I had great hope that this book was going to be something that would be presenting a “gameplan” for folks looking at entrepreneurial options. As I’ve mentioned, I have a number of friends, who (like me) have been unable to find jobs for extended periods of time, and have opted to develop their own companies. Unfortunately, this is essentially an “anti-entrepreneurial” book, and I’m amazed that it’s been getting as much praise as it has.
This is somewhat uncomfortable for me, as I “know” the author from Twitter and other corners of the internet, and recently met her when she was speaking at a Social Media Club of Chicago event. At that I discovered that the book was just coming out (I’d assumed, from the amount of buzz that I’d been seeing, that it had been out for a while), and requested a review copy. I suppose that I’m fortunate that Carol Roth frequently advises readers to “make sure you aren’t surrounding yourself with people who just want to smile and/or blow smoke up your ass” as my review of the book is clearly not in the “blowing smoke” mode.
It seems to me that the point of The Entrepreneur Equation: Evaluating the Realities, Risks, and Rewards of Having Your Own Business is to convince 99.99% of people who have ever considered opening up their own business to abandon their dreams and go back to their cubicle. Seriously. The “equation” part of this is a series of assessments that I’m guessing could not be successfully passed by more that one in ten thousand would-be entrepreneurs. And, my fellow job-seekers, people in our position don’t even register here. All the arguments against starting a business are stacked up across from what is assumed to be a “good job” with stability, benefits, and lots of other reasons to stay. At no place is “entrepreneurship as an alternative to long-term unemployment” even considered … as, frankly, there is no way that we could pass the assessments.
Of course, there are a lot of people who probably shouldn’t start a business, and, I suppose, this book would be a life-saver for them, were they able to be convinced to read it. However, for those of us in dire economic straits who have beat their heads against the walls separating us from, in some cases (like mine), thousands of jobs … to no avail … holding onto the ideal (if in a “plan D” ranking) of the entrepreneurial option is sometimes the only thing separating our continuing in our job search and suicide.
There is nothing in this book which would encourage anybody to open their own business. It is the ink-on-paper equivalent of a “disaster movie”, sort of a The Day After Tomorrow for entrepreneurs’ dreams. Ms. Roth walks the reader through every conceivable nightmare scenario, every snag, every inconvenience, every conflict that might be waiting in business ownership, with nothing to counter-balance it except for looking at “how good you have it” at your nice cushy corporate job (again, assuming the reader has a job), and how much you would be risking if you were so stupid as to transition into an entrepreneurial role.
Frankly, the “apocalyptic vision” angle isn’t too far off, if you think about it. The vast majority of jobs in this country are created by small businesses, plus sole proprietors … these are jobs that depend on the entrepreneurial drive, and, were the people behind them to have taken the advice of this book, we’d be looking at majority unemployment!
Anyway, I had wanted very much to have liked this book, and to have brought it to your attention as “another thing in your toolkit”, but (obviously), I can’t. If anything, this is a hidden cyanide capsule just waiting to kill the would-be business owner’s dreams. More details are, of course, over in my review.