I bought this book because it appeared on Economist's list of recommended books. This was a mistake.
This book is written as a pamphlet, and its central theme is the glorification of American Enterpreneurial Capitalism. It is all about American self-glorification.
Unfortunately, this book is a poor pamphlet. Worse, it has got many of its facts plainly wrong. It is amazing that the CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, one of the largest supporters of entrepreneurship research in the US, would be so ignorant of basic research facts, as well as of economic growth in general.
The book defines entrepreneurship as "the process by which one or more people undertake economic risk to create a new organization...". Entrepreneurs, then, are people who take risk to create new organizations. So far so good. Too bad that this definition is not actually used in the book. Only 7 pages later, Schramm states that "Entrepreneurship is a mindset." It is unfortunate that this seems to be the definition that he really uses throughout his book.
A "mindset" is an infinitely pliable definition. Indeed, Schramm appears able to see this "mindset" whenever he so chooses and not see it when he does not care to. Sometimes Schramm's "entrepreneurship" appears to be best described as innovation. In other times he appears to refer to plain initiative, as in the case of those early "entrepreneurial" American university presidents Schramm appears to admire (now, how many new organizations did UC Berkeley president Daniel Coit Gilman start, and how much economic risk did he undertake during the process?).
Schramm reveals some of his ideological undercurrents by stating that there is only one country on this planet more "entrepreneurial" than the US. You guessed it: Israel. According to Schramm, Israel is the most "entrepreneurial" country on this planet.
Too bad that available data on new business foundings, new business ownership, and nascent entrepreneurs does not support Schramm's contention. Much of this data his own foundation has helped create.
It is also astonishing how Schramm ignores some 25-odd years of research by suggesting that "entrepreneurs" are special people who are distinctively different from the mainstream population. Schramm would be well advised to publish his discovery, as he seems to have succeeded where hundreds of researchers have failed over 25 years.
Schramm's argument rests on a few key premises: (1) America is the best country on this planet (except perhaps Israel); (2) American "Entrepreneurial Capitalism" is the best economic model there is (Schramm's model is, in essence, one of uninhibited market capitalism with little or no regulation and minimal government); (3) America should actively export this model to other countries so that World Peace would become possible. This is breathtakingly ideological and naive, given, e.g., the disaster USA has recently inflicted upon Iraq.
The closest equivalent of Schramm's economic model appears to be late 19th-century US. At least he does not hide his admiration of the robber barons of that age.
He gets too many facts wrong to list them all here. He maintains that America invented entrepreneurial capitalism. I wonder if he is familiar with the history of 18th and 19th-century England. Similarly, Tim Berners-Lee might be interested to learn that Americans invented the internet.
As an economist, Schramm comes across as surprisingly ignorant of mainstream economic growth theories. As his pamphlet is all about the creation of economic wealth, it is surprising that productivity does not feature anywhere in his story.
So, how good is Schramm's model? Schramm might be surprised to learn that in Sweden, whose 'socialist model' Schramm surely despises, a child born into low-income family is much more likely to advance to a higher income class during her life than is a child born into a poor family in the US.
In other words, to realize the 'American Dream', so extolled by Schramm, he would be well advised to move to Sweden.
In summary, this book is a waste of time and money. It is not a good source of facts, it does not accurately describe the entrepreneurial phenomenon, and it does not even begin to uncover the factors underlying economic growth.