The Intelligent Entrepreneur is a fantastic mixture of entrepreneurial advice and challenging, yet encouraging, business anecdotes. The latter focus on the entrepreneurial evolution of three Harvard Business School graduates. In the first chapter, Murphy explains how he chose which aspiring businessmen and businesswomen to follow. Being that he was only assessing the development of HBS students, he realized that his subjects were already beginning at the top of the totem pole, however he tried to pick three students without profuse advantages that wouldn’t otherwise be available to the average entrepreneur.
His analysis of the HBS curriculum, how it affected his subject’s post-graduate entrepreneurial state, and finally, of the normal ups and downs surrounding the start of own’s own venture, focused on the experiences of the three entrepreneurs, Marc Cenedella (TheLadders.com), Marla Malcom Beck (Bluemercury.com), and Chris Michel (Military.com, Affinity Labs). While equally successful upon their enterprises’ full instatement, Marc’s, Marla’s and Chris’s’ stories presented different failures and successes that one is sure to encounter while pursuing their respective interest. The subsequent “entrepreneurial tactics” chapters, effectively present greater business concepts and help to tie all of the stories together. For example, chapter 3, following the introduction of the three aspiring entrepreneurs in chapter 2, outlines the golden rules which structure the ensuing sections (listed below).
- Make the commitment.
- Find a problem, then solve it.
- Think big, think new, think again.
- You can’t do it alone.
- You must do it alone.
- Manage risk.
- Learn to lead.
- Learn to sell.
- Persist, persevere, prevail.
- Play the game for life.
Additionally, in chapter 12, Murphy presents more specific goals one should keep in mind while pursuing their own venture–goals which Marc, Marla and Chris followed religiously (listed below).
- Don’t overanalyze your venture into excessive caution
- Get to know other entrepreneurs (in order to strengthen your “well of confidence”)
- Call or e-mail people you respect and wish to emulate.
- Inventory your own successes (especially those that others believed you couldn’t do).
- Read about successful entrepreneurs
- Remember that you have to learn things on your own.
Advice similar to the aforementioned rules and goals are ubiquitous in The Intelligent Entrepreneur. In my opinion, it was a fantastic conglomeration of entrepreneurial experiences and essential concepts used by said entrepreneurs, the latter of which being commonly overlooked in business text that includes any fiction-styled storytelling. Even more importantly, the book delves directly into the “are entrepreneurs born or made” debate, and serves as an encouraging analysis for those who believe they weren’t born with the “entrepreneurial spirit.”
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