Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why AmishBusinesses Thrive
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More About This Title Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why AmishBusinesses Thrive


The keys to better business from a thriving group of business owners-the Amish

Business can be discouraging. According to US Department of Labor figures, only 44 percent of newly-opened firms will last four years. Amish firms, on the other hand, have registered a 95% survival rate over a five-year period. And in many cases, those businesses do remarkably well-as Donald Kraybill writes: "the phrase 'Amish millionaire' is no longer an oxymoron." Success Made Simple is the first practical book of Amish business success principles for the non-Amish reader. The work provides a platform of transferable principles--simple and universal enough to be applied in the non-Amish world, in a wide variety of business and management settings.

  • Learn how to develop profitable and fulfilling enterprises as Amish explain how to build fruitful relationships with customers and employees, prosper by playing to strengths, and create an effective marketing story
  • Includes interviews with over 50 Amish business owners outline the role of relationships in business and the importance of the big picture-taking in long-term goals, the welfare of others, and personal integrity
  • Offers ideas on practical application of Amish business practices to non-Amish businesses, with bullet summaries at the end of each chapter reviewing the most important take-away points

With a focus on relationship-building and the big picture, Success Made Simple offers business owners everywhere the tools for better, smarter, more successful enterprises.


Erik Wesner is an independent expert on the Amish and their business practices, and previously spent a decade as a sales manager and record-breaking salesperson at Nashville's Southwestern Company. He divides his time between Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he has strong ties to the Amish community, and Poland, the country of his roots. He also writes the popular blog Amish America at, covering Amish business, culture, and other topics.


Foreword (Donald B. Kraybill).

Preface: Unearthing the Secrets.

A Note on Names.

1. Eye to the Horizon: Cultivating a Vision and Thriving Through Crisis.

2. Getting Smart: Hands-On Versus the Hallowed Halls.

3. Market-Bound: Excelling at Sales and Marketing.

4. Doing Unto Others: The Crucial Customer Relationship.

5. Choosing Up Sides: Getting the Right People in Place.

6. Fishing Lessons: Empowering Your Most Valuable Asset.

7. Around the Edges: Honing an Efficiency Mentality.

8. The Big Picture: Getting What You Came For.

Conclusion: Barn Raising.

Appendix: Research and Interview Methodology.



About the Author.



"I loved Wesner's comment that the Amish ‘don't need an M.B.A. to run an effective business....There's life in commerce for those more dedicated to the Golden Rule than the Golden calf.’ Nonprofit managers and employees would do well to take the lessons of personal responsibility, hard work, and a cheerful attitude to heart. After all, they really do engage in work that matters.", April 11, 2010

"Erik Wesner's new book, "Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive," might have been titled "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Being Amish." This fascinating and engagingly written book spells out the principles that guide Amish business owners, based on interviews with 60 Amish CEOs employing about 400 people in various enterprises.", April 10, 2010

"How can a people whose preferred mode of transportation is a horse and buggy do so well in the modern marketplace? That question intrigued Erik Wesner, a former sales manager. His exploration of the Amish approach to business can be found in his fascinating book Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive. Despite the group's insular nature, Wesner was able to live and work among its members for three years. ‘We're not going to become Amish,’ he says, ‘but I think some of the cultural values that the Amish display consistently are things that non-Amish people can adopt and incorporate.’"
Time magazine, April 8, 2010

Articles, excerpts, slideshows, and mentions with the author also from:
MSNBC Live with David Shuster, April 2, 2010
—Slideshow,, April 1, 2010
Michael Dresser, Business Talk Radio, March 23, 2010
—Q&A, The New York Post, March 22, 2010