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Book Review: "Company of One", by Paul Jarvis

The temple construction company had survived countless political crises, two atomic detonations, and even a period when the Japanese government set out to eradicate Buddhism from Japan completely. But ironically, what they couldn’t survive was the cost of rapid growth. Their downfall was putting growth above stability and profit.

  • Paul Jarvis, describing the company Kongō Gumi and its acquisition in 2006

It really shouldn’t be an argument that focusing on profit and sustainability should be more important than growth for a company – and yet here we are. Paul Jarvis does a fair job of doing so in his new book, “Company of One”. If you hadn’t yet heard of this third way between burning out running a VC-funded bullet train and grinding as a cog in a megacorp machine, you should take a listen; you might like what you find.

I really like this path, but I’m already convinced of its superiority; with that context, I found Paul on the preachy side. Useful for those not converted, but a bit annoying to those who have heard the message. I don’t think I learned anything new or particularly useful, and I don’t think the book had a cohesive message overall. I did enjoy some of the statistics in the book, and especially the quote above hit it home (again). I was disappointed in not being able to take away much more than this, though; so if you’ve heard the message, feel free to support the movement in other ways.