Get the key ideas from

How I Built This

The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs

By Guy Raz
12-minute read
Audio available
How I Built This by Guy Raz

How I Built This (2020) is a journey along the circuitous road to entrepreneurial success. Based on the top business podcast on iTunes, with 200 million downloads to date, How I Built This chronicles the ascension of dozens of the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, examining their darkest moments as well as their greatest triumphs. 

  • Start-up employees with big ideas of their own 
  • People who want to leave their jobs but are too scared
  • Anyone interested in entrepreneurship

 

Journalist Guy Raz is the host of How I Built This, a National Public Radio program on which he interviews successful entrepreneurs about their paths to success. He is also the creator or cocreator of four other programs; collectively, his shows are heard by 19 million people per month.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
4,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

How I Built This

The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs

By Guy Raz
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
How I Built This by Guy Raz
Synopsis

How I Built This (2020) is a journey along the circuitous road to entrepreneurial success. Based on the top business podcast on iTunes, with 200 million downloads to date, How I Built This chronicles the ascension of dozens of the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, examining their darkest moments as well as their greatest triumphs. 

Key idea 1 of 7

Some opportunities are simply too great to pass up. But look before you leap.

In the world of entrepreneurship, you often hear that success isn’t about the idea – it’s about the execution. That’s true. But it’s not the whole truth.

Without a good idea, you can have all the funding and work ethic in the world – but you won’t get anywhere. But where do good ideas come from? Can you look for one, or do you have to wait for the proverbial light bulb over your head to come on? The answer, according to restaurateur and chef José Andrés, is both: Ideas happen, he says, “when you are actively moving and searching.” 

So what’s the trick to knowing whether an idea is good enough? If you think it’s worth upending your whole life to pursue, it’s probably a good one. 

The key message here is: Some opportunities are simply too great to pass up. But look before you leap.

In 1984, life was going great for Jim Koch. He was a big-shot management consultant, on track to becoming the kind of rich that means your kids will never have to worry about money. But he was unhappy in his work, and he had a nagging feeling that there was a gap in the market for European-style craft beer – which happened to be his family’s longtime business. 

Jim’s family was horrified at the thought of him leaving his job. But for Jim, the choice was clear. Leaving may have been scary – but the prospect of bitterness in his old age if he missed his chance was dangerous. 

Luckily for Jim, regret isn’t an issue for him today. He founded the Boston Beer Company, which in 2019 pulled in $1.3 billion in revenue.

Those numbers are enough to make anyone want to take the leap of faith and follow a passion. Go ahead! But don’t jump without a parachute. 

For Daymond John, founder of hip-hop apparel company FUBU, the parachute was a job waiting tables at a Red Lobster in Queens, New York. Despite the brand’s popularity, Daymond knew he was never far from insolvency. The job, however unglamorous, kept the wolves from the door – and ultimately made it possible for FUBU to move to the next level. 

In 1995, six years after its founding, FUBU got a multimillion-dollar round of financing, after Daymond’s mother took out a classified ad in the New York Times. That ad cost $2000, the equivalent of a month’s pay at Red Lobster. But with the investment safely in the bank, Daymond could finally devote himself full-time to his dream.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.