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The Big Idea: How to Make Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Come True, From the Aha Moment to Your First Million [Hardcover]

Donny Deutsch , Catherine Whitney

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2009
It's the moment when you say, "There's gotta be a better way." It's the moment when you ask, "How can I solve this problem"

Donny Deutsch's hit CNBC show The Big Idea has put the spotlight on that ordinary moment and the people who have the courage and stamina to make their dreams come true.

Some people think a big idea is like a lightning bolt striking out of the blue that slams you in the head. But it's hardly ever like that. The big idea isn't an act of God. It's an act of daily life. Simply put, the idea that will make millions starts with an observation.

A carpenter gets tired of almost losing a finger every time he slices a bagel. Bam! The Bagel Guillotine. A mother is frustrated that her pantry is full of stale food because the packages don't close. Bam! Quick Seals. Howard Schultz notices on a trip to Italy that there are coffee bars on almost every corner. Bam! Starbucks. None of them had a barrel of cash. None of them had a ton of experience. They had a big idea and the will to follow through.

In The Big Idea, Deutsch draws not only on his own tremendous focus and expertise, but on that of dozens of the successful entrepreneurs whom he has interviewed, to help you create your own enterprise. From the "Gut Check Moment" to "Mom Power," The Big Idea takes aspiring entrepreneurs along every step of the way. The Big Idea is your road map to the American dream.


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About the Author

Under Donny Deutsch's leadership as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Deutsch Inc. grew into one of the nation's premier cutting-edge advertising agencies, with blue chip clients, including Mitsubushi, Johnson & Johnson, Revlon, Coors, Novartis, Monster, and Old Navy. Both Advertising Age and Adweek have honored the $2.7 billion agency time and again as "Agency of the Year". Deutsch was also a lead member of the successful Clinton/Gore communications team, and is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the UPenn School of Social Work's Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fluff and inspiration is pretty much all we get in this book. Not something that I can recommend to my SCORE clients. Oh well... April 8 2009
By Jeff Lippincott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Simply fluff. That's what I have to say about this book. Sure, there is an outline. And it is reasonably well written. But it doesn't have a whole lot of sound advice in it as far as I am concerned. The author has his own popular TV show and this book comes across simply as a marketing tool for the TV show. It has 21 chapters and 3 appendices as follows:

1. Calling all dreamers
2. No experience necessary
3. Why make someone else rich?
4. Make love, not work
5. There's gotta be a better way
6. Why didn't I think of that?
7. Break out of the box
8. Change the world with a simple idea
9. Why not me?
10. The gut check moment
11. They told me I'd never make it
12. Saved by a big idea
13. Who said it was too late?
14. From zero to millions
15. Fueled by mom power
16. All in the family
17. People to people
18. Dollars & sense
19. Perfect pitch
20. Make trade show magic
21. The hungry millionaire
A. The big idea blueprint
B. The big idea toolbox
C. The big idea community

The author said he was not much of a student in high school. What a bunch of bunk - he got in and graduated from an Ivy League school. He says he's an authority on "The Big Idea." To me that means he is a startup specialist. But his background involved taking over the family business which was already established before he got hold of it. But the biggest problem I had with this book was Appendix A which claims to include a 12-step roadmap to launching one's business. It reads as follows:

Step 1. Write your mission statement
Step 2. Describe your product or service idea
Step 3. Conduct market research
Step 4. Create your business plan
Step 5. Build your network
Step 6. Formalize your idea
Step 7. Create a prototype
Step 8. Hold focus groups
Step 9. Find a manufacturer & distributor
Step 10. Launch your Web site
Step 11. Pubicize your idea
Step 12. Pitch potential suppliers/customers

Seems like this roadmap is for an inventor who wants to create a profitable widget. I would have liked the book more if it catered to ANY small business startup. That includes services businesses, consulting businesses, retail businesses, etc. But the roadmap as presented is flawed. I think normally you start with your idea, then you do some research which may include some focus groups, then you create a prototype, then you do your business plan that includes: (1) a mission statement, (2) your formalized idea, (3) list of people to network with, (4) operations issues, (5) marketing issues. After one has the business plan, then they launch the business according to the dictates of the plan. It is the plan that is the roadmap. The plan is not just a step in a roadmap.

