A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and its Moment in Human Progress Paperback – October 1, 2009
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"If as a country we want to lead in the 21st century and beyond, we're going to need entrepreneurs. If as a species (humans) we want to resolve the global challenges we face, then all of us, not just a few, need to think entrepreneurially. Larry Robertson's A Deliberate Pause not only awakens us to these truths, it shows how each of us can actively engage, not just in economic, social, or environmental progress, but in human progress." - JJ Ramberg, Host MSNBC's Your Business
"Most of us seek a quick fix formula, when what we need is a primer in how positive change really occurs. A Deliberate Pause fills that need. This book isn't a business book (though business could benefit enormously from it's lessons). It isn't academic (though its research is broad, rigorous, and compelling). And it doesn't offer up the typical canned 'recipe' or '10 steps' to the perfect answer. If you want that, go elsewhere and good luck. That said, if you want the truth about what allows the world to progress, if you want to know how to have lasting impact, and if you want a smart, relevant book that moves you - no matter who you are, look no further." - Gene Kahn, Founder Cascadian Farms and Small Planet Foods
"It is quite rare to see such a quality, highly-professional, heartfelt book that explores the conscience of an entrepreneur. The author's mind, heart, soul, talent, and insights are on parade - and will motivate readers to take 'a deliberate pause' to ask themselves if they are leading their best life. Read it and reap." - Sam Horn, Author of POP! and Got Your Attention?
"It's difficult to strike a balance between a well-researched book, a groundbreaking view of the world, and a highly readable and accessible style - A Deliberate Pause does this masterfully." - Harry Weller, Partner, NEA (New Enterprise Associates)
From the Inside Flap
- We seek a formulaic answer, a recipe, for how to make an entrepreneurial undertaking succeed. There isn't one.
- We believe that the story of the individual entrepreneur tells us the story of entrepreneurship. It doesn't even come close.
- Narrower still, we look to only one source, one time, or one form of entrepreneurship in our search for its secrets. Why?
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I've been involved with entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship as a company founder, investor, and advisor for over 10 years. I'm currently between startups and taking, well, my own deliberate pause to think about the future.
This book is what I needed to put my thinking on right. We now live an a world where Twitter, 24x7 business news media, and Techcrunch shovel story after story to us on how bold "entrepreneurs" are taking over the world with new products and services. It is easy for any of us to become distracted, worried, anxious, and jealous when pondering our lives.
I struggle myself to avoid these traps.
This book was a breath of fresh air. Rather than introduce new concepts, it elegantly synthesizes so many different topics about entrepreneurship. Drawing on dozens of other great authors and thinkers from a variety of disciplines, Robertson dispels common entrepreneurial myths, explains the power of ecosystem and community, and describes the mindset of the truly successful. He provides suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter. (I've got my reading list for the next year.)
If you're looking for "10 steps to making your fortune in start-ups", this book isn't it. If you're at a point in your life where you're struggling to figure out how to get meaning out of your work - and ready to put time and energy into it - I highly recommend it. In that respect it most reminds me of Po Bronson's "What Should I Do with My Life?"
It won't give you answers, but it will help you figure them out for yourself.
It was liberating to encounter some resonating truth on how successful entrepreneurs are made, how they think, and how they operate, in contrast with the mystifying and intimidating narratives of entrepreneurship found in virtually every other book on the topic.
Especially meaningful for me, was Mr. Robertson's discussion of the entrepreneur's simple practice of repeatedly asking why some product, service, industry or conventional practice he or she is unsatisfied with has to be the way it is. Most adults begin to just resign themselves to accepting life's dissatisfactions, unaware that this blind acceptance and resignation will preclude their potential to revolutionize the world. Muhammad Yunus refused to resign himself to the "reality" that "you just can't loan money to poor people." His Nobel Prize Winning innovation was, at its heart, a simple refusal to buy into conventional wisdom on why the world had to be the way it is.
This book has encouraged me to keep asking "why?" about industries and conventional practices that I'm dissatisfied with, in hopes that I may one day find some viable solutions to build ecosystems of activators and advisors around. This book has helped me better understand which of my own thought processes and instincts will help me potentially solve one of humanity's problems, and which of my mental traps would have definitely me.
The "May Be" Parable Robertson tells in the book also really stuck with me, and has been on my mind frequently during recent ups and downs in my love life, of all things. It is a comforting and elegant philosophy and so interesting that it applies to entrepreneurship as well as it applies to relationships. All of these gems make this book well worth pausing for.
I may not be one who is called to start a company or invent a product, but A Deliberate Pause has motivated me to examine my life, the lenses through which I look at the world, the boundaries and limits to which I have unconsciously allowed to dictate how I act in the world, and ask myself, what is limiting me? There are a host of people profiled in Larry's book that figured out how to do better than the status quo, why not me, too? I just need to slow down - - pause - - long enough to sort out the true 'what, why and the how' to be an agent of positive change in my own life. I have begun to take pause and, in so doing, have realized that the entrepreneurial spirit resides within me!
Larry Robertson quickly captivated me with his wise, engaging and optimistic writing style. While he is clearly well-connected, well-read, and well-versed in the entrepreneurial realm (each chapter ends with a list of erudite contributors and a thought-provoking list of recommended, related reading), he does not write from the perspective of an elite, industry insider. This is not a text that will only resonate with a chosen few who work in a particular niche, such as, venture capital, high tech, non-profit, for-profit or corporate.
Larry delivers a fluidly-written, captivating, compelling, inspirational and versatile book about people following their dreams, their intuition, their calling to make the most out of their talents or circumstances in an effort to make some aspect of the world better. I found the book motivational, inspiring, and well-written. Larry artfully weaves bits of theory with engaging anecdotes about real people making a real difference and being real agents of change. He leads the reader on a journey that dispels myths, stereotypes and narrow labels.
Being entrepreneurial isn't something derogatory; rather, it is a way of describing a state of mind and a way of acting. Larry encourages the reader to think entrepreneurially, that is, creatively, expansively, and courageously, to do the thing that motivates him/her to make a difference beyond just making money, and to consider ways to make the world a better place. In the end, the exceptional entrepreneurs whom Larry profiles throughout his book and his theory about what makes an entrepreneur provide admirable lessons and the impetus for us all to to discover our own, inner entrepreneur.