A reading club with a view to the future

152 Paul Jarvis: Company of One

A critical examination of the traditional business model and a call for entrepreneurs and business owners to embrace the benefits of staying small and focusing on sustainability and creativity.

Paul Jarvis: Company of One


Company of One challenges the traditional notions of growth and scalability in business and argues that staying small can be a strategic advantage. The book explores the benefits of focusing on sustainability, creativity, and meaningful work, rather than growth for growth's sake. The author draws on personal experiences and interviews with successful entrepreneurs to offer practical advice on how to build a sustainable and fulfilling business without sacrificing quality of life or creative freedom.


Title: Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business

Author: Paul Jarvis

Publishing Year: 2019

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Length in hours: 7 hours and 32 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The traditional business model of growth and scalability is not always the best or most sustainable approach.
  2. Small businesses and solopreneurs can be more agile, creative, and profitable than larger companies.
  3. Focusing on quality of work and customer relationships, rather than growth, can lead to greater success and satisfaction.
  4. Building a sustainable and fulfilling business requires a shift in mindset and a willingness to embrace unconventional strategies.
  5. Staying small is not a limitation, but rather a strategic advantage that allows entrepreneurs to maintain their creative freedom and pursue meaningful work.
Paul Jarvis: Company of One

5 funny quotes

  1. "If you can't explain your business to a fifth-grader, you're probably making it too complicated."
  2. "The beauty of being a company of one is that you never have to sit through a boring staff meeting."
  3. "In a small business, the customer is not always right, but they are always heard."
  4. "Small businesses are like snowflakes - no two are exactly alike, but they're all beautiful in their own way."
  5. "The best business advice I ever got was from my grandmother: 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket.'"

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Scaling for scaling's sake is a recipe for mediocrity and unfulfillment."
  2. "Being small means being nimble, adaptable, and always experimenting."
  3. "Growth can be a distraction from what really matters - creating something of value and serving customers well."
  4. "The best businesses are the ones that solve real problems for real people."
  5. "Success is not about how big or how fast you grow, but about how sustainable and fulfilling your business is."

5 dilemmas

  1. How can small businesses compete with larger companies that have more resources and market power?
  2. How can entrepreneurs balance the desire for growth with the need for sustainability and meaningful work?
  3. How can small businesses stay nimble and adaptable in a rapidly changing marketplace?
  4. How can entrepreneurs overcome the fear of failure and embrace risk-taking as a necessary part of building a successful business?
  5. How can small businesses balance the need for autonomy and creative freedom with the demands of serving customers and meeting financial goals?

5 examples

  1. Pat Flynn - entrepreneur and author who has built a successful online business as a "solopreneur."
  2. Seth Godin - marketing expert and author who has advocated for a more human-centered approach to business.
  3. Emily Weiss - founder of Glossier, a beauty brand that started as a small blog and grew into a successful company.
  4. James Clear - author and speaker who has built a thriving business around his writing and teaching.
  5. Chris Guillebeau - author and entrepreneur who has built a successful business around helping people pursue unconventional careers and lifestyles.

Referenced books

  1. "Rework" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  2. "Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World" by Cal Newport
  3. "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown
  4. "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses" by Eric Ries
  5. "The Art of Profitability" by Adrian Slywotzky

Share a quote

"Scaling for scaling's sake is a recipe for mediocrity and unfulfillment. The best businesses are the ones that solve real problems for real people."

Paul Jarvis: Company of One
Become a NextBook Insider

Join our community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, participate in giveaways, and more.