Still getting through the stack of library books I borrowed — just read If at First You Don’t Succeed . . . The Eight Patterns of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs by Brent Bowers.
I’ve read a few chapters of this book and I have found it entertaining if not substantive.
Bowers starts out his book with a bold statement:
This is not an ordinary business book.
And I would agree. While I’ve read many articles that attempt to help a bright-eyed person with a business idea determine whether he or she should go ahead and start a small business, I’ve never seen a whole book devoted to this topic.
And it is certainly a worthwhile topic. As Bowers tells us of our “grassroots capitalist culture”:
- There are 24 million entrepreneurs in the United States — that’s 11% of the adult population.
- Fifty percent of those entrepreneurs have started their venture as a side project and the other fifty percent devote their full-time attention to their venture.
- Small businesses account for 51% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and two-thirds of new jobs.
The eight traits of entrepreneurs sound great but there’s just simply no way to know if they really are the characteristics you need to successfully start your own company. Bowers certainly tries to prove the accuracy of his list of eight by devoting an entire chapter to each trait. And to prove his point, Bowers spends a paragraph to a page and a half on stories of successful entrepreneurs after successful entrepreneurs, each story embodying the spirit of that chapter’s trait.
It is less than convincing.
Here are the magic eight traits, if you’re curious:
- An aptitude for spotting and seizing opportunities that nobody else has noticed.
- Compulsion to be in charge and a gift for leadership.
- A history of innovative activities dating back to childhood, usually in a family environment that encouraged that bent.
- A talent for improvisation.
- Doggedness – fierce drive, energy, and tenacity.
- Enthusiasm that borders on the delusional for a product.
- Unfailing pragmatism.
- A knack for “falling upwards” – viewing setbacks as opportunities.
Still this business book is worth reading. The stories are inspirational (particularly those of the entrepreneurs who aren’t widely known) and finding out if you’ve got these eight traits can’t hurt — even if Bowers doesn’t convince you that his list is accurate.
Click here to read an excerpt.
Expect to hear more from me as I read more of If at First You Don’t Succeed . . . The Eight Patterns of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs by Brent Bowers.