A book that convincingly punctures some pervasive misconceptions about startup success.

THE UNICORN'S SHADOW

COMBATING THE DANGEROUS MYTHS THAT HOLD BACK STARTUPS, FOUNDERS, AND INVESTORS

Everything you think you know about startups is wrong, according to this business book.

Not every successful startup was created by a hoodie-wearing genius spending long nights working out of his garage, argues Mollick, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School who specializes in innovation and entrepreneurship. Many startup founders and investors cling to a “startup monomyth,” he says, influenced by “legendary unicorns” such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, which have “an outsized influence over the imagination of founders and the public at large.” Yet when one looks beyond the hype and analyzes the actual data on what contributes to a new company’s success or failure, a new reality emerges. By examining a wealth of evidence and academic studies, the author moves beyond jargon and accepted wisdom to highlight the issues that startup founders need to consider and the obstacles they may have to overcome. For example, he illustrates why having a youthful founder can sometimes hinder, rather than help, a company’s chances at success; puts paid to the notion that there’s one specific entrepreneurial personality type; shows why chasing venture capital cash may not be the right choice for every startup; and explains how a company’s culture can be set (for better or for worse) in its earliest days. Along the way, he offers concrete, evidence-based advice that will help would-be founders achieve their goals. There’s useful information here for readers at all stages of the startup journey, including those who are struggling to find an “it” idea that will wow both customers and investors. Mollick includes a nuanced dissection of the idea- generation process, showing how to come up with business concepts by looking at “the means at their disposal”—what knowledge or connections they already have—rather than focusing on where they want to end up. Readers will come away with a better understanding of startup myths as well as a framework that they can use to “match the expectations of the monomyth where you can, while pushing the boundaries in areas that matter to you.”

A book that convincingly punctures some pervasive misconceptions about startup success.

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61363-096-9

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Wharton School Press

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more