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The Intelligent Entrepreneur: How Three Harvard Business School Graduates Learned the 10 Rules of Successful Entrepreneurship Hardcover – Oct 12 2010

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (Oct. 12 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805091661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805091663
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #646,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“An excellent, thought-provoking overview of entrepreneurship… that uses actual cases to describe the challenges of starting a business and realizing success.”—Booklist
“An unusual hybrid work of self-help, business and narrative nonfiction… Murphy’s explication of the [ten] rules is detailed and clear…and the narrative chapters are compelling… The degree of cooperation Murphy received from his subjects—as well as their classmates, professors, business partners and employees—is astounding and greatly enriches the book.”--Kirkus Reviews
“Bill Murphy’s book captures the reality of entrepreneurial endeavors by detailing how three graduates of HBS found opportunity, acquired the resources they needed, and committed heart and soul to their venture.  Entrepreneurship is messy, an emotional and financial rollercoaster.  This book serves as an invaluable guide to those who might follow in the footsteps of these remarkable young entrepreneurs.”--William Sahlman, Professor, Harvard Business School
The Intelligent Entrepreneur is full of invaluable advice, and it highlights the ways that thoughtful people actually go about learning the ideas and developing skills required to be successful entrepreneurs.  Bill Murphy’s book shows that entrepreneurs who take an informed and intelligent approach to launching new companies can vastly improve their chances of ultimate success.”--Joseph Lassiter, Professor, Harvard Business School 

About the Author

Bill Murphy Jr. is the author of The Intelligent Entrepreneur: How Three Harvard Business School Graduates Learned the 10 Rules of Successful Entrepreneurship and In a Time of War: The Proud and Perilous Journey of West Point's Class of 2002. Previously, he worked as Bob Woodward's research assistant on the bestselling State of Denial. An inveterate entrepreneur who was on the founding teams of three separate start-ups, he is also a former military officer, lawyer, and Washington Post reporter.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Intelligent Entrepreneur is a Fantastic book written by Bill Murphy on the founders of military.com, ladders.com and blue mercury, from their entry to Harvard Business School to their ups and downs to build their companies from scratch to multi million dollar firms.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x994e28d0) out of 5 stars 37 reviews
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99407444) out of 5 stars Good concepts but be aware of context July 24 2011
By GeorgeS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Bill Murphy does an interesting job of following three success stories in entrepreneurship and coming away with 10 important takeaways, using specific examples and illustrations. However, there are two BIG caveats that aspiring entrepreneurs need to be aware of when reading this book. First, these businesses were all started in a positive economic climate when VC capital was amply available. Second, the entrepreneurs all came out of Harvard Business School, which they not only were admitted to but could afford (we're talking north of $100K). While Murphy underlines that he did not want to choose people who came from wealth, being a Harvard MBA carries a lot of weight with investors and also offers fantastic highly paying 'plan b' employment opportunities (e.g. investment banking, consulting) as well as a fantastic network of faculty and successful students.

If you're not a Harvard MBA, and/or aren't living in times of ample capital, these stories will not give you a truly accurate picture of the gravity of the risk that most entrepreneurs face going out on their own. You're probably not going to be in the same situation as Marla who had an offer from McKinsey to come back and take a six figure salary if her business failed, or Marc who could have easily gotten a job in a VC firm or i-bank without any problems (and who also had started another business prior to getting his MBA). You'd be better off reading some rags to riches stories if you really want to get a sense of the character it takes to get out there and take chances. That said, reading this book you'll be in a position to judge where the privileged background was value added and where it was not. You'll also get a little insight into Harvard business school which may be of interest for those either in b-school or aspiring to go.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9940784c) out of 5 stars Insider's view about three successful entrepreneurs Oct. 13 2010
By Quang Pham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Bill Murphy's work is a terrific narrative weaving in between three entrepreneurs (Chris, Marc, and Marla) and their respective companies. All three had graduated from Harvard Business School in the late 1990s then worked in the San Francisco Bay Area during the waning dot-com era. All three resisted Wall Street temptations and wanted to run their own show. Readers will enjoy the agonizing decision-making points along the journeys that the entrepreneurs made and they will appreciate Murphy's 10 rules. I certainly did. Having a big idea is really just the beginning. Actually executing it to a successful exit is the true test. It doesn't hurt to have access to capital and the Harvard connection. One of the three entrepreneurs has sold two companies while netting close to $30 million, while the other two are still growing their ventures to close to $100 million in annual sales. They have truly succeeded when many failed. We can all learn from them.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x994078c4) out of 5 stars Slow, long stories at first but interesting insights starting at Chapters 7-8 Aug. 28 2011
By BadPanda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you like long storytelling, this is the book for you. From writing b-school application essays to review job opportunities after b-school, you will know everything about about these entrepreneurs' experiences.

