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Money, Mokha and Music – Book Reviews

Burn the Business Plan by Carl Schramm

  • Carl Schramm, referred to by the Economist as ‘the evangelist of entrepreneurship’, and who ran the Kauffmann Foundation for ten years, explains what really matters and what doesn’t
  • while so many business schools teach the importance of the business plan, hundreds of well-known companies (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook) and smaller, less well-known companies all achieved success long before they put a business plan in place
  • Carl does a good job of taking the reader thru the basics of what makes entrepreneurial companies successful and the type of people who typically have the most success in this sort of environment
  • for me, this book was more a validation of my observations of 40 years in business, and he backed it up with well-researched facts
  • the main takeaway is that I am going to utilize high level two page business plans followed by strategic documents that support the ideas I am working on and then pivot the business as you go along based on actual findings
  • I recommend this book for people that are in any way interested in the workings of business and especially to anyone wanting to start their own venture


The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

  • the fascinating true story of a young Yemeni-American, Mokhtar Alkhanshali, who is living in San Fransisco, and  his journey to resurrect the ancient art of Yemeni coffee
  • while trying to find his way in life and out of  the poverty-stricken neighborhood of Tenderloin, he stumbles upon a hidden gem from his heritage
  • his journey takes him back to his ancestral homeland thru the rugged terraced mountains of Yemen with it’s determined but beat down farming communities during the time of a major civil war and thru the historic port of Mokha
  • the determination of this man has the potential to change the history of coffee production and distribution from one of the best growing regions in the world
  • a very entertaining read for anyone who enjoys coffee and wants to learn more about its history and qualities as well as the history of one of the lesser talked about Middle Eastern countries
  • I was not a coffee drinker until late in 2017 when we traveled to Colombia and experienced firsthand the challenges faced by this centuries-old agricultural crop
  • I will think about this book every time I sip a cup of java!!!


A Newfoundlander in Canada – Always Going Somewhere, Always Coming Home by Alan Doyle

  • Alan Doyle, the lead singer of the iconic ‘Newfie’ band, Great Big Sea, takes us on his journey thru growing up on The Rock to his travels around our great country
  • from his birthplace in the tiny fishing village of Petty Harbour, just outside St. John’s, he shares hilarious stories from his youth thru to the tremendous rise of his band’s success
  • some of the stories fall under the category of ‘ya just can’t make that shit up’ and are priceless
  • anyone who loves Canada and the mystique of Newfoundland as that offshore Island with the weird half-hour timezone would enjoy his easy-going writing style
  • I had the pleasure of running into Alan back in August during a trip to historic Signal Hill in St. John’s and he was as jovial and personable in person as his public persona
  • shortly after our return to Calgary, we saw him perform at the CCMA Legends Show where he was the only act that had the whole crowd standing and singing along to his upbeat tunes
  • this is a fun read for anyone interested in some Canadian history and the challenges of creating a successful band
  • he has also written a best selling memoir titled ‘Where I Belong’