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What Entrepreneurship Educators Need to Know about Being Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid

By Daniel Isenberg

In my new book, Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value, I argue that entrepreneurship is the contrarian creation and capture of extraordinary value. This thesis is, I admit, a bold one that is intended to provoke new thinking about entrepreneurship, a phenomenon that, for better or worse, has become a buzzword.

Entrepreneurship is not just anything, and I have concluded that there are very few kinds, perhaps only one. And, there is significant practical value in terms of education, policy, and practice to be gained from defining entrepreneurship in specific, even narrow terms. Making entrepreneurship overly broad weakens its power as a construct, and thus its social and economic impacts are lessened.

In Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid, I argue as systematically as I can that this extraordinary (more than the market would expect) value creation and capture are necessary and sufficient characteristics for something to be considered entrepreneurship.

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About the Author

Daniel Isenberg is the professor of Entrepreneurship Practice at Babson Executive and Enterprise Education. Since 1981, he has been an entrepreneurship professor at Harvard, Columbia, Reykjavik, and the Technion.

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