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Lucky or Smart?: Secrets to an Entrepreneurial Life Hardcover – December 28, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For anyone looking to spend an hour or so conversing one-on-one with a successful Internet entrepreneur, Peabody has put his end of that conversation in writing. As founder of a startup, Tripod, Inc.—and a reaper of pre-Internet Bubble riches—Peabody graciously provides his thoughts on how and why he’s been so successful. Heartfelt and conversational in tone, his is a very thin book, reflecting both a lack of ego—Peabody will never be mistaken for Donald Trump—and his belief that entrepreneurs possess limited attention spans. Also, he feels they are better off spending their time building their own businesses rather than reading about others’. While Peabody shares advice on avoiding the mistakes that trip up many would-be entrepreneurs—such as having too much faith in their own press—most of his several dozen pages are spent providing examples of the role luck plays in success, and how smart entrepreneurs work to improve their odds. For instance, he puts great stock in surrounding oneself with ‘A’ students for managers while relying heavily on ‘B’ students to drive innovation. With their penchant for provocative declaration—i.e., that a company’s mission is more important than its business model—Peabody’s theories on management aren’t exactly the stuff of a business school curriculum. Which is only appropriate since he also takes a very dim view of the notion that entrepreneurial skills can be taught or acquired. Peabody believes that entrepreneurship is an aptitude one either possesses from birth or never possesses at all. Ultimately, Peabody speaks to a niche market—entrepreneurs willing to accept that there are no magical formulas for success, just the kind of focus, drive and energy that, if one is lucky, occurs at the right time, in the right place.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Peabody, a successful entrepreneur, offers a guide to those thinking of starting their own business. We learn that while we cannot create luck in our everyday lives, we can create it in business. Lucky things happen to entrepreneurs who start fundamentally innovative, morally compelling, and philosophically positive companies, creating something interesting and valuable rather than strictly seeking money. A mission communicated with charisma and passion will attract and inspire smart people who work hard; in that environment, the entrepreneur must be smart enough to stay out of the way and let luck happen. Treat other people fairly and give them clear action plans and latitude to exercise creativity. Other advice from the author: control your ego, always remain gracious no matter what the situation, and B students become entrepreneurs while A students become managers. This small book is a terrific roadmap for prospective entrepreneurs as well as corporate executives who want to replicate the spirit and creativity found in successful new ventures. A great read. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (December 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140006290X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400062904
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By D. Kidd on May 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read Lucky or Smart after receiving a recommendation from a very creditable source. However, it was a great disappointment, and in my opinion, a waste of money. $13.95 (as per the inside cover of the book) for 58 pages that delivered little value.

Bo Peabody may himself be both lucky and smart for founding and selling a low revenue-no profit generating internet company during the internet bubble; I hope you are lucky enough to read this review and then smart enough to avoid purchasing his book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alex Krooglik on January 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I enjoy reading stories about entrepreneurs and the (sometimes) crazy stuff they do. Bo Peabody is a crazy and, might I add, highly entertaining, entrepreneur. Bo made wads of cash selling his internet company Tripod at the height of the bubble. He was in his mid 20s.

"Lucky or Smart" is a small book, in length no greater than a weekend NY Times magazine article. The tone is positive, irreverant, and homely. There is some classic diatribe. For example, in talking about the corrosive effects of Blackberry's on the concentration span of executives nowadays, he recommends that smart entrepreneurs send them to competitors to rob them of their power of thought (p45). Sad but very likely true.

Bo sees the business world as made up of A-students and B-students, the former being primarily managers, the latter entrepreneurs. Each plays a very important role in a new venture. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two, with the B-students pushing the envelope, selling, and ignoring accepted wisdom in search of new frontiers, while the A-students refine and focus based on the view in the rear-view mirror.

There isn't a lot in the way of inspiration or guidance but Bo shows us that you can be lucky or you can be smart, and a truly smart person realizes when she's getting lucky and capitalizes on it.

If you enjoyed "Dot Con" by John Cassidy, "Dot Bomb" by J. David Kuo, or "A Good Hard Kick in the Ass" by Rob Adams, you might enjoy Bo's book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Humberto Mejia on May 21, 2006
Format: Audio CD
My profile: 42 yo Sales Engineer.

I must admit this is an audiobook that is extremely enjoyable to listen in the road for it tells a story much fascinating with unsual characters and an insiders story on the internet bubble, but other than that, what can I do to learn something? Just realize that I have to be smart enogh to know when Im being Lucky??

Yes, he does point out a basic distintion between managers and enterpreneurs, and the recognition that both must co-exist to make a biz flourish.. yet at the end of the day, there is a message of fatalism.. he asserts either you are or you are not an enterpreneur and there is nothing much you can do about that.

He rode on the wave of free advertising when the inetrenet boom thought all their enterpreneurs were free living young spirits.. he did sell his stock of a Co that NEVER made profits..its this the way to go???

As I said.. its very enjoyable to listen to.. but I did not find much to do for myself afterward.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ray Salemi on January 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It seems that whenever you are looking for deep insights into some aspect of business someone will say, "There is this great little book called ..."

"Think and Grow Rich", "Richest Man in Babylon", and the "One Minute Manager" all fall into the category of "A great little book..."

The beauty of little books is that the author has managed to buck the economics of publishing (which values books by page count and size) and has focused clearly on one topic. This clarity is priceless and hard to find.

Bo Peabody has created another in a list of "Great little books..." He clearly paints a picture of the kind of person who should be an entrepreneur and the things that person needs to focus on and learn.

The book makes its points well and has compelling stories that illustrate the ideas. It has a frank view of the mystique of the entrepreneur and the way that ego can destroy our companies.

It's a great little book!
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