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Book Review: Bounce!

May 03, 2008

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.