Book Review: Guitar Lessons by Bob Taylor

Paul Polito

Many of you who know me personally know that I am an amateur guitar builder.  I picked up this hobby when I was in high school back in the 60’s.  Every Christmas I usually receive gifts that “feed” this habit…….I mean hobby!  Most years its tools, gift certificates to woodworking equipment stores and the like.  This year, my lovely wife Helen gave me a new book written by Bob Taylor, founder and president of Taylor Guitars.  Bob grew up in about the same timeframe as me, loved the same music  I did and built his first guitar for the same reason I did…..he didn’t have the money to buy one!

In this very inspiring book called “Guitar Lessons” Bob shares with the readers the incredible story of how this tiny company started out and survived many years of no profits to become the most successful guitar manufacturer in the world.  I especially enjoyed hearing about how they hung on and improved the company during the 1980’s when acoustic guitars fell out of favor and the market dried up.  The market for acoustic guitars in the 1980’s was probably similar to the market for buggy whips in the roaring 20’s!

Each chapter recounts a lesson learned about things like lean manufacturing, automation and technology, employee relations, marketing, brand building, and more.  Any aspiring or struggling business person should read this book.  For years Bob and his partner Kurt couldn’t rub two nickels together so this book will definitely be a source of inspiration for anyone struggling to get a business off the ground.  There are many great lessons in this book about how perseverance eventually pays off and how listening to others can be the key to a breakthrough.  There are also great lessons in this book about risk and reward and doing the right thing no matter what.  The fact that it involves a very “hip” company makes it a valuable book for young people.

One of the nice features of the book is the short chapters which make “Guitar Lessons” a very easy book to read.  For someone like me who takes over a year to build one guitar, hearing about how Taylor Guitars got from one guitar a month to 500 per day was truly inspiring!  This is honestly one of the most enjoyable books about business I have ever read!

“Guitar Lessons, A Life’s Journey Turning Passion Into Business” is available at  Barnes and Noble both in hard cover or as a Nook Book.  I will send a free copy of Guitar Lessons to the tenth new subscriber to our Blog after this book review is posted.  New subscribers email your subscription request to Mary McDannold at  mmm@politoeppich.com .

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