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Figuring Out Success With the Amish

April 13, 2010

Today’s guest post is by Erik Wesner, who is an Amish researcher and author of the just-released Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive. You can also find Erik at his blog, Amish America.

I’ve spent a lot of time these past few years with the Amish.

I first encountered Amish outside of Arthur, Illinois, a rural community where the corn towers overhead and buggy traffic can outnumber the cars.

I was working for a Nashville publisher, where I spent the better part of ten years in sales and management. I ended up selling a Bible product in Amish communities, a set of books called the Family Bible Library, a job which took me to over a dozen Amish communities from Pennsylvania to Iowa, and thousands of Amish homes.

As I experienced my firsthand look into the culture, I came to appreciate Amish for the reasons many do—their admirably simple lifestyle, focus on the family, enduring faith. But I also couldn’t help but notice one other thing: their booming businesses.

One image always sticks out in my mind: the late-model Mercedes with out-of-state plates, parked outside of a plain-looking Amish cabinet shop, one of the many which populate the Arthur area. What a contrast.

Wealthy suburbanites were traveling from places like Chicago and Indianapolis—hours away—to buy furniture from modest Amish businesses—shops which, as I often found when I tried to get the attention of their owners, were busy.

Clearly, the Amish were doing something right. I started to wonder if Amish businesses had any ideas to offer the non-Amish world, and thus was born the idea for my book.

To continue reading, click here to get over to The High Calling Blogs.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 7:41 am

    Amish books are hot right now. People want a piece of peace and simplicity, vicariously?

  2. April 13, 2010 10:49 am

    Erik and Bradley,
    Thank you for the thoughts and insights.
    It makes me want to take a drive there this summer, as i plan to travel to indy.
    It could be good to see a part of illinois that i missed while growing up.
    Seeing the Amish life first hand has got to make an impression upon a person.

  3. April 14, 2010 7:14 am

    Out here in the West, we don’t experience the Amish like you do.

    I read the post and am intrigued. They work hard. They play hard. They love life.

    Sounds so…wonderful.

  4. April 17, 2010 5:49 pm

    Wow, this is de facto constructive input. Appreciation for posting it. I really think, it is important to put in writing about it as I think that not just I as a practicing Buddhist will take somewhat from it but possibly other people will as well.

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