help with business ideas, not exactly what might expect from convicted felons. (Only later in the book does she detail the down and dirty effect that prison stay had on her business!)

In the first and second chapters, she talks about passion for running ones own business and the formation of what she calls "The Big Idea". Hard work and mild interest is not enough. A clear and focused idea to fulfill some need is required by any business and the passion to see it through. She gives many examples, many of domestic businesses, which I skimmed over quickly.

The third chapter is key where she recommends people use the following "tools" for running a business: a telescope (for long-term viewpoint), a wide-angle lens (for the big picture) and a microscope (for day-to-day details). I thought these were excellent analogies.

The fourth, fifth and sixth chapters recommend (with more examples) that people know all aspects of the work at hand, grow gracefully and maintain quality throughout the growth. Chapter seven discusses hiring the right people to be an asset to the business. "Yes" people need not apply.

The eight chapter on weathering business challenges and foul-ups was frankly my favorite. She describes a few situations which could have seriously derailed her projects including the bad press from being thrown in prison! I loved it! In unabashedly discussing how she overcame her prison debacle, I felt she demonstrated the fortitude and poise to weather any unexpected event.

The last chapters discuss intelligent risk taking and again carrying on a business with style while being organized and productive and the importance of uniquely branding oneself.

Overall, I felt this was a great read for any entrepreneur-wanna-be regardless of their calling. I view myself as a hopeless geek with nary a domestic bone in my body, but this was a good read and I liked the analogies and examples presented. -- Laura in Denver


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    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 5 years ago from Aurora

      I cannot comment, since I have not investicated the case, Bella DonnaDonna.

    • Bella DonnaDonna profile image

      Bella DonnaDonna 8 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I wonder if Martha was really guilty or was she a scapegoat for insider trading...?

    • John  Lakewood profile image

      John Lakewood 8 years ago from Lakewood, CO

      IMHO Martha came through the prison system ahead. She did have something to write about after that!