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Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos

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Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos [Hardcover]

Sarah Lacy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews


'...gripping...a fabulous paean to hard-core entrepreneurial spirit...original, penetrating and brilliantly entertaining.' (, February 2011).

From the Inside Flap

There are many paths to entrepreneurial success, but none of them are easy. Each requires a compelling and intoxicating combination of guts, hard work, talent, timing, and luck. In a world where new superpowers are emerging from the chaos, colonialism, and confusion of the twentieth century, those stakes have been raised and the potential to create new billion-dollar powerhouses has been multiplied. Massive resources are coupled with unprecedented levels of risk, making the journey towards building truly innovative new businesses more unpredictable than ever.

Sarah Lacy is an international journalist with more than a decade of experience covering the ups and downs of global innovation. In Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky, she spends more than forty weeks in eleven countries to bring a bold perspective on what can make or break new high-growth businesses in developing countries.

From Rwanda to Brazil, from Israel to India, Lacy travels from exploding megacities to sprawling slums, meeting the daring and inspiring entrepreneurs who are turning local chaos and basic human needs into often-staggering profits. Through her eye-opening reporting, she tells the true story of opportunity in this globalized world, and it goes well beyond call centers and outsourcing.

Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky delivers dramatic narratives from the front lines of countries stirred by turmoil and teeming with billions of people who have nothing to lose and everything to gain by embracing global investment and technology.

In doing so, it shines a spotlight on the slowing growth of business in America. In forty years, the United States will be the only current G7 nation that will remain one of the seven largest economies in the world. Only by studying the rising entrepreneurial stars of our future economic neighbors can we learn how to compete and thrive within this new world order.

From the Back Cover


"Anyone who thinks they know entrepreneurship should read Sarah Lacy's brilliant, crazy, cocky book . . . Only this book brings you a true-to-life account of the on-the-ground struggle to create something huge. In this engaging read, Lacy will change the way you see the world. Anyone with a pulse should read this book."
Marc Andreessen, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz; cofounder of Netscape, Opsware, and Ning

"Part insightful analysis of what ails Silicon Valley and part madcap journey to far flung hubs of aspiration and innovation, Lacy takes us around the world . . . to find the fascinating people . . . that America ought to be paying a lot more attention to."
Maureen Orth, Special Correspondent, Vanity Fair

"Lacy's entertaining and informative tour of the world's fastest growing economies undeniably proves . . . that impressive and inspiring entrepreneurs can truly come from anywhere! . . . Lacy gives us an important glimpse into the future of the global economy—a place where the craziest, high-impact entrepreneurs from anywhere and everywhere set the pace."
Linda Rottenberg, cofounder and CEO, Endeavor

"Lacy has focused on a fascinating phenomenon and explains with clarity and unimpeachable logic why and how these global entrepreneurs are saving the planet. Everyone interested in what makes the world spin better must read this book."
William H. Draper III, cofounder, Draper Richards LP; author of The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs

"Lacy . . . in this essential and important book, chronicles the emergence of a new, global era of messy capitalism. The critical question Lacy poses to the United States and other countries is whether they will join this entrepreneurial revolution or watch it from the sidelines."
Carl J. Schramm, President and CEO, Kauffman Foundation

"Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky puts a well-deserved spotlight on the fascinating entrepreneurs working in some of the most overlooked places on Earth. This book reminds us that when entrepreneurial opportunity is enabled and embraced locally, the economic and social benefits have the power to transform us all."
Pierre Omidyar, founder and Chairman, eBay; Founding Partner, Omidyar Network

About the Author

Sarah Lacy is an award-winning journalist and author who has covered entrepreneurs for nearly fifteen years. She is a Senior Editor at, where she writes about global entrepreneurship, and is the author of Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and Rise of Web 2.0. She blogs about her travels on
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