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How They Started: How 25 Good Ideas Became Great Companies [Paperback]

Carol Tice , David Lester
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Crimson Publishing (29 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780590741
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780590745
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,768,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

How do you turn a good idea into a great business? Lots of us have ideas we think would make great businesses. Most of us never do anything with those ideas. Maybe it s because we re really happy with our jobs, maybe it s because we re not confident that our idea would really work. Or maybe it s simply because we don t know where to start. This book is about 25 like you. They had an idea, and went on to start a business. Those businesses are all extremely successful and most are now household names all across America. With success stories ranging from retail and gaming to social media and the restaurant business, How They Started relives the humble beginnings of companies such as Coca-Cola and Disney, Google and Twitter, Zynga and Chipotle Grill. Through personal interviews with key sources including founders, investors and past employees each profile reveals how the company took its first tentative steps and subsequently became the famous name it is today. Written by Carol Tice, regular writer for Entrepreneur Magazine, and David Lester, who set up a highly successful software company in Farmington, CT and now runs a company dedicated to supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs, How They Started is an enlightening and fascinating book that answers key questions for each business, such as: What happened first? How did they choose their name? How much did it cost to set up? Where did they find suppliers? How did they get their first customers? What problems did they run into - and how did they overcome them? Profiles include: Blackberry, Chipotle Grill, Coca-Cola, Disney, Dropbox, eBay, Electronic Arts, Etsy, Gatorade, Google, Groupon, IBM, Jamba Juice, KFC, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Nintendo, Pinkberry, Spanx, Trip Advisor, Twitter, Wholefoods, Zipcar, Zynga.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Good for dipping into 14 July 2012
By Lucy
Each chapter of this book is divided into a chapter for each company, giving the story of how each one evolved and what their plans are for the future. All the companies are American, so as an English person I was not familiar with all of them eg Jamba Juice, although in the US they are household names. There are a variety of different types of businesses covered, old and new, from the Walt Disney company to the more modern Etsy. However, the focus is mainly on digital companies. Although not written as a 'how to' guide, it is undoubtedly a useful read for those wanting to make their business idea and reality, and is an inspring read for anyone.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great idea for a book -- brilliantly written for maximum retention 26 May 2012
By Moi - Published on
So... EITHER the idea of writing a book on how companies got their start OR writing in the brilliantly informative and clear style of the authors would be enough to make me enjoy this great business book.

However, the combination, represented here, is really remarkable.

First the concept: read about how some great companies started from a good idea, the roadblocks they encountered, the good decisions (and sometimes bad) they made. This is a great, straightforward concept. You almost never will end up, as an entrepreneur (of which I am one), entirely imitating the path of another company, no matter how successful. This is because of the different variables, such as product line and timing, that are inherent in every business situation. Nonetheless, having these remarkable examples to a) benchmark and b) inspire you is incredibly useful as a pick-me-up, idea generator, and in many cases actual guidebook.

Now, to the style in which this book is written. Many business authors, ironically, aren't actually particularly good writers. On the other hand, some really are good writers, and yet notheless fail to write in a way that maximizes ease of reading and comprehension. Ms. Tice and Mr. Lester, however, have shaped literally every sentence in a way that goes down easy and actually sticks in memory in a very retrievable way. For a business book, that is my highest compliment.

Micah Solomon
Author of "High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Great Information to Stay Encouraged 5 July 2012
By The Writing Lady - Published on
This is a great read for someone with a great idea and what's involved in bringing it to fruition. I love the writing style of Carol Tice on her pieces because you can envision yourself in the midst of the story and almost feel like you're participating. It opens doors for new ideas, shows the reality of roadblocks and how they can be broken apart, and clearly reveals that if you believe in yourself and what you want to do, it can be done despite the odds. How They Started: How 25 Good Ideas Became Great Companies shares to qualities of true entrepreneurs and their passion to build something from an idea.

The writing is solid, provides great visuals and engages the reader to uncover more ways to make something work. Carol Tice write clear, concise copy that truly inspires. David Kester has organized the book in such a way it's entertaining and fun. The other writers are equally engaging and write solid content that moves you forward to learn more and get you thinking about how you could find new ways to put a spin on an existing idea to make it come alive. And all the articles show how sometimes doing what seems crazy is actually a great way to break through the mold and find a new niche. It's a good read for a brief break, or for an evening of sitting down to absorb some thought-provoking ideas and learn about great success stories.

In an volatile economy, this book is an inspiration to people who want to truly pursue their dreams. Finding innovative ways to get around obstacles makes the idea an even stronger dream. I love the way each idea is established and how each individual is portrayed to pursue the idea to make it a working, profitable company. I refer back to these stories often for my clients, to find new ways to present their information and give them ideas on how to overcome obstacles. It's an encouragement to someone looking for work in a difficult economy, and an inspiration to someone who wants to start over. I recommend this book to anyone whether you want a quick read, a reference book, and inspiring compilation of success stories or simply an overview of how one or two people made a difference for millions. You won't be disappointed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Stories for Would-be Entrepreneurs, Businesspeople 3 Jun 2012
By dkanenh - Published on
If you have a stack of untouched "how to" business books gathering dust on your nightstand (like I do), then "How They Started" is the perfect read: it's short, smartly written and won't put you go to sleep.

Focusing on 25 American companies, from famous Internet start-ups like Google, Ebay, and Twitter, to more established names like Coca-Cola, IBM, and Walt Disney Company, the book tells insightful, entertaining stories of how these businesses started and what made them successful. All have one thing in common: they started with a great idea. Some of the founders had financial resources, many didn't; some were college drop-outs or by-passed college altogether. All had chutzpah. For example: Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX, a women's shapewear manufacturer, got her first big order by modeling the undergarments herself for a Neiman-Marcus buyer; Stephen Kaufer started TripAdvisor because he wanted honest advice about where to go on vacation; and Whole Foods founder John Mackey pioneered retail sales of organic food in beef-centric Texas, in the early 1980s.

Each chapter features a different company, with a profile of the founder(s), age(s), education and where they're from. The chapter continues with the story of how the business started, finishing with a summary of where the company is now.

"How They Started" is entertaining and informative -- though I got bogged down by tech-speak in a few chapters. For entrepreneurs seeking additional inspiration as well as readers interested in a behind-the-scenes look at American business, it's a good read, packaged in an entertaining, easy-to-read format.
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Enjoyed This ...... 28 Dec 2013
By JB Capital management Co - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We hear so much about companies that have become "great" , but never the inspiration or beginning of what happened and how they got started. This book provides 5-10 page summaries on a number of success stories. I have recommended it to friends, and bought as gifts. Definitely worth a read for all current and wanna be entrepreneurs.
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring read especially for aspiring entrepreneurs 9 Nov 2013
By Danny Wong - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Each one of these stories was refreshing and surprising to read. The struggles of building a business are absolutely real, yet it is an entrepreneur's determination (plus a lot of skill and often a sprinkle of luck) that helps the business realize its potential and reach international fame and notoriety. I would love to read another book like this featuring other businesses and their incredible journeys from conception to wherever they are now.
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