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The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Strategies for Continuously Creating Opportunity in an Age of Uncertainty Hardcover – August, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rita Gunther McGrath is Associate Professor of Management at Columbia Business School. Ian C. MacMillan is the Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. They are coauthors of MarketBusters (Harvard Business School Press, 2005).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875848346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875848341
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Entrepreneurial Mindset is a truly remarkable book and, I believe, an extremely useful one. However, it is not the book that, in my opinion, the reviews that have been posted here imply it is.
For one thing, it is not about entrepreneurs. In fact, the cast of characters is dominated by managers in relatively large organizations. Nor is it about the kinds of coalition-building activities that Gifford Pinchot described in Intrapreneuring (although the topic of political obstacles is addressed). What it is about is strategic innovation. It is a detailed description of an elaborate and exhaustive process for rationally generating (and choosing among) strategic alternatives in the face of uncertainty. This is not a process that the authors have observed while studying entrepreneurs. It is, rather, a description of the tools the authors have developed to work with management teams in established firms to discern original responses to business challenges. Said another way, the book has to do with the process of discovering new things to do - things for which there are no precedents and about which there is very limited data/information - in established businesses.
In some respects, this book constitutes a synthesis (and an impressive one) of themes that have been at work in the strategy literature in recent years. The majority of these themes reflect concerns about how to respond to a business environment in which products rapidly become commodities and (therefore) in which new options are much more strategic hypotheses to be investigated than they are plans to be formalized and funded. Much of the authors' attention is devoted to unearthing new hypotheses from the available data and sorting through them to settle on future courses of action.
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Format: Hardcover
MacMillan and McGrath put together one of the most actionable management books I have read in years. Each chapter is replete with how-to information: frameworks, tools and methodologies to implement their strategies and build-out new ventures.
The first 7 chapters provide tools to identify and define opportunities. Chapter 2, for example, details exactly how to set up a database to capture new business opportunities, with fields that describe the product/service and forces that affect its success, such as competition and company position. Chapters 3 through 6 provide usable frameworks which will fill your database with opportunities. The frameworks cover everything from redesigning products and services and redifferentiating for customers to resegmenting and restructuring markets and creating new competencies. The rest of the book covers execution: developing and timing entry strategies, managing uncertainty through discovery driven planning, and creating an entrepreneurial culture.
As a consultant, I have been able to use many of MacMillan's and McGrath's frameworks with my clients. Specifically, chapter 8's opportunity options frameworks have been invaluable to categorize new venture opportunities for our clients in the high-tech and financial services industries, and have aided in determining "go" and "no-go" decisions for further investment. Additionally, as I am an aspiring entreprenuer, I personally use their tools for opportunity assessment to inventory and rate my own business ideas.
I highly recommend The Entrepreneurial Mindset to corporate venturers and entrepreneurs alike. While the book covers a lot of ground, it is able to do so in an easy to read fashion. The tools and frameworks throughout the book keep the reader engaged and turn the theoretical into the applicable. The Entreprenuerial Mindset is an essential desk reference for new venturing and a highly worthwhile read.
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Format: Hardcover
Bottom line first: Buy this book. Not only can you immediately implement the tools described, but it will also serve as an excellent reference tool. It is well worth the time invested to read it. Consider it an option on your career with limitless upside.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset illustrates the process for rationally generating, choosing among, executing, and monitoring strategic opportunities in the face of uncertainty. Starting from the premise that no market is so mature that you cannot further differentiate your offerings, the authors offer action-oriented, simple tools that help to assess opportunities for launching new products and entering new markets. And those tools aren't just simple, they're also smart and unconventional, providing insight into the minds of habitual entrepreneurs who have honed their skill in creating value time and again.

McGrath and MacMillan publish the checklists, questions, quizzes, and models it took them years to develop while working with management teams in established firms to discern original responses to business challenges. You can start applying the principles and tools in each chapter immediately, getting some good quick hits even before finishing the book. For example, Chapter 11 alone contains 8 tools for developing leading indicators of the business to help tell if a project is heading in the right direction, long before the results become available. Chapter 10 is a gem too. It is based on one of Harvard Business Review's most popular articles, "Discovery Driven Planning" (written by the authors of this book), which was then developed into a course at Wharton's Executive Education Programs for several years.
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