September 2, 2014

Have What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur? Read Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck

Heart, Smarts, Guts and LuckHave you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?  If you don’t feel as successful as you’d like to be, then the answer is “YES” and if you’re already successful, you probably don’t think about it much.

But there are quite a few people who do think about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.  There are countless entrepreneurial assessments that quiz you on specific behaviors or success traits.  Then there are the personality profiles such as Myers-Briggs or the DISC profile that try to identify specific communication or personality styles.

I’ve recently received a review copy of a new book titled Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck: What it takes to be an entrepreneur and build a great business by Anthony K. Tjan (@AnthonyTjan), Richard J. Harrington, Tsun-Yan Sheih that takes the entrepreneurial personality profile to a whole new level.

Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck was written with the purpose to leave readers with an increased self-awareness as it relates to starting and maintaining a successful business as well as some practical wisdom that you can use along the way.  My impression, after reading this book, is that it’s a sort of “Know Thyself” primer for small business owners along the lines of the Strengths Finder books.

About the Authors

This book is written by a super savvy team who have plenty of experience in analyzing successful entrepreneurs and leaders.  Tony Tjan is the Managing Partner of the venture capital firm, Cue Ball Capital, and founder of the Internet advisory group, SEFER.  Dick Harrington is Chairman of Cue Ball Capital.  And Tsun-yan Hseih is based in Singapore and is the founder of LinHart Group, a company that counsels founders and CEOs throughout the Americas and Asia and serves on the boards of Sony Corporation and Munulife Financial.

I’m really impressed with how well the book is written considering how many different authors and personalities were involved in the process.

Here’s an example from one of the best tips in the book:

“We believe the three-minute rule is the best tool.  It’s based on a simple premise: you can learn a great deal about customers by finding out what they are doing three minutes immediately before and three minutes after they use your product or service.  Context matters.  Among the products at Thomson was one that provided investment analysts with financial earnings data.  Until Dick Harrington and Tony Tjan applied the three-minute rule, we hadn’t fully appreciated that shortly after they received our data, many analysts painstakingly imported and reformatted the data into Excel.  This observation led us to develop a more seamless Excel plug-in feature with enhanced formatting capability.  The result was a significant and almost instantaneous uplift in sales”

Heart, Smarts, Guts and LuckWhich One Are You?

Unlike the Strengths Finder books where you first need to take the assessment and then read the book based on your results, Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck is a book that you can read from start to finish.  In fact, that’s exactly what I’d recommend.

You’ll have fun as the authors take you on a journey of self-discovery that includes examples of successful entrepreneurs in each entrepreneurial profile.

As in any profile, no one is all one style or another.  Rather we are a mixture of all styles with a strength or predominance of one.

If you are a HEART driven entrepreneur, you bring purpose and passion to the business.  As the founder, iconoclast or visionary, you are consumed by a deep passion and driving hunger that you use to translate your purpose into reality.  Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, is a great example of this style.

As a SMARTS driven entrepreneur, you are rational and focused on the facts.  Your strength is steering a business by delegating and setting goals.  You forge a system of accountability, articulate strategy and emphasize performance.  Your biggest strength is pattern recognition.  Meg Whitman, the CEO of eBay, and Jeff Bezos are good examples of SMART-driven CEOs.

If you’ve always been a risk-taker, then your predominant style is GUTS.  Guts driven entrepreneurs can react quickly and conclusively at a time of crisis.  These leaders aren’t afraid to make changes for the betterment of the future.  When you think of GUTS driven leaders, think of Nelson Mandela or Richard Branson.

Finally, if you are optimistic, intellectually curious and humble, you might just be driven by LUCK.  Luck appears to be chaotic and unpredictable but there have been lots of studies done to confirm the philosophy that luck favors the prepared (for more on that, check out our review of Get Lucky).  Tony Hseih, the founder of Zappos, is a good example of that profile in action.

What You’ll Love About Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck

You’ll love how the book is organized.  There are only ten chapters in the book (at least in the review copy).

The first chapter introduces you to the concept and explains what the book is about.

The next four chapters delve into each entrepreneurial personality style; their strengths, weaknesses and strategies for success.  Each of these profile chapters also contains enough research and data to make you feel comfortable with what the authors are saying.

Chapter 7 is called “Pulling it Together” and this is where you’ll get the quick summary of all the styles, where they shine and the limitations and obstacles that hold them back.  The chapter that holds the “True North Questions” contains the ten questions that you can ask yourself and in reading the possible answers, get a virtual kick in the pants to overcome what’s stopping you.

Take the E.A.T in the Book or on the Site

You can call this an interactive book.  There is an Entrepreneurial Aptitude Test that you can take in the back of the book, or you can visit www.HSGL.com, register and take the assessment there.  Once you have your profile set, you will want to go back to certain sections of the book and read it from the filter of knowing your style.

Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck is a Book for all Leaders

This is a book that I would recommend for entrepreneurs, business owners and even managers.  If you are a leader in any part of your life, this book is a must read.  With another group of college graduates coming into the workforce, this is an ideal book to get them thinking about where their natural leadership talents lie.

Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck is a fantastic book that will help both entrepreneurs and managers take advantage of their strengths and take their organizations to the next level.

2 Comments ▼
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Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

2 Reactions

  1. Hmm.. I should get a copy of this book.

  2. Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck is a great book. And it’s interesting that so many books on Entrepreneura and Leadership talk about the imporance of heart and guts! Fascinatingly, recent neuroscience evidence shows we have a complex and functional neural network (with over 500 Million neurons) in our gut. And behavioral modeling research we’ve completed over the last 2.5 years shows that this brain in our gut is responsible for gutsy courage, and that it links with the other brain we have in our heart. Yes, we have a complex and functional neural network in our heart as well; backing up the instinctual insights we all know that both our hearts and guts have intelligence and wisdom. If you are at all interested in this and in learning simple techniques uncovered for tapping into courage and the wisdom that comes when the heart, gut and head are all aligned, check out our website or our newly published book called ‘mBraining’ (stands for multiple braining).

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