Book Review: Aha to All In: Life Lessons From an Unexpected Entrepreneur

Last week, I received a book and the author asked me to give it a review. This book focused on Jonathan Hagmaier’s journey into entrepreneurship, the development of his company, and the final sale of the company. Aha to All In: Life Lessons From an Unexpected Entrepreneur is the name of the book. All in all, I am not sure what I think of the book. There are many great lessons in the book; but, I was not comfortable with the first person narrative of the book.

Aha to All In contained 214 pages spread over three parts and 25 chapters. Each of the chapters was small, less than 10 pages. It told a story of Jonathan Hagmaier’s journey into entrepreneurship. It covered the origination of his idea leading to the development of his business, the struggles he had with the business as well as successes. It ended with the sale of his business.

At the end of each chapter, he shared his AHAs which were key points from which fellow entrepreneurs could benefit. He also included All-Ins, which were questions that he left you pondering.

While I found the message important and I found his journey fascinating but, two things troubled me. One of the things that struck me wrong was how he talked about the difficulties in the organization and tied it back to real names. I was always taught that you praise in public and criticize in private. As I was reading this I felt uncomfortable. I felt that there was too much detail in the inner workings of the business and he could have discussed more of the lessons learned.

The other part of the book that I did not appreciate was the two appendices. The first one was a short discussion with the other owners. The other owners did not see the business progression in the same light that Jonathan saw it. Appendix two seemed to focus on Jonathan. Each lesson learned was a collection of comments on how great Jonathan was. Once again, there should have been more emphasis on the lessons learned.

Like I said, I had mixed emotions while reading Aha to All In. The story is important but, Hagmaier could have written it with more focus on the lessons learned. The AHAs at the end of each chapter were quite useful. It would have been great if there was more emphasis placed on the lessons learned and less on the story. He could have shortened the story and used it as a lead into the lessons. He could have provided more detail about lessons and how to prevent others for experiencing the same struggles.

I have to say that this was not my favorite book because I felt uncomfortable reading it. With that said, the lessons learned are quite valuable.