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
“Flat out, the best book on entrepreneurship I have ever read.”
—Roger Martin, #1 Management Guru and bestselling author
"Enough about the celebrity founder, working magic. This book provides the tools for the other 99% of intrepid people."
—Larry Gilson, serial entrepreneur in energy, transportation, innovation, and finance
"While hot startups get the headlines, 'bedrock' entrepreneurs build lasting businesses. Lidow charts a path.”
—Brian O’Kelley, AppNexus founder and serial entrepreneur
“Filled with breathtaking insights on what it takes to succeed. Every entrepreneur, or soon-to-be-founder, must have this book!"
—Bruce Hack Chairman of the Board, Technicolor
Building on Bedrock:
What Sam Walton, Walt Disney, and Other Great Self-Made Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us About Building Valuable Companies
Learn the who, what, when, where, how, how much, and why of successful entrepreneurs—whether you’re a founder, co-founder, or investor. The answers will surprise you.
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About the Book
Here's an astounding fact: Over half the working population will try their hand at being an entrepreneur during their working career.
We all dream to some extent about achieving some combination of the fortune, fame, and control over our lives we associate with successful entrepreneurs. Those are admirable aspirations in a society that counts on entrepreneurs to innovate, create new jobs, and to grow our economy. Our work-driven culture encourages us to take the entrepreneurial bait, but how can you know whether being an entrepreneur will end as a dream come true or a nightmare from which you cannot awake?
Building on Bedrock will help answer that question.
This book will focus on when you should take the leap and whether entrepreneurship is even the right thing for you―as a founder, co-founder, or investor. Based upon research, but told through the stories of American businessman and entrepreneur Sam Walton and others, Building on Bedrock discusses the who, what, when, where, how, how much, and why of successful entrepreneurs. Was it luck, talent, passion, charm, a rich uncle, or something else that was the key to this person's success? Which might be the key to your success?
What you learn will surprise you.Buy The Book
I had pretty much given up believing that I would ever read an intelligent and useful book on entrepreneurship – until I read Building on Bedrock. No tiresome Silicon Valley narcissism. No hagiography. Refreshingly, Derek Lidow provides cogent analysis and insightful insights on the bedrock entrepreneurs that make our economy prosper. It is, flat out, the best book on entrepreneurship I have ever read.
—Roger Martin, integrative thinking expert and bestselling author of Playing to Win, The Design of Business, and Getting Beyond Better
Enough about the celebrity founder, working magic. This book tells the story and provides the tools for the other 99% of intrepid people launching enterprises.
—Larry Gilson, Founder and Chairman of Focusing Philanthropy, and successful serial entrepreneur in energy, transportation, innovation, and finance
While hot startups get the headlines, it’s the 'bedrock' entrepreneurs like Walton or Disney who build lasting businesses. Lidow charts a path for entrepreneurs to create sustainable value for themselves, their communities, and the families they serve. This is essential understanding for all entrepreneurs and policy makers.
—Brian O'Kelley, Founder and CEO of AppNexus and serial entrepreneur
Derek Lidow is the best chronicler of entrepreneurship of our age. This book is filled with breathtaking insights on what it takes to succeed as any type of entrepreneur, starting with whether you’re bedrock or high-risk. Every entrepreneur, or soon-to-be-founder, must have this book!
—Bruce Hack, Chairman of the Board, Technicolor
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Anyone aspiring to start their own new business will benefit from the lessons Lidow shares regarding fundamental keys to entrepreneurial success...Look into the lives of extraordinary entrepreneurs, with an insiders perspective rarely presented in contemporary writings. Learn from the best
—Stephen D. Christensen, Concordia University’s Dean of the School of Business
“Recommended for every founder to improve the trajectory of your success.”
—Rich Karlgaard, Forbes Publisher
“Provides aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs powerful tools.”
—Brian O’Kelley, AppNexus Founder and CEO
“An instant classic.”
—Ricardo Levy, Stanford University Professor & Executive
“A home run.”
—Michael Dewar, Amazon reviewer
“Derek has emerged as one of the foremost leaders today for entrepreneurs.”
—Jeri Zerr, Amazon reviewer (top 500)
A “Top 10 Best Leadership Book” by Time and Inc. Magazine
Find success sooner—and avoid the mistakes that have confounded thousands of “geniuses” (even Steve Jobs): Become the founder your business needs by combining the opposing natures of the Entrepreneur and the Leader.Buy The Book
About the Book
Why do so many entrepreneurs found innovative enterprises, only to find themselves failing as leaders once the business gets off the ground? Because, according to Derek Lidow, being an entrepreneur is fundamentally different from being a business leader.
