Success Made Simple 3-book giveaway

Though we’ve done quite a few book giveaways lately, I realized I’d never given away my own.  So let’s do that!

Win a copy of Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive

I’ve got 3 copies of Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive to give away.  If you somehow missed all the times I’ve gone on about it on this blog, it’s my business book where 60 Amish share their ideas on running a company, including topics like marketing, management, family life, frugality, relationships, and so on.  It was published earlier this year (March).

amish business ohioNow one thing these publishers expect you to do when they publish your book, is to promote the thing.  So that’s what I spent a good chunk of the year doing.  At times it was even pretty fun, or at least interesting.

Two memorable events were 1) a talk I gave to a whole big collection of steely-eyed Amish business people in Ohio, and 2) an interview with Irish National Radio, from this summer (I was worried I wouldn’t be able to understand the Irish language, but it was strangely similar to English).

If you’re familiar with the book contest format here, I usually do an interview along with the giveaway, where I try to think up smart questions to ask the author.  Well I’m kind of tired of thinking up questions for the time being, plus it would be a little weird to interview myself, don’t you think?  So this time you get to interview me.

How to enter

Here’s how to enter the contest: just leave a question in the comments section either a) about Amish business, or b) about writing or researching the book, ie, the process of creating it.  Can be about just about anything in those 2 categories (except for questions about odd and unusual writing habits, sorry I can’t disclose any of those).  I’ll randomly draw the winner from your questions.  That is it.

success made simple amish business bookNow, this is a business book, and I realize not everyone out there runs a business.  But most people know someone who does.  So–you could also think of this as a chance to win an Xmas present for someone who might get a kick out of an Amish/business read.

We’re going to make this a quickie contest.  I’ll post the 3 winners 3 days from now–this Friday December 10th.  That way I’ll have plenty of time to mail books to the winners before the holidays.  I’ll post answers to your questions that day too (or at least the best ones!).

To get the ball rolling, I’m going to share a short bit from Success Made Simple.  This is excerpted from chapter 8, “The Big Picture”:

An intense midsummer light streams through the windows this early Saturday morning.  Delmar Wagler, a soft-spoken father of six, has picked a modest wooden toy off the top shelf of the bookcase, and is sharing a story.

The toy is a Noah’s ark, and it used to be Galen’s favorite, Delmar explains, as he fingers the smooth-worn surface of the wood.  But Delmar’s son is no longer around to play with it.  It’s been a few years since their boy passed on.  Yet the Waglers’ loss still seems fresh.

Five at the time, Galen had been waiting to cross the busy rural Indiana byway the Waglers live beside.  Standing patiently as he’d been taught, he watched an oncoming car go by, then darted out for the other side.  The second vehicle, which had been tailing, hidden close behind the first, hadn’t a chance to stop in time.

Delmar gets quiet.  His eyes have begun welling up, red.

But slowly, a smile breaks through.  He knows his boy is in heaven, he says.

He just got there ahead of the rest of us.

The Amish are blessed with an abundance of children.  Yet they feel the loss of one of them as acutely as any parent would.  “Getting there ahead of the rest of us” is an idea that many who’ve lost a child express.  It’s a consolation that brings the focus back to the big picture. We are not here forever.  A higher goal awaits.

Here on earth, children are also very important in helping Amish families function.  As part of their upbringing, they are put to work–in garden, kitchen, shop, and field.  Some have criticized the Amish for this practice, calling it harmful.  Amish vehemently disagree.

Ben Miller, an Ohio-based woodworker, explains why having his children involved in his business is so important to him.  As far as family goes, Ben says, “that’s the only goal I have.  I mean, obviously, we all want to get to heaven; that’s the ultimate goal, but besides that, supporting my family.

“I’m not really a pessimist, but in some people’s opinions I probably would be.  But what more do we want?” Ben continues, “I’d like to do something [so] that I could work with my kids now.  But in [the woodshop] they’re going to have to wait till fourteen, and the oldest is five.

“We grew up on a farm.  At five, we were milking cows.  And some people would say, ‘Well, it’s child labor.’ ‘You’re abusing them.’ It’s not abuse.  It’s something that every American should have done.”

A business, or a farm, or even simple  household tasks allow the Amish to train their children in pillar virtues: hard work, diligence, obedience, trust in God.  In this sense, the home business plays a key role, contributing to what the Amish seek to accomplish by living within close-tied Christian communities.

