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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 17 August 2009
Surprisingly, not really written as a business reference book. More of an autobiography, which is interesting in its own right, but not what I was expecting. I am still a fan of Dragon's Den, and this seems to be one of the better of their books, but not a reference book, more a "get up and do it" encouragement book. Perhaps also useful for small business owners, to understand the objective, and how to make more money, if that is what you want to do.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 January 2011
Deborah Meaden is an experienced and highly successful businesswoman who has recently become well known to the general public thanks to the 'Dragons' Den' television series. Unusually, in a literary field dominated by celebrity entrepreneurs, she possesses qualities that make her book about running a business useful. In particular, she has no time at all for business school jargon. She writes in an unfussy and literate manner that communicates her meaning very directly.

In fact Meaden has little patience with a whole series of popular myths about entrepreneurship - many of them pedalled by would-be entrepreneurs who seem to have spent more time reading how-to manuals than actually running a business. This is the first book about entrepreneurship that I've encountered that is absolutely clear about the personal qualities and commitment required, and has no truck with the comforting notions that 'anyone can do it' or that hard work alone will inevitably result in success.

Throughout the book, Meaden illustrates her thoughts about business with examples drawn from her own experience and that of other successful entrepreneurs, as well as contestants from the programme. The main theme that emerges is that success in business is not rocket science, but a matter of knowing and following 'common sense rules' - handily gathered in an Appendix. Neglecting these rules pretty well guarantees failure - or temporary success for the wrong reasons, which leaves the business vulnerable when circumstances change.

Meaden covers a wide range of topics, bringing her gimlet eye to everything, including matters from which she admits most entrepreneurs instinctively shy away: how to make employees redundant, whether to employ family members, how and when to recognise that the moment has come to fold a business. The book also includes a detailed account of how to write a business plan that is far more realistic than most. Her description of the character of a true entrepreneur - the competitiveness, the optimism, the can-do attitude - even the vanity - is disarmingly accurate, but explains why these people must be the way they are to succeed. In fact, if a reading of this book only persuades you that you don't fit the bill, Meaden may have saved you a great deal of heartache. Recommended, particularly for anyone toying with the idea of starting their own first business.
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on 17 June 2009
I've read all the books that the Dragons have produced to date. They all have something to offer but this is by far the best of them all. Very readable style with lots of good practical advice. Recommended!
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on 26 July 2009
Fantastic book, the title says it all. Full of good sense and lots of ideas for business novices and the experienced. Makes you look at practices and ideas with a fresh eye. A very good read.
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on 17 August 2010
It's an alright book and does what it says on the tin. Common sense rules.
It's not really a sufficient guide on it's own nor is it biographical more somewhere inbetween.
Read Bannatynes autobiography and business studies book instead you'll get more info and it will be better.
Sorry Deborah.
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on 2 September 2010
A point I wish to make from the start of this review is that I love Deborah Meaden. She is brilliant on the Den and, to an extent, in her book too.

To make it very clear that this book is not an autobiography, a 'my story' sort of thing. It is basically a book giving advice on how to run a business, from the concept stage to execution and beyond. As I am not a business owner, I can't really appreciate the lessons she is giving me in her book - but I am very sure that a business owner would thank her one hundred times over if they read this.

I do believe that what she writes is good, and if you are her target audience the information she puts on paper is invaluable. The only problem that I have with the book is that her 'autobiography' sections aren't really detailed. They are fleeting and short-lived, as she aims to cut to the chase of providing lessons in business. A problem with this approach is that the attention of the reader (especially me) is hard to keep.

The appendix sections at the end of the book are brilliant - providing examples of business plans and cutting down the book into brief Common Sense Rules.

To be brief: I loved the book in terms of the amounts of information Deborah aims to get across. If you are a business owner, or have an interest in business, it will be life-changing. The problem I have is that the personal bits just aren't detailed enough, and as a consequence it is a slow read compared to the other Dragons' Den books. That being said, I would advise customers to buy this over the Paphitis book as it has far more enjoyment to it!
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on 2 December 2012
After reading Alan Sugar's What You See is What You Get, I picked up this book to see what a dragon - and a successful business woman - had to say. Was disappointed. The rules are indeed common sense, and Meaden takes more time to explain them than most people working in business would require. I almost put the book down - for good - after reading the first half. I finished it in the end, but would not recommend to anyone with an education or grounding in business.
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on 21 October 2012
I Me Myself. All the way through. Very disappointed with this book. Doesn't give the information claimed but merely delivers a written rambling about life on Dragons Den. Found it hard to finish it.

Nowhere near the standard of the other Dragon's books.
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on 20 October 2010
This book provides excellent, down to earth advice for would be entrepreneurs or business students. I wish it had been available when I was teaching 'Entrepreneurship' to MBA students; it would certainly have been required reading for the course.

Deborah's wide range of practical experience adds credence to the advice she gives and she challenges much of the management jargon which tends to pervade management teaching.

Les Jones
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on 4 January 2010
As you would expect from the only female dragon, Ms Meaden speaks with conviction and with a no nonsense approach to business. She relates back to her own years in business and gives good examples of what works and what doesn't. This book is relevant to all and easy to read and Deborah does talk a lot of sense.
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