Entrepreneurs are among the primary shapers of our culture, yet their role in driving progress and influencing society has often been overlooked. As far back as we can trace human history, there have been entrepreneurs. Almost five millennia ago, copper tool manufacturers set up a factory in what today is southwest Spain, profiting for hundreds of years from trade around the Mediterranean. Papyri document the diverse investments of an ancient Egyptian businessman, from grain-yielding land to flax for linen cloth. What do these figures have in common with renowned modern entrepreneurs, and how do their similarities help us achieve a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship as well as the potential for a healthier, wealthier, and more equitable and sustainable future?
In this book I delve into the deep history of innovation to deliver surprising new insights into how entrepreneurs create value and bring about change. I tell stories of people from many different cultures over thousands of years that show how entrepreneurs transform the world through relentless innovation. The cumulative innovations of swarms of entrepreneurs expand the scale, scope, and range of products and services. By highlighting the fundamental qualities of innovation throughout history, this book provides valuable and practical new perspective on how entrepreneurship shapes our present and future.
Praise for The Entrepreneurs
"Derek Lidow’s intellectual curiosity is infectious! I was dazzled by his ability to use deep-in-the-weeds historical research to illustrate fundamental principles of entrepreneurship through the ages. Lidow takes the reader around the world and through the centuries, using fascinating case material to document his argument that the principles of entrepreneurship are deeply embedded in the way civilization has evolved over the millennia. Entrepreneurship scholars and other interested readers are going to love this book."
-Howard E. Aldrich, Kenan Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
"Lidow has given us the most comprehensive, rigorous, and richly documented treatment of entrepreneurship. This book is three books in one. It is a history book, meticulously describing entrepreneurship through the ages. It is an economics book, analyzing the incentives and behavior of entrepreneurs, their consequences, and society’s reaction. And it is a management book for students and professors of entrepreneurship. That all three are delivered in an engaging and easygoing style bodes well for The Entrepreneurs becoming a classic.”"
-Shanta Devarajan, Georgetown University, former senior director for development economics at the World Bank
"Our future success rests on our ability to harness the creative and innovative potential of all - a quest made possible only by understanding the evolution of entrepreneurship and the factors inherent in shaping the ecosystem in which founders operate. Derek Lidow’s work provides masterful insight into what has come before, and how that should inform our efforts to create a more accessible, inclusive, and equitable path to entrepreneurship going forward.”"
-Anita Sands, board director of multiple companies, and venture partner, New Enterprise Associates
"Lidow takes on the study of entrepreneurship with a long historical lens, revealing compelling macro-patterns across time. A very enjoyable read.”"
-Kaihan Krippendorff, author of Driving Innovation from Within: A Guide for Internal Entrepreneurs
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Meet Derek Lidow
Bestselling author Derek Lidow works with founders and students every day to help them find their greatest levels of success—sooner.
Derek is an accomplished CEO and innovator. He sold his last startup for $100 million. His novel approaches to research and analysis have improved companies as diverse as Samsung, Goldman Sachs, and IBM. And he has been tapped to inaugurate a campus-wide “design thinking” curriculum at Princeton. Today, Derek remains on a mission to empower founders and students to with the confidence and skills they need to succeed.
“Derek demystifies success.”
—Natasha Gajewski, founder, Simple Health