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American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States Hardcover – September 23, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"…provides readers with fresh insight into the past and a hopeful vision of the future." --ForeWord Magazine



“A history of America told through the lens of our most innovative businessmen, AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR, is an informative collection of biographies.” -- San Francisco Book Review



“A great book to read.” -- “The Entrepreneur” column by syndicated columnist Marc Kramer



“…offers a crash course in the history of U.S. business…you'll leave with a much better understanding of the 400 years of America's capitalist experiment.”

-- Forbes.com

Book Description

Ever since the first colonists landed in “The New World,” Americans have forged ahead in their quest to make good on the promises of capitalism and independence. This book vividly illustrates the history of business in the United States from the point of view of the enterprising men and women who made it happen.

Weaving together vivid narrative with economic analysis, American Entrepreneur recounts fascinating successes and failures, including: how Eli Whitney changed the shape of the American business landscape...the impact of the Civil War on the economy and the subsequent dominance of Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan...the rise of the consumer marketplace led by Asa Candler, W. K. Kellogg, Henry Ford, and J.C. Penny...and Warren Buffett’s, Michael Milken’s, and even Martha Stewart’s experience in the “New Economy” of the 1990s and into today.

It is an adventure to start a business, and the greatest risk takers in that adventure are entrepreneurs. This is the epic story of America’s entrepreneurs and the economy they created.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (September 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814414117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814414118
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sumit Pathak on June 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did enjoy reading this book but at some point started realizing how it wasn't really teaching me anything but rather giving me a chronological approach towards American entrepreneurs/pioneers and their achievements. I understand that this was the purpose of the book but I was probably the only one who was expecting to take a lesson away from it besides the obvious ones like "stay true to yourself", "always remember to pursue your goals", "fight for what you believe in" etc etc.

I felt it lacked a certain soul that would be necessary for me to feel inspired by it and imbibe enough experiences to utilize it in my style and ethic of working.

Obviously, this is a VERY PERSONAL REVIEW on my part and you may disregard it if you are not expecting what I did when I was buying this book.

It is a VERY GOOD history lesson. And it is VERY WELL WRITTEN.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a strong example of how in today's world we longer see economic problems through the scope of "Austrian Economics." While the stories in this book may be very one-sided at times (aka Lincoln supposedly having built the transcontinental railroad to increase his real-estate assets) it is definitely a must read for students interested in economic policy and how government decisions are made from monetary incentives. This book discusses reasons for why the central bank was made, political entrepreneurs (greedy politicians) v market entrepreneurs (innovators), and how projects that benefit politicians are often disguised as "public interest spending."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My college began using Larry's prior book, "Entrepreneurial Adventure" as the freshman introductory text to business a few years ago. Our students liked it
(faculty didn't because it lacked the teaching aides that come packaged with most texts, which interestingly did not bother the adjuncts). EA has gone out of print. "American Entrepreneur" was reported to be the next edition, with increased coverage of the late 20th century and up to date through the housing & banking crises of '08-'09.

With the new publisher comes a revised format. Gone are the sidebar stories of unique individuals in US business history, along with all of the illustrations and graphics. The people stories are now woven throughout the main text, so they are not lost. Several students have read both EA and AE and they report that the older book was an easier read. I find little difference, and AE is definitely a higher quality book.

I highly recommend "American Entrepreneur" for anyone who has come through an American public school system. It relates the story of business and government in America in a unique and useful way. It is unabashedly capitalist in outlook and tenor, making a wonderful counterpoint to the teachings of most public institutions. Is it biased? Of course it is, just differently than other biased viewpoints. Before any American is allowed to vote, they should read AE's side of our history.

I hope that in 2015 or so there is a 3rd issue of the story, looking at the culmination of the current economic recovery. It can review the new interactions of business, government and entrepreneurs and hopefully show that capitalism remains alive and well in the American spirit, perhaps convincing future American leaders to cultivate that spirit, not constrain it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the aspects of starting a business is that you learn from those that are successful, specifically their successful habits. In order to do that, you need to find those successful individuals. So I began reading about wealthy individuals: Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, PT Barnum, Franklin, Carnegie, Jobs, and others. But one biography fact about Vanderbilt stuck out: The Supreme Court decision in 1824 of Gibbons v. Ogden, of which the biographer stated, "In the aftermath of Gibbons v. Odgen, however, no one doubted the world had become a better place.... In practical terms, it threw the high court's weight behind the gather momentum of competitive individualism--of laissez-faire--in American law and culture." (The First Tycoon, The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt). This one fact burst open the economic gate within American, and it started me to thinking, "What was the hold up before that decision?" If the decision was in 1824, what was before that? I began researching about our Founding Fathers and even as far back as the Pilgrims to see the source of our country's economic backwardness and what changes helped create our world economy.

As I began doing the research finding multiple books to read I was hoping to find one that would give me an overview of our American historical past as I wanted to include some of it in my own book, a sort of short history. In the process of doing research for my own book, "How to Start a Business: Mac Version" regarding the history of entrepreneurship I came across this book, "American Entrepreneur."

By far this is the best book that I have found that addresses the significant issues surrounding America and it's moral and economic foundations that has made it what it is today. If you want to know about America's moral and economic might, this is the first book I'd get.

Well worth the money spent and the time to read it.
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