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The Entrepreneurial Imperative: How America's Economic Miracle Will Reshape the World (and Change Your Life) Hardcover – October 10, 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[E]ssential reading to understand and prepare for our personal lives and the future.” (–Steve Forbes, CEO and Editor in Chief, Forbes)

“Schramm unlocks the key to growth. . . and roots it in the American spirit inside us all.” (–Scott Cook, founder of Intuit)

“[E]ssential reading to understand and prepare for our personal lives and the future.” (–Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko's and author of Copy This!)

“Reading The Entrepreneurial Imperative it’s hard not to like Carl J. Schramm. [A]n optimistic cheerleader for American capitalism.” (–Stephen Wolter, Corporate Report Wisconsin)

“As Carl Schramm argues … in The Entrepreneurial Imperative, no country has mastered innovation and entrepreneurship as effectively as America.” (–The Economist)

“[The] one book that lays out…why entrepreneurship matters. The Economist didn’t call Schramm the “evangelist of entrepreneurship” for nothing. (–Paul Kedrosky, Infectious Greed)

About the Author

Carl J. Schramm is president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, a world leader in advancing entrepreneurship. Trained as an economist and lawyer, he has founded companies in the health care, finance, and information technology arenas. He is a Batten Fellow at Virginia's Darden School of Business and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (October 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006084163X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060841638
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was one of the first people to rush out and get this book. I assumed that a book written by the President of the Kauffman Foundation would have important insights into entrepreneurship. Boy, was I wrong!

The book is riddled with inaccuracies. For example, it says that only Israel is a more entrepreneurial country than the United States when the Kauffman Foundation's own research shows only a middling rate of entrepreneurship in the U.S., below that of Peru and Uganda of all places.

In another example, the book says that the current period is the most entrepreneurial in U.S. history, when, in fact, rates of entrepreneurship in the U.S. have been declining for decades.

But it is not just the facts that are a problem. The book's arguments are flawed too. The idea that U.S. foreign policy should focus on entrepreneurship smacks of the 1950s argument that "what's good for General Motors is good for the country". That seems naive, at best.

Similarly, the book is critical of US technology transfer operations. However, we would be hard pressed to improve a system that gave us a company like Google. Dr. Schramm should read the history of Stanford's involvement with Google before he criticize American universities' technology transfer operations.

Finally, the tone of the book is grating. It is both a polemic for entrepreneurship and a PR job for the Kauffman Foundation. Had I wanted that, I could have saved my money and read the materials that the Foundation gives away for free.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have this book recommended to me as a great set of foundational principles to help those who have their own business and want to think more like an entrepreneur. Easy to read, organized in a logical fashion and very informative. Really recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Creativity and problem solving, collaboration are required for our children to succeed in the 21st century knowledge economy. Our schools are not doing well teaching these skills. We as parents must act to help our children and grandchildren prepare. This book investigates how we created a Petroski dish almost by accident to nourish new business formation. The book states that entrepreneurs are born at any age when risk tolerance, need, and opportunity are favorable to risk starting a new business. The U.S. must recognize the need and integrate all our institutions to focus on creating entrepreneurs at any age.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because it appeared on Economist's list of recommended books. This was a mistake.

This book is written as a pamphlet, and its central theme is the glorification of American Enterpreneurial Capitalism. It is all about American self-glorification.

Unfortunately, this book is a poor pamphlet. Worse, it has got many of its facts plainly wrong. It is amazing that the CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, one of the largest supporters of entrepreneurship research in the US, would be so ignorant of basic research facts, as well as of economic growth in general.

The book defines entrepreneurship as "the process by which one or more people undertake economic risk to create a new organization...". Entrepreneurs, then, are people who take risk to create new organizations. So far so good. Too bad that this definition is not actually used in the book. Only 7 pages later, Schramm states that "Entrepreneurship is a mindset." It is unfortunate that this seems to be the definition that he really uses throughout his book.

A "mindset" is an infinitely pliable definition. Indeed, Schramm appears able to see this "mindset" whenever he so chooses and not see it when he does not care to. Sometimes Schramm's "entrepreneurship" appears to be best described as innovation. In other times he appears to refer to plain initiative, as in the case of those early "entrepreneurial" American university presidents Schramm appears to admire (now, how many new organizations did UC Berkeley president Daniel Coit Gilman start, and how much economic risk did he undertake during the process?).

Schramm reveals some of his ideological undercurrents by stating that there is only one country on this planet more "entrepreneurial" than the US. You guessed it: Israel.
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Format: Hardcover
The book The Entrepreneurial Imperative by Carl J. Schramm is subtitled "How America's Economic Miracle Will Reshape the World and Change Your Life".

This is not a book on entrepreneurship, but rather a book on why entrepreneurship (practice of, promotion of, as foreign policy) is important to the a public policy for future USA.

Right from page one the thesis is presented directly:

For the United States to survive and continue its economic and political leadership in the world, we must see entrepreneurship as our central comparative advantage. Nothing else can give us the necessary leverage to remain an economic superpower. Nothing else will allow us to continue to enjoy our standard of living. We either support and nature increasingly entrepreneurial activities in all aspect of our society and around the globe or run the very real risk that we will become progressively irrelevant on the world stage and suffer economically at home.

In short, entrepreneurship in business and universities; in our approach to both government and foreign policy; and in our personal lives is the only answer if we hope to continue to thrive.

Aren't there other solutions?

No.

The author offers these definitions:

* Entrepreneurship is the process in which one or more people undertake economic risk to create a new organization that will exploit a new technology or innovative process the generates value to others.
* The Entrepreneur is one who undertakes personal economic risk to create a new organization that will exploit a new technology or innovative process the generates value to others.

Those definitions work for me well enough for me.
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