An entrepreneur's goal is making his or her vision a reality—a basically selfish, though beneficial, act. A leader, on the other hand, focuses on others, forging individuals with differing wants, needs, and visions into a winning team. In Startup Leadership, entrepreneur and professor Derek Lidow outlines exactly how one can balance these two opposing natures and provides you with the skills and tools to become an Entrepreneurial Leader.
- Based on Lidow's popular and well-respected course at Princeton University
- Developed out of extensive research and real-world experience
- Distills Lidow's insights into best practices for growing with the company you created
- Prepares to avoid the unseen traps that trip up many entrepreneurs
“Ideas and charismatic leaders come and go. But what remains constant is the vital stuff—in Lidow’s book.”
—Marty Johnson, Founder of Isles Inc., and Princeton visiting professor
With a unique approach based on extensive research and real-world application, Startup Leadership is a roadmap for innovators who seek to become Entrepreneurial Leaders who can successfully lead their team, enterprise, and themselves to lasting success.Buy The Book
Derek Lidow is right—entrepreneurs, not mere ideas, lead companies to their full potential. Lidow puts this powerful idea to work, alongside the full breadth and depth of his own experiences running growth companies, in Startup Leadership. I recommend this book for every founder—regardless of your stage—because Lidow's invaluable insights, personal leadership strategies, and framework will help you improve the trajectory of your success.
—Rich Karlgaard, publisher, Forbes magazine; board director; investor; entrepreneur; and author, The Soft Edge
Trust me because I’ve seen and done virtually everything that’s possible in business today. Whether you’re an investor, board member, CEO, accelerator, small business owner, or aspiring entrepreneur, Startup Leadership is mandatory reading. Thanks to the smart and detailed advice of serial success story Derek Lidow, the book will help de-risk virtually any enterprise. It will also expand your levels of innovation level, profits, culture and success. I recommend you get a copy—and give a copy to someone who needs it.
—Bruce Hack, Chairman of the Board, Technicolor
Startup Leadership is the handbook for leadership all entrepreneurs should read while scaling their business.
—Chris Kuenne, founder-entrepreneur, Rosetta
Aligning your ducks in a row, understating a venture is a marathon with hundreds of sprints in between, and knowing how to make other people feel successful are not only applicable to founders of start ups but are values of life we should all integrate. Read so you too can lead!
—Shikha Uberoi, founder/CEO of Impact Media360, executive producer of The Real Deal, and co-founder of India at Indi.com
The entrepreneur's journey is often misunderstood as an idea coming to life. In fact, it is entrepreneurs themselves who must learn to create and lead an organization. Startup Leadership provides aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs powerful tools to grow as leaders.
—Brian O’Kelley, founder and CEO, AppNexus
This is not another book on how to build a successful startup. Lidow demystifies relationship building, negotiation, and vision creation with clarity and balance. He shows what it takes to become a more confident leader who builds startups with less risk and better outcomes. Your transformation into a better-equipped entrepreneurial leader begins now.
—Natasha Gajewski, founder and CEO, Simple Health Inc.
Finally, from the true-life experiences of a highly-successful entrepreneur, comes a how-to book that is more than an academic compendium. Derek Lidow captures the essence of the leadership qualities needed for success, not just in the formation and early stages of a venture, but along the path to a significant stand-alone business. This hands-on book is an instant classic.
—Ricardo B. Levy, professor, Stanford University, and author, Letters to a Young Entrepreneur
A must-read for aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs!
—Jeremey Donovan, author, How to Deliver a TED Talk
This book fills an important gap among books about entrepreneurship, and Derek Lidow shows what it really takes to make a successful startup. Startup Leadership focuses on the essential, yet elusive, leadership elements required to navigate a venture from idea to self-sustainability. Future entrepreneurs will be thankful to have this companion along for the entire journey.
—John Danner, professor, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Finally, an easy-to-read and digestible blueprint for entrepreneurs that will empower them to build and lead sustainable enterprises. Lidow encapsulates years of trial and error and teaches what’s required for successful entrepreneurship with a clear methodology.
—Jeanne Gray, founder and CEO, AmericanEntrepreneurship.com
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If any book contains the “secrets” to entrepreneurial success, this is it! I recommend Startup Leadership to both budding and proven entrepreneurs.
—Greg Olsen, founder of Epitax, Sensors Unlimited
"I am on a mission to improve the odds of building a sulf-sustaining business. I teach with these tools at Princeton which I am now making available to you, for free."
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