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. Marilyn

      I’d love to finally get a copy of this book.
      When Amish open a business, do they just “do it” or do they go and register properly with the permission of the government?

    2. Csarina

      I would love to know how long it took you to research the book, you must have had a ball doing ittalking to all those wonderful Amish people,

    3. Suzanna Laitinen

      Enjoyed reading the exerpt from your book. I would love to win a copy for myself.
      My question to you….When you were researching this book, you obviously had to interview alot of people. Was it hard to get everyone to be open and speak with you? Were they mostly people you already had some sort of relationship with?
      Also, I absolutely enjoy Amish America. Great reading, very informative!

    4. Denise Flynn

      I would be so grateful to own a copy of this book.

      What type businesses do the Amish prefer to own?

    5. Alice Aber

      Good morning Erik!!

      I too would love to have a copy of this book. As you know I am struggling to get my ceramics and crafts business up and running. One of the places I intend to sell my wares is actually in Arthur, IL which is an Amish community.

      What is the best piece of advice you could give me for marketing my wares in an Amish community?

      By the way, I loved the excerpt you included. I do not have children myself, however, I was taught at a very young age to cook, garden and so household chores to help my parents so they could make a living. I was the youngest of 5 children and I do not feel abused by that “working education” at all. It set the foundation for a good set of values. But I have often heard the same thing, people call it child labor and abuse. What a shame! Maybe that is why our country is in the shape its in today, we have lost our values!

      Blessings, Alice

    6. Elena

      I would love to finally get a copy of this book!
      I would like to know what role do women play in the businesses. Do they work alongside their husbands, or do they remain at home, while their husbands work outside? Also: do the children help out with the businesses (for instance, do they help in the shops)?

    7. Alice Aber

      PS. I went ahead and added it to my facebook even though you did not ask us to, LOL.

    8. Loretta

      Do the Amish ever consider their business to have become a failure and close or do they continue to struggle if it isn’t productive?

    9. Leanna Morris

      How do the Amish stay competitive in todays “electronic world”? Is it difficult for them to be a sucess at their enterprise?

    10. Thank you for adding this to Facebook Alice–did not even think of that this time 🙂

      Am enjoying these great questions! Friday’s post ought to be fun.

    11. Heesa Phadie

      While doing your research I’m sure you ate a lot of Amish food. What are the food stuffs that you consider to be to truly of the Amish? What are your favorites?

    12. Richard Stevick

      Hi, Erik, How did you find your publisher, Jossey-Bass, a very respectable one indeed? Did you go through the query process like most normal writers? (I did not take that route with Growing Up Amish since I had not planned to write a book.) Hope all is well with you, despite the cold and snow. Work hard to get to Pinecraft. You’ll love it. Prof. Rich Stevick

    13. Marilyn

      I would greatly appreciate winning this book. I got it out of our library and read it from cover to cover but, of course, I couldn’t keep it and had to return it. Would love to have a copy of my very own to re-read anytime I wanted.

    14. Carol

      I would so enjoy reading your book. Is it true that sometimes Amish businesses get “too successful” and get censured by a local bishop? I live near Amish communities and have heard some local Amish have left this area because they were deemed too affluent by their bishop.

      Thank you.

    15. lanore

      One more way to learn about the Amish ppl. Would love to read the book. Love the Amish ppl and the way they live.

    16. Hi Erik,

      I would love to read this book. My question is: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?

    17. Alice Aber

      Erik, not a problem!! I will add it to my new blog tomorrow too. Today I have a memorial to my pastor on there. 🙂

      Blessings, Alice

    18. Suzanne McMahon

      Hello Eric. I do enjoy your site here and have learned to much that I have wondered about. Would you be willing to send my copy if I win to our President-to give him an idea of how to get this country back on track. Your insert was refreshing to read. Thanks for keeping us informed. I really would like a copy of this book.

