Stump the Slump

Aughtmon’s e-book provides tips to surviving a slowing economy

Scott Aughtmon’s two-volume e-book, Survive and Prosper in a Recession, starts from a simple but powerful premise: to ask a group of top business leaders three simple questions about surviving a recession. It is the answers to these questions—What is the common mistake most businesses make in a recession? What are some methods you would use to survive and prosper in a recession? What moneymaking opportunities do you see during this time?—that make up the meat of the books.

While it is true that the particular specialties of these experts do come through in their advice—For example, Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing firm is an expert in branding, so it makes sense to expect that her answers will have a strong branding flavor to them—certain ideas become clear as you begin to recognize patterns in the answers. Take, for example, the first question about the most common mistake made during a recession. The message that cutting back on your advertising and marketing is a big mistake comes through quite clearly.

Other themes that come through loud and clear include the need for customer service and creating a great customer experience, cutting down on payroll and other expenses, entering into joint ventures and, of course, ramping up marketing. There are those that buck the trends, but not many. This tends to give the advice, much of which is common sense once you think about it, a level of credibility not usually seen in typical business books. After all, it is easy to dismiss something one person says, but when a number of people—all experts— begin to say the same thing, you might want to listen.

At the end of the second volume, the author ties it all up by adding his own theme to the mix. The key, according to Aughtmon, is action. He uses stories and examples, revealing to us that the big problem is that we learn, but we don’t act upon what we’ve learned. “We hear a truth. We study it. We even accept that it’s a good idea. But we leave out the missing ingredient: We never act on it. We never apply it.” It is an important question. We learn all sorts of truths every day and yet if we’re asked how much of that we have applied to our lives, it always seems to come up wanting.

It is said that it is always best to do the right thing, second best to do the wrong thing, and the worst thing to do is nothing. These experts and the author would likely agree. Even if they disagree about specifics, they all agree that in a recession, pulling back and trying to hide from it—doing nothing—is the worst thing to do. Action is needed.

Survive and Prosper in a Recession is both educational and inspirational. The advice is practical; based on real world experience. Unfortunately, that credibility is dinged just a bit by the mechanical issues that can be found throughout. Business advice books should have a professional cast to them and that is hard to achieve when there are distracting mistakes in punctuation. That sole complaint aside, Survive and Prosper in a Recession is an excellent read and well worth the price, at $57 for both of the volumes. For more information, visit

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