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Burn Rate summary

Andy Dunn

Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind

4.6 (205 ratings)
30 mins

Brief summary

Burn Rate by Andy Dunn is a memoir of his experience as CEO of Bonobos, the e-commerce menswear company. The book offers insights into the successes, failures, and challenges of building a startup, and the importance of perseverance and adaptability in entrepreneurship.

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    Burn Rate
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    When Andy Dunn was growing up in the Chicago suburbs, doctors were everywhere around him. Both his mom’s side of the family, originally from India, and his American father’s side were full of oncologists, surgeons, physical therapists, and even two mental health professionals. His sister, Monica, and he went through childhood feeling invincible.

    Andy also felt special because he was smart – smart enough to skip third grade. 

    Being 14 in a class full of 16- and 17-year-olds was tough, especially as a mixed race kid. His classmates called him “windu” – white Hindu. But Andy was a teenager with focus. So he started pretending that the hurt and anger that came with the feeling of “otherness” weren’t there. It would take him years to learn that vulnerability is not the enemy. But we’ll come back to that – for now, we’re still in school.

    One day, a classmate came back from a skiing holiday, and his glamorous stories kindled a fire in young Andy. He discovered that there weren’t only doctors out there, like in his family, but also entrepreneurs – along with their jet-setting lifestyle. Young Andy admired and envied them. He knew he was “gifted” and felt he had an entrepreneurial streak too; his psyche would later exploit this sense of self-importance.

    Andy went to college at Northwestern, joined a fraternity, and enjoyed all sorts of privileges. He got internships through well-connected friends, he worked hard, and he played hard too. He experimented with psychedelic drugs, and he fell head over heels for a girl called Camila.

    Things were good. Really good. He felt . . . great.

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    What is Burn Rate about?

    Burn Rate (2022) is the no-holds-barred story of Andy Dunn, cofounder of menswear startup Bonobos, and his struggles with bipolar disorder. Long in denial about his diagnosis, Dunn eventually faced up to the condition – but not before it had nearly cost him everything.

    Burn Rate Review

    Burn Rate (1998) by Andy Dunn is a captivating inside look at the dot-com boom and subsequent bust. Here's why you should read it:

    • This book offers a realistic portrayal of the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, giving readers valuable insights into the startup world.
    • By sharing personal experiences and candid stories, Dunn provides a firsthand account of what it was like to navigate the unpredictable tech scene during that era.
    • The book's critical analysis of the dot-com bubble and the mistakes made along the way challenges readers to think critically and learn from history.

    Who should read Burn Rate?

    • People interested in mental health
    • Startup aficionados
    • Memoir lovers

    About the Author

    Andy Dunn has an MBA from Stanford, where he cofounded Bonobos, a direct-to-consumer menswear brand, with Brian Spaly in 2007. He served as Bonobos’ CEO before its acquisition in 2017. Now an angel investor who runs the venture capital firm Red Swan, he has backed more than 80 startups in total.

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    Burn Rate FAQs 

    What is the main message of Burn Rate?

    The main message of Burn Rate is an insider's perspective on the rise and fall of a dot-com startup.

    How long does it take to read Burn Rate?

    The estimated reading time for Burn Rate is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Burn Rate a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Burn Rate is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes reality of the dot-com boom and bust.

    Who is the author of Burn Rate?

    The author of Burn Rate is Michael Wolff.

    What to read after Burn Rate?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Burn Rate, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel
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    • Discipline Is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
    • The Algebra of Wealth by Scott Galloway
    • The 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic
    • Made You Look by Carmen Simon
    • Unstressable by Mo Gawdat & Alice Law