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Part autobiography, part business advice
on January 29, 2011
In Driven, Herjavec tells a classic immigrant success story. He arrived as a boy in Canada with his poor parents. Struggled to fit in at school. Worked a series of jobs (debt collector, waiter, retail menswear salesman) that provided valuable business lessons. Started a company, worked hard to grow it and then sold it to an industry giant for more money than he ever imagined having. Continued to have success in business, raised a family and to top it all off, became a television celebrity in Canada and the United States.
The book is written as a series of lessons drawn from this experience and his appearances on Dragon's Den and Shark Tank. He tells an account of how and why he became involved with both shows, some lessons that we can learn from the pitches, and a behind the scenes look at some of the program's best moments.
Unfortunately, Herjavec's anecdotes are interrupted with generic business management advice that is all too common. Consider these two samples: "...a constant shortage of cash to pay all bills in full is a serious symptom of trouble for your business." "How you fix things with clients is as important as what you fix." There is nothing wrong with this type of advice, but it could come from anyone running any type of business. There are no intriguing insights here about entrepreneurship in Canada or the unique challenges of building an internet security business. There are scant details about his current business (The Herjavec Group), the company that he sold to AT&T, BRAK Systems, (the proceeds of the sale being the base of his wealth), or any of his other business investments.
If you are a fan of Robert Herjavec on Dragon's Den or Shark Tank, you will enjoy the book. His success story is inspirational, he comes across as a generous and warm person, and the lessons serve as an entertaining reminder of the business truisms that apply across all industries. However, if you are looking for thought provoking writing about entrepreneurship or high-tech business success, you need to look elsewhere.