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Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise (New Horizons in Entrepreneurship)

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1843766803
ISBN-10: 1843766809
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Editorial Reviews


'The concept of effectuation is as subtle as it is profound. On the one hand, it challenges long held beliefs about the nature of cause and effect in social science. On the other hand, it generates a host of new insights about social phenomena. This concept is particularly well suited to analyzing entrepreneurial behavior - behaviors undertaken in settings where the relationship between cause and effect is understood, at best, very poorly.'- Jay B. Barney, The Ohio State University, US'... Saras Sarasvathy makes entrepreneurship a natural human activity, expressing the limitations and potential of human motivation and human intelligence. In Indian philosophy the journey is important as well as the destination - that is why cricket has become India's national game. Saras Sasrasvathy shows how entrepreneurs can enjoy their journey; so can readers of her book.'- Brian J. Loasby, University of Stirling, UK

About the Author

Saras D. Sarasvathy, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, US --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: New Horizons in Entrepreneurship
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Edward Elgar Pub (March 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843766809
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843766803
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,992,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Longhorn on January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm halfway though this book it's opening up my mind to the way good entrepreneurship really works. I did not use much of what I learned in my MS & MBA when I started my ventures, and I always thought I was doing something wrong. Not so. There is an entirely different way that successful entrepreneurs work than the formal approach we are taught in business school and corporate management training programs. This is absolutely required reading for anyone formally trained in business/management to be able to "unlearn" some paralyzing principles and use the classical vs effectual modes of operation as needed.

At least one star needs to be deducted because of unnecessary complexity. The author did a terrible job simplifying her wonderful research into an accessible book for the masses. It was written for academics with advanced degrees, and those of us on the front lines have to wade through pages of unnecessary sidebars, opaque references to research no one will have read, and forays of mental masturbation in order to extract the nuggets, as valuable as they are. This has to be the slowest voluntary read that I've ever endured. It's frustrating because anyone can see how 5 pages could be reduced to a paragraph, or at least made more clear. Crack the cover if you can and you'll see. I hope the author will develop a thinner version with the help of a mainstream writer. If it was even at the level of writing of the Economist magazine her work could have a far wider reach and benefit.

You'll get 50% of the book's insights by watching the author's interview videos in about 2% of the time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven K. Gold on January 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary book, the impact of which may not be recognized for a while. As an entrepreneur and teacher of entrepreneurship at the college level, I believe that there are two reasons why anyone interested in entrepreneurship (or how people behave and make decisions under conditions of uncertainty) should read this book. First, it provides an astute observation of what expert entrepreneurs actually do. Although we sense the way we make decisions and act, it's fascinating to see this behavior put into words. Second, by understanding part of the process better, we can begin to think about its implications, such as how to be even more effective.

Make no mistake about it, this book is NOT casual reading. Nor is it a textbook or practical guide to building an entrepreneurial venture. It is an academic treatise that explains many years of research, including the author's initial interest and rationale for pursuing this line of research, historical perspectives, design of the studies, interpretation of the data, and ultimately her final observations about how expert entrepreneurs (EEs) behave. For example:

*EEs start with a given set of means, rather than a predetermined goal, allowing opportunities to emerge

*EEs focus on spending what they can afford to lose, rather than seeking to optimize financial returns

*EEs don't think about competition; instead they work with customers and partners to fabricate a market

There's a tremendous amount of detail and information in the book that discusses how expert entrepreneurs behave.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JimFalkiner on January 2, 2013
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Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise is, in my opinion, an important contribution to our understanding of what Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi held was humanity's high purpose, that is to create.

Effectual thinking was identified by Dr. Saras Sarasvathy when she interviewed highly successful entrepreneurs for her doctoral dissertation, but she clearly states that this way of thinking can be applied far more widely than simply in commercial enterprise.

While I do teach young people about creativity and innovation, I am not a scholar but more of a practitioner. Nor am I a psychologist, so reading this book is challenging in places yet was well worth my effort.

As you probably see from the five-star rating, I recommend this book highly, especially if you want to learn much about how humans can innovate and change lives for the better. I predict that if any reader is an effectual thinker the book will speak to her or him on a personal level.

Jim Falkiner
The Mark E. Johnston Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies
Manchester University, Indiana, US
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bill on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book not only clearly summarizes research on expert entrepreneurs and effectual logics, but also lays the foundations for whole new areas of inquiry in business.

A must read for researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators alike.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Callister on November 18, 2013
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It is a very dense book, and I admit I have not finished reading it. But, what a horrible start. The book starts with a recap of the SpaceShipOne flights of 2004. No one has ever been able to explain to me why the SpaceShipOne flights are remarkable or significant. The X-15 rocket plane achieved space flight twice in 1963. The X-15 vehicle was constructed not by the government, but by a private corporation, North American Aviation. The US government and taxpayers funded the program. I don't get why it is so special that some really rich person was able to fund a program that achieved the same thing as a government-funded program a mere 41 years earlier. It's like getting really excited about some early explorer sailing across the Atlantic to America in 1533, with private investor funding. Columbus did it in 1492, but he had government funding. This is not a good example of entrepreneurship. It is merely a difference in funding sources. And, for technology businesses, it is really tough to find a technology that was funded from its inception by purely private sources.
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