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Publisher's Summary

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder's Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team.
Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman reveals the common pitfalls founders face and how to avoid them. He looks at whether it is a good idea to cofound with friends or relatives, how and when to split the equity within the founding team, and how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired. Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas. He highlights the need at each step to strike a careful balance between controlling the startup and attracting the best resources to grow it, and demonstrates why the easy short-term choice is often the most perilous in the long term.
The Founder's Dilemmas draws on the inside stories of founders like Evan Williams of Twitter and Tim Westergren of Pandora, while mining quantitative data on almost 10,000 founders. People problems are the leading cause of failure in startups. This book offers solutions.
©2012 Princeton University Press (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"[A] seminal work.... Sure to be required reading in business school curricula, this illuminating and captivating read will also appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs or founders who want to make better decisions in existing ventures." (Publishers Weekly)
"Ten years of extensive research combined with winning case studies make this a trustworthy source not only for the potential startup owner but also for the classroom." (Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Rick on 04-29-14

An important FACT based book on entrepeneurship

Would you listen to The Founder’s Dilemmas again? Why?

Yes, I will refer to the book often as it is full of interesting facts and figures

What did you like best about this story?

I appreciated the research based findings.

What does Mark Mosely bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Honestly, this might be a better book to read in print and refer back too, but it was an entertaining, easy listen in the car too

Any additional comments?

So many entrepreneurship books are just stories and anecdotes, this one is actually based on the findings of research. It's really fascinating!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Stanley Tan on 10-02-14

Too much talk on the data

What was most disappointing about Noam Wasserman’s story?

Before buying I was excited that Noam has gather data from 1000s of businesses but after completing the book, the book was more towards sharing and talking about the data instead of using those data to create insights and actionable knowledge for the listeners.<br/>Oh... and if you're a listener on the go, its better if you get the a book instead of an audiobook for Founder's Dilemma because this book will point you to a graph instead of explaining to you the graph. (e.g: Here is what 27% of the companies did that the others didn't do. Refer to graph 10.1)

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mark Mosely?

Mark could have added more emphasis into his tones at different points of the book. There wasn't any feeling in his reading. It's like the tone is same when the founder's company went bankrupt and when the founder's company went IPO.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointed because there was too much sharing of the data instead of giving the listeners actionable knowledge to the data.

Any additional comments?

If you want a great book which applies the author's insights from his data research + a narrator's tone which emphasis key points on the books, get Great by Choice by Jim Collins.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By D. J. Wilkinson on 07-31-13

Vital and interesting but...

Really interesting base material and research into the problems and issues faced by founders and entrepreneurs. Based on wide-ranging research there is a lot of useful information for entrepreneurs and founders. This book should be a No.1 blockbuster book, but it isn't.
The problem is that is that the writing and narration is so boring it is a real struggle to get the gems contained in the book out. I had to listen to it in small chunks otherwise I realise I just zoned the drone out. A lesson in how to turn interesting and vital research material into boring and unappealing drudgery. I had lecturers like this!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Amazon Customer on 12-23-12

An Invaluable Resource

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Its mixture of hard data analysis and case studies allows you to take in the information and see how ito interpret it when faced with your own dilemmas. I particularly liked the discussion around how to hedge against the possible downside that comes with certain choices. A must for anyone wanting to start their own business.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Mustafa on 08-30-15

Great content poor and too fast reading

The content is outstanding and is essential to every new founder, but the reader is too fast and his voice doesn't keep you engaged.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Daniel on 10-30-17

Well researched, quality content, strong lessons

Well presented facts to challenge any budding or seasoned entrepreneurs to consider and dialogue about to achieve the best decisions for the best win/win results.

Being a huge Jim Collins fan, I saw parallels in style and strong research based material. The real life stories were great.

I'm sure it's not easy to do but I think at times I found some of the storytelling jump around too much from example to example where I had difficulty connecting to the lesson for those stories. Refining into larger overarching principles and sticking with examples from companies for longer to embellishI think would have had even greater and simpler learning and retention. All I all though it was still very good.

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