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A Brief History of Entrepreneurship

The Pioneers, Profiteers, and Racketeers Who Shaped Our World

A Brief History of Entrepreneurship charts how the pursuit of profit by private individuals has been a prime mover in revolutionizing civilization. Entrepreneurs often butt up against processes, technologies, social conventions, and even laws. So they circumvent, innovate, and violate to obtain what they want. This creative destruction has brought about overland and overseas trade, colonization, and a host of revolutionary technologies—from caffeinated beverages to the personal computer—that have transformed society.
A Brief History of Entrepreneurship charts how the pursuit of profit by private individuals has been a prime mover in revolutionizing civilization. Entrepreneurs often butt up against processes, technologies, social conventions, and even laws. So they circumvent, innovate, and violate to obtain what they want. This creative destruction has brought about overland and overseas trade, colonization, and a host of revolutionary technologies—from caffeinated beverages to the personal computer—that have transformed society.Consulting rich archival sources, including some that have never before been translated, Carlen maps the course of human history through nine episodes when entrepreneurship reshaped our world. Highlighting the most colorful characters of each era, he discusses Mesopotamian merchants' creation of the urban market economy; Phoenician merchant-sailors intercontinental trade, which came to connect Africa, Asia, and Europe; Chinese tea traders' invention of paper money; the colonization of the Americas; and the current "flattening" of the world's economic playing field. Yet the pursuit of profit hasn't always moved us forward. From slavery to organized crime, Carlen explores how entrepreneurship can sometimes work at the expense of others. He also discusses the new entrepreneurs who, through the nascent space tourism industry, are leading humanity to a multiplanetary future. By exploring all sides of this legacy, Carlen brings much-needed detail to the role of entrepreneurship in revolutionizing civilization.

Author Information

Joe Carlen is the cofounder of Know Thy Market, LLC, and a certified valuation analyst. He is the author of The Einstein of Money: The Life and Timeless Financial Wisdom of Benjamin Graham (2012).

Reviews

Carlen's enlightening book considers many aspects of the historical development of entrepreneurship and will attract business-minded readers.Entrepreneurs will come to better understand who they are and what they do by reading this book.... Highly recommended.Sapphire Ng:A Brief History of Entrepreneurship is an unbelievably enthralling and inspirational book, especially so for enthusiasts, practitioners and students of entrepreneurship and business.Marcelo Bucheli, author of Bananas and Business: The United Fruit Company in Colombia, 1899-2000:Covering millennia and the whole planet, Carlen provides us with the fascinating story of how those individuals taking risks in the search for profits not only adapted and responded to seemingly unsurmountable challenges but also (and more importantly) shaped the world we live in.Brian Tracy, author of The Way to Wealth:This enjoyable book is full of great stories and practical ideas that any entrepreneur can use to be more successful faster.Ali Kahn, Abram Hutzler Professor of Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University:Joe Carlen delves in primary and secondary sources, including texts on modern management, and presents them in readable and attractive prose. A Brief History of Entrepreneurship is a light and enjoyable read.
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Audience: Professional and scholarly;

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