- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press (January 26, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300158564
- ISBN-13: 978-0300158564
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 68 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By Paperback – January 26, 2010
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0;In this fact-filled, but fun-to-read book, Scott Shane demolishes many myths about entrepreneurship and in the process provides much-needed guidance to entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers.1;2;Steve Crawford, Director, Social, Economic, and Workforce Programs Division, National Governor7;s Association
-- Steve Crawford
0;This fascinating book, by one of the most competent investigators of the subject, tells us how much we think we know about entrepreneurship that is just not true. It has already led me to change several of my lectures (with thanks to the author). This book is a must read for anyone who takes a serious interest in the subject of entrepreneurship.1;2;William J. Baumol, Academic Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Stern School of Business, New York University
-- William J. Baumol
"This makes an excellent reality-check for anyone considering beginning their own business."-Publishers Weekly
"For its myth-busting findings and analytical rigor, Mr. Shane''s book is a welcome addition to the literature on a crucial part of any modern economy." -- Nick Schulz "Wall Street Journal" (01/30/2008)
"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 -- Morgan Lewis Jr., "Inside Business"
"The belief that the U.S. is a relative haven for small businesses is one of the many bubbles burst by Scott Shane. . . . While he''s busting myths, Shane also unveils weaknesses in common entrepreneur practices." -- Mark Henricks "The Industry Standard" (02/08/2008)
"In this fact-filled, but fun-to-read book, Scott Shane demolishes many myths about entrepreneurship and in the process provides much-needed guidance to entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers."-Steve Crawford, Director, Social, Economic, and Workforce Programs Division, National Governor's Association
"Scott has clearly and entertainingly shown why policy makers, entrepreneurs and investors should focus more attention on high growth, high potential start-ups and less on the ''me-too'' new companies than is currently the case."-David T. Morgenthaler, founder, Morgenthaler Ventures -- David T. Morgenthaler
"This fascinating book, by one of the most competent investigators of the subject, tells us how much we think we know about entrepreneurship that is just not true. It has already led me to change several of my lectures (with thanks to the author). This book is a must read for anyone who takes a serious interest in the subject of entrepreneurship."-William J. Baumol, Academic Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Stern School of Business, New York University -- William J. Baumol
"Business scholar Scott Shane debunks popular theories with research-based answers to questions such as why people start businesses, which industries are most popular for startups and what are the most common characteristics of the typical entrepreneur."--Mark Henricks, "Entrepreneur Magazine"
--Mark Henricks "Entrepreneur Magazine "
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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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.
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.
Although I believe academics might find his extensive bibliography research useful (hence the two stars, and not one), I question whether investors or prospective entrepreneurs would learn anything useful from this book (contrary to what is suggested by its marketing). Most of the data and discussion on survivability and profitability refer to all startups taken together-with the exception of a literally sketchy and brief Chapter 7 (see below)-and virtually no effort is made to quantify the likelihood of success for different types of business, product, service, or entrepreneur. As such, it's like looking at the face-value statistics of a marathon (most runners either don't finish or finish far later than the winner) without conditioning on crucial factors such as the level of preparation of the competitor, their diet, or how many previous marathons they have run for example. In other words, such data is of little use for the wanna-be runner who is seeking to obtain a competitive advantage in preparation for the big day.
The only part of the book where such issues are addressed is in the aforementioned Chapter 7, where the author identifies industries (e.g. high-tech) that yield a higher rate of success for startups. But then again, in the author's own words, "[...] the smart money already knows this. Just look at where venture capitalists put their money". The remainder of the chapter is rather cursory and oversimplified, at one point summarizing the findings of what seems to be hundreds of references in about one page (p. 117).
Now, even in the realm of face-value type of analysis, I have trouble following one of the central conclusions of the author, namely that business owners are worse off than workers except for the lucky ones that make it to the top decile (Chapter 6). Although the family income data distribution in Fig. 6.3 seemingly corroborates his point, Fig. 6.4 manifestly contradicts it (family wealth distribution). Indeed, if you look at the actual numbers in the reference provided by the author, the data shows that families whose head is a business owner typically accumulate ~4 times the wealth of worker families across *all* deciles.
There are other minor points that I have found distracting. First is the frequent use of "he/him/his" when referring to an entrepreneur. That is not just politically incorrect; it's also offensive for the female reader who is trying to overcome the gender bias that the author talks about in Chapter 8. Also, sometimes it's hard to know what the author is trying to convey: in page 105 he says that "People who have their own business are more likely than people who work for others to report that their work makes them unhappy or depressed", and three pages later he says that "Entrepreneurship provides a very important non-financial benefit: it makes people happier". (?!)
Perhaps this book is useful for policy makers or academics who need to quote accurate (but not necessarily constructive) statistics. But for the rest of us, the wisdom of seasoned investors and/or entrepreneurs is far more useful (see e.g. the articles by Paul Graham, from Y Combinator, or those of Greg Gianforte, author of Bootstrapping your business).