- Hardcover: 229 pages
- Publisher: Business Plus; First Edition/ First Printing edition (September 22, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446576840
- ISBN-13: 978-0446576840
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,832,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Instinct: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA to Achieve Your Business Goals Hardcover – September 22, 2005
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Top customer reviews
And Mr. Harrison is obviously someone who has walked this talk. INSTINCT is filled not only with quotes and anecdotes about other successful entrepreneurs, but Mr. Harrison's own career experiences, transitioning from research scientist to pharmaceutical sales rep to ad agency account guy to CEO.
I highly recommend INSTINCT to anyone who is, or even suspects they may be, an entrepreneur. You will feel much better about yourself and your goals, and be much better prepared to keep moving forward, after reading this book.
The bottom line is: 1) There is hope 2) Play to your strengths
1. "What prevents one person from evolving and adapting to change [while there are others who get ahead] regardless of the obstacles that stand in [their] way?"
2. "Are some people [in italics] naturally [end italics] endowed from birth with characteristics that invariably lead to success?"
3. "And if so, what about those of us who may not be so genetically gifted?"
4. "Are we doomed to a lifetime of repeated failure if those qualities don't come naturally?"
5. "Is success the product of something in our DNA or something we learn?"
6. "Or is it some combination -- a genetic, instinctive predisposition that we can enhance at crucial moments in our lives by using learned skills and abilities?"
Harrison offers his own responses to these important questions, and explains the reasons for the conclusions he has reached. Those responses are best revealed within his narrative. I'm not giving away the plot, however, when adding that Harrison explains how highly successful people have leveraged certain inherited traits and learned how to compensate for those that they lack. He thereby suggests how those who read his book can do the same.
This is not an easy read but well worth the effort to absorb and digest the material. Obviously, following Harrison's suggestions is much easier said than done. He has carefully studied the works of Charles Darwin and believes in the concept of natural selection. At one point, he asserts that evolution "is what it's all about -- in business, careers, and life....Evolution has refined our genetic instructions over centuries to help us survive as a species. The DNA that has been passed on is the DNA that worked." To his credit, Harrison focuses most of his attention on 22 exemplary entrepreneurs and business leaders who agreed to share their personal stories. (A complete list of them is provided on pages 227-228.) The process of self-inquiry which Harrison recommends begins with completing a comprehensive "Entrepreneurial Personality Quiz" which consists of five sections. After each, Harrison suggests what response patterns may (just may) indicate. This is by no means a definitive exercise. Its purpose, rather, is to give to each respondent at least a sense of her or his entrepreneurial quotient.
Please go back and re-read the six questions listed earlier in this brief commentary. If you are as interested now as I was then in learning what Harrison's responses are, I urge you to purchase this book and then read it one chapter at a time, then re-read the chapter before proceeding to the next. The journey he invites you to begin should proceed at your own pace. Enjoy each moment while keeping in mind that there is both "good news" and "bad news": that journey never ends.
Harrison has an unusual background in cell biology, entrepreneurship and as a CEO, which makes him uniquely qualified to explain exactly why you may - or may not - have an inclination to start and run an uber-successful company.
What I loved most about this book, however, was its thoughtful and smart analysis of why entrepreneurs share common traits. I always wondered, for example, why the most successful entrepreneurs I know do not just run a string of multi-million dollar companies; they also sit on a plethora of non-profit boards, chair major research projects for their alma maters and also run the tennis round robins at their country clubs.
Harrison explains this as entrepreneurs' propensity towards "openness" and to constantly wanting to pursue new intellectual interests and activities, all the while drawing lessons between seemingly unrelated strings of thought.
On p. 44, for example, Harrison quotes Thomas Edison who was once asked to sign a guest registry and answer what he was "interested in." Edison's response? "Everything."
Instinct also does a great job explaining the importance of charisma for an entrepreneur and of treating people well. I like Harrison for that, and for writing about the power of persistence, such as early in his career when he got a job at an A&P by stopping by the local store every week for months. Persistence and optimism are vastly under-rated qualities, and Harrison does a terrific job giving them proper credit and explaining their power.