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50 Interviews : Entrepreneurs Paperback – February 1, 2009
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I wish I had a copy of 50 interviews when I launched my first company, I would have covered much more ground a whole lot faster. --Mike Michalowicz, Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
Very few books these days combine short vignettes with powerful direct impacts that can be used immediately. The ROI for 50 Interviews is two minutes tops. Brian s formulaic approach enables the reader to extract the collective insight and experience of 50 divergent entrepreneurs. His dialogue throughout the book allows us to vicariously ask the questions we would have wanted to ask any successful entrepreneur and learn succinctly what worked for them. --Michael R. Webb, Co-Founder, Aubice LLC
There are two ways to learn about entrepreneurship: one, give it a try, and two, talk to people who have lived and breathed it for years in the crucibles of start-ups. 50 Interviews gives readers a front-row seat to the action, offering future entrepreneurs lessons learned the hard way. Read it, learn, and then go do it! --Gregg Vanourek, co-author, Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives
About the Author
Over a span of 13 years, Brian Schwartz worked for a half a dozen technology startups and large corporations moving around the country to advance his career. Living through many acquisitions, layoffs, and no fewer than 10 different managers along the way, life had lost meaning to him. What remained was a general feeling of dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment. In 2007, seeking answers, he discovered a transformational course that served as the catalyst he needed for change. What he learned that weekend was what he had thought were his values and priorities were in fact those of others. He began to reinvent himself and live a life more aligned with his true self making positive changes including quitting his high stress six figure job. Through the 50 interviews project, he discovered that the right questions bring amazing clarity to life when we seek our own answers. That as our own truth emerges, we discover we are more powerful than we realized. Brian s new found passion is to empower others to realize that we each have a unique ability to make an impact in the world and we owe it to ourselves and the world to follow our inspired thoughts through to action. Brian Schwartz grew up in Northern California and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Technology. Brian currently lives in Northern Colorado with his wife. Brian is an energetic writer, passionate speaker and workshop facilitator, and open to just about anything he can do to help others adopt the 50 interviews framework for themselves.
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That said, there were some parts I didn't like.
(1) I found the first ten or so interviews hard work as when the interviewee was asked about books, resources etc they would recommended to help us budding entrepreneurs, they invariably mentioned their own books or websites. I understand they're just plugging their own business and are no doubt experts in their field, but some humility wouldn't have gone astray. Sharing with us what books etc they drew upon to help them start would've been more important. Maybe if the interviews had of been shuffled in a different order it wouldn't stand out as much. That said, stick with the book as the interviews get better. This may not even bother you.
(2) Some of the interviews were with entrepreneurs who had just started their business and had yet to make any money. I questioned these inclusions, as these entrepreneurs may never make it. Will they be successful? I wanted to read about those that are successful so I can draw on their knowledge and proven ability. Furthermore, the author was a little light on with just how successful some of the other businesses mentioned were i.e. some of the business introductions were broad and non-descript, making it difficult to see how successful they really are. I wanted to be know how they are successful? Have they made a lot of money, if so provide details. If they are successful because the entrepreneur led to a better quality of life, provide details, if it's giving back to the community / environment, provide details. I felt this took the shine off an otherwise good book.
Having said this I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.
Since a small business start-up will be the next step for many of the 4 million Americans thrown out of work in recent months, Brian provides an excellent service by penning this collection of interviews to guide the way for anyone who has ever had the desire to create something from nothing, explore a unique market niche or live a life of discovery.
Why not learn from the experience of 50 successful entrepreneurs? Go see where they've been and what they've learned, before deciding whether to start your own company.
In his quest to gain insight into the experience of the entrepreneur, Schwartz developed a friendly-interview format, focused on a few critical questions, and located a diverse mix of men and women who fit his target group. They were quite a group: young, old, and everyone in between, and their interests spanned the business sector. Somewhere along the way, he realized he had hit on something important and decided to share his findings in book form.
Though I had some interest in the range of responses to the specific questions (i.e.,the utility of a business plan, initial financial investment, value of an MBA, and that sort of thing), what really got my attention was the underlying theme. "Can do!" Despite differences in personality, background and experiences, each interviewee presented with confidence in his or her own abilities, and most credited very hard work as the key to success.
This book has something for everyone. If you share my curiosity about the mindset of the entrepreneur you'll find this a good read. If you're looking for specific business tips, the book is chock full of ideas, examples and references. If you're looking for inspiration, you have the right book!