    19. Nancye Davis

      My question is: How much, if any, electricity is allowed to be used to run a business? What about the use of phones and or computers to aid in the every day running of the business? Just curious……

      nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

    20. Gary Sloan

      I would like to enter the drawing for the book dealing with Amish starting their businesses. I was wondering how they decide type of business to begin? And do they study the area and people around them to find out what some of the local needs are that they could meet through their business? All of this is very interesting to me, I love to go to the Amish areas and support their business.

    21. Patsy

      I love reading anything Amish. I would love this book. I was wondering what made you start to write Amish books in the first place.

    22. Bibi

      Do the Amish have to prepare their home made baked goods in certified kitchens or are they allowed to use their own home kitchens?

    23. Rachael

      I really enjoyed the sample from your book on the link site and from the above it looks as thought the rest of the book is just as interesting. How many family businesses feature in your book? (I hope to be able to find out first hand!)

    24. Rachael

      I really enjoyed the sample from your book on the link site and from the above it looks as though the rest of the book is just as interesting. How many family businesses feature in your book? (I hope to be able to find out first hand!)

    25. Mona Greer

      Hi Erik,
      Finally figured how to enter this LOL.My question to you is….Is there infidelity in the Amish and how do they handle that ? How would the other spouse marry again ? I’ve heard the only way to remarry is if spouse dies !!!!!Please explain….Thanks

    26. Diane Veness

      Hi…Do the amish have to pay taxes???CAN THEY USE power tools in there jobs………….diane venes

    27. Liz

      I would love to win!

      What inspired you to begin this writing project? Kind of goes with What inspired you to begin research of the Amish?

    28. Miodrag Silobad

      Management is endless topic. It looks that people that book is about have very similar beliefs like Toyota. Many companies are trying to emulate their management system without too much sucess, because they do not focus their attention of their 5 precepts: 1. Be contributive to the development and welfare of the country by working together, regardless of position, in faithfully fulfilling your duties. 2. Be ahead of the times through endless creativity, inquisitiveness and pursuit of improvement (on surface it looks that Amish people do not follow this one, but they are way ahead of time – they just avoided many traps by thinking deeply about what “ahead of times” really mean); 3. Be practical and avoid frivolity; 4. Be kind and generous; strive to create warm, homelike atmosphere; 5. Be reverent, and show gratitude to things great and small in thought and deed.

      My question: “What do you think are two most important lessons (principles) that today managers in USA and around the world should learn from Amish people?”

      I hope I will have chance to spend holidays with my family enjoying your book by big fireplace in lobby of my favourite ski resort in Quebec.

      Good luck.

    29. Alice Aber

      Hey Erik, a couple of questions for you. 1) how can we see what position you are in on the voting for your book? I keep voting but would love to see where you stand in the rankings now. 2) how do we put a picture next to our name on here? or can we?

    30. Hello Erik,
      My question is this: When did it occur to you that you could make more money by publishing a book with the word “Amish” on the cover, than you could by selling Bible story books door to door to the Amish?

    31. Lucy

      “I was worried I wouldn’t be able to understand the Irish language, but it was strangely similar to English”

      Were you worried about the Irish dialect of English or an interview in Gaelige (Irish language)?(We speak both)

    32. Dena Casey

      Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book.

      I have raised my 4 children to cook, clean, wash dishes, do laundry, garden, etc from a very young age. I agree with the Amish that children benefit from learning to do tasks that will be with them for their entire lives!

    33. sandi ansell

      I have three grown children and two grandchildren…we can never stop learning!

    34. Gail Dawson

      Thank you for your poignant excerpt from the book.

      My question is this: how has the current recession affected — or not affected — Amish businesses?

    35. Karen Gervais

      Hi Erik,
      I would love to win one of your books. I requested it from the library and still waiting for it. Do the Amish have to get a license from the state they are in to have a business and what about liability insurance?

