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Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 299 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; First Edition edition (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422101223
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422101223
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Richly researched with the cooperation of Doriot's surviving colleagues... --The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2008

An "ultimately satisfying biography of Georges F. Doriot, the transplanted Frenchman who is often called the father of V.C." --The New York Times, June 1, 2008

This book will appeal to anyone interested in the origins of venture capital, why its centre of gravity moved from the Boston area to the west coast, or what it takes to succeed as a VC investor. --The Financial Times, April 17, 2008

About the Author

Spencer Ante is an editor at Business Week, where he has written many cover stories and received awards for excellence in reporting. He has also written and reported for The New York Times, Salon, Wired, Spin, Business 2.0, The Industry Standard, TheStreet.com, and other publications.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Very well-researched and written in a way that's accessible.
Mark Ferdman
Venture capital is probably one of the most important inventions of the 20th century, an institution which fuels a great deal of the world's innovation economy.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in American history and is a must read for any student or practitioner of finance.
Chris Burbach

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Chang on April 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Americans always talk of saving France during WWII, yet at the same time, here was an intriguing French immigrant who rose to be a top professor of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, a founder of the venture capital industry, founder of INSEAD the European business school and to top it all off- played a critical role in saving countless American lives in WWII by leading the innovation and production of quality military equipment and supplies.

Ante's portrait is one of a driven maverick, visionary and Renaissance man who made an astonishing contribution to the war effort and modern business culture, and yet he seems very human and at times poignant. I was especially moved by Doriot's tireless passion in helping American soldiers as well has his 48-year marriage to his wife Edna and how they spent their last years together.

I loved this book because it's such an unusual and valuable contribution to our understanding of the 20th century. Doriot has been an unsung hero in many ways, and by bringing his life into focus, Ante weaves people and international events in a way that makes us see our world as ever more fascinating, multi-faceted and interconnected.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Beatty on July 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was in the General's class at HBS in 1961. When he discovered that I was an active duty military officer, he took an obvious personal interest in me (although he did not call me "Bernie", as he called Samuel Bodman "Sammy"). Nevertheless, I will never forget the inspiring interactions with him and his varied guests from many walks in life, including Jackie Cochran, pioneer aviator. The author has done a first-rate job of pulling together details that shed light on a great man, as well as his wife. I finished the book in record time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Serge J. Van Steenkiste on August 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Spencer Ante sheds a powerful light on the life and accomplishments of a foreigner who came alone to the U.S. in 1921 C.E. That man had neither family nor friends at his arrival. Furthermore, he never graduated from college in his native country. On top of that, that man was not rolling in money. The WWI had wiped out his father financially.

However, that foreigner had some assets: a strong Protestant work ethic, a passion for technology and the future, a confident yet humble personality that was at ease with people of all stations in life, a strong volubility, a sense of compassion, and a deep understanding of the importance of education. Furthermore, that same foreigner wanted to run one day his own company after the example of his father.

Who would have bet in 1921 that such a foreigner would one day become:

1) Arguably the most influential and popular professor at Harvard University's Graduate School of Business;
2) The driver behind the foundation of INSEAD, one of the leading business schools in the world;
3) The man who played a key role in the well-being of the American soldiers during WWII by spearheading to their benefit a quite revolution in engineering;
4) And last but not least, the father of the venture financing industry as we know it today around the world.

That foreigner was a Frenchman and his name was Georges Doriot. As it is often the case, an extraordinary woman, who remained mostly in the background, was part of that story. Her name was Edna Allen and she was American.

To summarize, Ante succeeds in bringing back to light a man whose contributions deserve to be better known, especially, in business circles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian H on January 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Creative Capital is a must read for anyone that wants to know the history of venture capital - the single greatest engine for growth in the U.S. economy over the last 30-40 years.

Spencer Ante has written the definitive work on the industry's history. If you're a young VC or someone that wants to know how innovation works in the U.S. I highly suggest reading this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy Tannen on April 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Creative Capital provides a detailed portrait of the extraordinary Georges Doriot, who (surprisingly) was the founder of the U.S. venture capital industry after World War II. His pioneering VC firm was the source of funding/growth (and counsel) to the legendary tech innovator, Digital Equipment Corp. (who knew Doriot was behind DEC, which, for many years, scared the heck out of IBM because of its rapid growth using new technologies?). Doriot was also, apparently, a very successful professor at Harvard Business School, and played a key role working for the U.S. military during WWII as a kind of national "quartermaster", helping ensure our soldiers had the best equipment available. Spencer Ante must have spent a long time researching the book. It is a worthy and entertaining read for anyone who wants to know the origins of the VC industry (East Coast, not West Coast) and learn about an extraordinary but little known leader. I hope it becomes the basis for a TV bio at some point. It has enough drama, for sure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hmorgan@ausum.com on February 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Spencer Ante gives a wonderful history of General Doriot and the way he created organized venture capital in this country. Hearing of Ken Olsen's recent death prompted me to re read parts of it, and I was again impresed with the various insights Doriot had. It's also interesting to read how he fought with the SEC for years - since it didn't understand the concept of a nonmutual fund investment company. This is being played out again as the new regulations being proposed under Dodd Frank may again stifle some of the flexibility that venture capital firms need. The descriptions of Doriot's beginnings, his move through academia and the creation of Digital Equipment Corporation are extremely well drawn and compelling. This is a must read for any with an interest in the venture world.
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