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The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  3,926 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Two of Inc. magazine's hugely popular columnists show how small-business people can deal with all kinds of tricky situations.

People starting out in business tend to seek step-by-step formulas or specific rules, but in reality there are no magic bullets. Rather, says veteran entrepreneur Norm Brodsky, there's a mentality that helps street-smart people solve problems and pu
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 2nd 2008 by Portfolio Hardcover (first published 2008)
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Dec 10, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing
Although there is a great deal of valuable material in this book for those who are planning to launch a new company or have only recently done so, what Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham provide can also be of substantial value to all other executives who also wish to establish and then sustain the kind of a company that Welch describes. Their choice of a first-person narrator is a wise one because it ensures an immediate and personal rapport with the reader. Presumably the voice is Brodsky's. but t ...more
Dec 08, 2010 Mark rated it liked it
Some interesting stories, though not much new material, in terms of concepts. I liked the book, but felt the author spent a lot of time congratulating himself.
Mar 08, 2013 Jerry rated it liked it
Shelves: business
An easy read with good advice and concrete examples. Some examples of the advice:

“The initial goal of any business is to survive long enough to see whether or not it's viable... You never know for sure if a business is viable until you do it in the real world... By viability, I mean the point at which the business is generating internally the cash it needs to pay its bills.”

What are your goals? “I'm listening for what's really motivating people. Usually, it's something emotional.”

The two most im
Isabella Roland
Mar 21, 2015 Isabella Roland rated it it was amazing
This has been one of the most rewarding business books that I’ve read. Norm gives you examples that are relevant and easy to follow throughout the book. He does an amazing job drawing a parallel between a business concept and a story. There is no fluff in this book. Everything written is important. The lessons he has learned are a result of his mistakes. He urges starting entrepreneurs to be cautious and to think critically before making any decisions. Perhaps the most vital information in this ...more
Dec 25, 2015 Jeannie rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! He explains things so clearly, it made this scary start-up experience a little less daunting. I'll certainly be returning to this book.
Miro Nguyen
Jun 23, 2013 Miro Nguyen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Awesome book. Must read for any entrepreneur. The book provides hope, starting a business is not that hard, but at the same time, it smashes your optimism with the cold harsh truth about starting your own business.
Wens Tan
Jul 19, 2010 Wens Tan rated it really liked it
Wonderfully practical advice from a serial entrepreneur for those who want to start their own business. Know your numbers, and always keep tabs on gross margins as well as sales.
Trinh Chau
Feb 22, 2016 Trinh Chau rated it liked it
Một quyển sách tạm được.
Bài học rút ra:
1. Cần lên bản kế hoạch doanh thu, lợi nhuận chi tiết trong ít nhất 1 năm. Gross profit và Maginal gross profit rất quan trọng. Nên viết ra giấy để có cảm nhận tốt hơn về các con số trong thời gian đầu. Viết ra giấy, tự tính toán, xem xét lại dự tính con số trong cả năm.
2. Tận dụng thời gian theo đuổi các khách hàng có hệ số biên cao, thông thường là khách lẻ. Cần phân biệt rõ giữa DOANH SỐ và LỢI NHUẬN.
3. Xây dựng và đa dạng hóa nhiều tập khách hàng nhỏ tố
Ashim Matthan
Apr 02, 2014 Ashim Matthan rated it really liked it
It's a very good book. I live in Bombay, India and I am the COO of a Distributor of Liquid Petroleum Gas. I've been running this business for 2 and a half years now and almost everything Norm has written has been experienced by me. Almost every example he's given I've had to experience first hand: the good and the bad. While I'll never be Inc. 500 worthy, this book has helped cement certain ideas I have based on my experiences and I feel very confident about tackling the future. I love his anecd ...more
Dec 19, 2010 Marc rated it liked it
Three separate ratings would be a more accurate representation of my review of this book than a solitary star rating, so I'll break it up into three parts.

First, I "read" this book in audiobook format. So my first rating would be 5 stars to Sean Pratt for a tremendous job of narrating this book. Very easy to follow with a remarkable cadence and annunciation. My only quip would be that a few times he clearly said the wrong word in place of another which took me a few seconds to catch back up afte
Jan 08, 2014 Simon rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
In “The Knack”, Norm Brodsky shares his passion for business and explains, through advice drawn from his highs and lows in business, what it is that makes a company successful. He starts by putting in plain words the one key metric that will make or break a business: gross margin, which he recommends to track by hand to really understand where it comes from. His advice then runs the whole gamut of business skills, including softer skills such as negotiating, building relationships with customers ...more
Apr 26, 2009 Cheri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is a must read for every entrepreneur and business owner - I just hope my competitors don't read it!

Don't let the clever biz-lite title fool you: The Knack is substantial. On the surface this is a how-to primer for budding entrepreneurs. Norm Brodsky walks you through the steps and pitfalls you'll encounter at every stage, from start-up to Inc 100.

