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Fail-Safe? The power to succeed is at least partly in your hands.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nobody likes failing, but most entrepreneurs do fail from timeto time. Why? Is business too difficult for even the smartest of usto fully grasp? Yes, says Paul Ormerod. In Why Most Things Fail (Pantheon, $24.95),the British economist uses ideas from biology, politics andcommerce to show that markets are too complex and changing to bemore than occasionally and imperfectly understood or exploited.Most ideas, products and businesses eventually fail, and almostnothing we do can change that.

But while no amount of market research, inspiring insight orhard work eliminates the possibility of failure--or even makessuccess very likely-you can reduce failure's probability, or atleast delay its arrival. First, know all you can about yourindustry. Second, avoid over-committing to even the most promisingcourse. Finally, innovate tirelessly so that at least one of yourideas may succeed. Elegantly written and rich with insights,Ormerod's examination of failure is safe from being consideredone itself.

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