Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value

Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value

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by Daniel Isenberg
     
 

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Introducing the global mind-set changing the way we do business.

In this fascinating book, global entrepreneurship expert Daniel Isenberg presents a completely novel way to approach business building—with the insights and lessons learned from a worldwide cast of entrepreneurial characters. Not bound by a western, Silicon Valley stereotype, this

Overview

Introducing the global mind-set changing the way we do business.

In this fascinating book, global entrepreneurship expert Daniel Isenberg presents a completely novel way to approach business building—with the insights and lessons learned from a worldwide cast of entrepreneurial characters. Not bound by a western, Silicon Valley stereotype, this group of courageous and energetic doers has created a global and diverse mix of companies destined to become tomorrow’s leading organizations.

Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid is about how enterprising individuals from around the world see hidden value in situations where others do not, use that perception to develop products and services that people initially don’t think they want, and ultimately go on to realize extraordinary value for themselves, their customers, and society as a whole. What these business builders have in common is a contrarian mind-set that allows them to create opportunities and succeed where others see nothing. Amazingly, this process repeats itself in one form or another countless times a day all over the world.

From Albuquerque to Islamabad, you will travel with Isenberg to discover unusual yet practical insights that you can use in your own business. Meet the founders of Grameenphone in Bangladesh, PACIV in Puerto Rico, Sea to Table in New York, Actavis in Iceland, Studio Moderna in Slovenia, Hartwell Metals in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, Given Imaging in Israel, WildChina in China, and many others. You’ll be moved by the stories of these plucky start-ups—many of them fueled by adversity and, more often than not, by necessity.

Great stories, stunning successes, crushing failures—they’re all here. What can we, in the East and West, learn from them? What can you learn—and what will these entrepreneurial stories, so compellingly told, inspire you to do?

Let this book open doors for you where you once saw only walls. If you’ve ever felt the urge to turn a glimmer of an idea into something extraordinary, these stories are for you.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Veteran venture capitalist Isenberg highlights entrepreneurial efforts happening around the world and offers problem-solving tips and encouragement for aspiring businesspeople at all stages of their careers. Debunking the myth that entrepreneurs must be young innovators, Isenberg provides some tough love about working hard, the necessity of focusing on profits, and the benefits of adversity. Isenberg effectively captures the varied landscape of new and innovative work, and inspiring stories and coverage of many different kinds of businesses fully support his premise. However, the book’s effusive tone can overwhelm the ideas: “Entrepreneurship... is part of the human experience. In this respect, it is similar to art, poetry, music, and storytelling.” In addition, dedicating only eight paragraphs to the contribution of women cannot help but be out of touch. The book may satisfy readers looking for a motivational kick-start, but it’s unlikely to stand out in the crowded marketplace. Agent: Jacque Murphy, Inkwell Management. (July)
From the Publisher

“His advice is as applicable to entrepreneurs as it is to managers looking to shake up their departments.” — Most Notable Books List of 2013, Business Digest

“… Isenberg excels at breaking down the many elements that lead to entrepreneurial success.” — BARRONS

“a thought-provoking book about the contrary nature of successful entrepreneurs.” — Financial Times

“Isenberg effectively captures the varied landscape of new and innovative work, and inspiring stories and coverage of many different kinds of businesses fully support his premise.” — Publishers Weekly

“There is a guy called Daniel Isenberg — I don’t really know him but he is a big deal and writes and talks a fair bit about entrepreneurship. He’s written a book that I feel touches on some interesting points about entrepreneurship. Brad Feld, co-founder of Techstars, likes it so there must be something to it.” — Michelle Atagana, VentureBurn.com

“… a fascinating book… it will challenge your assumptions about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and provide valuable insights into why and how those who are successful made it work. If you've ever wondered what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, you'll want to read Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value, by Daniel Isenberg.” — Jeanne Destro, USA Today

“… there is an abundance of great nuggets of knowledge in this book as well as frank confessions about how hard it usually is to create truly great companies. That kind of intelligence is not worthless, impossible or stupid.” — The Financial Times

“provocative, insightful, inspiring, and fun to read.” — Choice magazine

“… presents a part motivational and part self-help guide for aspiring entrepreneurs.” — Book News

“In ‘Worthless...’ Daniel Isenberg shatters the following two misconceptions: 1. The myth of the stroke of genius: most value creation is produced at the level of what Isenberg calls “minnovation”: small and unexpected twists on existing ideas, business models or products and services. 2. The myth of the expert: experts are not always the best positioned to be innovative. A novice’s fresh perspective can help to overcome barriers and discover opportunities that experts may be blind to.” — Business Digest

ADVANCE PRAISE for Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid:

Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group; cofounder, TechStars; and author, Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City
Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid is a thought-provoking book for anyone interested in understanding the deeply contrarian nature of many entrepreneurs. It challenges the status quo definitions of entrepreneurship with substantive examples from all over the world. A must-read for building start-up communities.”

