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The Sure Thing

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The Sure Thing

How Entrepreneurs Really Succeed

Malcolm Gladwell,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Do successful entrepreneurs really take risks or do they see safe business opportunities that others miss?

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


The quintessential stereotype of an entrepreneur is of a person who takes big risks with big money. Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell provides evidence to dispel the popular myth that all successful entrepreneurs are gamblers. He presents numerous case studies of business people who carefully analyzed all the available data before seizing an opportunity others had overlooked. getAbstract recommends this analysis to would-be entrepreneurs who consider themselves too risk-averse to succeed. Once you see how much happier entrepreneurs are than other workers, you may feel compelled to join them.


In 1969, future business mogul Ted Turner owned a thriving billboard company. He bought the failing Atlanta television station WJRJ against the advice of his lawyer and accountant. Business-savvy Turner paid with a stock swap and claimed WJRJ’s losses against the billboard company’s taxes. He advertised the station on his own vacant billboards and ran surplus network programming. WJRJ broke even by 1971 and, just two years later, had annual profits of $1 million. As researchers Michel Villette and Catherine Vuillermot describe in their study, “From ...

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist, speaker, podcast host and New Yorker writer. He wrote the bestsellers The Tipping Point, David and Goliath, and Outliers.

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