July 12, 2013

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:33 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value by Daniel Isenberg, Harvard Business Review Press, 304 pages, $27.00, Hardcover, July 2013, ISBN 9781422186985

It is always refreshing to be told that the things you are feeling are the very right things you should be feeling. And that's the underlying value of the message that author Daniel Isenberg shares in Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid. He reassures you entrepreneurs out there that, if people are telling you that what you are doing is ridiculous, then you're likely on the right path.

Regardless of the somewhat startling, but wholly facetious, title, Isenberg is a fan of entrepreneurship. He writes:

Entrepreneurship—perceiving, creating, and capturing extraordinary value—is part of the human experience. In this respect, it is similar to art, poetry, music, and storytelling. Every society's people have developed unique ways of expressing themselves; entrepreneurship is also a form of self-expression.

But the book isn't just a well-written pep talk. Isenberg is interested in revealing the resistance that entrepreneurs face as “they and their opportunities are greeted not with open arms and smiles, but with doors slamming in their faces, sometimes by their closest friends, allies, and mentors.” Throughout, Isenberg, himself an entrepreneur and professor, offers ways to withstand the weight of doubts (yours and others) leveled at new ventures and push through to create the product or company that inspired you in the first place. The book orients toward two specific goals:

  1. To catalyze entrepreneurship aspiration and help more of you to choose the path of entrepreneurship.
  2. To clarify murky concepts of entrepreneurship by reframing the phenomenon in terms of value creation and its capture.

With chapters like "Some Kitchens Are Hotter Than Others: Succeeding When the Environment Is the Enemy" and "Solving Burning Problems: When Adversity Is the Opportunity," Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid is not the only counterintuitive sentiment in the book. But, also inside, new and enthusiastic entrepreneurs will find a guidebook for weathering the storm, while anyone with flagging resources or energies will find renewed inspiration and aspiration.