A journalist's instructive and down-to-earth briefing on the rewards available to capitalists prepared to run calculated risks. Financial writer Kehrer (The Cautious Investor's Guide to Profits in Precious Metals, 1985) provides a series of case studies illustrating the payoffs that can accrue to business people willing to take reasonable (as opposed to stupid) chances. For openers, he gives a fresh twist to the oft-told tale of Coca-Cola's abortive attempt to introduce a reformulated version of its best-selling soft drink; in his book, the putative failure was but one aspect of a largely successful campaign to extend the brand's reach in the beverage marketplace. Kehrer also logs against-the-odds victories achieved by Gannett's Allen H. Neuharth (with USA Today), Genentech founder Robert H. Swanson, aptly named J. Fred Risk (the Forum Group CEO who built a fast-growing chain of nursing homes and retirement centers), cable TV's Kay Koplowitz, and Harry Quadracci, the hangloose head of Quad/Graphics. Covered as well in cautionary fashion are the stories of those who came to grief for reasons that range from recklessness through stand-pat policies. The author's casualty list includes such names as Adam Osborne (whose lap-top computer company went bust in 1983), People Express Airlines, and Salomon (which learned the hard way about the perils of tentative responses to dynamic changes in Wall Street's operating environment). As a practical matter, Kehrer concludes, consistently successful entrepreneurs and managers are at least as adept at reducing as running risks. In like vein, he documents how bureaucratic complacency and playing not to lose (rather than to win) can prove bootless enterprises. A substantive contribution to the nothing-ventured/nothing-gained genre.