my review: the start-up of YOU

The Start-Up of You is par for much of today’s business read course. Unsurprisingly then it isn’t spared from proceeding from this reduction:

  • Be white.
  • Be male.
  • Be in the Silicon Valley.
  • Go.
Or from maybe this fuller chronicle:
  • Be white.
  • Be male.
  • Be in the Silicon Valley.
  • Get good jobs through influential friends for which you may lack clear credentials.
  • Pivot.
  • Get more jobs through friends.
  • Pivot.
  • Get rich.
  • Pivot.
  • Get richer.
  • Pivot.
  • Pivot.
  • Pivot.

And then by example, perhaps write a book explaining how to really be a success. The point is an entrepreneur’s journey is arduous because of all obstacles faced, including those of socioeconomic and sociocultural inflection, with mostly none of which the book even deals.

Many best-selling business books come from authors representing the least socioeconomically encumbered demographic.  They frequently enjoy disproportionate access to the most empowered social circles of business leadership.  Consider the PayPal mafia.  There are no women. Or how inbred this is:

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Graphic source.

Readers can rightly wonder how applicable to entrepreneurs generally the chronicled entrepreneurial experiences in Start-Up of You are. I.e., the “You” in Start-Up of You seems qualified. If so, the book is less instructive than descriptive.

I’ll expect more from—and seek—business writers outside the authors’ profiles: disadvantaged entrepreneurs who have built businesses and brands without friends in high places, the socio-economic-cultural benefit of any doubt, academic mentors or lines of credit, and who not only had to prove themselves once, but repeatedly.

That said, I well embrace the book’s fine universal points:

  • We are all entrepreneurs.
  • Increase opportunity flow.
  • Court good randomness.
  • Be in permanent beta.
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