America is the ultimate start-up venture – and these are the heroes who made it happen
The history of the United States is, to a remarkable degree, the story of its entrepreneurs, those daring movers and shakers who dreamed big and risked everything to build better lives for themselves and their fellow Americans. Drawing on his own family's remarkable journey, Duck Commander CEO and star of the blockbuster Duck Dynasty series Willie Robertson tells the captivating true tale of the visionaries and doers who have embodied the American dream.
We begin with the first American entrepreneurs, the Native Americans, who established a highly sophisticated commercial network across the land in the precolonial days. The original Founding Father, George Washington, was also a founding entrepreneur, at the head of a thriving agribusiness venture that gave him the executive skills to steer the nation through the darkest hours of the American Revolution. Then, of course, there were the mega entrepreneurs, legendary figures like Astor, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Rockefeller, who transformed America, connected the country with miles of railroad track and supplied the fuel and steel that would help make America the most powerful nation on earth. And in recent years, business visionaries like Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg—not to mention the thousands of equally vital, yet smaller-scale, operators who spring up every year—have ushered America into the twenty-first century.
American Entrepreneur also relates the story of the Robertson family business, telling how Willie’s family turned a humble regional duck call manufacturer, founded by his father, Phil, into an international powerhouse brand. From a young age, Willie had the entrepreneurial bug, buying candy in bulk and hawking it on the school bus. He did special orders and earned a small fortune for a ten-year-old—until he was hauled into the principal’s office and told to knock it off. So he transferred his focus to Phil’s fledgling business, helping in whatever way he could, from folding endless numbers of cardboard boxes to acting as the company’s customer service department—though he still wasn’t out of grade school. Willie helped build Duck Commander, which he now runs, into a worldwide brand, culminating in the mega success of the Duck Dynasty television show.
American Entrepreneur tells a most American tale, of those among us who, through their vision, ingenuity, and good old-fashioned hard work, made something that changed the world.
This is an excellent treatment of entrepreneurship in America from multiple views, easy-to-read, and enjoyable. The first part is the history of business/ economic innovation in America, from the time before there was an America. Doyle, the historian in this duo, provides a thorough and balanced recounting of the building of our country. Since he covers business people from all walks of life and backgrounds, other than just the titans of industry, Doyle paints a very complete picture of successful entrepreneurs. In doing so, he sings the praises of our capitalist, free-market, competitive system that allows anyone willing to work hard and take risks be successful. It is inspiring. The second part is Willie’s telling of the Robertson family business, which is broader than just duck calls and TV programming. This is an amazing story. The third part is Willie’s take on executive leadership and the principles that contribute to success in any business endeavor. Certainly, Willie’s two parts are laced with his well-known Christian beliefs, especially as they relate to dealing with others in business situations. The only editorial correction I would make would be to use the traditional BC and AD designations for time, instead of the post-modern secular BCE and CE.
Growing up, I came to love Willie Robertson, his family, and what he has built. In American Entrepreneur, Willie lays out what it has looked like over the years to be a risk taker, and a business owner. As he dives deep into American entrepreneur history dating back to the revolution, we get to see what it has taken over the years to be successful. In the end, Willie ties in stories of his family, his inspiration, and how his faith has lead his businesses and his family. Willie illustrates characteristics he has learned from God's word that are a huge takeaway. Wisdom, courage, compassion, integrity, and humility.
American Entrepreneur provides a snapshot of how entrepreneurs from all backgrounds built the United States from the ground up. An awesome read for you if you’re passionate about business and entrepreneurship.
Truly interesting book, and I learned quite a bit; not very deep and Willie Robertson has a few talents that are stronger than historical research and writing.
The title is definitely not a hyperbole: Willie really does start 400 years ago, before America was America. He then proceeds to cover the highlights of businessmen (and a few businesswomen) through the course of our country's history. This is by no means an exhaustive history of how businesses shaped our country, but you're likely to learn at least a little bit while reading.
While Willie Robertson is himself a much stronger business leader, orator, and hunter than researcher/writer, his unique language does shine through. It's not written in unreadable vernacular, but it also doesn't read like a textbook, you know? I liked that for the most part. There were a few segments where I guessed whether or not he was "dumbing it down" for the reader, which I would find insulting, but it could also just be his way of communicating.
Overall, it's not a lengthy book. If you're interested in the topic, it's definitely worth checking out.
I think my problems with this book stem more from my expectations of what I was getting, rather than the content of the book.
As a general survey of popular / fairly well-known business men and women, it does its job. There isn't really anything here that you won't have learned in a good high school social studies class.
It was somewhat scant on the growth of the Robertson family business. What I was hoping to get was the nitty-gritty behind the scenes details of growing and running the business. What I got was a quick "We sold duck calls. Then we sold more. Then we were on TV" sort of elevator pitch. You're not going to learn anything new. If you ever read any of the other Duck Dynasty / Robertson clan books, or watched the show, you already know everything presented here.
Read this if you slept through your high school history classes and want to know who the titans of American business were, or if you're a huge Duck Dynasty fan.
Well I cannot say enough about this. I worked through it slowly and methodically but it reads like a good story. It’s linear going throughout history with great stories of entrepreneurs. It gives a decent amount of history on their own business but not too much. 90 percent is focused on others. Wow! A must read for any entrepreneur.
Wonderfully written. To be honest, when I realized the book was based off so much history I thought I was going to be bored, but I was in for a surprise. This book was Insightful and educational. It was interesting to read about so many American Entrepreneurs who’s names still stand out today and I loved how Willie tied it all back to the Holy Bible at the end.
I love the numerous stories of people who became successful entrepreneurs. Most of the business owners who have become very successful didn’t have a great beginning in life. The way the author incorporated told their stories is a reminder that each one of us has the ability to do something great in life. It was a great reminder for me and an inspiration to keep pushing forward with my dreams.
This was a great read. Really easy and fun. Robertson does a great job of chronologically giving everyone their time in the sun. Some stories are a few paragraphs, others are a few pages. But the overall theme never gets lost. If you’re a fan of neat history facts, this will really get the job done.
My favorite chapter we the chapter about George Washington and Robert Morris. It was exciting to read. I also liked the appendix with all the quotes. It was fun to read about all the entrepreneurs. I enjoyed reading the book.
American Entrepreneur is one of the very inspiring books I read in a long time. Loved the way the author portrays the Founding Fathers as entrepreneurs who built unparalleled empires! I had never looked at Pilgrims, George Washington, Hamilton, and other early American pioneers as entrepreneurs. But now I see them as that, it's hard to think of them as anything but that - mega-entrepreneurs who started a start-up and made it an empire from sheer hard-work and dedication! The way the author unearths entrepreneurship skills ingrained in Native Indians is particularly interesting, and unique. Their trade network, trade fair, interaction with Europeans from businessmen's perspective were unfurled remarkably well. Also got to learn more about people and events I had not really given so much thought - like Robert Morris and him financing Washington; a wide array of Washington's businesses including fishery, Whiskey distillery, real-estate; Stephen Girard's work during Yellow Fever outbreak; Tudor's absurd and unique ice shipping industry; Vanderbilt's accidents, etc. Learnt a few interesting things as well about JP's nose (: \)); Morris Notes, Sewing-machine Singer's extra-marital affairs, the link between Edison and Ford (Edison provided Ford with the place to build this machines in the early days); John Merrick's barbershop empire; Madam CJ Walker and her black entrepreneurship, etc. Was delighted to see a mentioning of Daymond John's FuBu empire in the book!
It was a tad bit annoying to read the author bring up his own family and wife so many times in various occasions, but that could be easily discounted for, for the great amount of inspiration the book offers.