By Rieva Lesonsky

Did the Beatles burst on the music scene out of nowhere and instantly take the world by storm? It might seem that way if you don’t know the true story behind their rise. But once you read Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles, by Richard Courtney and George Cassidy, you’ll never look at the Fab Four the same way again.

A rock band is a unique animal–part business, part marriage between multiple, usually temperamental partners. So if keeping an ordinary business (or marriage) going is hard work, imagine what kind of work was required to keep a band on The Beatles’ level going. The authors, one a business owner and the other a business writer, find many lessons for small business owners in the ups and downs of the world’s most popular band.

Come Together takes you through The Beatles’ story, drawing lessons at each stage. Among them:

  • Get by with a little help from your friends: Choose a partner whose strengths balance out your weaknesses, like John and Paul did.
  • Differentiate yourself through marketing—like The Beatles did when, coming back from a grueling German tour, they touted themselves to British audiences as “Direct From Hamburg.”
  • Create multiple revenue streams: Due to bad record deals, for years The Beatles’ primary income source was touring, but they slowly built up other revenue sources such as royalties, films and appearances.
  • Make it fun: During the early days, when the band drove to winter gigs at dive bars in a decrepit van with no windshield, John Lennon would keep spirits high by joking, “Where are we going, lads? To the toppermost of the poppermost!”

Whether your passion is Beatles, business or both, you’ll enjoy this book, packed with fascinating tidbits (Where did their haircuts originate? From a German couple the boys met on tour. George Harrison was the first to adopt the moptop ‘do that became key to the band’s brand; Pete Best never did. Let that be a lesson to you.)

But it’s not all fun and games. The authors don’t shy away from examining the missteps that hurt The Beatles. From failing to plan for the unexpected (manager Brian Epstein’s sudden death almost derailed the band at its height) to petty power struggles (one word: Yoko), there are many cautionary tales.

Written in an easy, engaging style and broken into 100 ultra-short chapters, Come Together fits a busy business owner’s life, as you can read bits here and there for quick insights. The Beatles have always inspired us with their music. Read Come Together, and they can inspire your business as well.