Jonathan Ortmans, President, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and Senior Fellow, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation—
“Daniel Isenberg’s bottom-up insights are a must-read for policymakers around the world racing to build smarter environments for starting and scaling firms.”

Esther Dyson, Chairman, EDventure Holdings—
Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid confounds the stereotypes. The book vividly illustrates that entrepreneurs don’t all look like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin; they don’t all live in Silicon Valley. And most important, they do more than create start-ups that make novel products or solve problems; they build companies of lasting value.”

Jim McCann, founder and CEO, 1-800-Flowers.com and Celebrations.com—
“Daniel Isenberg manages to turn the words ‘worthless, impossible, and stupid’ into the highest form of praise by getting inside the minds of real-life entrepreneurs to explain how counterintuitive thinking (and a sometimes inexplicable indifference to failure) have helped create and often revolutionize global business.”

Yossi Vardi, serial internet entrepreneur—
“Daniel Isenberg’s book sheds a whole new light on the nature of entrepreneurship, of entrepreneurs, and of business opportunity more broadly. Original, thought-provoking, and fun to read, it blows up a lot of truisms about this important topic.”

Linda Rottenberg, cofounder and CEO, Endeavor Global—
“Calling all contrarians: If you’ve taken great risks, confronted skeptics and setbacks, and unleashed extraordinary value, you’ll recognize yourself in this important new book by Daniel Isenberg. Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid perfectly captures the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial path, felling a great many myths along the way.”

Calestous Juma, professor, Harvard Kennedy School; author, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa
“This book is a real threat to conventional theories on business development. Its lessons apply in many other fields of human endeavor. Anyone interested in changing the world for the better should read it.”

Grégoire Sentilhes, CEO, NextStage; cofounder, G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance—
“Like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, François Pinault, Diego Della Valle, and so many other great entrepreneurs, Daniel Isenberg is a contrarian and provocative thinker. Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid accurately demonstrates why being an outstanding entrepreneur is not about age, expertise, or reason; it is about vision, courage, and mind-set.”

Akin Öngör, former CEO, Garanti Bank—
“In this provocative book, Daniel Isenberg shatters stereotypes and clarifies the often misunderstood concept of entrepreneurship. His inspiring real-life examples prove that true value is often found where many can only see something that seems worthless, impossible, or stupid.”

Sir Ronald Cohen, cofounder and former Chairman, Apax Partners—
“Valuable, practical, and insightful, Daniel Isenberg’s new book is a very helpful and illustrative guide to the entrepreneurial journey.”

Maria Pinelli, Global Vice Chair of Strategic Growth Markets, Ernst & Young—
“Entrepreneurship is so important for a healthy economy: It creates jobs, supports communities, and builds a better working world. Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid provides a sophisticated and provocative narrative on this crucial topic.”

Nick Lazaris, former CEO, Keurig—
“Entrepreneurs take note. Daniel Isenberg makes his contrarian point clear in this provocative book: Entrepreneurs need to be as innovative in finding ways to capture value as they are in creating it. This will be good for them individually and for the society that benefits from entrepreneurialism.”

Mikko Kosonen, President, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra—
“Daniel Isenberg brings us back to the roots of entrepreneurship: It’s all about identifying, creating, and capturing value, in areas not seen by others and that may seem worthless, impossible, and stupid. But there are real rewards for the hard-headed entrepreneur—and for the rest of us!”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781422186992
Publisher:
Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date:
06/18/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
931,969
File size:
5 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Daniel Isenberg—entrepreneur, professor, investor, speaker, and policy adviser—is founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project and Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School. Isenberg taught for eleven years at Harvard Business School and has published dozens of HBS cases on entrepreneurial ventures around the world. He is a frequent participant at Davos and speaker at Global Entrepreneurship Week and the G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Summit, and has been quoted widely in the media.

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Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read this book but i think its going to be a good book.