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Never Bet the Farm: How Entrepreneurs Take Risks, Make Decisions - and How You Can, Too Paperback – March 17, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0787983666 ISBN-10: 0787983667 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787983667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787983666
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Never Bet the Farm is an outstanding work, with many refreshing insights. A book I will use in entrepreneurship classes for some time to come."
—Albert A. Cannella Jr., Hahnco Companies professor, Arizona State University, Department of Management

"Iaquinto and Spinelli, using a rare mixture of practical experience and academic expertise, have come up with a framework that every entrepreneur should use if they wish to survive the inevitable pitfalls that line their path to success."
—Richard A. Steenerson, president and owner, Polaris Marine, Inc.

"Never Bet the Farm is a book that manages to be both practical and inspirational."
—Arsen Avakian, CEO and founder, Argo Tea, Inc.

"A very readable book for any entrepreneur."
—Rocki-Lee DeWitt, dean, University of Vermont, School of Business Administration

From the Back Cover

In Never Bet the Farm two leading entrepreneurs, Anthony Iaquinto and Stephen Spinelli, turn much of the so-called expert advice for entrepreneurs on its head. They show that by preparing for setbacks and using a framework that can help reduce risks and simplify decision making, entrepreneurs can increase their probability for success. They refute the idea that there is an ideal entrepreneurial “type,” and show that luck can be as important as a business plan in many enterprises. Above all, the authors emphasize that entrepreneurship is a career, not a one-time event, and winners are those who can keep themselves in the game. Never Bet the Farm is an easy-to-understand and attractive tool for anyone who has a business idea, but who might be wary of the risks implied in starting their own business.

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed this book and found it very inspirational.
This book gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start my business.
Mary Olson
This was the first book I read when starting my business.
C. Mann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you are thinking about starting a business but haven't done so before, you should read this book. Never Bet the Farm will increase your chances of success, reduce your chances of experiencing a calamity, and focus your attention in helpful ways so you'll make faster progress. The book is a quick read, easy to understand, and unforgettable in its examples and observations.

If you have been an entrepreneur . . . or worked for an entrepreneur, you have a degree in the school of hard knocks about what can come your way. With those bumps and bruises, you'll develop a future business in a more successful way. For example, you probably experienced trying to do too much too soon . . . with not enough resources. That's a natural booby trap for most entrepreneurs who have a strong sense of urgency . . . that often overwhelms their sense of caution.

While the bookstores and libraries bulge with volumes that help you think about who your customer is, how to add great value for that customer, and what you can do to provide superior products and services, there's little to help you realize where it might help you to rein in your enthusiasm. Never Bet the Farm plugs that gap in your inexperience if you are first-time entrepreneur or would-be entrepreneur.

As I read the book, I was struck at how many of the points and examples perfectly match what I teach my entrepreneurial students. Why? Both coauthors are successful entrepreneurs as well as professors of entrepreneurship, and they bring those twin perspectives to bear in practical ways.

The book's structure is a little unusual. The book is short (about 120 pages) with a lot of references (university centers for entrepreneurship, books, web sites, and citation sources used in the book).
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By AJ on August 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was really disappointed in this book. I do believe that many books on entrepreneurship are meant to be inspirational and therefore end up being unrealistic, and to be fair, I do think this book paints a more practical and accurate picture. With that said, the book was very general, lacked interesting and relevant examples, and didn't add much value. Furthermore, the book seems to be 200 pages but about 70 pages are a worthless list of universities.

The worst thing? The authors repeatedly present italicized quotes of themselves, attempting to make their own thoughts and backgrounds seem even more important than they are. Disappointing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Freeman on April 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
In Mr. Panah Mosaferirad's review, (a "Spotlight" review based apparently on his penchant for reviewing books and products) he seems to have an agenda in negatively comparing Never Bet the Farm to another book, The Entrepreneurial Mindset. They are completely different types of books! NBTF states upfront that it is not a textbook, but an easy to understand tool for regular folks who have business ideas but are intimated by all the Jack Welch-like profiles of uber-entrepreneurs. I'm sure The Entrepreneurial Mindset is a fine book, which seems tailored to corporate types who are comfortable with MBA concepts, and indeed it clocks in at 400 pages which to Mr. Mosaferirad's mind makes it better. He even criticizes the paper-stock used for NBTF, which is pretty strange. NBTF, however, is intended to demystify the process by which people with creative business ideas can overcome their fears and embark on an entrepreneurial career. The authors, who blend both academic and entrepreneurial expertise, apply their own experiences as well as anecdotes from well-known entrepreneurs to outline the decision-making tools necessary to take smart risks. The last section of the book is an Entrepreneur's Guidebook which identifies entrepreneurship schools/centers throughout the nation, a list of websites focusing on national business and government organizations, and recommended entrepreneur books organized by sub-category. These resources are invaluable to anyone starting out. I wish I had read this book when I opened my retail store 10 years ago, it would have saved me a lot of grief (and money)!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Keyser on February 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book about business startup and avoiding potential pitfalls, by two entrepreneur-academics may have a negative in the title, but is far from negative in content. The authors describe how to embrace the correct frame of mind and ensure that the right decisions are made for business success. "Never Bet the Farm" takes a bootstrapping approach to setting up in business. It is about ambitious caution.

Anthony Iaquinto and Stephen Spinelli have produced a belt-and-suspenders guide for intending entrepreneurs. To launch a business without being prepared for the inevitable setbacks, is to be blind. Commentators often suggest that entrepreneurs are risk-takers, but in my experience the successful ones are not; they are calculated, or managed, risk-takers. They know in advance how they will proceed if money is tight, sales do not reach forecast, production is delayed, or they face other unplanned outcomes.

The authors do a great job because, while most books on business startup are written with the assumption that business plans will work out, they assume the reverse. This is much nearer reality. They set out fifteen 'principles' to help the reader determine wise courses of action. These principles include setting reasonable goals with achievable milestones; going for life as well as business goals; starting small and being financially responsible; being prudent, not foolhardy; having a backup plan in place; using and contributing to a network; clearing partnership roles at the outset; being clear about an eventual exit.

"Never Bet the Farm" is intellectually honest and based on the practical business experience of both authors, who know business, quite as much as business school. Nearly a third of the book is in the form of "An Entrepreneur's Guidebook" with listings of helpful university resources, websites and books.

This is another title on my list of essential reading for would-be entrepreneurs.
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