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Paperback The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, And Place Book

ISBN: 1933392193

ISBN13: 9781933392196

The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, And Place

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Book Overview

Abrams is cofounder and CEO of South Mountain Company, an employee- owned design and building company on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. In this volume, he offers the 30-person company as a model... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The mind of a builder, the heart of a poet

This is a really cool book! What I appreciate the most is how Abrams describes a pathway for changing our national and global economy, a pathway that preserves the best features of private enterprise, personal responsibility, and market mechanisms while moving us away from the increasingly horrible excesses of globalized capitalism. It is a call to reclaim entrepreneurship and apply it toward the things that really matter in life: a liveable income, but also family, friends, community, and place (to name a few). I also really enjoyed the cadance of Abrams' writing. While he doesn't mince words, this is not a direct, prescriptive, academic tome. It unfolds like a conversation, with appropriate background and digressions (e.g. a description of his grandfather's business, what was right and wrong about it). Much of the technical details of how South Mountain Company works are appropriately reserved for an appendix. I really enjoyed reading this book, and really appreciate the message. There is a way out of the morass!

A Guide for Employee-Owned, Community-Based Business

Mr. Abrams and his friends at South Mountain Company have build a well-considered small business. This book is an excellent review of what they have learned in 30 years and provides a great framework for thinking about how to structure or restructure one's own company. Though South Mountain Company is about creating and maintaining buildings, their approach to business and the "multiple bottom lines" that a responsible company should consider are applicable to most any business. If you want to have a company that respects people, community, and place, South Mountain's model is a fabulous starting point. To help out, the book includes some very pragmatic appendices: a detailed description of how they have set up their employee ownership, a short introduction to meeting facillitation and consensus decision-making, and an example of a community visioning process they did for Martha's Vineyard. I hope many others like myself will read this book and be insprired to (re)structure their company as an employee-owned operation built on community values and a commitment to a sustainable environmental and economic future.

A story for the new millenium

John Abrams has written a book that chronicles his journey from 60s hippie fascinated with old buildings and craft to leading edge thinker about the role of small businesses in building and sustaining healthy and vibrant communities. His insights on the often mindlessly accepted growth imperative are alone worth the price of the book. Abrams' persistence, hard-earned wisdom, sense of humor, and courage to see his values realized in the world come through in his friendly and authentic voice. His commitment is total, and as such is inspiring to any and all who seek the hidden potential of business to nurture workers and collaborators, the communities in which they are embedded, and the planet we live on.

A Window Into the Future.

This book is nominally the story of the formation of a small company building houses on Martha Vinyard. The sub-title says this is about reinventing small business. That's only part of the story. Another part is that the entire corporate structure of the world is changing. The days of going to work for a big company, probably joining a union and remaining there until retirement, are found less and less. Those kinds of jobs are moving to anywhere in the world where they can be performed. And with the growth of education and infastructrure in the world, the global economy is a reality. During the last election a big point was made of returning jobs to places like Ohio. Hey, fellows, those rust belt jobs are gone, and they are not coming back. The future lies in the big transglobal companies, and even more important in small business. Virtually all the growth in our employment comes from small companies, not the giants. This book presents one way, not the only way, but one good way. It is not an automatic formula for success, but a way that small business can compete, compete very well against the giants. It is a window into the future, worth study.

One of those books you do not lend out...

John Abram's book is one of those books you do not lend out--you'll want to keep it because you'll treasure it. I received it on a Saturday, could not put it down, and by early Sunday morning had finished it. Simply put, this is the best book about what it is really like to run a small business I've ever read. It is also about making a difference, about changing people's lives for the better, and unlike other authors, John actually tells you specifically (i.e. how much it cost for each employee to purchase a share of ownership) how his company did it--and does it today. Finally, I loved the way this story is told. This book is a gem.
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