We read. A lot! The book links are all non-affiliate and go to Thrift Books or the author’s book site.


Making It: Why Manufacturing Still Matters by Louis Uchitelle

An insightful and informative discussion about the important role manufacturing plays in the US economy and how government policies and offshoring have undermined manufacturers and the people they employ. Uchitelle includes a full chapter on redefining skill — a must read.

“People ask me if manufacturing is coming back to America. . . . Many are uneasy that so many of the products on which they depend are made overseas. American consumers acquiesced to this inflow more than thirty years ago, accepting the proposition that ‘low end’ manufacturing had become the domain of the less-skilled, less expensive workers in countries not yet as highly industrialized as the United States.”

Factory Man

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local, and Helped Save an American Town by Beth Macy

The gripping story of 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.

“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 In America: A 12-point Plan for Growing Your Business and Keeping Jobs at Home by John Bassett

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.

“No single shift in consumer behavior will bring more improvement to the U.S. economy than this: people buying more American-made products.”


Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs by Michelle Malkin

Ever wonder how toilet paper was invented? How about bottle caps, air conditioning or the wire cables for the Brooklyn Bridge? Michelle Malkin does the research and the result is this fabulous, totally under-rated book about some of America’s greatest inventors and entrepreneurs — including Tony Maglica, creator of the MagLite flashlight.

“At eighty-three, Maglica hadn’t taken a vacation in more than a decade and doesn’t plan to any time soon. ‘I still believe in the American Dream,’ Tony the torch-bearer tells me as we sit in his sun-bathed company cafeteria eating lunch, surrounded by employees from all walks of life. ‘As long as I’m alive, I will never give up.'”


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 refused to shop for six weeks until their beloved CEO, Artie T, was returned to his position after being fired.

“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, we compiled our decades of experience – most of which is based on working with people like you – into one handy resource.

“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.

“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.

“Without a strong manufacturing base, the United States no longer has an economic model that’s sustainable.”


Death by China: Confronting the Dragon
A Global Call to Action
by Peter Navarro and Greg Autry

A sobering look at the dark side of China’s economic growth and how it has decimated manufacturing in the U.S.

“A strong manufacturing base is critical to spurring the technological innovation that America needs to power its economy over the longer term. U.S.-based manufacturers account for fully two-thirds of all private and research development in America. When manufacturers leave for China, they take their research and development expenditures with them — and America’s ability to innovate.”

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 our favorite books. We also love the company’s yummy Clif Bars.

“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. We live by this book.

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”