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Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think [Kindle Edition]

Luke Johnson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

Luke Johnson is the man behind the growth of PizzaExpress and as a host of other leading brands; one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs with an estimated personal fortune of £120 million.

In Start It Up he compresses two decades of success to reveal the realities of running your own business and bust some key myths along the way. Learn how to find the right idea or buy someone else's; source capital from all sorts of places you never expected; get the best from everyone you meet on the way - chiefly yourself; and stay sane while you do it.

Start It Up is that all-too-rare thing: a how-to book by someone who actually has.

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Just buy this book. A must-read for inspiring entrepreneurs, probably the best book available on the subject. (John McLaren Management Today)

A rare achievement: a business book that is both well-written and useful (Economist)

Part rant, part outpouring of useful knowledge gleaned from 20 very successful years in business. There is a great deal here that is good. (Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Financial Times)

Nine out of ten How-To books are a bore. This is the one out of ten. It's easy to read, with original ideas and useful advice for wannabe tycoons (Jeff Randall, Sky News presenter and Daily Telegraph columnist)

Brilliant. It's all here: the triumphs and disasters, the iron law of the business cycle and the timeless wisdom of those who've gone before him (Brent Hoberman, founder of

Independent, unorthodox, even bloody-minded - Johnson can be all of these and it's what makes him worth reading (Peter Bazalgette, Chairman, Endemol UK)

Luke Johnson knows a lot about an amazing range of business subjects and has thoughtful views about the controversial ones (Investors Chronicle)

A really refreshing guide by somebody who has made a fair amount of money following his own advice. An excellent book... Highly recommended (Irish Independent)

Very few people have had more impact than Luke Johnson (Peter Harden, founder, Harden’s Restaurant Guides)

An engaging and useful read (Financial News)

Provocative and worth reading (Michael Spencer, founder and Chief Executive, ICAP)

From the Back Cover

`Nine out of ten how-to books are a bore. This is the one out of ten. It's easy to read, with original ideas and useful advice for wannabe tycoons'
Jeff Randall, Sky News presenter and Daily Telegraph columnist

Running your own business is nowhere near as tough as you might think. So what are you waiting for?

Luke Johnson is Britain's busiest tycoon, with a personal fortune estimated at £120 million. From PizzaExpress and Channel 4 to his incisive Financial Times Column, Johnson has spent two decades on the business frontline.

It Start It Up, Johnson sets out to inspire - and guide - every budding entrepreneur. He tackles the issues that really matter: finding the right idea, sourcing funds and getting the best from the people you meet on the way - chiefly yourself.

`Luke Johnson is independent, unorthodox, even bloody-minded - it's what makes him worth reading'
Peter Bazalgette, Chairman, Endemol

`It's all here: the triumphs the disasters, the iron law of the business cycle, and the timeless wisdom of those who've gone before him'
Brent Hoberman, founder of

`Very few people have had more impact than Luke Johnson'

Product details

More About the Author

Luke Johnson is one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs.

He is Chairman of Risk Capital Partners and the Royal Society of Arts, and a former Chairman of Channel 4 Television. He writes columns for the Financial Times and Management Today. In the 1990s he was Chairman of PizzaExpress, which he grew from twelve restaurants to over 250; he also founded the Strada pizzeria chain and is an owner and Chairman of Giraffe and Patisserie Valerie.

He lives in London and is married with three children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected 21 Mar. 2012
As someone who eagerly awaits Luke Johnson's weekly column in the FT and more often than not find it contains very useful insight and advice, I found this book slightly disappointing. It is quite short for a start; nothing wrong with that but it's not cheap, and while the book looks thick the typeset is large and many pages are taken up with only 9 or 10 word quotations. But more significantly, it suffers from the same weakness that some of Johnson's columns in the FT do - when he sticks to the nitty-gritty of actually starting and running a business he is consistently interesting and worthwhile. But he regularly veers off to go on extended rants about how the world would be so much better a place of everyone was an entrepreneur like him, how businesspeople get such a rough ride, etc. At times his quasi-religious fanaticism about the need for everyone to be business people from the cradle to the grave and never relent or pause for reflection begins to grate. The last 10 pages or so in particular, where he trots out all the usual whinges of the business community, and tries to tie them into a existential lesson on existence, are embarassing. But it's worth reading for the bits where he sticks to his knitting on actual lessons from business.

