My Books


You’ve put many thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears into building a successful business — but now it’s time to move on. Maybe you’re heading into retirement, or maybe you’re pursuing a new dream. Whatever it is, you deserve to reap the rewards of your hard work by getting as much as you can out of the sale of your business — and with the least amount of hassle. And that’s exactly why I wrote The Exit Strategy Playbook: The Definitive Guide to Selling Your Business.

I’ll help you explore the universe of potential buyers and teach you how to assemble a team of expert advisors to properly prepare your business for sale. To help you know what to expect throughout the experience, we’ll walk step by step through a typical investment-banker-led midmarket sale process from start to finish.

This book isn’t about selling fast — it’s about selling smart and achieving maximum value for the time and effort you’ve put into your company. It’s like getting an instant PhD in the art of the business sale!

If you’ve never sold a business before — or even if you have — The Exit Strategy Playbook will give you the confidence to skillfully handle the sale of what is likely your most valuable asset. I’ll bring to bear the lessons I’ve learned over 20 years as CEO of three private-equity-backed national service companies. Through my experience executing a buy-and-build strategy, I have bought and sold more than 100 companies, ranging in size from $1 million to $1 billion. Selling your business is an art, and The Exit Strategy Playbook is all about teaching you to master that art.


“ If you’re earning six figures in the Fortune 500 world, you can earn seven figures or eight figures in the private-equity-backed world of middle-market companies. ”

—Adam Coffey, Author of the Amazon Best Seller The Private Equity Playbook: Management’s Guide to Working With Private Equity

For most people, private equity is a complete mystery, and most media coverage of the topic is, unfortunately, negative. Yet there is tremendous opportunity for individuals who partner with private equity firms to generate outsized returns and create life-changing, generational wealth.

When it comes to entering the world of private equity, most entrepreneurs simply don’t know where to start. I’ve spent 20 years building wildly successful private-equity-backed businesses, and I saw a void in education on this topic. That’s why I wrote The Private Equity Playbook: Management’s Guide to Working With Private Equity.

In the book, I’ll introduce you to what private equity is, how it operates and how to find the right private equity partner among the 5,500 firms in existence today. You’ll learn the best strategies for operating within the private equity world and what questions to ask during each step of the process. These are lessons, incidentally, that apply to all types of businesses, not just those backed by private equity.

Over the past two decades, partnerships with private equity firms have exploded. Today, almost 50 percent of all mergers & acquisition activity involves private equity on one side or other of table, with trillions of dollars of capital invested. If you’re an entrepreneur, a business owner or a transitioning Fortune 500 employee, now is the time to get on board!


Praise for The Private Equity Playbook

I purchased The Private Equity Playbook by Adam Coffey and, frankly, I couldn’t put it down. As a former owner of a nationally recognized middle-market service company, I wish that I had this book a few years ago. The author states that his book is a primer on the private equity business, but I believe that it is much more. I’ve read other books on the subject, but for brevity, de-mystification and just plain enjoyment this one beats them all—by a country mile.

—Edward H. Brown

Not all money is the same. And while this may or may not be your main point of concentration, understanding how money works, who to partner with and who to avoid will save you a lot of time in your entrepreneurial journey. Even if you’re more of an inventor type, it’s good to have enough knowledge on this side to be dangerous.

—Jeff Barrett, CEO, Barrett Digital

Writing for Inc. magazine about The Private Equity Playbook as one of eight books that can “give you instant inspiration”

Coffey’s style is as lucid as it is informal. His expertise is beyond reproach, as he has 20 years of experience running three private-equity-backed companies. Although his counsel can be rather broad—he carefully points out he’s “not providing legal, career, or financial advice in this book”—it will be no less insightful or helpful to the uninitiated. Coffey explicitly targets his book at two kinds of readers—CEOs who may be looking to sell private equity, and executives aspiring to C-suite positions at private-equity-backed companies. However, it should also be a valuable resource for anyone looking for a single-volume introduction. A well-designed, authoritative guide to private equity—even for inexpert readers.

—Kirkus Reviews

There are nuggets of insight on nearly every page, and you’re left feeling mentored by a pro. Required reading for anyone climbing the corporate ladder or selling their business to private equity.


Last year I was approached by two PE firms, and I deflected their entreaties because I did not understand. This book helped me overcome my own ignorance. Not only is it an excellent primer on PE, but it is also a good management guide to running a business for maximum shareholder value and increased efficiency.

—Phillip C. Cantrell


Praise for The Exit Strategy Playbook

Adam is a skilled and determined CEO who has spent a lifetime thinking about growth. In this how-to book, Adam combines his deep understanding of the mind of an entrepreneur with sound and practical advice for anyone looking to sell a company. In The Exit Strategy Playbook, Adam shares his stories of buying and selling companies throughout his career and offers clear options for business owners to capture the most value possible as they navigate one of the biggest decisions of their lives.

—Sandy Ogg

Founder and CEO of Works, former CHRO of Unilever, former operating partner at Blackstone Private Equity

Adam’s earlier book, The Private Equity Playbook, has become the go-to work for the ins and outs of private equity, with tips from the master. The Exit-Strategy Playbook builds on the reader’s knowledge, which is critical. Most business owners will sell once in a lifetime, so at the end of the process, they’ve learned a lot. The key to a successful sale is planning far in advance, but many of our clients come to us late in the process without knowing what they could have done earlier. Adam helps them avoid the pitfalls and maximize their returns by learning the ropes before entering into the ring.

—Timothy Lappen

Founder & Chair, The Family Office Group & The Luxury Home Group at the law firm of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP

Wherever Adam Coffey shows up—whether he’s at the top of your organization chart, on your board of directors, or in front of your audience—great things happen. He’s an inspiring and compassionate leader with a consistent track record of exceptional results for employees, customers, and investors during economic ups and downs alike. Just like he did in his first book, he gives exceptional, detailed, actionable advice illuminated by his real-world experiences. Read this book to learn how to sell your business and much more from a great leader. 

—Dr. John Ullmen

leadership consultant, bestselling author, keynote speaker, professor


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