Exception to the Rules
Anthony Iaquinto and Stephen Spinelli Jr. stampede a sizable herd of entrepreneurship's sacred cows in Never Bet the Farm (Jossey-Bass, $19.95). They declare there is no one entrepreneurial personality and say that entrepreneurs are people just like everybody else.
They ascribe a much larger role than most experts do to luck--both good and bad--in the way entrepreneurial ventures turn out. Perhaps their most controversial suggestion is that entrepreneurs operate at times in "the gray"--an area between established rules and unethical behavior. As examples, they provide cases of retailers jousting with regulators and startups using smoke and mirrors to appear larger than they are.
You can't write off these two or their book as irrelevant iconoclasts. Spinelli is director of the Babson College Center for Entrepreneurship and co-founder of Jiffy Lube. Iaquinto is a serial entrepreneur and an academic. In this trend-bucker, they've cultivated a different and useful view of the entrepreneurial business garden.
Outsmart the Competition
If you've ever wondered why the so-called Information Age so rarely supplies critical data about customers, competitors, trends and other vital matters, Leonard Fuld has the answer. In short, it's because you don't know how to go about getting it. In The Secret Language of Competitive Intelligence (Crown Business, $24.95), Fuld demonstrates ways to gather amazing details about your rivals' strategies and capabilities with nothing more than an internet connection, and then teaches how to use war games and other tricks of the trade to prepare responses. This highly readable how-to by a top expert should be your first choice on competitive intelligence.