"Here is a book so dull that a whirling dervish could read himself to sleep with it. If you were to recite even a single page in the open air, birds would fall stunned from the sky." These words from Clive James' review of Leonid Brezhnev's memoir vividly describes Gerber's newest output. But boredom is the bread and butter of an attorney's life, and even the drabbest banality deserves the due process of an F. IRAC brief.
F = FACTS: Wiley has published the "E-Myth Attorney," written by Michael E. Gerber (MEG), with 3 1/2 pages of "Notes" and "The Story of You and Yours," added by two attorneys whose organization helps law firms build trust mills. These Notes etc. always end with MEG's website and repeatedly praise MEG for his insights that (1) to run a law practice requires more than knowing the law and charging $350/hr, and (2) a law firm needs "systems" similar to McDonald's hamburger factory or legal trust mills. The next section about a fictitious couple Edward and Abigail (think Dick and Jane) promotes, in primitive grade-level language, the thesis that"Every business is a family business." This means roughly that if you, Edward, are working on a murder case at work, you will invariably have murderous thoughts when you come home to Abigail: "What's happening in your practice is also happening at home," because "When you're angry at work, you're also angry at home." (These are quotes!) It follows a sequence of 26 mercifully short chapters about what MEG imagines a law firm does and doesn't do: "On the Subject of Money, Clients, Planning, Time, .." The proffered advice is of the form "Do it more effectively," "Do it more efficiently," "Manage your work," "Collect receivables," "Compensate your people" ... with occasional out-of-context quotes by Democritus and others. The Afterword on p. 117 is, however, more to the point and tells you how to pay MEG more than the price of this Wiley merchandise: Visit MEG's site and pay thousands (Dreaming Room, etc.) for the same advice.
I = ISSUE: Do these facts describe a "book" (as claimed by publisher and authors) or a "marketing scam" for MEG's "ventures," consulting services and speaking engagements as advertised in the Afterword and after each chapter?
R = RULE: Based on "stare decisis" (precedents), a bunch of pages between covers may be called a "book," if it fulfills one or more of the three Aristotelian E-factors: It is Entertaining, Educational, Enchanting (i.e. moving, inspirational).
A = ANALYSIS: Based on the stated facts, and using the above quote by Clive James, the alleged book by MEG is not entertaining as measured by wit, humor, turn of phrase, surprising tidbits, language skill, etc. It is also not educational, because it only waters down, albeit in a pompous way and using two attorneys as fig leaves, the trivialities the author has said and written a thousand times in other printed products, which have been called "marketing pamphlets," "rip offs" etc. instead of books. While Enchantment is perhaps the most subjective of the three Aristotelian criteria, it is hardly the apt name for an experience that leaves readers catatonic and causes birds to fall stunned from the sky.
C = CONCLUSION: If the dichotomy "book or marketing scam" were valid for every printed product, the epithet "marketing scam" had to be attached to this sorry case. However, since other motivations such as ego trip, making a quick buck, and making fools of attorneys are also possible, one has to wait for other "vertical products" already threatened by Wiley, such as the "E-Myth Accountant," to reach a final verdict.