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on 14 May 2000
This is the best business book I've read in a long time. Randy Komisar has an excellent pedigree as a Valley businessman and a VC, and he shares a lot of experience in this book. Don't expect Tom Peters-style "how to succeed" fare -- Randy places as much emphasis on being happy with your lifestyle as on making piles of money.
Throught the book, Komisar makes use of light-hearted anecdotes to make his points, some of them fairly subtle and many of them relevant to business in general, not just the VC world. He punctuates the story with anecdotes about his experiences in Apple, Claris, WebTV, etc.
If you're interested in the Valley VC world, buy this book now!
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Mr. Komisar has a simple message: It's the journey . . . not the destination . . . that counts, stupid! What that means is that you should focus on getting the most out of the moment, in creating a synthesis between what you value and what you spend your time on and do. The book opens with a brief story of Mr. Komisar giving a monk a ride on his motorcycle. After a long afternoon of riding, he delivers the monk where he wants to go. A few minutes later, he learns that the monk wants now to return to where they started. Finally, it sinks in. The monk just likes riding on motorcycles. He doesn't really have a destination in mind. Mr. Komisar connects that anecdote to his life as a young lawyer where he was so focused on goals, that he didn't see the conflict between his ambition for the future and the selling out of his values. Through a number of job changes and experiences, he emerges as someone who understands that the journey is all that counts, and takes on the role of virtual CEO for start-ups. This role means that he tries to help management accomplish what it wants, rather than representing the investors as venture capitalists do. It's a shift in direction that makes all the difference. My hat's off to Harvard Business School Press for publishing this heart-warming, inspiring book.
Most of the book is a fable about a stiff would-be entrepreneur named Lenny who seeks Mr. Komisar's advice. To get some idea of this fable, Lenny starts his pitch by saying that his business concept is to put the fun in funerals. Through the course of the book, Lenny learns (with a lot of prodding from Mr. Komisar and Lenny's co-founder) to connect to his original passion, to provide a place on the Web where geographically-dispersed families can connect to grieve when a loved one dies. They can also get advice on how to handle the grief and the funeral. Mr. Komisar interspaces his own experiences with the fable to provide context for his observations.
The fable is so far-fetched that it works well, because it allows you to see the differences more easily between serving an empowering vision that excites you, investors, potential employees, and customers and just trying to make a bundle.
For those who want to know a little more about fund-raising for start-ups, the fable is filled with worthwhile advice. If you want to know more, read Confessions of a Venture Capitalist (which I also reviewed).
At another level, the book makes the point that the reason to be an entrepreneur is to avoid the stultification of companies without a soul, operating only to meet the numbers. But you will have learned bad habits of forgetting about your soul-felt needs in mainstream corporate America, so you've got to regear as you enter entrepreneurship.
The book is very well written, and you'll get through it very quickly.
A good related book is Who Am I? which will give you tools to help you identify what you really want to get out of life.
You should also use this book as an opportunity to reexamine your beliefs about life and relationships. You may have lots of stalled thinking outside of your working life, as well.
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on 23 July 2000
The world of venture capital and business is sometimes treated as a cold, barren landscape defined by numbers. This book is a refreshing reminder of how untrue that is. Randy talks about business being a process not an end in itself. He describes how the creation of a company is a form of self-expression and when applied correctly can be very personally fulfilling. He talks of the differences between passion and drive. He talks about business and start-ups with a refreshing twist reminiscent of the eastern values of acceptance, respect and mindfullness.
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VINE VOICEon 14 March 2008
Utterly engrossing book! One of the best, and most meaningful, I've ever read...and entertaining to boot. I couldn't put it down from the moment it arrived!

Uplifting, optimistic, insightful stuff. Enough has already been said by other reviewers about what it contains, so no need to add any more here I think.
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on 19 December 2010
I came across the book some years back but dismissed it quickly. The reason I bought the book recently was because of some insightful remarks in an article I read not too long ago. I spent an entire day reading it with great relish and now that I have finished it, I wish I'd read it earlier. It would be a mistake to think that the book is entirely about business, venture capitalists, startups, Silicon Valley and work. Yes, they provide the backdrop, but its also about personal development, goal setting, getting one's priorities right, about aligning work to life, not life to work.

I recommend it very highly to anyone starting his / her own business.
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on 12 December 2008
I am not a habitant of Silicon Valley, nor does my business require huge venture capitalist funding. But it is ambitious, and it is scary as hell to pioneer a market with any kind of business.

This book was useful because it made me feel I'm not alone, any idea CAN work, and the price of success is usually little more than ambition.

I thoroughly reccommend this if you consider yourself ambitious and amongst those who change the world.
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on 27 July 2008
The book is interesting and well written and can be red in a couple of days. The author offers good insights into his professional career. The message of the book is: live your dreams, rather than trying to make money at all costs.
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on 22 July 2009
Found the 'Monk and the Riddle' an entertaining read. Gave a high level insight into the human side of the startup process, not least the motivation of different stakeholders.
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on 23 August 2010
What all technology Start-up people should read and keep in mind as they grow. Good examples of the interaction and what a VC is looking for in the Start-up management.
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on 13 November 2013
...not the financial rewards, they may come, but the journey you took to get there.

Greek read. Really enjoyed it.
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