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Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value [Hardcover]

Daniel Isenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 17.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

9 July 2013
Global entrepreneurship expert Daniel Isenberg shows the new rules of starting and growing a business with vivid stories of successes, and failures, from around the world. Are you a member of the new class of global entrepreneurs? If not, beware - this book may inspire you to become one. It's a rallying call for those whose ideas were ever called worthless, impossible, or even stupid. In this fascinating read, global entrepreneurship expert Daniel Isenberg illustrates through storis of real business builders the new rules of starting and growing a business. No longer bound by a western "Silicon Valley" approach to entrepreneurship, a new group of enterprising doers has created a global and diverse mix of organizations that could be tomorrow's leading firms. Stirred by what he saw while crossing the globe to speak with business leaders young and old, Isenberg began connecting the dots. What he found was a wealth of counter-intuitive lessons that speak to the new way of creating a business. From Albuquerque to Islamabad, you'll travel with the author and pick up unusual yet practical insights that you can use. You'll also be moved by businesses fueled by adversity and even necessity. Great stories, successes, failures - it's all in here. What can the West learn from them? What can you learn - and what will you be inspired to do? Let Worthless, Impossible & Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value be your new manual for making change.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (9 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422186989
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422186985
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 16 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"His advice is as applicable to entrepreneurs as it is to managers looking to shake up their departments." -- Most Notable Books List of 2013, Business Digest "... 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." Gregoire Sentilhes, CEO, NextStage; cofounder, G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance-- "Like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Francois 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 Ongor, 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 entrepreneur--and for the rest of us!"

About the Author

Daniel Isenberg-entrepreneur, professor, investor, speaker and consultant-is founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project and Professor of Management Practice at Babson Global. Isenberg taught for eleven years at Harvard Business School and has published dozens of HBS cases on entrepreneurial ventures around the world. He is a frequent keynote speaker at large global events, and has been quoted widely in the media. He currently advises the White House on the new StartUp America initiative.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Let's say that a Mount Rushmore type of monument for entrepreneurs will be constructed and nominations are requested. Which names immediately come to mind? Chances are, none of them would be among the several listed by Daniel Isenberg in the Conclusion section of his book, written with Karen Dillon. So what? In my opinion, a great deal. Most books about entrepreneurs focus on business celebrities such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Herb Kelleher, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Howard Schultz, Fred Smith, Ted Turner, and Mark Zuckerberg. They did indeed begin with acorns that became oak trees and do indeed exemplify what Isenberg characterizes as "the contrarian perception, creation, and capture of extraordinary value." However, Isenberg's book is not about celebrity. His focus is on a contrarian mindset and process he has observed in entrepreneurs he has personally known in 45 countries.

"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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy 21 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Disclaimer: I used to work for the author many years ago.

This book is brilliant. It starts off as a "you can do it too" guide to entrepreneurship, disproving many of the harmful myths that exist within the 'classic' venture capital and startup community, and it does that very well, providing you with confidence to go and pursue your own dreams even if you are older, don't have a breakthrough innovation in mind, or live in Menlo Park. So in that sense you could say that the book does what other books/TED talks/seminars have done, only better.

However, the true added value of the book comes into light when it takes an interesting turn around mid-way through. The author starts exploring in a more academic, scrutinizing and even ruthless way the very concept of entrepreneurship, demonstrating why and how this word is so often misused or overused.

In short, one of the most inspiring and intellectually interesting business books I have read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect 24 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best business books I have ever read. Its about reality, practice and examples. No theory. It can open your eyes if you would like to start a business.
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