    36. Lucy–you got me! I’m curious though, would people refer to it as “Irish”, or “Gaelic”, or something else? My joke maybe didn’t work perfectly then, my interview was of course in English…though the Irish accent is one of my favorites 🙂 As I understand it Gaelic speakers are only a small minority in Ireland? And I’m curious, do you speak it, learn it in school?

    37. Marianne Kukec

      Can you tell me why I never see Amish riding horseback? Love your site. Thanks, Marianne

    38. Kristie Donelson

      Do Amish women own many businesses? Outside the home? What kind? Hope to win your book. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com

    39. Granny Sandy

      We do not have Amish in New Zealand but I have long admired them and would love a copy of this book to read how they run their businesses. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this giveaway. Thanks Granny Sandy

    40. Hi Alice, on your more immediate Q’s–1) you can see how the book is doing in the contest by clicking on “BIZ BOOK AWARDS” in the menu on the page where you vote for my book. Then, you’ll see Sort By: click “Votes” (rather than “Alphabetical”) and it will show you everyone in order. Or, just copy and paste this link to view them in order:

      Just checked and I am hanging on at #9 right now (need to be in top 10!) so thanks for your daily votes! One week to go 🙂

      on question 2), to display an image or photo by your comment, you’d need to sign up for something called a gravatar–you can see the site here:

      It will let you upload an image and whenever you comment on a web site that has gravatars enabled (like this one), it should display that image.

    41. Lucy

      Hi Eric,

      We speak Gaelige.The term Gaelic is used to describe Irish football, although the Scottish language is called Gaelic and is 98% identical to Gaelige.

      Gaeilge is learned in school from the age 4 and most people do speak it in some limited form.English is dominant in most areas so most people do not need to speak Gaelige.There are a few areas left where Irish is dominant and where people have to learn English at school.The percentage of people who use Gaelige on a daily basis is very low but most people can speak some Gaelige.To be a primary school teacher, a civil servant, an Irish secondary school teacher and a garda, one needs to be fluent in Gaelige.

    42. Thanks Lucy, very interesting–did not know that about Scottish. I can imagine preserving the Gaelige language is important for cultural reasons as well. All road signs are “bilingual” too, right? And when you wrote that Irish is dominant in some areas and children have to learn English at school, I thought of the Amish!

    43. Kate

      Hi Eric,
      My question to you is about writing a book. I’ve been told many times that I should share my story through a book but I have NO idea how to get started. So, how did YOU start your book? What were the 1st few steps?
      Thank you,

    44. Karen Pollard

      I’ve often wondered if the Amish pay sales tax or income tax. Do you know?

    45. Marcus Yoder

      I have many Amish cousin’s, that own successful businesses. How did you find,and figure out which Amish to interview? Thank you Marcus Yoder

    46. Lucy

      Yes, the road signs are bilingual but I think in the Irish only areas (Gaeltachts) the signs are only in Irish.

    47. Loretta Shumpert

      When I read about the Kentucky Amish, there was a picture of a house that looked familiar. About 15 years ago, my husband and I went to the Marion/Matoon area of Kentucky and rode the back woods. We stopped at a house that also had a greenhouse and bought a bunch of mums. Brought them back to SC and set them out, and they lived for several years! It was a fairly new settlement then, did you do any research for that area? Thanks.

    48. jackie porter

      Hello Eric, I would love to win your book. When the Amish start a business at home do the children help with business? If so, at what age? Thanks

    49. I worked with an Amish fellow this past summer putting a metal roof on my son-in-law’s house. In conversation with him I found out he was actually running 3 different companies – a roofing contractor, a roofing supplier, and a bow-hunting supply store. Is having multiple businesses typical or unique?

    50. Alice Aber

      Got it Erik, thanks!! Looked like you were #10 this morning, but I have not voted yet. It will not let me vote until later in the day because its less than 24 hours. But I will vote when I get home from the funeral and I hope everyone here votes too. 🙂