By opening up the playbook of successful entrepreneurs, the book lays out concepts such as forming partnerships, bootstrapping, raising OPM (Other People’s Money), creating hype, iterating and pivoting. But it is really the latter part of the book that is most revealing. It speaks of the role of passion, decency and luck in determining the final outcome of the business. These elements are often overlooked but are integral to the success of the venture.
How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs
Authors: Guy Raz with Nils Parker
Price: Rs 468
The book features origin stories of companies such as Airbnb, Dell, Ben and Jerry’s and Stacy’s Pita Chips, among others. It also leverages words of wisdom from heavyweights in the venture world such Paul Graham, Ben Horowitz and Reid Hoffman. By employing vivid and deft sketches of the founders and their companies, the writers have managed to weave an entertaining narrative that takes the reader along on the entrepreneur’s journey. Occasionally the narration of certain stories seems oversimplified and shallow. But then again, the coverage of the book is broad and the focus is more on the insights and lessons extracted from the stories. Hence, this aspect of the book does not necessarily distract the reader.
The American actress Mae West once stated: “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.” So, dear reader, if you have indulged fantasies of turning your side hustle into a business venture, or are simply done being employed and dream of captaining your own ship, then this book will turn out to be a handy guide to help you in the process. There is no greater shortcut than learning from the experiences of the others who have traversed the path before you. This book could also be very useful for business students.
Earlier, a 20-something graduating from college had typically two paths in front of him: Get a job in a company or pursue further education. Now another alternative has emerged — start your own company. Easier access to funding, improved start-up infrastructure and declining associated costs have all contributed to make entrepreneurship
an increasingly attractive career choice for university graduates in recent times. In this scenario too, this book presents itself as a compelling read. Going through this text, I am reminded of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph: a beginning, a struggle and a victory.” And as Mr Raz demonstrates, this couldn’t be more accurate for building businesses.