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Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value Hardcover – July 9, 2013
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Isenberg excels at breaking down the many elements that lead to entrepreneurial success.” BARRONS
a thought-provoking book about the contrary nature of successful entrepreneurs.” Financial Times
Isenberg effectively captures the varied landscape of new and innovative work, and inspiring stories and coverage of many different kinds of businesses fully support his premise.” Publishers Weekly
There is a guy called Daniel Isenberg I don’t really know him but he is a big deal and writes and talks a fair bit about entrepreneurship. He’s written a book that I feel touches on some interesting points about entrepreneurship. Brad Feld, co-founder of Techstars, likes it so there must be something to it.” Michelle Atagana, VentureBurn.com
a fascinating book it will challenge your assumptions about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and provide valuable insights into why and how those who are successful made it work. If you've ever wondered what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, you'll want to read Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value, by Daniel Isenberg.” Jeanne Destro, USA Today
there is an abundance of great nuggets of knowledge in this book as well as frank confessions about how hard it usually is to create truly great companies. That kind of intelligence is not worthless, impossible or stupid.” The Financial Times
provocative, insightful, inspiring, and fun to read.” Choice magazine
presents a part motivational and part self-help guide for aspiring entrepreneurs.” Book News
In Worthless...’ Daniel Isenberg shatters the following two misconceptions: 1. The myth of the stroke of genius: most value creation is produced at the level of what Isenberg calls minnovation”: small and unexpected twists on existing ideas, business models or products and services. 2. The myth of the expert: experts are not always the best positioned to be innovative. A novice’s fresh perspective can help to overcome barriers and discover opportunities that experts may be blind to.” Business Digest
ADVANCE PRAISE for Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid:
Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group; cofounder, TechStars; and author, Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City
Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid is a thought-provoking book for anyone interested in understanding the deeply contrarian nature of many entrepreneurs. It challenges the status quo definitions of entrepreneurship with substantive examples from all over the world. A must-read for building start-up communities.”
Jonathan Ortmans, President, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and Senior Fellow, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Daniel Isenberg’s bottom-up insights are a must-read for policymakers around the world racing to build smarter environments for starting and scaling firms.”
Esther Dyson, Chairman, EDventure Holdings
Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid confounds the stereotypes. The book vividly illustrates that entrepreneurs don’t all look like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin; they don’t all live in Silicon Valley. And most important, they do more than create start-ups that make novel products or solve problems; they build companies of lasting value.”
Jim McCann, founder and CEO, 1-800-Flowers.com and Celebrations.com
Daniel Isenberg manages to turn the words worthless, impossible, and stupid’ into the highest form of praise by getting inside the minds of real-life entrepreneurs to explain how counterintuitive thinking (and a sometimes inexplicable indifference to failure) have helped create and often revolutionize global business.”
Yossi Vardi, serial internet entrepreneur
Daniel Isenberg’s book sheds a whole new light on the nature of entrepreneurship, of entrepreneurs, and of business opportunity more broadly. Original, thought-provoking, and fun to read, it blows up a lot of truisms about this important topic.”
Linda Rottenberg, cofounder and CEO, Endeavor Global
Calling all contrarians: If you’ve taken great risks, confronted skeptics and setbacks, and unleashed extraordinary value, you’ll recognize yourself in this important new book by Daniel Isenberg. Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid perfectly captures the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial path, felling a great many myths along the way.”
Calestous Juma, professor, Harvard Kennedy School; author, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa
This book is a real threat to conventional theories on business development. Its lessons apply in many other fields of human endeavor. Anyone interested in changing the world for the better should read it.”
Grégoire Sentilhes, CEO, NextStage; cofounder, G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance
Like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, François Pinault, Diego Della Valle, and so many other great entrepreneurs, Daniel Isenberg is a contrarian and provocative thinker. Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid accurately demonstrates why being an outstanding entrepreneur is not about age, expertise, or reason; it is about vision, courage, and mind-set.”
