At last! Chris Robson’s “Confessions of an Entrepreneur” (home page, Amazon page) is a book about specifically UK entrepreneurship I’m happy to recommend, particularly to those in the audience at my recent UCL lecture. Here’s a book that actually tries to deal with the raw emotional and social challenges sharply foregrounded by being an entrepreneur.
Of course, it’s far from perfect: more than a few of the entrepreneurs’ stories he draws upon to thicken up his personal narrative fall into the twin camps of “pub success theatre” and “stories from mates who’ve done well” (which, given that he went to Eton, occasionally fail to satisfy), rather than being genuinely challenging tales from the entrepreneurial bleeding edge. And even though Robson has tried to include structured lists as section takeaways, that isn’t enough to transform the book into a self-help guide to entrepreneurship. The most enjoyable – and useful – parts of “Confessions…” are those where he’s just talking about steering stuff while under duress from different angles.
Frankly, the big reason for buying this book is not that it is stuffed with Lean meat or business tricks to help you get your own startup going more easily (for it is actually at its worst when aspiring to the whole business self-help canon) but that its honesty about the real-life difficulties entrepreneurs face will surely help you feel a little less alone and stranded deep in the turbulent startup seas. And that is basically priceless!