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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 19 June 2007
I actually felt quite inspired after reading this book. It's so depressing reading how people have made millions from having started with quite a lot of money in the first place, but all these people seem to have done it just by persistence, self-belief and hard work.

Most people don't have a raft of multi-millionaire contacts in their back pocket, they've just got a really good idea and it's the getting started that the most difficult - these people all did it differently, but it's given me renewed hope and another blast of adrenaline.
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VINE VOICEon 18 February 2008
Persistence is omnipotent, if you overcome the obstacles you will succeed in the end. The quantity of success stories in this book proves this.

It is possible to start with very little and then, through great endeavour, build a successful business.

Unfortunately, I found the book rather boring. You will learn and take away a little from those businesses that are similar to yours (or perhaps what you intend or hope to do), but with 30 chapters covering 30 businesses it becomes a little samey.

There are wise words in the introduction and a fair summary of what you will learn from the book on pages 3-5; the author effectively puts his conclusions at the beginning of the book:
What can we learn from these businesses as a group?
The X Factor - no single X-factor, but a collection of traits which drive people to succeed.
Minimal personal reward initially - most are not able to, or choose not to, take much money from the business at first.
Do what it says on the tin - focus on one idea - normal for startups.
Keep It Simple (Stupid) - stick to your knitting - focus on the one idea - and, of course, your customers.
Work harder than you might think possible - startup entrepreneurs tend to put in a lot of hours.
Keep trying and believing - it takes time - persistence is omnipotent.
Who needs money? - most start with minimal funding.
Ambition - you need passion and commitment to become successful - a desire to earn loads of money will probably not engender sufficient drive for the long-term.
So what? - "they needed extraordinary levels of passion, energy, self belief and stamina, the ability and desire to focus, and a good measure of judgement."

After that, I don't think that the next 235 pages are worth the effort.
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on 20 November 2008
I really enjoyed this book - especially the chapters on the better known brands like Pizza Express and Cobra Beer. It's really inspiring to find out how these huge businesses started. Inspired me to think more about my dreams to start a business myself. Would agree with the other review though - not all are household names, but the stories are equally as interesting.

I guess the main message of the book is: if you've got an idea, go for it. You never know where it'll lead.
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on 6 May 2011
I would not recommend the book as it is too superficial and you cannot really learn much from it. The stories are short and do not provide the depth of information really required when you want to start a business.
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on 17 August 2013
I'm currently reading this book and it's definitely helping me on the road to starting up my own business. It's good to see the stumbles and challenges these entrepreneurs faced and still overcame them. The only thing I would have liked are more companies that are more mainstream. Would recommend it!
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on 23 April 2012
Very basic information on the beginnings of 30 companies. Pointless. Bought this for some tips for starting my own cake company. Got none. Waste of money.
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on 30 August 2008
I think another reviewer here said that this looked like a cut and paste job. That pretty much sums it up. Appears to be little or no original research. The analysis of the secret of their success, whether in the approach they took, their innate character or their ideas seems very superficial.

Clearly some of the individuals profiled had no time for the author or just had absolutely nothing insightful to say. A real pity, because it would have been great to have found inspiration, hope and ideas from great entrepreneurs.
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on 7 January 2014
So easy to read...........found it hard to put my kindle down.......the short stories of real true life examples......lots of pros and cons along with the ups and downs of starting your own business.......great knowledge for a 2nd year degree student
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on 1 March 2010
Cobra Beer, Pizza Express, innocent drinks, moneysupermarket.com - it;s fascinating to read how people have set up their own businesses and gives reassurance that you're not completely mad to follow in their footsteps! Thoroughly encouraging to read stories of passion and commitment - gives more than a few ideas too!
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on 8 September 2009
A write up about how several business started up.

For me, it lacked sufficient detail and information about the businesses concerned. That was most likely my failing, rather than the author's. I should have done my research a little better.
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