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For Better or For Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families [Kindle Edition]

Meg Hirshberg
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Discover how to build a successful business and follow your passions without sacrificing healthy family relationships to the financial and emotional rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship.

How does someone who is obsessed live peacefully with others who are not? That question summarizes the quandary faced by company founders and their families. To answer it, author Meg Cadoux Hirshberg examines the impact—for better and for worse—of entrepreneurial businesses on families and relationships, and vice versa.

Practically, this is a vital guide to navigating the emotional and logistical terrain of business-building while simultaneously enjoying a fulfilling family life. From the trials of co-habiting with a home-based business to the queasy necessity of borrowing money from family and friends to the complexities of intergenerational succession, no topic is taboo.

Psychologically, this book is a reminder that no entrepreneurial family trudges the hard trail of company-building alone. If you have embarked on such an enterprise, you and your spouse will find comfort and guidance in the experiences of others like you. Meg draws on the struggles and triumphs she and husband Gary Hirshberg experienced as he built Stonyfield Yogurt, and also shares powerful stories and insights from other families, gathered through hundreds of interviews.

For Better or For Work will remind you that the long hours and late nights—spent on the business or with the family—are worth the effort and will give you tools for making both endeavors successful.

Editorial Reviews


''[One of the] 12 Most Anticipated Business Books of 2012.''

''[One of the five] most influential, inspirational business books to be published this year...Meg Cadoux Hirshberg's goal is to instill hope in weary entrepreneurs and to help them better manage the difficult balancing act of successfully running both a business and a family.'' -Entrepreneur magazine

''This honest text...should help to navigate the dangerous pitfalls of allowing a business to come and squat in the midst of a family.'' -Financial Times

''An immensely beneficial, contemporary analysis of what makes modern-day working families really work.'' -Kirkus Reviews

''An indispensable tool. '' -Publishers Weekly

''Hirshberg's candid advice is not just refreshing but could prove essential to the success of a new startup...her hard-won lessons for relationship survival are worth more than a read-you might actually want to print them out.'' -Forbes Woman

''Hirshberg is writing about the elephant in the entrepreneurial room. Read For Better or For Work and you'll clear out a lot of that unspoken clutter between you, your business, and your family.'' -Small Business Trends

''Meg Cadoux Hirshberg has given us one of the best descriptions of the entrepreneurial experience that I have ever read. It is quite simply a marvelous book--beautifully written, unflinchingly honest, profoundly true.'' -Bo Burlingham, author, Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big

''Meg brings to life the craziness of entrepreneurship, and offers excellent advice for surviving the madness.'' -Ben Cohen, Cofounder, Ben & Jerry s Ice Cream

''I loved this book! I wish I'd had it when I was trying to start a business and raise my kids. It is wise and wonderful.'' -Eileen Fisher, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Eileen Fisher

''My wife, Nancy, and I highly recommend that all entrepreneurial families read For Better or For Work. Knowing the reality upfront, you can prepare for it with eyes wide open.'' --Ron Shaich, Founder and Executive Chairman, Panera Bread

About the Author

Meg Hirshberg is a freelance writer, the author of the ''Balancing Acts'' column for Inc. magazine, a highly regarded speaker, and the wife of Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Yogurt. Although it took nine painful years to become profitable, Stonyfield is now the largest organic yogurt company in the world. Meg has written two yogurt cookbooks and her writing has appeared in Yankee, New Hampshire magazine, and the Boston Globe magazine, among other publications.

Product Details

  • File Size: 13507 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0983934002
  • Publisher: An Inc. Original (March 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,755 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for entrepreneurs and their families! March 29, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Being an entrepreneur is tough. Really tough. It hasn't just been challenging for me, it's been challenging for my wife and children. My wife happens to be my business partner, so perhaps this has been tougher than usual, but from what I've heard, for all entrepreneurs with families, the balance between our business and our family is challenging.
I met Meg Hirshberg three weeks ago at SXSW where she spoke with her husband Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm, a $300 million yogurt company and the second largest in the U.S. I met her after reading her book For Better or For Work and being really moved and inspired by the stories I read. I was further inspired after hearing Meg talk at SXSW. Inspired as a busy entrepreneur, but also really inspired as the spouse of an entrepreneur.
Meg wrote the book to share what she wished she had known and done before the many years of struggle while growing both a business and a family.

Here are seven lessons I learned from For Better or For Work, a book I very highly recommend, for both entrepreneurs and their families.

1) Turn off the smartphone. Make time every day for your spouse and children, time completely uninterrupted by emails and other notifications. It doesn't always have to be a lot of time, but it does have to be uninterrupted.

