BOOK REVIEW | The Fail-Safe Startup


By Tom Eisenmann

This is a survival guide for entrepreneurial success from a Harvard Business School Professor.

90% of all start-ups fail. But why?

Mistakes and missteps of entrepreneurs

For the past decade, this is a question that Tom Eisenmann has tried to answer. Focusing his research and his MBA class at Harvard University on the mistakes and missteps of entrepreneurs, for the first time, he reveals his findings, and – most importantly – how you can avoid them.

Eisenmann’s fascinating, often counter-intuitive, advice debunks common Silicon Valley mythology including:

  • The False Promise: How early success, often based on extenuating factors, gives founders the misplaced confidence to expand.
  • The False Start: That the ‘fail fast’ mentality of many founders can mean launching before they’re ready – wasting time and money.
  • The Audacity of Goals: Silicon Valley scoffs at moderate ambitions but the more audacious your goals, the more can go wrong.

Drawing on case studies from start-ups around the world, in all shapes and sizes, The Fail-Safe Startup will show you how to analyse others’ failure to ensure your success.

About the author

Tom Eisenmann is the Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the faculty co-chair of the Arthur Rock Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Since joining the HBS faculty in 1997, he has launched eleven MBA courses on a range of topics related to entrepreneurship, including The Entrepreneurial Manager, an introductory course taught to all 900 first-year MBAs and Entrepreneurial Failure, an MBA elective.

Eisenmann has written over one hundred Harvard Business School Case Studies and his writing appears regularly in the Wall Street Journal, The New Statesman and The New York Times.

  • PUBLISHER | Penguin Random House SA |
  • ISBN | 9780241420171 |
  • Recommended Retail Price | R350.00 |
  • Classification | Entrepreneurship, Business Management |



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