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    1. Thanks Alice–and I see you got the gravatar working, nice. Prayers for your pastor today.

    2. Alice Aber

      Any time Erik and thank you! Yes, I did get the gravatar working. Now I have to find a better picture, LOL. That was just the first one I found in all my files, LOL. It was taken earlier this year. I was sitting on the back steps of the church that went down to the basement taking a break from cooking and trying to cool off a bit. I’ll either crop this one more to make it look a bit closer or find a different one, but it will do for now.

      Thanks for the prayers today. It is very heart breaking. I need to head out soon for the church to help get the rest of the things set up for the funeral and dinner.

      Have a good day!

    3. Matthew

      Hi Eric,

      I would love to add your book to my growing collection of Amish related books. Thank you.


    4. I appreciate the interest from everyone and just wanted to remind about this contest’s rules (see “How to enter” above)–1 question required! 🙂

    5. Matthew

      Hello again, Eric. Should have read your post more carefully! Here’s my question for an entry to win your book: How does debt play a role in Amish opening a small business? Are they likely to get a loan from the community, or do they get loans from a bank like the English? How many businesses start debt free, just funding as they go from the family savings?

      Okay, I guess that’s three questions :-). Forgive me, and keep up the good work.

    6. Thank you Matthew–and now you’re in! These questions are looking great.

    7. I voted (again) and posted on facebook. My question: When does your next book come out? A lot of folks will be looking for it!

    8. Jones

      I have read that some Anabaptists do not work (or encourage work) in businesses that do not meet a need or that do not produce products that are not necessities – i.e. a lot of retail. Have you found this to be true in the Amish community as well?

    9. Teresa Sheroke

      I enjoy any book so this would be another one for me to read and add to my bookshelf! Would love to win this!

    10. RaDonna Murner

      My question is what percentage of Amish buinesses fail? Do they have the same failure rate as the rest of us do?

    11. Jonna E Marsh

      How long does it take to make an adult size bent wood rocker?

    12. Heidi

      I to am wondering about whether the Amish borrow money to start their business and how often do they fail?? I am trying to get my business off the ground without borrowing money!

    13. Kathy Rowe

      Another great give away. Would love to get this book for sure. What is the one tried and true rule for the Amish to run a successful business? The businesses I have seen of theirs all seem to do very well. Would love to know their secret to true success! Thanks for all your articles you put out for all of us to read, enjoy and learn from. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    14. Laura Smith

      I love reading about the Amish, but have never been to an Amish community.

      How did you become interested enough in the Amish to study them and their ways?

      For me, I am fascinated by their simple lifestyle and how they are work together as a family.

      Sometimes I wish we could go back to a simpler style of living. But then, I’d miss my pc.

    15. Bobbe' Hadley

      Do you feel your book would be a great influence on those who are not Amish but do admire the more simpler way of working and living? And if so how would they benefit from reading your wonderful book?

    16. Brian Hanley

      I’m curious what the Amish think about biotech businesses and genetic engineering for four categories.
      – Plant modifications: disease resistance, pest resistance, increased growth rate, increased protein production, production of medications, modifying form (a far-out long term possibility is plants that would grow naturally into buildings for habitation.)

      – Animal modifications: Cloning of animals, modification of animal genes to produce drugs, special proteins for medications, enhancement of strength, size, milk production, etc. Also, gene therapy for animals to combat disease, enhance growth rate, increase milk production.

      – Human modifications: Cloning, modification of germline to remove genetic diseases; modifications of germline to omprove strength, intelligence, etc.

      – Human therapeutics: Gene therapy to treat illness or improve heatlh. Gene therapy to increase strength, speed and endurance.

      Ok. That’s a sizeable question. But I’d be interested in what their thoughts are. Could be interesting to talk to them about it in more detail to clarify what is being done.

      Oh yes – I would like to ask that the discussion be separated from the unpleasant legal practices of certain players in the agriculture space, such as, but not limited to: forcing harvesters to harvest gen-mod or non-gen-mod grain, but not both and targeting non-gen-mod harvesters by unsavory methods; suing farmers in adjacent fields for growing gen-mod grain because pollen comes across from a gen-mod field; etc.

    17. Maggie Thornton

      Hi Eric,
      How long does it take an Amish business after it is opened to know if it is going to be on going? We own a small Take-n-Bake Pizza and Deli. We also sale fudge and a lot of fudge I must say. But we have been in business for over 25 years. Some of the new business do not seem to last more than a year. What is their secret?

