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Never Bet the Farm: How Entrepreneurs Take Risks, Make Decisionsand How You Can, Too

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In Never Bet the Farm two leading entrepreneurs, Anthony Iaquinto and Stephen Spinelli, turn much of the so-called expert advice for entrepreneurs on its head. They show that by preparing for setbacks and using a framework that can help reduce risks and simplify decision making, entrepreneurs can increase their probability for success. They refute the idea that there is an ideal entrepreneurial “type,” and show that luck can be as important as a business plan in many enterprises. Above all, the authors emphasize that entrepreneurship is a career, not a one-time event, and winners are those who can keep themselves in the game. Never Bet the Farm is an easy-to-understand and attractive tool for anyone who has a business idea, but who might be wary of the risks implied in starting their own business.

Never Bet the Farm is an easy-to-understand and attractive tool for anyone who has business ideas: office workers, homemakers, mechanics, engineers, bartenders, and business school students. It’s designed for entrepreneurs who understand that despite all the skills, resources, planning, and positive thinking they can muster, success may not come the first time around. Most important, it’s intended for people who invent, integrate, craft, sew, design, process, cook, or make things that their family and friends snap up faster than they can produce but who might be wary of the risks involved in starting their own business or overwhelmed by the multitude of decisions they face.

The framework presented in Never Bet the Farm is made up of fifteen principles, organized into two parts: “Developing the Correct Frame of Mind” and “Making the Right Decisions.” Some of these tenets have been around since the buggy whip was usurped by the accelerator; others are a reaction to the dot.com boom-and-bust of the 1990s; still others have sprung from our own research and experiences. There are no guarantees, but by following the framework discussed in this book, you can significantly increase the chances of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

About the Author

Anthony L. Iaquinto received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and spent fifteen years as an educator and entrepreneur in Japan. He started three businesses, including a language school and two restaurants. In 2005 he was a visiting scholar at Arizona State University.

Stephen Spinelli Jr. is cofounder of Jiffy Lube International. He is currently vice provost at Babson College and holds the John H. Muller Jr. Chair in Entrepreneurship. He is also director of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship.

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