$100 Book Review: Lessons From the Edge

Written by Lorne Merkur

Lessons From the Edge
Lessons From the Edge: Survival Skills for Starting and Growing a Company

By Jana Mathews and Jeff Dennis
Oxford University Press, 2003     $34.95

Tales from the Brink

What would you pay for a list of valuable business dos and don’ts, distilled from real-life, near-death experiences?

That’s what you get from Lessons From the Edge. Jana Mathews and Jeff Dennis interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs, ultimately documenting 50 hair-raising business experiences and what these CEOs learned from their skirmishes with disaster.

The chapters cover topics such as “Leading a Company,” “Selecting the Right People,” and “Financing Growth.” Each chapter and subchapter concludes with a list of Top 10 lessons.

My favorite chapter is “Choosing and Working with Partners,” which covers every pitfall (and sometimes pratfall) in this delicate and crucial area. Just whom should you propose to and whom should you marry? For starters, the authors advise that you screen potential partners with much more scrutiny than you would either a job applicant or spouse. Other key advice includes: carefully match your goals and values because incompatibilities are likely to magnify over time; be flexible; and always define each partner’s roles and responsibilities to avoid conflict and overlap.

Lorne Merkur
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© 2004 Lorne Merkur

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