Summary of The Founder's Dilemmas

Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

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The Founder's Dilemmas book summary
If you want your business start-up to fly, not flop, read this book before takeoff.


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Most people admire self-made men and women – the Bill Gateses and Anita Roddicks who establish successful companies and reap a multitude of rewards. However, the path to start-up success is fraught with roadblocks, detours, washouts and dead ends. Harvard Business School professor Noam Wasserman identifies the common “founder’s dilemmas” and details their short- and long-term consequences. More specifically, he exposes the tacit tension that exists between creating wealth and maintaining control. This isn’t a quick read; it’s an in-depth, intelligent analysis based on 10 years of extensive research. At times, you may find yourself wishing for a bullet-point list. Yet getAbstract encourages would-be founders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to keep reading: You’ll find Wasserman’s insights and solutions well worth your time – and they may make the difference between your start-up’s success or failure.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What common issues confront start-up founders,
  • How decisions at critical junctures can affect your business’s new direction and
  • How to balance retaining control with building wealth through your venture.


“The Founder’s Dilemmas”
Creating a business from scratch is difficult, even when your dreams and passions guide and motivate you. The decisions you face along the way – when to launch, whom to bring on board, where to obtain financing and how to share equity – have short- and long-term...
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About the Author

Noam Wasserman, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, based his book on his award-winning course, “Founders’ Dilemmas.”

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