If you are looking for an insights-packed book (in the spirit of the dense and insightful Harvard Business Review articles) this is definitely not a book for you. At least not the first 4-6 chapters.

You can tell that this book was not written by a business leader. The book's product description mentions that it was "Based on dozens of interviews with highly successful entrepreneurs, Harvard Business School professors" but this is a misleading statement. This book is not about distilling best practices learned from entrepreneurs and professors. It's about detailed stories about 3 entrepreneurs' experiences. There are very good ideas in this book but you have to sort through long stories to find them.

If you have already been in business school, or if you already have business and entrepreneurship experience, you will probably end up scanning quickly through most of the content. You've heard most of these stories already in one way or another. This book is a better fit for people who are simply looking for an entertaining "airplane" read and interesting stories about entrepreneurship and business school. The book does get interesting and becomes more focused after a few chapters. Towards the middle/end of the book, the author starts to highlight key success factors in entrepreneurship and does a good job at using these 3 students' stories to illustrate his points.

One point that I would like to highlight is the excessive amount of promotion for the Harvard Business School. It seems that the author wants to give a dramatic angle to his stories and as a result excessively highlights the prestige of the school. The truth is that these business/entrepreneurship opportunities are offered at many other top schools and the author's comments are over-the-top and not very helpful.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99407c54) out of 5 stars Information that is accurate, insightful, and valuable Aug. 22 2011
By rlweaverii - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Harvard Business School (HBS) teaches its business classes by having students read, analyze, and discuss case studies. Bill Murphy is a Harvard graduate, and the reason you need to know this before diving into this book, is that basically, it is three extensive and well-described case studies (of Marla Malcolm Beck, Chris Michel, and Marc Cenedella) tied together with their experiences and how they demonstrate (sometimes purposefully and at other times accidentally) the ten rules of successful entrepreneurship:

1. Make the commitment.

2. Find a problem, then solve it.

3. Think big, think new, think again.

4. You can't do it alone.

5. You must do it alone.

6. Manage risk.

7. Learn to lead.

8. Learn to sell.

9. Persist, persevere, prevail.

10. Play the game for life.

In each case, you get a beautifully presented explanation of the real life challenges and triumphs of the three entrepreneurs in the eleven odd-numbered chapters, and in the even-numbered chapters, you get Murphy's key rules of entrepreneurial success that Marla, Chris, and Marc learned along the way (p. 7). It's an interesting format, but it works well.

Once you meet Marla, Chris, and Marc in Chapter 1 and hear their stories (which sets the stage for the entire book), you will not just become interested in how their lives work out, but their stories, too, will captivate you, and you will quickly become absorbed in this well-written, interesting, and enlightening book.

Whether you are a hopeful entrepreneur, one just starting out, or one who has already plunged forward into entrepreneurship and is fully ensconced, I think you will find this book worthwhile. Having recently established a small publishing company, And Then Some Publishing, LLC, I found his information accurate, insightful, and valuable.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99407d8c) out of 5 stars Should be required for Entrepreneurship Students Dec 30 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book had a lot- maybe too much. The story about the 3 entrepreneurs was well told and very interesting, and the author probably could not have found 3 better entrepreneurs to choose from. Their stories were exciting, yet it all seemed appropriate. The only problem that I have with it is the fact that the author included the "10 Rules," which the book could have actually have gone without. They were somewhat relevant, but they were overshadowed by the actual narrative. Focusing more on the the stories, the challenges, the success, and even more importantly, the relationship between the attendance to HBS and the success of the entrepreneurs would have made it a powerhouse of a book. Without that link, what's the point in even mentioning the fact that they all attended HBS in the title of the book?

Despite my criticism, I decided to come on to this website and write this review because of how much I liked the book, and not how much I didn't like it. That said, I would recommend it to anyone even involved in business with an entrepreneurial mindset.