I purchased The Zigzag Principle on recommendation from another book I was reading, Five Day Weekend [LINK]. Five Day Weekend is a book on lifestyle design, and it pairs with this one fairly well since it emphasizes the need to invest in your own ventures, many of which may be businesses. Personally, I bought this book purely on an emotional level since I was enjoying Five Day Weekend.
This was good timing for me since I’m currently trying to figure out how my blog becomes an income-generating business for me. When I first started reading the book I thought to myself that it was a little hokey. That impression soon disappeared, and the more I read the more I realized that what Christiansen was outlining was good business sense for anyone launching a start-up. It provides some guideposts to beginning and growing your business in an organized fashion.
I loooooove organized things.
Interestingly, I read this book at the same time I read The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. The two authors have incredibly different business philosophies, personalities, and methodologies, yet both are very successful. My personal style aligns far more with Christiansen, who is pragmatic, careful, and methodical.
What’s in the Book
In The Zigzag Principle, Christiansen wants to impress upon you a simple, set methodology for growing your business in three steps:
He calls this “getting to cash.” Others might call it “proof of concept,” and another group may call it “viability.” Essentially, your business has to be profitable with just the resources you already have before you do anything else. You should be spending very little or no money in this first zig.
Once you’ve started generating a profit from your business, you can start zagging. This is where you add resources, such as technology that makes the job easier, or human resources that take some of the workload from you.
Finally, once you’ve got some resources in place, your goal is to stop working within your business and to start working ON your business. This is where you have to take a step back. Look at the broader picture. Have you ensured that solid systems and processes are in place? Are they documented? How can you make the business bigger?
This is actually a brilliant strategy. It helps a newbie on the entrepreneur scene such as myself to look at where I should be expending my efforts and what types of tasks and goals I should be focused on achieving.
Philosophies of The Zigzag Principle
Christiansen also lays out some foundational goals. He’ll walk you through determining your values system, the purpose or destination of your business (your “beacon in the fog” as he calls it), and finding passion for your work. Because he begins with these concepts, I originally felt that the book would be a bit hokey. But as I continued to read, he explained the importance of these concepts, and the whole thing came together.
Toward the end there exists an obligatory couple of chapters on management and the philosophy of balancing your life, to include family and health. This is a definite pattern with business, lifestyle design, and similar books. Even Grant Cardone mentions these in The 10X Rule with his vastly different philosophy toward success.
A fast read with large typeface, lots of space between lines, and cashing in at only 200 pages, you can finish this in a day. Then you can go back and complete the exercises, which are quite useful. I even realized that one of the tools he uses to help him with his decision making process (The Decision Matrix) is extremely similar to a tool I developed in my own decision making process. I was delighted to see someone use the same method for helping to make clear the pros and cons of a number of viable options.
All in all, this is a great book with practical and useful exercises and worksheets. The examples were straightforward enough not to be annoying.
Who Should Read This Book?
The Zig Zag Principle is a great book for anyone who is new to entrepreneurship, like myself. But I also think it’s great for anyone who’s started a business and can’t understand why they’re not seeing the results they want. If you are organized and methodical, this information is built for you.
For those who have been entrepreneurs for a while and really have their business practices down, there may not be a lot of new information in this book for you. Or maybe you have a method that works well for you that isn’t this man’s method. Other people who may not like this book include right-brained artistic types or go-with-what-feels-right, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants types. You will likely think this book is dry and outdated, and you may have a poor experience with this book.
Five out of five stars.
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