It occurred to me that Johnson may have something to answer for in terms of the blandness of our High Streets; he seems to have been - or is still - in control of the majority of the restaurant chains in the country (or at least in the south-east).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exhortation 24 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Frankly I was a little disappointed with this book. Exhortation isn't the same as entrepreneurial advice. In general I think the book rather shallow and I would have prefered yet another "How I built (Pizza Express)XYZ". Or even better an analysis of how a business failed from someone of this stature would have shown unusual humility as well as being more instructive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars no nonsense 5 Nov. 2011
A fairly decent inspirational read that once more confirms the old truism that in order to succeed in business you first have to go and do something and then pretty much keep doing one thing after another until you eventually make it.
In addition to that the book also contains some pretty good advice, imho, on where to look for money and about how it's always a bad idea to borrow money against your house. Another sensible piece of advice is that when you're just starting out perhaps the most sensible approach is to moonlight until your business starts making enough cash or at least until you're sure that it's already on the verge of generating steady cash flow.
I also liked the bit about the importance of execution. It's repeated throughout the book and for a good reason as there are probably hundreds of thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs out there coming up with all sorts of ideas but never actually getting round to implementing those ideas.

If it's some sort of a revelation you're after this book is not for you, but truth be told there's probably nothing new in how to go about starting your own business, all the information has been known for centuries and this book just provides a good summary of it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended and enjoyable 18 Sept. 2011
I highly recommend this inspiring, thoughtful book to anyone interested in how the world works and the role that endeavour plays. Luke is grounded in History and is a realistic optimist. He understands how Business works and provides great tips re ingredients for success and how important attention to detail and the execution of a great idea is.
Luke has been around and shares his failures as well as his successes.
He would be a great mentor, and since we will not get this face to face opportunity, then this very readable book is the next best thing!!
You will get much more from this than by watching hours of the Apprentice and Dragons Den entertainment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benefit from hard-won experience 21 Sept. 2011
Luke Johnson distils over twenty years of hard-won experience for us in his new book, `Start It Up.'
There's none of the typical celebrity-entrepreneur's high-watt glow of self-satisfaction here. Engagingly, Mr Johnson begins the book with an impressive catalogue of his own cock-ups. Yet he has won through. And that's the point, really - the entrepreneur needs, it appears, an extraordinarily high capacity to `bounce back.'
Howard Shultz spent a year making 242 presentations to potential investors before he was able to raise the money to start Starbucks. Most entrepreneurs must overcome myriad setbacks before they get anywhere. Promoting enterprise is not really about spreadsheets. It's about character. And it's not for everyone. Perhaps it's only for one in ten.
But entrepreneurs are the people who create wealth, produce employment and ultimately provide the taxes that fund education, health, law & order and all the rest of it. (Even highly-established concerns had to start somewhere; in the case of Rolls Royce Aerospace, with its current aircraft engine order book of £61.4 billion, it all began with two guys meeting in a Manchester hotel in 1904 and deciding to go into partnership to design and sell new-fangled automobiles.)
If you feel you do have it in you to throw your hat into the ring and get going, `Start It Up' is choc-full of invaluable advice, telling anecdotes and illuminating case studies - far too many to summarise here. So buy it. And take to heart the words of that remarkable entrepreneur and inventor Thomas Alva Edison:
"I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that do not work."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars As the review said... a bit of ...
As the review said...a bit of a 'rant' but totally relevant. He hits the bulls eye on every page.
Having just completed my own book "Understanding commercial Property"... Read more
Published 1 month ago by m j pritchard
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing in here about the nuts and bolts of starting ...
Nothing in here about the nuts and bolts of starting a business from the ground up which is what the title and blurb promise. Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. Herd
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting guide
I don't have much experience of starting a business but I'm definitely considering it. This book is both an interesting short guide to starting out and also gives a good insight... Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. N. Patel
4.0 out of 5 stars not bad
Easy to read and lots of good motivational paragraphs. Gives the reader plenty to consider but yet to read anything that covers how to truly start your own business, mortgages,... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars Great item
Great book loved it east to read straight to the point .highly recommend to any new business .
Have a look well worth the money
Published 19 months ago by Hayley
3.0 out of 5 stars pretty good BUT starts a bit pecimistic.
Starts a little pessimistic to be honest.
I am not necessarily looking for the optimistic outlook but it did feel a little down in the chops for quite a way in to the... Read more
Published on 9 Jun. 2013 by Chaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, very enjoyable and personable
Easy read, very enjoyable and personable. Luke Johnson gives a good read for anybody looking to just get into being an entrepreneur. Read more
Published on 8 April 2013 by shelly
4.0 out of 5 stars Take the plunge!
Start It Up is easy to read and engaging. Luke Johnson is a hugely experienced entrepreneur and readers will find the book insightful and inspiring. Read more
Published on 11 Jan. 2013 by Mr Andrew Paul Sage
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and very readable
Luke Johnston has had a lot of success in business and makes it seem easy. He mentions in passing his property development friend who lost everything but "will be... Read more
Published on 9 Nov. 2012 by RichardGS
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
I am in the process of starting my own business having been unable to find unemployment since graduating two and a half years ago. Read more
Published on 28 Sept. 2012 by Charon Nix
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