Being Extraordinary in the Age of the Entrepreneur.
When the dot-com bubble burst, it left Silicon Valley in shambles. But from the wreckage of the web’s inaugural version came Web 2.0 and the rise of a cultural movement the likes of which the world has never seen.
If social media is the engine that drives the digital economy, then user-generated content is the fuel that makes it go. That’s what attracts all the eyeballs, clicks, and ad dollars. And it spawned a global entrepreneurial craze.
You know what I’m talking about. Today, everyone’s an entrepreneur or some variant. Everyone’s a wantrepreneur, a CEO, a solopreneur, a crowd-funder, a self-proclaimed leader with his very own personal brand and followers.
With all the hype, we should be seeing the mother of all startup and small business movements. But we’re not. On the contrary, new business creation has been declining for decades. So has the workforce participation rate.
And Millennials – the so-called entrepreneurial generation – are not only creating fewer new businesses than their predecessors, they’re the most unemployed, underemployed, and indebted new generation to hit the workforce in ages.
Like the vast majority of content everyone voraciously generates and consumes, the entrepreneurial craze is far more myth than reality. Everyone claims to be an entrepreneur, an innovator, a risk-taker, a business leader, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, today’s entrepreneurial movement is comprised mostly of amateurs and pretenders marching in lockstep to a utopian drumbeat of popular nonsense, feel-good fluff, and self-serving pseudoscience manufactured for mass consumption and amplified by the social media hordes.
The greatest irony of all is that, instead of doing what innovative business leaders like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk did to become successful – breaking from the status quo and creating their own paths – today’s would-be entrepreneurs are mostly just following the crowd … and each other.
“This is a time whose book has come,” says Talent Zoo founder and CEO Rick Myers, “It’s a refreshing read in the entrepreneur frenzy du jour.”
Real Leaders Don’t Follow shatters today’s popular groupthink and delivers some truth:
Nobody ever changed the world by doing what everyone else is doing.
Nobody ever beat the odds and made it big by following the path of least resistance.
Nobody ever got ahead by following a gilded path paved with mindless myths and farcical fads.
Drawing upon decades of personal experience with hundreds of accomplished entrepreneurs, CEOs, and venture capitalists, Silicon Valley management consultant and former senior executive Steve Tobak explains what it really takes to build an extraordinary career and a successful business in a competitive world.
Through engaging stories and insightful lessons, Real Leaders Don’t Follow provides a unique perspective on today’s technology revolution. It exposes popular myths that masquerade as common wisdom. And it shows you how to break from the crowd of indistinguishable virtual clones and become a real leader.
"Steve Tobak's book gets it right about leadership and all of its challenges. Definitely worth reading."
Mark V. Hurd, CEO of Oracle
"Anyone interested in running a company—high-tech or otherwise—will treasure Steve Tobak’s book. It provides new insights that clearly spell out what it takes to be successful in a competitive world. This book will be immensely useful to both first-time and seasoned entrepreneurs!"
Philippe Kahn, CEO of Fullpower Technologies, founding CEO of Borland, Creator of the camera phone
"The media-hyped tsunami of entrepreneurship is creating a drought of true innovation and leadership. Is this business book heresy? Nope. Just real insight and clear thinking from Steve Tobak—a highly successful business executive, entrepreneur and damn good writer who knows of what he speaks. Steve gets it right and tells it straight. Real Leaders Don’t Follow is an extraordinary read that no aspiring entrepreneur or business leader should do without."
Jim McCann, Founder and CEO of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
"Steve covers a wide range of topics on entrepreneurism, business building and leadership in Real Leaders Don’t Follow—and you’ll appreciate the way he consistently takes a strong position that will have you reflecting on and challenging your own core beliefs. Every emerging or veteran leader can take away powerful lessons from this book to apply on their own journey."
Doug Mack, CEO of Fanatics, former CEO of One Kings Lane
"This book is spot-on for today's business climate. Steve’s incisive analysis of the 'wantrepreneur' craze is a refreshingly honest, well-informed read. If you're looking for a solid guide to inform business decisions – not only for tomorrow's entrepreneurs but for anyone wanting practical, valuable advice – pick it up."
Rick Myers, Founder and CEO of Talent Zoo
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