An entrepreneur shares the trials and tribulations of building his softball-related businesses.
Fiume’s debut is broken into four parts, roughly equivalent to the developmental phases of building a business. Part 1 traces the author’s traumatic childhood, which included his parents’ divorce and a period of poverty. The author’s love of baseball sustained him, but his father’s influence pushed him into an unwanted career in medical industry sales. Still, Fiume’s passion was for sports, which led to the development of his first business, the Amateur Ballplayers Association Softball League. In Part 2, he tells of how the league became a regional success and how he decided to go to the next level by starting a franchising company called i9 Sports. In this part of the book, the author clearly reveals some of the most challenging aspects of running a franchise business, and it will be particularly valuable to anyone considering becoming a franchisor or a franchisee. The evolution of the business is recounted in Part 3; Fiume realized the necessity of hiring a president for the company while he struggled with his changing role in the business. The author also writes frankly of his struggles with diet pill addiction and burnout. Part 4 effectively demonstrates the somewhat chaotic ups and downs of his business: “Never solve a problem by creating a new, bigger one,” he warns. Readers also learn of the author’s “persistent feelings of deep discontentment” despite i9’s success. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this final part is Fiume’s account of the wrenching process of selling a company. Throughout this memoir, the author observes his own behavior with a critical eye, exhibiting candor and humility. He’s bravely unafraid to admit his flaws, and his tale sometimes depicts the unsettling effects that his work had on him and his family members.
A cautionary but ultimately uplifting business book.