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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Book Review: Bounce!

Comments (3)

I just finished reading Bounce!: Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success by Barry Moltz.  I think Barry was originally introduced to me by Matt McCall, one of my co-investors in FeedBurner and a Chicagoan like Barry.

There are very few good business books about failure.  Most of the ones I’ve encountered in the past use failure as an early part of the "rags to riches" process of the classic Horatio Alger parable.  Dull.

Barry takes a different approach – he uses failure as a theme throughout the book and describes it as an integral part of a long term business experience.  Just like the cliche "you haven’t really been in business until you’ve been sued", I think the cliche "you haven’t really become an entrepreneur until you’ve failed at least one" applies.  Barry does a good job of weaving a variety of individual stories (including his) around his philosophy and theorizing.

Like most business books, it is about 50% too long.  Long ago I concluded that "editors" believe the hardcover business book needs to be around 200 pages.  As a reader, I think there should be a 100 page limit – that would force the writer (and editor) to get to the point and be less redundant.  While this doesn’t detract from the book too much, there are a few sections that are skimmers.

If you are an entrepreneur – especially one early in your career – this is a very worthwhile book to read. 

On the failure theme, Andrew Hyde has a post up titled Startups Fail that includes news about a handful of recent Boulder failures: Nau, Organica and Falling Fruit.  Andrew reminds us that failure is an integral part of entrepreneurship.

  • AZ Salgaonkar

    There is a slanted bias when it comes to “entreprenurs who have failed” .

    The VC's that originally passed on the Google pitch did not reveal to their LP's that they rejected something that was a winner – that they had essentially ” failed “to spot its potential. Didn't the Intuit founders pitch to 31 firms before getting a nod?

    The difference with the entreprenurs is that they are out in the open and betting their good name along with their personal savings.

    It seems to me that the important part lies in analyzing the failures to filter out the known risks -and to communicate it as such. After all, no-one wants to invest in a failure-prone entrepreneur.

  • http://blog.supernaturalagency.com Martin Edic

    I'm with you on length. Several years ago I cooked up a business plan to do 24 page books that we'd sell in airports- become an 'expert' on a subject during the flight. Probably a good idea but I wouldn't start a traditional publishing company these days.
    When I wrote business books for a living the publishers did want 200 pages and that meant a lot of padding. These days most of the books tell their whole story in the first chapter…the rest is fluff and the same recycled war stories.

  • http://www.barrymoltz.com/blog Barry Moltz

    Brad, thanks for the review. Unfortunately you are right, publishers would never do a hard cover business book at 100 pages. The point I make from failure is that there isn't always something to learn. The idea that we must l always learn from failure keeps us stuck in the place we are perpertuating more failure. As I discuss in the book, in order to have true business confidence you need to let go of whatever your last business result was by cheering it or mourning it for 24 hours- but then Bounce! let go and take another action which can position you for another success.

  • Barry Moltz

    Brad, thanks for the review. Unfortunately you are right, publishers would never do a hard cover business book at 100 pages. The point I make from failure is that there isn't always something to learn. The idea that we must l always learn from failure keeps us stuck in the place we are perpertuating more failure. As I discuss in the book, in order to have true business confidence you need to let go of whatever your last business result was by cheering it or mourning it for 24 hours- but then Bounce! let go and take another action which can position you for another success.

  • AZ Salgaonkar

    There is a slanted bias when it comes to "entreprenurs who have failed" .

    The VC's that originally passed on the Google pitch did not reveal to their LP's that they rejected something that was a winner – that they had essentially " failed "to spot its potential. Didn't the Intuit founders pitch to 31 firms before getting a nod?

    The difference with the entreprenurs is that they are out in the open and betting their good name along with their personal savings.

    It seems to me that the important part lies in analyzing the failures to filter out the known risks -and to communicate it as such. After all, no-one wants to invest in a failure-prone entrepreneur.

  • Martin Edic

    I'm with you on length. Several years ago I cooked up a business plan to do 24 page books that we'd sell in airports- become an 'expert' on a subject during the flight. Probably a good idea but I wouldn't start a traditional publishing company these days.
    When I wrote business books for a living the publishers did want 200 pages and that meant a lot of padding. These days most of the books tell their whole story in the first chapter…the rest is fluff and the same recycled war stories.

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