This book goes heavy on fluff and inspiration and light on nuts and bolts necessary to actually launch a startup. As a result I cannot give it a particularly good star rating. 3 stars!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suprisingly Exceptional Jan. 10 2009
By Dave Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Because I enjoy occasionally watching Donny Deutsch's TV show by the same name, I thought I would try the book. I expected that I likely would get a ghost written pabulum of basic business information. I was very pleasantly surprised that I got so, so much more.

Like with his TV show, Deutsch crisply communicates a wonderful blend of possibility thinking and entrepreneurial support. There are people who do each of the two subjects better, but no one who combines the two as effectively as does the author. Think Dr. Robert Schuller (Possibility Thinking) meets Michael Gerber (E Myth).

The book has many power points, but for me the strongest takeaway was Deutsch's mantra that many of the best ideas come from a simple notion that we all have "there must be a better way." Before reading this book, my frame of reference for innovation was more oriented to scientific discoveries (because my consulting work intersects with the venture capital field). The author is very convincing that there are abundant opportunities that arise without deep research. Instead they come from that aha moment when we have identified a better way, and then back-up that moment by taking the resulting product or service to market.

The book also does an excellent job of laying out the hurdles in transforming an innovation into entrepreneurial success. And, it does so with that same hi-speed, interesting communication that is a hallmark of the author's TV show.

I enjoyed the book so much that I also bought the audio reading by Deutsch. It is one of the five best audios I have ever heard (and I have listened to 100's). The combination of the books excellent content and Deutsch's captivating reading style makes for an audio that kept my interest throughout the four CD's.

Given the quality of Deutsch's TV show, I should have expected that his book would be as special. Shame on me for thinking otherwise. Kudos to the author for demonstrating multi-media excellence.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional And Timely Book From The Biggest Proponent Of Entrepreneurs In America Today Jan. 12 2009
By Dave Lakhani - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Love him or hate him, Donny Deutsch is the mouthpiece of and for entrepreneurs everywhere. On his show, The Big Idea on CNBC he showed again and again how anyone can make good no matter where they start or where they are at. He takes that one step further with the book and puts his ideas and his guests ideas into a workable blueprint.

This book is very good.

It is full of hard hitting, implementable insights about how to make things happen. Donny is nothing if not someone who knows how to make things happen and he shows you again and again not just how he did it but how others are doing it too.

One of the things I really enjoy about this book is that it champions the little guy or woman. It shows how anyone can make it. The book inspires you to try harder and think about success in ways you probably haven't.

There were several sections that I thought were exceptional. The section about writing your second story. It really highlights how NOW is the time to do something, not yesterday and not tomorrow, but right now. The section about making your mark and promoting yourself was invaluable too and Donny knows a thing or two about promoting himself (and he's got the goods to back it up).

If you are starting a business or if you've found yourself wondering about your next step read this book, it will give you dozens of ideas you can implement now.

A must read for every Entrepreneur, small business owner or person wondering about starting a business.

Dave Lakhani
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Entrepreneur Needs This Book! March 6 2009
By Jim Kukral - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Big Idea, The: How to Make Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Come True, From the Aha Moment to Your First Million is a must read for all people who want to be successful as an entrepreneur. It's full of stories, not theories, about how real people have done it and how you can do it too. It's a quick read and it will motivate you to finally make your way as an entrepreneur.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK Feb. 19 2009
By K. Kryder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book shares many inspiring stories and talks about a lot of the hardships these people encountered along the way. I had hoped that the book would go into a little more detail than it did about the actual steps to take to start a business. It did provide numerous links to resources, however, that could supply this information.

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