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Never Bet the Farm: How Entrepreneurs Take Risks, Make Decisions - and How You Can, Too 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787983666
ISBN-10: 0787983667
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Never Bet the Farm is an outstanding work, with many refreshing insights. A book I will use in entrepreneurship classes for some time to come."
—Albert A. Cannella Jr., Hahnco Companies professor, Arizona State University, Department of Management

"Iaquinto and Spinelli, using a rare mixture of practical experience and academic expertise, have come up with a framework that every entrepreneur should use if they wish to survive the inevitable pitfalls that line their path to success."
—Richard A. Steenerson, president and owner, Polaris Marine, Inc.

"Never Bet the Farm is a book that manages to be both practical and inspirational."
—Arsen Avakian, CEO and founder, Argo Tea, Inc.

"A very readable book for any entrepreneur."
—Rocki-Lee DeWitt, dean, University of Vermont, School of Business Administration

From the Back Cover

In Never Bet the Farm two leading entrepreneurs, Anthony Iaquinto and Stephen Spinelli, turn much of the so-called expert advice for entrepreneurs on its head. They show that by preparing for setbacks and using a framework that can help reduce risks and simplify decision making, entrepreneurs can increase their probability for success. They refute the idea that there is an ideal entrepreneurial “type,” and show that luck can be as important as a business plan in many enterprises. Above all, the authors emphasize that entrepreneurship is a career, not a one-time event, and winners are those who can keep themselves in the game. Never Bet the Farm is an easy-to-understand and attractive tool for anyone who has a business idea, but who might be wary of the risks implied in starting their own business.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787983667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787983666
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you are thinking about starting a business but haven't done so before, you should read this book. Never Bet the Farm will increase your chances of success, reduce your chances of experiencing a calamity, and focus your attention in helpful ways so you'll make faster progress. The book is a quick read, easy to understand, and unforgettable in its examples and observations.

If you have been an entrepreneur . . . or worked for an entrepreneur, you have a degree in the school of hard knocks about what can come your way. With those bumps and bruises, you'll develop a future business in a more successful way. For example, you probably experienced trying to do too much too soon . . . with not enough resources. That's a natural booby trap for most entrepreneurs who have a strong sense of urgency . . . that often overwhelms their sense of caution.

While the bookstores and libraries bulge with volumes that help you think about who your customer is, how to add great value for that customer, and what you can do to provide superior products and services, there's little to help you realize where it might help you to rein in your enthusiasm. Never Bet the Farm plugs that gap in your inexperience if you are first-time entrepreneur or would-be entrepreneur.

As I read the book, I was struck at how many of the points and examples perfectly match what I teach my entrepreneurial students. Why? Both coauthors are successful entrepreneurs as well as professors of entrepreneurship, and they bring those twin perspectives to bear in practical ways.

The book's structure is a little unusual. The book is short (about 120 pages) with a lot of references (university centers for entrepreneurship, books, web sites, and citation sources used in the book).
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Format: Paperback
I was really disappointed in this book. I do believe that many books on entrepreneurship are meant to be inspirational and therefore end up being unrealistic, and to be fair, I do think this book paints a more practical and accurate picture. With that said, the book was very general, lacked interesting and relevant examples, and didn't add much value. Furthermore, the book seems to be 200 pages but about 70 pages are a worthless list of universities.

The worst thing? The authors repeatedly present italicized quotes of themselves, attempting to make their own thoughts and backgrounds seem even more important than they are. Disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
In Mr. Panah Mosaferirad's review, (a "Spotlight" review based apparently on his penchant for reviewing books and products) he seems to have an agenda in negatively comparing Never Bet the Farm to another book, The Entrepreneurial Mindset. They are completely different types of books! NBTF states upfront that it is not a textbook, but an easy to understand tool for regular folks who have business ideas but are intimated by all the Jack Welch-like profiles of uber-entrepreneurs. I'm sure The Entrepreneurial Mindset is a fine book, which seems tailored to corporate types who are comfortable with MBA concepts, and indeed it clocks in at 400 pages which to Mr. Mosaferirad's mind makes it better. He even criticizes the paper-stock used for NBTF, which is pretty strange. NBTF, however, is intended to demystify the process by which people with creative business ideas can overcome their fears and embark on an entrepreneurial career. The authors, who blend both academic and entrepreneurial expertise, apply their own experiences as well as anecdotes from well-known entrepreneurs to outline the decision-making tools necessary to take smart risks. The last section of the book is an Entrepreneur's Guidebook which identifies entrepreneurship schools/centers throughout the nation, a list of websites focusing on national business and government organizations, and recommended entrepreneur books organized by sub-category. These resources are invaluable to anyone starting out. I wish I had read this book when I opened my retail store 10 years ago, it would have saved me a lot of grief (and money)!!!
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Format: Paperback
This book is made up of 15 principles in 2 parts as follows:-

Developing the Correct Frame of Mind:-
1. Entrepreneurship is a career
2. Successful entrepreneurs are just like you
3. There are no secrets to success
4. Luck is part of the equation
5. Never reach for a gallon when you only need a quart
6. It shouldn't only be about money
7. Embrace fear
Maximizing long term potential by minimizing short term risks.
8. Never bet the farm
9. Don't spend a dollar when a dime will do
10. Always tap a bridge before crossing
11. Only fools fly without a net
12. Connect but protect
13. Buddy up
14. Learn to play the gray
15. Plan a timely exit

On page v, the authors stated their objectives is to help one prepare for setbacks by providing a framework that can help one reduce risks and simplify decision making. IMHO, they had achieved so with an easy reading, interesting yet very helpful book. If the authors had elaborated more on the above principles rather than provided a long list of "University Centres" in pg125-184 and "Selected websites / books / reference / index" in pg185-211, even better.

p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.
Even Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, suffered a setback or two. He had turned his very first store - a Ben Franklin franchise in Newport, Mississippi - into one of the most profitable stores in the region. However, when he signed the lease for the building that housed his store, he neglected to include a clause that would have given him the option to renew after the first five years. Seeing what a success Sam had made (who wanted to take over the thriving retail business), when the five years was up, the landlord kicked him out.
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