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The Entrepreneurial Venture (Practice of Management Series) Second Edition Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0875848921
ISBN-10: 0875848923
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William A. Sahlman, Howard H. Stevenson, Michael J. Roberts and Amar Bhid are professors at Harvard Business School.
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Product Details

  • Series: Practice of Management Series
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; Second Edition edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875848923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875848921
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 7.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sahlman provides a very comprehensive volume on the current stage of knowledge of entrepreneurship as a field. In the articles, which are mainly written by a limited number of professors, all important topics related to entrepreneurship are addressed, such as finance, personality, marketing, strategy, culture, and many more. From an academic perspective, it is a 10.
However, I often felt that it was missing more on the practical side. For example, there are a few case studies, but only on certain topics. It was missing more of the "been there, done that" perspective. Definitely there were stories, but in those there was more of a strategic analysis rather than visionary or inspirational.
Overall, this is a very good book to use as reference to certain topics, especially in an academic environment.
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Format: Paperback
The 1999 edition that I read is a collection of 34 Harvard Business Review articles, class discussion papers and case studies written by the four authors (all business school professors) and a few others over the 1980s and 90s.
The chapters written by the four professors have a strong academic/pedagogic orientation. Dealing with basic issues in extreme analytic detail, they frequently belabor the obvious and often come across as though they have all the answers (chapters written by Sahlman were especially bad for this). The book does, however, provide some thought-provoking discussion and a reasonable introduction to the issues of assessing viability, planning and managing a new business, and of attracting resources. Some of the chapters not written by the professors provide a good "textbook" reference for subjects such as patent law, raising venture capital, and management technique in checklist style.
I give the book three stars for its rigorous analysis but not five because of its presumptuous tone and the fact that too many of the chapters lean toward the hypothetical. It lacks the genuine, practitioner-based input this subject deserves.
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Format: Paperback
This book offers plenty of practical advice. I'm not sure why some of the reviewers think it does not. I suppose Harvard Business School professors who use the word "practitioner" in their title seems a bit boustrophedon.

When I read this book, I learned how to focus my business planning on flexibility not on a spreadsheet that starts from zero and goes to my financial goal line. Other mentors in my life warned me about the time wasting misuse of a business plan, but this book points out both the common errors and how to fix them.

On another point - sales. I have seen other companies sell their ideas into the marketplace while bootstrapping their own financing. This book gives several examples of how to do just that. This is very practical stuff. I am glad I purchased this book and took the time to skim all of it and read some of the articles in depth.
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Format: Paperback
Even though I have read only the first edition of this book, out of all the various books I have read regarding dealing with Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists, this was one of the BEST - especially Chapter 17 - titled "You CAN negotiate with Venture Capitalists", by Harold M. Hoffman and James Blakey.

As the possible founder of a soon and future (hopefully) Biotech startup, wading through various other tomes on the tedious details of how term sheets are structured can be very dry and tedious reading; however, Chap 17 in this book alone was able to distill some of the most important terminology typically covered in term sheets - topics such as Capital Structures (common stock vs debentures like Preferred Stock), Anti-Dilution/Liquidation Provisions, Performance/Forfeiture Provisions, Employment Contracts and Shareholder Agreements - into jargon that a non-attorney guy like me can readily understand. I practically highlighted the entire chapter!

Just the 2 subsections on Capital Structure and Anti-Dilution/Liquidation Provisions alone were well worth getting this book - in some ways this entire chapter literally scared the HELL out of me - on the one hand, VC's can oftentimes be quite vicious in protecting their investment, covering just about every possible NEGATIVE possibility out there. On the other hand, since only 9 PERCENT of the typical VC's portfolio ever gets to the hallowed land of successfully cashing-out via an IPO, I can't really blame VCs for being so anal-retentive regarding covering so many possible negative scenarios, especially when it comes to fighting dilution of existing shares in subsequent future financing rounds.
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