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Born Entrepreneurs, Born Leaders: How Your Genes Affect Your Work Life Hardcover – March 4, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0195373424 ISBN-10: 0195373421 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195373421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195373424
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,624,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bored at work? Prone to taking dangerous risks on the job? A control freak? Your genes may be to blame, argues economics professor Shane in this analysis of how our professional destinies are influenced by our genetic and hormonal makeup. Particularly intriguing are his discussions of how individuals might be variously hardwired to be altruistic, to job-hop, desire high-powered careers, take risks, and manage in highly idiosyncratic styles. Shane's findings may have a practical component, as a wider understanding of genetics may require companies to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions used to enhance employee performance, such as incentive plans and training. Buttressed by fascinating research and reasonable interpretations, the book reveals how and why some of us seem to be born leaders, creative types, communicators, or entrepreneurs. If the book has a failing, it's accessibility: though the author makes a laudable attempt to reach a broad audience, some scientific discussions might prove too esoteric. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Once in a decade a magnificent book comes along that causes a paradigm shift in thinking about business. Scott Shane's Born Entrepreneurs, Born Leaders is that book."--Barbara Oakley, Ph.D., author of the best-selling, Evil Genes

"Are you a workaholic? The answer may lie as much in your genes as your personality. Scott Shane has written a fascinating account of how our inherited DNA influences our work life. This book is about more than our genes; it's about what our genes can tell us about ourselves."--Dean Hamer, Molecular biologist and author of The Science of Desire, Living With Our Genes, and The God Gene.

"This book is a great read for anyone interested in the exciting new world of genetics. Focusing on job choices and workplace behaviour, it shows what genetics can offer employers, employees, parents, and students alike."--Tim Spector MD, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of TwinsUK, Kings College London, and author of Your Genes Unzipped.

"This is a very important book outlining and discussing how the biological building blocks of DNA affect and permeate almost everything we think, feel, and do in the workplace. Scott Shane has done a masterful job in taking difficult and sophisticated scientific findings and translating them into readable and comprehensive terms and implications."--Richard D. Arvey, noted behavioral geneticist, and Chair of the Management and Organization Department, University of Singapore.

"Scott Shane takes a close look at recent scientific research to assess the role that genes play in careers and career choices. His aim is to illuminate the role of heredity at work. The strength of his account is that it calmly brings an uncomfortable subject to the fore, laying out the research data in admirably plain English and describing in detail how scientists match specific genes to specific traits."--The Wall Street Journal

Customer Reviews

The book is 200 pages of text and about 65 pages of notes and references.
You'll never be able to create a gene test which tells as much as an IQ test does.
Scott C. Locklin
This is really cool and interesting, but it made it a bit dry for casual readers.
Just Trying to Help

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Penetralia on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Laden with scientifically grounded research, this text offers good generic data about Genes in relation to employment and few areas of life.

The book looks at leaders (entrepreneur-types) and followers (employees); behaviors of Gene-types or versions; and organizational use of genetics to create job assignments, design incentives, or formulate training plans.

Unfortunately, the important topic of "Gene Discrimination" was not covered. Rather this text appeared to promote the idea of using Genes for organizational benefit. Since the brain rules or overrides genetics, there was also no mention of how conscious thought can alter genetic predisposition.

This book may be useless for those already familiar with the subject; however, it would be a useful eye-opener for others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Chancellor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is the age old question: Are leaders born or made? Are entrepreneurs a product of nature or nurture? Scott Shane attempts to answer those questions in his book - Born Entrepreneurs, Born Leaders.

His conclusion is that while we all like to think that we have total control over our lives, what we do and who we become, we are all influenced to a large extent by our genes. Our DNA has a much more profound affect on our lives than we would like to believe.

We are comfortable with the fact that the color of our hair and eyes are determined by our genes. But when it comes to our behavior, we become uneasy thinking that our genes have a large influence. Scott shows that studies have time and time again proven the impact that our genes have on how we perform in the workplace and whether we actually become leaders and/or entrepreneurs.

The studies have shown that our genes have great influence on our behavior. However Shane is quick to point out that this influence indicates a propensity to behave in a certain manner. We are not predestined by our DNA to act in a specific manner. We can and do have control over our lives. At times we just have to work harder to achieve the same goals than someone who is born with a natural tendency toward that goal.

While the book deals with a very interesting topic, I found it tedious to read. I believe for the book to appeal to a wide audience, it should be much shorter. Shane is a scientist and this work is directed more at being accepted by his peers than communicating with the average reader. There are 50 pages of reference notes at the end of the book.

If you are interested in a detailed study of the impact of DNA on leadership and entrepreneurs, then you might find this helpful.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zen Master on July 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I love this book very much! I do not know why some readers got the impressions of Gene Determinism after reading this book. What I got out of this book is how potent our environment is for changing the gene expressions for us.

In many places, Shane talked about how the social environment (like social support in and out of your family, parent divorce, and adolescence hardship) can change the possibility for certain genes to express themselves. For example, in Chapter 2, it shows that not having the experience of being abused will reduce the likelihood that the "harm-avoiding gene" expresses itself (that is, it is less likely that the given gene will make a person become harm avoiding). In Chapter 7, there are discussions that adolescence hardship can enhance the genetic influence on whether you become a leader. In other words, if you had a harsh environment when growing up, whether you become a leader is more likely to be determined by your genes. And if you had a good supportive environment in adolescence, whether you become a leader is less likely to be impacted by your genes.

I think these information perfectly answers the "so-what" question. It seems to me that knowing what genes are impacting what aspects of our work life is only the first step. The more important second step is to understand how we can change the growing environment so that to minimize genetic influence for certain "bad genes" while maximize that for the good ones. As a grown-up, I may be frustrated to know that I can not change my adolescence environment, and so, gene expressions can no longer be changed for me. But think about the future generations, those ways for changing are very helpful for our kids. Indeed, I applaud for Shane's detailed discussion on these potential ways to change gene expressions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Forman on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not really sure how to rate this book. On the one hand it is of virtually no practical use. It talks about all sorts of different ways genetic factors influences who we are and what we do, but since the sort of genetic testing required to know these factors isn't something readily available to employers, managers, or individuals you're left with a feeling of "well that's all great, but I can't really do anything with this information".

Now, if you're OK with a gap on the application side of things, there are certainly plenty of thought-provoking aspects to the book. I, for one, found the discussion of the so-called "novelty gene" as particularly interesting for my own self-analysis. I'm sure other readers would find other points of discussion equally worthwhile. There is also a discussion of the implications of genetic testing and related subjects in the final chapter, which will engage some readers.

Here's the rub, though. Much of the research on genetic influences comes from the study of indentical twins and adoptees. It gets a bit tiring to read over and over again "studies of identical twins indicates that genetics make up X% of the determining factor in an individual's ______ direction". And there are so many caveats about how multiple things impact aspects of our personality and whatnot. I had a hard time staying focused.

So overall some interesting bits, but the reading takes some work and you don't end up with much you can actualy use in the end.
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