Yet it's not just for novices. Norm Brodsky lays out many traps that successful, seasoned entrepreneurs can find themselves in. It's like h
Feb 14, 2011 Erwin rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite
Excellent book. Tons of practical advice. I've spent my working life around some amazing entrepreneurs and the advice they give and the advice in this book are nearly the same.

The most important tip is for every businessperson is that you need a big gross margin if your business is going to grow and prosper. Should be 40-60%, though obviously higher is better.

Also, for the first few years of your business, you should write ALL the numbers of your business down by hand and calculate things by han
Jun 12, 2013 Russ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you want your own business? Really? As a business owner, I can tell you flatly that it sucks. I should have been a public school teacher where I'd be looking at a publicly funded retirement in a few years. Norm Brodsky does a better job of explaining the challenges of business ownership in "The Knack." I recommend it for anyone thinking about starting a business or anyone currently suffering through business ownership. Norm's advice and anecdotes are insightful. The book is easy to read with ...more
Hugh Springer
Jun 06, 2016 Hugh Springer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Norm has a lot of advice from various experiences. Very useful insights for my own business considerations and interactions with other business owners. I would definitely recommend the read to anyone in a similar situation!
Wade Brooks
I was thinking of using this book to help people with entrepreneurship but it's a little too basic. If you don't know anything about starting or running a business this might be a good primer.
Nick Woodall
Feb 05, 2016 Nick Woodall rated it liked it
The book was a good read, especially the vignettes and the stories, but I got really tired of every thing being tied back to his storage business. At times, I felt is was one big commercial for the author's business in New York. Some good insights and truths, but would I recommend it? No.
Mohammad Gabr
May 16, 2015 Mohammad Gabr rated it really liked it
This book provides a lot of information based on the writer work experience. Easy to understand and everyone should study it not read it
Risto Kärkkäinen
May 25, 2014 Risto Kärkkäinen rated it really liked it
Nice collection of best practices of entrepreneurship. This book is not so much for disruptive startups.
Dee Patel
Oct 07, 2011 Dee Patel rated it it was amazing
Absolutely Brilliant!!!

Remember how those stories in childhood we listen which imparts knowledge in many forms within us. We grow up with those stories and start living with the moral concept behind those.

Fast forward a few many years. For startups, 'The Knack' provides with many such real life stories teaching us or rather bridging the gap for us between theoretical or observational knowledge to real life practices. Norm Brodsky provides many examples and runs us through the actual problems fa
Cesar Millan
Nov 15, 2015 Cesar Millan rated it really liked it
Great Book for those who want to be an entrepreneur....
Aug 16, 2012 Heath rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-again
I've been a long-time fan of Norm & Bo's Inc. articles. I expected quite a bit from this book and was actually even more satisfied once I read it (although it was hard to find through my normal "library channels" and so I resorted to paying for it - now I'm glad I did so I can add it to my library as a reference). I found it equally peppered with factual & anecdotal concepts/stories and as such made it more practical for a business owner (whether new or experienced). Will read again a re ...more
Stephen Leung
Nov 15, 2015 Stephen Leung rated it it was amazing
great read for entrepreneurship
Anna Sinova
May 05, 2015 Anna Sinova rated it it was amazing
One of the top business books with a wealth of reflective knowledge from an experienced entrepreneur. Will definitely buy this one to reread again.
David Hooper
Jun 14, 2010 David Hooper rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this one. It had some good parts, but for the most part, I found it to be disorganized and way too wordy for the information in contained. Would have been an ok book had it been about 50% shorter.

With that said, the guy certainly knows business and there are some good business lessons here, if you want to dig through the noise. I felt my time would have been better spent elsewhere though and it's vary rare that I say that about a book, because I feel you can learn somethi
Jul 10, 2014 Kanapo rated it liked it
so so
Brandon Allen
Aug 27, 2009 Brandon Allen rated it really liked it
Certainly some great tips for business owners. It has information on the challenges that businesses face regardless of the size of your business. Great insight for future business planning. Especially liked Norm's breakdown of gross margins and why it's important to keep track of your sales numbers on a regular basis to make sure you aren't selling yourself out of business. I recommend this to any entrepreneur or would be entrepreneur.
Eric Soelberg
Mar 04, 2010 Eric Soelberg rated it really liked it
I was a little skeptical when I first picked this up because I feel like many business books don't have much new to say, but this is a great book. Norm has a great history and it's like sitting at the foot of a wise man who has walked the path before. He tells engaging stories from his businesses or from his mentoring. Also, I really feel like I have a much better idea of what it might be like to run a startup company.
Mar 04, 2012 Nathan rated it liked it
Good book on traps and pitfalls of entrepreneurship from a seasoned pro. While there are many gems in this book, but my favorites were his guidelines for new venture opportunities: 1) a 100 year old business (no customer education needed), 2) that's lagging behind in technology (competitive advantage opportunity), 3) for a specific niche audience (specialization to start).
Oct 12, 2014 Horia rated it it was amazing
Wow, just wow. I loved the book, very down to earth and very useful for anybody that wants to start a business or at least understand one better.
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