Ray Wiese
The Wiese Co.
Natick, Mass.
Big50 2004

At every initial meeting with a potential client, I bring The Not So Big House. Customers who read it get a chance to start thinking about what they really need and how to make it work.

One of the problems in our industry is that we construct redundant or unnecessary space. The book talks about adding quality features rather than space and what human-size spaces really are.

Through this book, people learn the way rooms get used and about scale. It talks about oversized structures that don't take usefulness into play, the relationships created from space to space, the definitions of space, and how you're going to use space.

The book helps us a great deal in putting forward the educational part of design. The reaction has been very positive.

Janeen Welsh
Welsh Construction
Lexington, Va.
Big50 2004

When we began our business 11 years ago, we read the book Running a Successful Construction Company, by David Gerstel. We set up our business using guidance from the author on administration and finances.

We began using Gerstel's method for determining the selling price of a project. It's very different from the typical percentage markup. We calculate our direct job costs on the job. We figure out what our overhead expenses are for the year, determine how many man hours we're going to work in that year, and come up with a dollar per hour cost of running the business. It's a phenomenally better way to do business.

It gives us a steady flow of income, and it's a great selling point with clients. We say: “We won't mark up your product choices. We will pass on our contractor's discount. We don't want you penalized for picking out a Viking range.”