    18. Heide

      Did you allow the Amish you wrote about to read your book or parts of it before you published it — given their sensitivites? Did anyone ask you to change anything or protect them in any way?

    19. Donna Shelton

      Did you actually go to some of their business? My brothers owns Jewelry store and recently had amish couple come in…They told me the story of how they were baptist and joined the amish faith and we sold their wedding rings they had it was amazing they had kept them for 20 years before us selling them..I love to read anything that relates to them ,,,I also travel to visit their different business here in Kentucky!!

    20. Michelle V

      Hi Erik – I 2nd ! Send a book to the Pres. And now is not a good time to visit Pinecraft, Baby it’s cold outside …BBBbbbrrrrr 🙂
      My Question (not feelin’ to creative) Do Amish business owners belive in or utilize CPA’s(accountants)???

      Stay WARM,
      Michelle V from F L A

    21. Michelle V

      Sooo COLD I can’t even spell
      Believe (sorry)
      – My Priest is Irish, he played on the Irish National Football(soccer) team. He is simply divine!
      Hope your book Wins.

      Michelle V, again

    22. Janet Rader

      How do the Amish decide what type of business to start, and do they receive small business loans for start ups?

    23. JoEllen McNeil


      How are you able to interview so many Amish business owners when most do not like to discuss details of their lives with us “Englishers”? Or is this a misnomer? By the way voted !!

    24. Michelle V

      Another Nat Geo Amish special “Amish Out of the Order” just heard about it after my night class. Aired at 8:00 pm and Again @ 11:00pm(12-8). Hopefully, it will be repeated soon.

      Take Care all,
      Michelle V

    25. juan carlos

      hello Erik… how much of the text you write gets changed a bit by the publisher/editor? what do you do when you feel strongly and really like how you phrased/worded a sentence, and whomever reviews the manuscript thinks it should read differently? how did you decide on the title of the book? what other titles were you considering? thanks again for offering the opportunity to win a good book. juan carlos

    26. Vicki

      Hello! I wonder if any Amish ever engage in any shady business practices or in businesses that might not always look to be ethically sound? I am thinking back to some matters in IN surrounding puppy mills and ill treatment of animals. Thanks and I hope to win a copy of your book!

    27. Brett

      Hey Eric. My question: Can you give examples of some Amish businesses that you know of that seems the least “Amish”, like an Amishman owning a bar or pub. Thanks

    28. Elizabeth


      I look forward to reading your book. I approach my career as an employee as my own business. I manage my business plan with basic mission, objectives and goals. I have found this to be a successful plan that has worked for me, even when my personal professional goals differ somewhat from my employers. I was wondering if successful Amish businesses develop written plans and how they manage it when the growth of the business is dependant on deviation from their goals? My career as a ER nurse often involves this and I struggle with my basic beliefs in my mission and what I might be asked to do for a patient (customer).
      I do however, have a great time at your website.


    29. Anita

      I’m not sure if you’ve answered this on the site earlier- I’ve been following for quite awhile now. I’m really curious how you ended up researching Amish. What drew you to them?

      re Having kids help with chores, work, etc. We grew up helping Mom and Dad work on the farm from the time we were little. I’m pretty sure it only helped us. We worked hard and never thought it was strange; I’ve never regretted it.

    30. Mary Essary

      Would love to win this book. My question is do Amish people ONLY work with their families or other amish when it comes to their business? Do they ever employee people from outside?

    31. Heidi

      Mary for the most part it would only be people from their onw church or families..

    32. Alice Aber

      Erik, where are you today? Is everything OK? Been waiting to see the book giveaway contest results today and your answers to a lot of these questions. Hope all is well!!

      Blessings, Alice

    33. Alice Aber

      Hey everyone, I just checked and Erik’s book slipped back to 11th place. Please, please vote for him, we need to keep him in the top 10, preferably as high up as possible. You can vote once every 24 hours until the 15th. Please keep voting and ask your friends to vote!!

      Blessings, Alice

    34. Answers now up! Thanks Alice and everyone for your questions, I really enjoyed answering them.

    35. Susan Fryman

      Under what circumstances would the Amish borrow money for their business and from whom?

    36. ann hengst

      I would love to win this book. I have always been interested in the
      Amish. Have a great day.

    37. Diane Veness

      Do they have to pay taxes??