The Founder’s Dilemmas Book Summary - The Founder’s Dilemmas Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Founder’s Dilemmas summary

Noam Wasserman

Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls that Can Sink a Start-Up

4.3 (64 ratings)
18 mins
Table of Contents

    The Founder’s Dilemmas
    Summary of 9 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 9

    Entrepreneurs are motivated to strike out on their own to achieve power, influence and autonomy.

    Different things motivate different people. For some it’s prestige, while for others, it’s financial gain or autonomy.

    So what’s the difference between someone who wants a career and someone who wants to be an entrepreneur? While employees or career-oriented people find it challenging to give up a steady job and start a business, entrepreneurs find it hard to conform to desk life, and thrive on the risk and challenge of doing their own thing.

    A difference of motivation is really what separates these two worlds. For career people, security, prestige, financial gain and affiliation are the top four motivations. For male entrepreneurs, financial gain and control – in the form of power, influence, autonomy and managing people – are what moves them.

    Such motivations are expressed in interesting ways. The male founder of Blogger, Evan Williams, knew that his main motivations were power and autonomy. So much so that he turned down a buy-out offer worth millions of dollars, just so he could retain control of his company.

    Similarly, the female founder of Sittercity, Genevieve Thiers, was working at IBM in her 20s when she realized she felt stifled, like a cog in a machine. Realizing that autonomy and influence were what she craved, she quit her job to start her own company.

    Interestingly, the top motivations for female entrepreneurs are mostly the same as they are for male entrepreneurs: autonomy, power, influence, managing people and altruism. Note, though, the addition of altruism and the fact that financial gain has left the list. For female career people, in contrast, the top four motivations are recognition, affiliation, security and lifestyle.

    The first step toward becoming a successful entrepreneur is looking at yourself and defining your motivations. Have you figured out whether you have an entrepreneurial character? If so, read on.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Founder’s Dilemmas?

    Key ideas in The Founder’s Dilemmas

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Founder’s Dilemmas about?

    The Founder’s Dilemmas (2013) reveals exactly what it takes to become the founder of a start-up company. Drawn from the author’s research and case studies, this step-by-step guide will help you navigate the rough waters of your company’s early stages.

    Best quote from The Founder’s Dilemmas

    Employees of small companies are more likely than employees of large companies to leave and become founders of their own companies.

    —Noam Wasserman
    example alt text

    Who should read The Founder’s Dilemmas?

    • Budding entrepreneurs ready to start a new business
    • Experienced business owners ready for a new challenge
    • Investors looking for advice on evaluating start-up companies

    About the Author

    Noam Wasserman is a professor at Harvard Business School. He won the Academy of Management’s Innovation in Pedagogy award in 2010 for the course he taught based on The Founder’s Dilemmas. It was also named one of the top entrepreneurship courses in the country by Inc. Magazine in 2011.

    Categories with The Founder’s Dilemmas

    Books like The Founder’s Dilemmas

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    27 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial