ENTREPRENEURIAL MEGABUCKS: The 100 Greatest Entrepreneurs of the Past 25 Years by A. David Silver

ENTREPRENEURIAL MEGABUCKS: The 100 Greatest Entrepreneurs of the Past 25 Years

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Unabashedly adulatory profiles of 100 paragons of enterprise, plus a prefatory survey of entrepreneurship that's notable mainly for addled analysis and graceless style. At the outset, Silver emphasizes that he made his selections on the basis of social as well as economic criteria, which may or may not explain the absence of Nolan Bushnell (Atari), Seymour Cray, John Cullinane, Diane von Furstenberg, Hugh Hefner, Calvin Klein, Ed Lowe (who gave us Kitty Litter), T. Boone Pickens and other current stars of the marketplace. His hot hundred's ranks encompass the unexceptionable likes of Martin Allen (Computervision), the Bloch brothers (H&R Block), Frank Carney (Pizza Hut), Roger Horchow, Amin Khoury (Delmed), Phil Knight (NIKE), George Lucas (Star Wars), James W. Rouse, Sam Walton (Wal-Mart Stores), and Charles Kemmons Wilson (Holiday Inns). Captains of industry include: J.B. Fuqua; Akio Morita (Sony); Royal Little (Textron); Kenneth Olsen (Digital Equipment); H. Ross Perot (Electronic Data Systems); Milton Petrie; Henry Singleton (Teledyne); and An Wang. Among the eight women who made the final cut are Mary Kay Ash, Sandra Kurtzig (ASK Computer Systems), and Liz Claiborne Ortenberg. Appreciably less defensible, though, are Silver's introductory observations. Commenting on what it takes to make the entrepreneurial grade, for example, he singles out ""heart.' The modern age of entrepreneurship dates back to the 1957 launch of Sputnik, according to Silver, who also seems to believe that William Shockley invented the transistor (a 1948 creation of Bell Labs) in California, circa 1960. Later, after reviewing newsletters, direct-mail merchandising, party-plan selling, and other low-tech opportunities, he directs prospective proprietors who need to draft a business plan down the fast track called PERT--for program evaluation and review technique (not research tool, as in the text). Also jarring is Silver's bent for grandiloquence. Among other howlers, he characterizes the 1960's as a period when ""virtually every sacred cow was wrenched loose from its structure, turned upside down, vigorously re-examined for its validity, and restructured."" Suspect guidance in a shoddy package.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1985
Publisher: Wiley