2) Prioritize each other's communications. Respect each other enough to put the other at the top of the queue on any given busy day.

3) Take family vacations. No matter how difficult it may seem to find the time or money, find it. It won't make or break the business and it might make the family a lot happier.

4) Befriend other company-building families.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Writing April 9, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The other reviewers have explained how profoundly this book will impact your life. I'd like to praise the writing.

Two of the many beautiful turns of phrase to be found within:

"But although entrepreneurs may be teachable, they are not wholly reformable. As I spoke to divorced company founders, I heard underneath the grace notes of good intentions a common bass lick: the business will still come first."

"Scary as those experiences were, they had the salubrious effect of redirecting entrepreneurs' noses toward roses and away from grindstones."

Meg Hirshberg's book doesn't merely provide a spouse's perspective on the entrepreneurial life. It also provides a word artist's perspective on the way the story can be told. A great and rare pleasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful for non-entrepreneur families too! March 27, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very insightful! I'm not an entrepreneur or married to one but I found the book helped me understand what that world is all about. I also think the advice transcends the entrepreneurial family and often applies to the rest of us too, maybe just in lower doses! I highly recommend this book for anyone trying to balance a demanding work life with a rich family life. Told through her own stories and those of others, the author makes her points without a professorial tone or clinical jargon. Well worth the read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its about time... April 17, 2012
By JPak
Entrepreneurship is one of the scariest lives one can endeavor upon. There's the life that the entrepreneur him/herself will accept as the "price to pay" for typically an undetermined period of time. Then there's the life that they share with anyone they infect with their charisma, enthusiasm and often poorly researched idea of what market has shockingly been untapped. There are so many "victims" of entrepreneurs; spouses, children, employees and the infamous "friends and family" that are typically the informal "series A" funders of the next great idea. As the closest people to the entrepreneur, with statistics working against them, they need our support more than ever, but often powerless to help and frankly FREAKED OUT by the seemingly never-ending troubles of business ownership - what can we, entrepreneur-adjacent friends and family members do? Meg's column in Inc Magazine is priceless, the value of her experience and her ability to cull meaningful advice and guidance will keep many future entrepreneurial families together and will increase the probability that our start-ups will succeed. "For Better or For Work" is THE MUST HAVE GUIDE for anyone who is an entrepreneur (and doesn't live in complete isolation) and anyone who loves an entrepreneur. This book gives practical and doable advice on how to keep the support system together so that everyone can succeed and be around to celebrate the spirit of the entrepreneur we all love.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a book for everyone! February 16, 2012
By AmyV
This is a wonderfully readable book about relationships, life and work. Meg Cadoux tells the stories of families in business, but her stories are anything but business like. This is a must read for anyone who is in a family business, anyone who is thinking about starting one and, frankly, anyone at all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a must read! April 10, 2012
By Brit
This book is so insightful. My husband is an entrepreneur and I gleaned an incredible amount of wisdom that has already made our relationship stronger and my connection with his business more positively focused.

Please read For Better or for Work for your own good! A great gift for entrepreneurs or anyone thinking about starting a business wih a family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I highly recommend this book. Honest, insightful, well written.
Published 1 month ago by Snack Pup
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book for any couple where one is self employed.
Published 8 months ago by Walter H. B. Platt
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A must read for couples where one or both individuals are self-employed. I have been self-employed either full or part time for over a decade. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nina Rotz
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read
You'll learn a lot about what it means to be a spouse in the trenches in a startup business that takes off. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Paine Whitney
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to get balanced, and to keep your relationships with loved...
Entrepreneurship is the wildest roller-coaster ride ever!!
Well, guess what.. your spouse and family are on it with you, and you didn't really ask if they mind, did you? Read more
Published 13 months ago by Yotam Ariel
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful book
Good book have only read some of it. I think it will be helpful and good reading for both hubby and wife
Published 15 months ago by Shawna A. Mckay
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for entrepreneurs and their families
Great book, my wife and I read this and have had some great conversations based on it's contents and stories. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Scott Sanders
3.0 out of 5 stars A great read for anyone who has their own practice or business
If you are someone who owns a practice or you run your own business this book will give you great insights into the mindset of the owner.. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Neen James Communications
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for entrepreneurs!
My wife and I can completely relate to most of this book. It helps you to realize you are not crazy or along in the insane world of business building. Read more
Published 21 months ago by DiscipleDug
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perspective I've Been Looking For!
I have had this book on my Wishlist since I first heard it was coming out. I look forward to reading Meg's column in INC. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Morgan Surkin
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