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The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By Hardcover – January 28, 2008
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“The lessons in this book will perhaps save its readers a bundle of money that would otherwise be wasted on an ill-conceived business idea.”—Morgan Lewis Jr., Inside Business
About the Author
Scott A. Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. He is the author or editor of eleven books and more than sixty scholarly articles on entrepreneurship and innovation management. He lives in Shaker Heights, OH.
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Nowadays, there are thousands of books about entrepreneurship. Most of them build a false picture of the phenomenon. If you REALLY want to know about entrepreneurship this is the book you should buy. The book challenges the common myths about entrepreneurship and, drawing from rigorous research and data sources, describes entrepreneurship as it really occurs.
For example, the book shows the typical start-up isn't innovative, has no plans to grow, has one employee, and generates less than $100,000 dollars in revenue. It covers a wide range of fascinating topics like: What are today's entrepreneurial industries? How are new businesses financed? What makes some entrepreneurs more successful than others? How well does the typical entrepreneur do? How valuable is the average start-up?
The author of book is widely regarded within the academic community as the top entrepreneurship scholar in the world. I would strongly recommend his book to anyone who is serious about entrepreneurship.
It's not a guide to entrepreneurship and if you aren't sold on starting your own business, then it will probably seem rather gloomy. However, it's a good eye opener if you have a decent job and have considered starting a company just to not have to work for somebody else. Would defeinitely recommend it if you are thinking about starting your own business but are on the fence.
The conclusion set forth in the end seemed a bit rushed (it's all mentioned in the last 2 pages) but I think the previous chapters are worth it.
It also has a lot of references (almost half the book pages are filled with references), so depending on what kind of reader you are, that might be (or not) a good thing.
Scott A. Shane is an academic and, yes, that does come through in his work. However, the substance of this book can not be dismissed. Some entrepreneurs will feel a bit wounded, perhaps because he hits a bit too close to home, but that is a reason to carefully, and as impartially as possible, consider his points. I grew up in a business owning family, so did my husband. We own four small businesses between us now. My world, outside of my formal education, has been little but small business oriented. I've confronted many of the myths and recognized them as such. People who succeed understand them. People who refuse to come to terms with them most likely fail.
I know the spirit of an entrepreneur. It is not one without flaws. Is is one that people succeed in spite of. The strongest parts of entrepreneurial spirit pull those who are successful through, but the weaknesses Shane notes really do play a significant part in the high failure rate, and the fact that many of those who survive do so "barely."
While this review indicates I've purchased this book, it does not indicate that I've purchased many copies of this book. Every time I meet someone new who is in a pseudo-governmental position tasked with helping small businesses, I give them a copy. You can not help unless you fully understand and believing myths and fallacies is not helpful. This point of view is critical to developing a solid picture of the world portrayed.