These are some of my favorite books about manufacturing and business.
Do you have a book you think I should read and list here? Let me know. I read everything! The links are all non-affiliate and go to Thrift Books or the author’s book site.
Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local, and Helped Save an American Town by Beth Macy — The gripping story of how John D. Bassett III, Chairman of Vaughn-Bassett furniture, and how he went toe-to-toe with China and made his factory lean and profitable. Amazing story.
Money quote: “Everybody thinks all the great ideas come outta MIT, but let me tell you, there’s a great deal of innovation that comes off the factory floor.”
Making It America: A 12-Point Plan for Growing Your Business and Keeping Jobs at Home by John Bassett and Ellis Henican — A follow up book to Factory Man, Making It In America is a compilation of the lessons Bassett learned when he and his team had to fight to keep their factory alive.
Money quote: “No single shift in consumer behavior will bring more improvement to the U.S. economy than this: people buying more American-made products.”
We are Market Basket: The Story of the Unlikely Grassroots Movement that Saved a Beloved Business by Daniel Korschun & Grant Walker — Not a manufacturing book, but you’ll learn quite a bit about how Market Basket’s old school ways drive real profitability in a cut-throat, low margin industry — and why customers like me refused to shop for six weeks until our beloved CEO, Artie T, was returned to his position after being fired.
Money quote: “Market Basket’s management has no use for people who make decisions based on what works for others.”
101 Ways to Market Your Website by Rachel Cunliffe and Dianna Huff — This detailed guide solves the problem most seen with small businesses once they’ve updated their website: marketing it. Instead of you having to sift through hundreds (or thousands) of blog posts, Rachel and I compiled our years of experience – most of which is based on working with people like you – into one handy resource.
Money quote: “The key to driving traffic that turns into inquiries or sales is to build high-quality links back to your website — links that are relevant to your business.”
Town Inc.: Grow Your Business. Save Your Town. Leave Your Legacy by Andrew Davis — Three years prior to writing his book, Davis set out to understand why some American towns are booming while others are bust. In this book, you’ll read the stories of the visionary leaders who put their towns on the map.
Money quote: “The difference between prosperity and economic struggle comes down to one simple thing: a visionary leader or leaders relentlessly fosters an audacious claim.”
ReMaking America edited by Richard McCormack — A collection of articles detailing the policies affecting U.S. manufacturing and how our governmental leaders can return manufacturing to its proper place in the U.S. economy. Published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
Money quote: “Without a strong manufacturing base, the United States no longer has an economic model that’s sustainable.”
Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business by Gary Erickson with Lois Lorntzen — The story of how Clif Bar & Co. founder Gary Erickson walked away from selling his company for $120M and in doing so, discovered his vision for the company (which is still privately owned). A true success story and one of my favorite books. (Erickson is a cyclist, too, and the reason he created his yummy Clif Bars.) His story is what help me to define my own vision and purpose for Huff Industrial Marketing.
Money quote: “My worst business decisions came when I listened to the noise rather than the quiet of the road.”
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown — You spend all your time making your factory or production floor lean and efficient, but have you ever considered doing it for your own life and work? Essentialism is that book. Rather than a “how to” on getting things done, this book shows you how to let go of the unessential so that you can focus on what’s important.
Money quote: “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”