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Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur Hardcover – January 14, 2013
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From the Author: 10 Quick Tips to Incorporate into Your Entrepreneurial Relationship Today
- Never Schedule High Priorities Activities or Deadlines on Fridays: Doing so will likely create a scenario that drifts into Friday night, Saturday, and then Sunday. Always be realistic about the ebb and flow of the work cycle.
- Don't Bring Up Charged Topics at Bedtime: Your bedroom should be a sanctuary and a safe haven from the demands of the world. Never start a conflict when your you and your partner are in bed and dozing off to sleep.
- Laugh and Laugh Often: We believe you can never hug each other enough, say you love each other too much, or laugh too often.
- Apologize and Forgive: Practice apologizing when you hurt your partner's feelings. Offer forgiveness when your partner has been careless with your feelings. Know that you will try to be your best self but that you will often fail and will need to hone your apology skills.
- Have a Life Dinner Once a Month: Make a reservation right now at one of your favorite restaurants. Go out--just the two of you. Buy your significant other a gift. Turn off your cell phones and hand them to the other person. Spend a long slow dinner enjoying each other's company.
- Set Limits on Technology: You do not need to do just one more e-mail right before bedtime. You really don't. You need to sleep well and restore yourself and reset your brain chemistry during a nice night of rest. Those who need to take breaks from technology are often the least likely to do it.
- Live Where You Want to Live: Pick the place where you want to live and build your life around it. Our contributors to the book, Mark and Pam Solon, say "We believe it's important for young people embarking on their lives to realize that geography matters in your happiness quotient and that it can even out--weigh the highest-paying job opportunities."
- Life Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Another contributor to the book, Dave Jilk, says "If I could send my younger self a message from the future, it would tell me to treat my career more like a marathon than a sprint."
- Commit to Each Other's Dreams: "Recognizing that one's partner is pursuing their dream, they are satisfied down to their soul and, in so being satisfied, are that much more alive. That level of aliveness is a gift few partners can ever give, and successful couples recognize this," say Tim Enwall and Hillary Hall.
- Always Answer His or Her Calls! While it might seem like a small gesture, the cumulative impact of doing so on a regular basis shows your partner they matter to you.
"There have been many thousands of pages dedicated to successful entrepreneurship, but rarely a word spoken about leading a successful entrepreneurial life until the release of “Startup Life.” In what I consider to be the first must-read book of the year, Amy Batchelor and Brad Feld artfully tackle the subject with an astonishing level of transparency and authenticity. No subject is off-limits, including emotional struggles, sexual intimacy, financial decision-making, and family planning."
“One of the most appealing aspects of Startup Life is that Brad and Amy are not dogmatic. They offer various suggestions from their own lives, as well as vignettes provided by other startup couples, which Brad believes make the book more impactful and balanced…Although the book’s ideal audience is an entrepreneurial couple on the front-end of their relationship, even veteran entrepreneurs can learn something from Startup Life.”
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Brad and Amy share stories and advice from their 22 year relationship that has spanned numerous startups. Brad has been an early-stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987, and Amy is a venture philanthropist. The couple resides in Boulder, Colorado. Brad and Amy, along with many other entrepreneurial couples, share wisdom they've gleaned while dealing with the inevitable ups and downs that accompany startup life. The no-holds-barred book tackles relationship issues such as communication, sex and intimacy, mental health, financial stewardship, and family planning in an open and candid way.
This book is such a gift to the startup (and broader business) community. As I read the book I was constantly reminded of my favorite business book, Personal History, Katherine Graham's autobiography. Although I love reading business books, Personal History was the first book I read by a business leader that dealt with the human and emotional side of leadership. Mrs. Graham talked openly about her insecurities and doubts, she described what leadership feels like, and she expressed vulnerability.
Perhaps it's because society still holds to the Industrial-era thinking that business life and personal life should be kept separate that books such as these are rare. Most business books fail to deal at all with the personal, the emotional, the human side of business. However, these are the aspects of startup life where we confront real challenges--often alone and without guidance or help. This is beginning to change. And, folks like Brad and Amy, and the others who shared their stories, are helping to make it happen.
It takes real courage to share these type of intimate details and talk about issues facing entrepreneurs and their relationship parters so candidly. Their courage reminded me of this quotation about real strength from Fred Rogers.
"When I was a boy I used to think that strong meant having big muscles, great physical power; but the longer I live, the more I realize that real strength has much more to do with what is not seen. Real strength has to do with helping others."
- Fred Rogers
- As an entrepreneur, the ideas included in the book have helped me think through my priorities and what motivates me, and also how my choices affect family and friends.
- Open and intentional communication with people is important, especially with people you care about. Some of the problems that entrepreneurs face are hard, and Amy's and Brad's authentic approach and real-world examples validated my own challenges; it's been extremely helpful to understand how others have approached similar problems.
- Sharing the book has served as a great discussion starter. I've had a few "oh yeah, you definitely do that, let's talk about how we can improve" conversations, and I've been in a better place because of it.