Book Review – Entrepreneur Journeys: Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction by Sramana Mitra

Hello dear readers. Normally I do not do book reviews but I decided to give it a go this time, and if I get sufficient positive feedback I may do this on a regular basis (note to authors: get in touch with me to have your book reviewed – books related to the subject of business/trading or money making only please!)

As you can tell by the title of this blog post, the name of the book I am going to review today is “Entrepreneur Journey: Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction” and it is written by Sramana Mitra. Although the title is in my opinion a bit clunky it is nonetheless pretty descriptive.

Before I go any further I must thank Sramana’s wonderful publicist for furnishing me with a copy of her book – thanks! I’ve been procrastinating a bit in finishing this review after I’ve read the book and for that I must apologize. I’m not much of a book critic/reviewer but for what it’s worth here is my best attempt at it.

A little bit about the author of this book – Sramana Mitra:

Sramana Mitra is a technology entrepreneur and strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. She has founded three companies and writes a business blog (hey we have something in common!) entittled “Sramana Mitra on Strategy” at http://www.sramanamitra.com. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (aka MIT).

Where I know her best is as a columnist for Forbes. I came across of few of her columns, although I must confess I’m not a regular reader as the subjects she usually discusses didn’t really interest me. This book though has peaked my interest in the world of entrepreneurship and venture capital to the point that I’m dreaming of coming up with the next so called “big idea” or the next “hot thing” that will set the tech industry a blaze. Who knows, my dreams just may come true – maybe then Sramana will use me as an interview subject in the next version of the “Entrepreneur Journeys” (you’ll get what I mean if you continue to read on) But I believe I’m digressing a bit here so let’s move on.

What this book is all about:

Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction is Sramana Mitra’s second book in the Entrepreneur Journey series. It takes aim at a core issue that she believes is missed by most entrepreneurship books: bootstrapping as an essential route along the roadmap to startup success. Mitra uses an interesting narrative style to showcase a dozen entrepreneurs and their lesson from the “bootstrapping trenches.” Mitra’s analysis takes the reader through an interesting expedition into venture land, a territory she hopes will be claimed by many more in the years to come.

In a world battered by economic crisis, Mitra believes entrepreneurship is the only sustainable path forward, and I would have to strongly agree with her. Entrepreneurship has always been in my opinion the true engine of growth and prosperity and I’m glad to see that both Mitra and I are on the same page here.

Mitra structures Entrepreneur Journeys as a series of interviews with people who have started businesses and willingly (or unwillingly) went without massive funding for the first part of their histories. The range of personalities is rather wide; everything from veterans of startups who have “been there, done that” to youngsters who happened to be at the right place at the right time, and organically grew an idea into a money-generating website. Some of the individuals couldn’t get a venture capitalist to listen to them, and others decided not to go that route in order to retain control. But in all cases, these entrepreneurs were able to successfully negotiate that tightrope between growth and funding.

As you delve further into the book Mitra points out a number of flaws in our current VC (venture capital) mindset that cause many good companies to die off too early. Running a company for the first time is hard, and mentoring is even more valuable in many cases than money. Normal VC arrangements don’t do a good job in close mentoring. Instead, it’s a push to build up the value so the VCs can cash out. Angel investors are more likely to work closely with the business, helping them reach their potential without sacrificing the longer-term potential of the business.

The interview style used by Mitra may turn some people off, but I found myself rather liking it. The only that I didn’t like about this book are the parts where Mitra rants about Obama’s economic plan. I found these bits unnecessary, but some may beg to differ.

InĀ  I’d say that If you’re starting your own business in the technology industry, Mitra’s book might well give you some perspective on initial funding that you may not have considered. And given what is at stake, it would be advisable to take the time to read this book.

If this book sounds like something you’d like to read you can grab a copy from Amazon.com by clicking below:

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