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Hustling In America: The secrets to success for international entrepreneurs seeking to turn their American dream into reality Paperback – July 1, 2013
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About the Author
Charles Kollo’s experience with entrepreneurship began when, after obtaining a master's degree in Entrepreneurship from Ecole des Dirigeants et Createurs d'Entreprises in Paris, France, he worked for a business incubator and supervised entrepreneurs. After immigrating to the United States, Kollo founded the successful www.shelterous.com in November 2011, which was selected as one of the best projects at the Harvard Extension School of Business Conference 2012. His areas of strength are business development and detecting opportunities in new markets.
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In many of the reviews I have seen of this book, I have noted a dearth of attention paid to some topics that I think really need highlighting. That is what I will focus on, in this particular review. Intangibles are certainly important to the author, which is only fitting, that a Frenchman would pick up on the not-so-easily quantified aspects of markets, entrepreneurship, etc. Among the most enjoyable of these is Kollo's returns, explicitly and implicitly, to the topic of creativity. There is no doubt that such an intangible cannot be taught, but what Kollo gives is advice on how one can work toward opening their mind and perspective to radically new ways of viewing the same old market, product, whatever. As Wittgenstein once said, "What I see has not changed, yet I see it differently." This is a very fitting way of thinking about what Kollo is trying to do, over and beyond the attempt to provide positive information about the risks of foreign-born entrepreneurship. In fact, I believe that Kollo's approach is suggestive of a correlation, here: if one tries to stick to dogma, in many cases, when pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor, the risk is high.
Another valuable aspect of this book is its anecdotes and, what are probably, anecdotally derived pieces of advice. In a word, the reader is treated to knowledge from experience and pragmatism of past successes and failures; that is, the author speaks from wisdom, past experiences that are supplemented and refined by much introspection, ratiocination, and reflect. I believe this is something that is genuinely lacking in the any literature in the business genre. And the wisdom does not end with anecdotes, but extends to a realm of, what one would hope to be --but is not--, commonsense. I think Kollo has synthesized such a vast amount of information within the ambit of his education and continued education in real-world situation that he has come across a few real gems of advice that will end up being the commonsense of the future.
Finally, I must comment on my perspective of this book, being that I am not in business, myself. Coming at this book as interested reader whose work is generally academic, I think I have learned more about the business world from this book than any other. I also enjoyed it, as well. I think the unconventional nature of Kollo's approach and style to thinking is what makes this book so fascinating, and I would venture a wager that it is also what has made him a successful businessman. For these reasons, I certainly recommend this book to all who may have even a passing interest in such a work of such subject matter.
The book is unique in that it has been specifically written to address the needs of American-based entrepreneurs from other countries, even though others could certainly benefit from the material. Considering that his own successful start-up was voted among the ten top businesses in the prestigious Harvard Business Contest in November 2011, the author (from France) appears well-qualified to write this text.
The book is a veritable treasure trove of practical, how-to, nuts-and-bolts information on a wide range of important topics, including: how to prepare oneself for entrepreneurship, choice of business entities, how to finance a product idea, how to protect the idea and much more. In addition to its positioning, one of the other things that makes this book unique is its fresh perspective on time-worn subjects.
As one example, I loved the story about Christopher Columbus's discovery of America as perhaps the first successful start-up in the New World, with Queen Isabella of Spain serving as the angel investor or venture capitalist, depending on choice of terminology.
One of the most fascinating insights in the book is the story of one of the author's successful consulting clients in France, who revealed to the author that when searching for professional services (legal and accounting), he would deliberately seek out immigrants, for the reason that their overcoming so many obstacles was a reflection of their abilities. This is indeed so true and the author himself is one of the best examples. Entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs of all types (but especially American-based entrepreneurs from other countries) will be indebted to Mr. Kollo for producing this pathbreaking and invaluable guidebook.