Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rational and romantic entrepreneur

Quotation from

The Sure Thing: How entrepreneurs really succeed.
by Malcolm Gladwell
on pp. 24-29 in The New Yorker,
January 18, 2010

On John Paulson, the most successful entrepreneur on Wall Street -- certainly of the past decade and perhaps even of the postwar era

What Paulson's story makes clear is how different the predator is from our conventional notion of the successful businessman. The risk-taking model suggests that the entrepreneur's chief advantage is one of temperament -- he's braver than the rest of us are. In the predator model, the entrepreneur's advantage is analytical -- he's better at figuring out a sure thing than the rest of us. (p. 27)

Successful predators/entrepreneurs don't seem to mind their reputation. They don't seem to need public approval.

His [=Paulson's] real motivation was the challenge of figuring out a particularly knotty problem. He was a kid with a puzzle.
This is consistent with the one undisputed finding in all the research on entrepreneurship: people who work for themselves are far happier than the rest of us. Shance says that the average person would have to earn two and a half times as much to be as happy working for someone else as he would be working for himself. And people who like what they do are profoundly conservative [=not risk-taking].


The predator is a supremely rational actor. But, deep down, he is also a romantic, motivated by the simple joy he finds in his work.  (p. 29)


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