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Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days Hardcover – Mar 27 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1st ed. 2007. Corr. 2nd printing 2007 edition (March 27 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590597141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590597149
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 939 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #129,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Jessica Livingston is a founding partner at Y Combinator, a seed-stage venture firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Mountain View, California. She was previously vice president of marketing at investment bank Adams Harkness. In addition to her work with startups at Y Combinator, she organizes Startup School (www.StartupSchool.org). She has a bachelor's degree in English from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
At last, we can have a peek at the life in the early stage of a

successful startup. Jessica Livingston interviewed several leaders of

the digital age. She takes us from the very beginning when there is

just a handful of founder and no one else to the culmination of the

exercise: IPO, acquisition, or commercial domination.

The stories are really interesting, unfortunately this book could use a

lot more editing. We get the interview verbatim, including the

praises by Livingston and the polite acknowledgments. When the

interview diverges, she is slow to bring it back on track; I really

was looking forward to the story of Wozniak, most of it end up in

technical details on the Apple II and few insights regarding the

startup. Some people are really terse and Livingston just go through

her list of questions without asking for more details.

If there was another book, the poor editing might lead to recommend it

instead. But there is no other book. This is the only book where you

learn about the pain and the joy of the first few years of those

companies. This is the only book where you can receive the advice of

the most successful founders. This is a book that must be read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is fascinating, simply for its format. Its broken down into 33 separate chapters, each showcasing interviews with founders of very successful tech companies. The interviews are thought provoking, tantalizingly aware, and mostly forthright.

I take some issue with the book's statement that "ultimately these interviews are required reading for anyone who wants to understand business". This is not the book for those who want to learn how to start a business. It will not teach you what you should and shouldn't do when starting a business. The value of this book is in its motivational and inspirational tone - a tone that emanates from the entrepreneurial spirit of the interviewees. Many people wonder what it takes to become rich and ridiculously successful, and this book does a great job in showcasing how a myriad of different individuals did just that. This book would read well for those already familiar with business looking for inspiration. Look elsewhere for guidance on how-to make it as an entrepreneur.
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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 16 2008
Format: Hardcover
What we have here are interviews of 32 founders of start-up companies, interviewed by Jessica Livingston. To most readers, few of the names are familiar (e.g. Steve Wozniak and Apple Computer) and the interviews will often seem rambling, poorly edited, etc. That is a fair reaction. However, they have the value of being extemporaneous rather than "sanitized." However different the start-ups' circumstances were and however different their founders' perspectives on those circumstances may be, there are common themes: naiveté, almost unlimited enthusiasm, little (if any) fear of failure, and especially, a rock-solid faith in what could be accomplished. Those with an ability to read between the lines will also develop a sense that most of the founders do not second-guess themselves when recalling their blunders.

To me, the greatest single value of this book is that we are learning about 32 start-ups from eyewitness accounts provided by those centrally involved. True, human memory can often be selective and on occasion self-serving. Nonetheless, these founders (with few exceptions) seem to be making a sincere effort to "tell it like it was" without aid of a ghostwriter or even an editor with special talents for clarity and (especially) concision.

Of special interest to me are the interviews of Craig Newmark (Craigslist), Blake Ross (Firefox), Paul Buchheit (Gmail), Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail), Mitchell Kapor (Lotus Development), Max Levchin (PayPal), Mike Ramsay (TiVo), and Tim Brady (Yahoo). Of course, each reader must determine for herself and himself which interviews are most interest and, perhaps more to the point, which interviews are most valuable to those who about to launch a new company or have only recently done so.
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Format: Paperback
This book is great and easy to read. You can choose and read the interviews that interest you the most.
Many books on business startup focus on mostly principles and lack real examples. However, this book focuses on real examples from large successful and famous organizations.

I would have given it 5 stars if it had follow up comments after each interview to elaborate on the lessons learned with reference to some principles that should be considered when starting a business.

I recommend this book to be read after understanding some important business principles, such as the ones outlined by Guy Kawasaki in his book "The Art of Start".
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