Akin Öngör, former CEO, Garanti Bank
In this provocative book, Daniel Isenberg shatters stereotypes and clarifies the often misunderstood concept of entrepreneurship. His inspiring real-life examples prove that true value is often found where many can only see something that seems worthless, impossible, or stupid.”
Sir Ronald Cohen, cofounder and former Chairman, Apax Partners
Valuable, practical, and insightful, Daniel Isenberg’s new book is a very helpful and illustrative guide to the entrepreneurial journey.”
Maria Pinelli, Global Vice Chair of Strategic Growth Markets, Ernst & Young
Entrepreneurship is so important for a healthy economy: It creates jobs, supports communities, and builds a better working world. Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid provides a sophisticated and provocative narrative on this crucial topic.”
Nick Lazaris, former CEO, Keurig
Entrepreneurs take note. Daniel Isenberg makes his contrarian point clear in this provocative book: Entrepreneurs need to be as innovative in finding ways to capture value as they are in creating it. This will be good for them individually and for the society that benefits from entrepreneurialism.”
Mikko Kosonen, President, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra
Daniel Isenberg brings us back to the roots of entrepreneurship: It’s all about identifying, creating, and capturing value, in areas not seen by others and that may seem worthless, impossible, and stupid. But there are real rewards for the hard-headed entrepreneurand for the rest of us!”
Top Customer Reviews
I bought the Kindle edition of this book.
The Kindle opens up to an inside page (I forget which page, something like page 4 or 5 or so.) I think every Kindle book I've bought does this. I've often wondered why the do not open to the "cover" during the first "opening" of the ebook.
The cover photo is low-resolution and looks jaggy. The image looks as if someone picked up a dirty printed edition, creased it in half and then scanned it. Not sure if this is intentional or what. It looks wrong.
I winced while reading the third paragraph, which states "tough bloody s***." So what's the deal with this? Is this book about colon cancer? Hemorrhoids? The author quotes a businessman later in the book as saying this phrase. I would have found a better quote. It comes off as low-class.
"How this book came to be" is a subsection in the preface. It reads like what I'd expect to see in the "About the author" section and seemed out-of-place at the beginning of the book. "Israel" is mentioned 23 times in about five pages, which struck me as excessive.
Fortunately, once you get past the preface the book gets on track. Notes I took down include:
- entrepreneurship is the contrarian perception, creation and capture of extraordinary value.
- copying existing business models is great.
- ideas are one thing, but real value is in execution
- Innovation can be small yet profitable (Cinemex example)
- upscale folks as well as the poverty-stricken (surprisingly) customers can make one rich.
- You don't have to be an expert in a field to start a business.Read more ›
"Worthless is about how so many people from around the world see hidden value in situations where others do not. These people then use that perception to successfully develop valuable products and services that customers usually initially don't think they want, and ultimately go on to realize extraordinary value for themselves." So what? Isenberg's response: "A paradox: despite their statistical rarity in creating extraordinary value, most of the entrepreneurs in these pages will strike you as ordinary people like you and me. The differences between them and us are less a matter of who they are or what resources they have than of what and how they think.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Worthless, Impossible and Stupid" serves as a stirring review of the global reach of entrepreneurship. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Andy Orrock
I like author's perspective on startup. There is no safe way for entreprenur. ( most people are waiting to play safe). Read morePublished on June 25, 2014 by WC
If you are in need of a lateral perspective on entrepreneurs, this book is for you.
I thoroughly enjoy this book.
Daniel Isenberg's book is subtitled, "How contrarian entrepreneurs create and capture extraordinary vale. Read morePublished on January 20, 2014 by William Keyser, Venture Founders LLC
The book contains interesting stories from entrepreneurs around the world. It is easy to read, and provides food for thought for people who want to start their own business.Published on December 13, 2013 by Christos
One of the best books of its genre I have read as a venture capitalist. Unique descriptions of entrpreneurs and unique anecdotesPublished on December 9, 2013 by Robert E. Keith
Fantastic insight on entrepreneurship and how it can be difficult to quantify. Isenberg very effectively illustrates how to "break the rules."Published on October 23, 2013 by celyea