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Smart Luck and the Seven Other Qualities of Great Entrepreneurs Paperback – 7 Apr 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1st edition (7 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0273681273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0273681274
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 370,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Andrew Davidson was born in Lambeth, south London in 1959 and has worked as a journalist since 1982, with a focus on interviews and psychology. He wrote the interview page of the Sunday Times Business section from 2003 to 2012. Prior to that he wrote a similar weekly interview for the Financial Times and a monthly interview for Management Today magazine. He has won awards for business writer of the year (Periodical Publishers Association) and magazine writer of the year (The Work Foundation), and has published four books: Fred's War (Short Books), the story of his grandfather's service in the 1st Cameronians from 1914-1915; Smart Luck (Pearson Prentice Hall), an anthology of his interviews with entrepreneurs; Bloodlines (Little Brown), an anatomy of daily life at St Thomas's Hospital; and Under The Hammer (Heinemann), an account of the 1990 TV franchise auction in Britain. He is married to Vanessa Nicolson and currently lives outside Sissinghurst in Kent.

Product Description

Amazon Review

What makes men like Richard Branson and Alan Sugar so successful? More than talent, more than ambition and drive, Andrew Davidson believes, it's Smart Luck--taking a gamble when you know the odds. Through impressively well written and personal interviews with some of the UK's most charismatic and successful business minds, Davidson gives us a glimpse into what turns a man like James Dyson into an entrepreneur.
Dyson says he has always felt different, ever since his father died when he was a child. "Losing a father makes you incrediblydisadvantaged emotionally. There isn't that personal willing you on there to help you. You become horribly self-reliant and you grow up quicker in one sense, and never grow up in another." Certainly, he looks 15 years younger than his age--he's a health and fitness fanatic, running three times a week and watching what he eats. His son, Jacob, calls him Peter Pan and there is a certain childlike quality in his enthusiasms which encourages him to break rules and challenge status quos when others might think it batty to do so.
What makes Smart Luck compelling is its voyeuristic quality--describing how Lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman leaves theinterview to take a call and forgets to come back, or the varying types of therapy Simon Woodroffe endured while building up the Yo! Sushi chain. It's definitely not a manual for wannabe moguls--most of thetales here were started through coincidence and chance more than design or strategy. Knowing how Autonomy's Mike Lynch's experiences with industrial giant GEC defined his career, or how Pizza Express founderLuke Johnson got his break after a chance reply to a Financial Times ad won't make you a better businessman--but it will give you gems of insight rarely found on the business shelves. --Sally Whittle --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

''A short book that ought to be required reading for us all.''

Long Range Planning, March 2007

" The prose is breathless, the subjects opinionated and the writing so good...
may be the most entertaining book on business published this year... sit back and enjoy "  

Sunday Times, Book of the Week


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 May 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Far from the best business book I've read - very disjointed (no logical progression or conclusion) - the author frequently mentions himself (relevance?). However, it is an interesting insight and background into some of the people featured in the book. And finally £16.99 for a paperback book? a touch steep?
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By Daniel A on 7 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was a big disappointment. It had much potential, particularly as Andrew Davidson manages to meet such a wide range of entrepreneurial talent including Richard Branson, Charles Dunstone, Alan Sugar and (the late) Anita Roddick. I was therefore hoping to learn something about their individual experiences, i.e. how they made their unique mark, rather than simplistic and overly generalized advice about being resilient, disciplined and ambitious etc. Well tell me something I don't know.

Davidson also knows next to nothing about structure. The book is very disjointed, with interviews with one individual, awkwardly interspersed with comments from another. And for some odd reason he has sought to write in the style of a Raymond Chandler novel with attempts at literary prose popping up throughout e.g. "Before I left that January day, with Littlehampton looking as grey and uninviting as a worn-out raincoat" or "We're sipping Diet Cokes on the veranda of his surfside fish restaurant and his mischievous grey eyes keep wandering to the next bikinied body that enters his sightline" etc. Very odd.

All in all, there are better books out there on entrepreneurship than this one. 'Anyone Can Do It' by Sahar and Bobby Hashemi for instance.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
A recent Sunday Times Book of the Week, Smart Luck lives up to the Times' reviewer's billing; "May be the most entertaining business book published this year...There isn't a dull chapter to be found."
This book gets personal with entrepreneurship, and really brings alive the elusive qualities that make a great business builder. At the heart of Davidson's book are smart luck and the seven other qualities of great entrepreneurs, which echoes Covey's seven habits approach. In this case though, humourless evangelism is replaced by humour and human insight. So no checklists or models, but a real immersion in entrepreneurial spirit which will leave you with a much better sense of whether you have it or not.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By adrianrgeorge@yahoo.com on 18 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
I guess most of us are pretty fascinated by what makes a person a huge business success. This is a most insightful and revealing book - the author has interviewed all the people featured (and it's not just the 'usual suspects' either - a good mix of household names and relative unknowns, despite their success). Their own words show what makes them tick. It's a great read too - very witty, quite wry humour and obviously a writer with a great way with words. Some of his observational stuff was really first rate. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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