Book Review: You Need To Be A Little Crazy

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by Barry J. Moltz

Dearborn ©2003, 190 pages

The Truth About Starting And Growing a Business

Barry Moltz, an entrepreneur and investor who has founded several successful startups, writes, “To start a business you must be nuts.” He explains that once an entrepreneur has admitted this, then he or she is off to a good start. Along with being “a lunatic,” he adds that you must also have a steadfast long-term belief in your vision, and be willing to try anything, ask anyone for everything, and see everyone else as a source of help. Only someone who is crazy can survive the ups and downs a business brings, he writes.

You Need to Be a Little Crazy is more of an advice book than a how-to book about creating a business plan, getting funding, hiring staff, etc. Instead, Moltz has written a guide that is filled with his personal experiences in startups and the lessons he learned while pursuing his dream of being his own boss. Not one to mince words, Moltz bares his soul and describes the courage entrepreneurs need to muster to make it through the difficult times to beat the odds. Most startups fail in only a few short years, so his words of wisdom serve as encouragement and coaching from someone who has been to the startup well and slaked his thirst on the bounty that awaits those willing to sacrifice 9-to-5 jobs in an effort to live boss-free.

‘Get a Job’

Despite his admission of lunacy, much of Moltz’s advice comes from a realist’s perspective. “If you want to financially keep up with your friends, make lots of money, or accumulate wealth, get a job,” he writes. For a book about startups, only someone who has succeeded at creating a few could have the gumption to tell his audience to look elsewhere for the riches they seek. But, for those willing to jump the hurdles of rational thinking, he offers tales from the trenches that can be vital to anyone hoping to avoid the pitfalls of setting out on the adventure of a business venture.

After explaining the wrong reasons to start a business (you are unhappy in your job) and the right reasons to pursue this difficult track (thoughtful analysis, passion and the market), Moltz describes the personal factors that can help drive an entrepreneur to success. Numerous examples of startups that climbed and flopped highlight the lessons he imparts. While these stories substantiate his points, it is his attention to issues such as family, failure, passion and identity that makes his book a valuable resource for those considering entrepreneurship as a possible career move.

Never losing sight of the economic realities of starting a business, Moltz calls several theories of entrepreneurship to task. Although some say doing what you love leads to riches, Moltz points out that not every hobby should be pursued as a livelihood. “Liking an area of business and knowing how to run a business in that area are two different things.”

The statistical chances of succeeding with a startup are small, but Moltz offers the psychology and personal motivation that allowed him to become successful while analyzing the fear, desire and bravery required to make starting a new business successful. By presenting his own thoughts and experiences as an entrepreneur and describing the dilemmas he encountered on his way to success, Moltz prepares new entrepreneurs for the adventure about to take place. You Need to Be a Little Crazy is about finding your edge, your inner strength and motivation to brave the indifference of the free market economy. When you are in need of help, Moltz writes, a high-speed internet line and a cell phone to connect you to the team members with whom you work are the only comforts you really need.

Victories and Disappointments

After you have chosen to dive into the murky waters of a business start-up, Moltz has plenty of advice and experience to offer to help you rise through the haze. He writes that his search for the perfect formula for success has helped him identify two common elements: luck and timing. When describing luck, he explains that startups don’t typically sell people anything. Instead, they usually put themselves into a position so that when people are ready to buy, the business is there for them to choose. He explains that entrepreneurs must learn to accept business outcomes outside of their control. This means they need to celebrate their victories, and transition through the disappointments.

Moltz writes, “It is not a question of whether you fail as an entrepreneur, it is simply a question of when and how.” He explains that one of the keys to being happily successful as an entrepreneur is how you handle failure.

Moltz takes his readers on the entrepreneurial rollercoaster, and describes the effects this ride will have on family, team members and clients. By discussing the mental preparation that can help an entrepreneur make it through the difficult yet rewarding process of starting a business, Moltz offers a unique compilation of vital ideas. ~

Why We Like This Book

You Need to Be a Little Crazy presents a refreshing look at entrepreneurial success beyond mission statements and branding. By focusing on the psychological issues surrounding a startup and the relationships that are needed to make it work, Moltz delivers an honest and compelling look at entrepreneurship and its many underlying issues. ~

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