Author: Bob Taylor
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Reviewed: March, 2011
I’m not a musician. I don’t even play one on TV - maybe a little air guitar in the privacy of my mirror in my room but not on TV. As they say: Some kids never grow up.
However, I love music and I love great art work in the form of beautiful guitars. One of my fantasies is, if I were to ever be rich and had a house large enough, I’d have a large room with nothing but the most beautiful guitars displayed. The shape of the guitar, embellished with beautiful inlay work and other graphic enhancements, capture my attention in ways that nothing else does.
And that’s before a single note is even played on them.
Some of the most beautiful guitars that are manufactured on a large scale today are the ones produced by Taylor Guitar. The 37 year old company is a relative newcomer compared to its older competitors. All of those years of innovation and hard work are poured into the crafting of every Taylor guitar. You simply will not find a better made guitar.
It was with excitement that I came across the autobiography of the co-founder and namesake of Taylor Guitar, Bob Taylor, during a recent visit to one of my local bookstores. The book is entitled, Guitar Lessons, and shares the warts and all history of the legendary guitar builder and his company.
Most business biographies don’t really share the bad decisions, mistakes and shortcomings that mark their business’s history. Taylor shares this kind of information and much more in sharing how he and his business partner, Kurt Listug, were just crazy enough to start a guitar company.
What I found amazing about this modern business success story is the fact that these guys “didn’t know what they didn’t know” but, when a cold dose of reality would hit them, they would learn from it and adapt. Whether the mistakes involved design, manufacturing processes, hiring, management, or marketing, Taylor and Listug devoured the lessons learned and moved forward.
Taylor has created a cult-like following of players, from church musicians to headlining stars. Regardless of the “star level” of the customer, each and every one is treated as a rock star by Taylor and his company.
The takeaways from this book are like those from other books I’ve read but taken from a guitar company:
· Have an undying passion for your work.
· Don’t allow your passion to be distracted by unrelated activity or diversions.
· Learn from your mistakes.
· If you don’t have the right tools to take you to the next level, build them or buy them – just make sure that you get them!
· Treat every customer like a rock star.
· Don’t be afraid to delegate so that you can stick to your core strengths.
While other books share these points, you won’t find them quite so enjoyable to read and learn from as you will from Guitar Lessons. Buy this book for your own library as well as copies for the guitarist in your circle of family and friends.
Now, if I can just get enough milk money saved to purchase one of those gorgeous Taylor guitars . . .