Christmas Gifts for the Entrepreneur on Your List: Books from Harvard Business Review

By at 19 December, 2018, 6:06 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

Over the decade that I taught innovation and entrepreneurship to MBA students, the Harvard Business Review proved to be a valuable resource, in terms of article magazines and books published.

HBR published two books in 2018, and I recommend both – The Harvard Business Review Entrepreneur’s Handbook: Everything You need to Launch and Grow Your New Business and On Entrepreneurship and Startups. Indeed, this duo would make a nice gift for current and future entrepreneurs on your Christmas list.

How about a few tidbits of wisdom from these books?

First, from the Entrepreneur’s Handbook:

• “Being your own boss may sound appealing – no one to tell you what to do! – but it also means that to succeed, you need to challenge and motivate yourself. There won’t be anyone else to do it for you. Successful entrepreneurs are intrinsically motivated by the problems they see around them and the solutions that they envision; they can’t sit still while there’s work to be done (and there’s always more work to be done).”

• “A startup should be viewed as an experiment, If the experiment fails to produce the desired result, be prepared to change – and do it quickly.”

• “Startup-phase financing is initially bootstrapped from personal savings, credit cards, and other personal sources of income, followed by friends and family and, in some cases, by small bank loans.”

• “A few entrepreneurs have successfully adapted with the growth of their companies. Others must either change themselves (often a difficult prospect), change their roles by bringing in professional management, or cash in their equity and move on to new challenges.”

And from On Entrepreneurship and Startups:

• “While it’s certainly true that entrepreneurs excel at original thinking, so do many nonentrepreneurs. In reality, what sets entrepreneurial people apart is something slightly different – something both broader and deeper than what is typically evoked by the word ‘creativity.’ It’s the ability to thrive in uncertainty.”

• “When I receive a business plan, I always read the resume section first. Not because the people part of the new venture is the most important, but because without the right team, none of the other parts really matter.”

• “Employment growth in the 21st century will have to come from new ventures, so we all have a vested interest in fostering an environment that helps them succeed, grow, and hire more workers. The creation of an innovation economy that’s driven by the rapid expansion of startups has never been more imperative.”

• “An increasingly popular route to success as a small business owner is ‘acquisition entrepreneurship’ – buying and running an existing operation.”

These two books more deeply explore these and other topics related to starting up and operating a business. Again, The Harvard Business Review Entrepreneur’s Handbook: Everything You need to Launch and Grow Your New Business and On Entrepreneurship and Startups certainly land on my recommended reading list.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

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