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Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,022 ratings  ·  53 reviews
"One is tempted to say 'the only book you'll need on starting a business.' Brilliant! Genius! Choose your superlative-it'll fit."-Tom Peters

People starting out in business tend to seek step-by-step formulas or rules, but in reality there are no magic bullets. Rather, says veteran company-builder Norm Brodsky, there's a mentality that helps street- smart entrepreneurs s
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Portfolio (first published 2010)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: entrepreneurs, self-starters
This was an incredibly practical handbook for aspiring entrepreneurs. The author supports all of his advice with diverse case studies in which he was a part of in some way or another- beginning with how and why one should have a well-thought-out business plan. It covers business basics for novices as well as delving deeper into business myths. I learned that sales are the foundation of growing a business, but also that sales are not everything. I got insight on building a team culture, listening ...more
Micah Grant
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
So many great tips on starting and growing a business. Definitely not a formula, but a great description of the pitfalls, stages, and most importantly the relationships needed to be successful. From someone who has had failures and successes, this advice comes from someone who has personally had the experience of being an entrepreneur, and also from coaching others in their journey. I think the most important thing I gained from the book is how important the relationships are that are built, wit ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my assessment of the book Street smarts by Norm Brodsky according to my 7 criteria:
1. Related to practice - 4 stars
2. It prevails important - 4 stars
3. I agree with the read - 4 stars
4. not difficult to read (as for non English native) - 4 stars
5. too long and boring or every sentence is interesting - 3 stars
6. Learning opportunity - 4 stars
7. Same old stuff - It has rich content - 4 stars

Total 3.85 stars
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mba
Learned of this book from The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, who suggested that you can get an MBA-equivalent education by reading the best business books.
Street Smarts has many good points and suggestions. A lot of examples from pre-Internet days, but the principles still hold true.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book changed the way I look at business numbers, awesome nuggets for anyone looking to open or already running a business.
Charlie Gorichanaz
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Sometimes ruthless, mostly reasonable.
Elijah Oyekunle
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots of practical ideas in this one. No abstract points or 'checklists', just a businessman sharing lessons from building a couple of businesses and some mistakes he made. ...more
Awesome book with unique business lesspns

This book contains so many insights for any entrepreneurs.
I have applied many of his teaching to how I run my business
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's like a mentor or business coach full of experiences and stories in a book. ...more
Scott Wozniak
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the most practical and readable book for entrepreneurs I've read. And I've read a lot of them; my job is to consult to entrepreneurs.

He walked through lessons and insights that he often learned the hard way. The way he writes is very easy to understand, but far from simplistic. He makes it clear why people would misunderstand an issue--he's not judgmental at all and explains the forces causing confusion. But then he shares thoughtful reasons why we should avoid that trap. Best of all giv
Bill Pardi
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
I picked up this book primarily because the subtitle on the cover. It reads, "Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs." I read the abstract and many of the reviews, but I still wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I found the subtitle compelling enough that I decided to give it a try.

Having been in two start-ups (one as an executive), prepared and reviewed several start-up business plans, and managed large R&D budgets, I found that Street Smarts by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingha
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Street Smarts is a worthwhile business book, and I DO recommend this book to anyone interested in entrepreneurial material, however the author played a bit of a deception in the reader. In the beginning he emphasizes that his knowledge of business comes from street smarts, beginning with the lessons he learned on the street from his father. Later on in the book you will learn that the author is a law school graduate, and that he built a $100 million company. Great credentials - but not consisten ...more
Gil Michelini
Great insight from a person still running a business. He does not hold back in his advice or opinions as well not holding back in his failings and what he learned from them, which is the sign of a great person.

The opening chapter as he retells his meeting with the Stones is a gold mine for anyone considering starting a business. Brodsky asks great questions many of us would never consider. This is one I will listen to again taking copious notes.

The only negative I have is the narrator. While he
Sean Donovan
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent business advice that's applicable to almost all entrepreneurs. I wish I had read this book twenty years ago.

I think the most eye-opening point of the book for me was the dangers of measuring business success by sales. As a life-long salesman and entrepreneur, sometimes it's hard to change hats and differentiate between being a business owner and a salesman. This book explored many facets of this dilemma that I had never considered.

I recommend this read to anyone in business or thinki
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Street smarts is a very interesting read. It contains a lot of (life) lessons and (conterintuitive) tips. Being an entrepeneur himself, the reader gets interesting insight in the experience the author gathered over the years. One of the counterintuitive tips I founder was the fact that you should, as a small business, look for lost of small customers instead of a few big ones, to spread the risk. The book contains many more. Very well recommended...
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great book for anyone interested in entrepreneurship. It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned entrepreneur, have an Ivy-league MBA or are just getting started. This book has sound advice for every stage of running your own business. It may sound as common sense once you read it, but we somehow we always need to be reminded. ...more
Dan Smith
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love Norm's perspective and there is a tremendous amount of wisdom for all entrepreneurs in this book. This books seemed a lot like "The Knack" also by Norm and I read these two books a year apart so I am not sure but a lot seemed familiar. None the less it was a good book for any start up leader. ...more
Jeeri Reddy
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not sure about the title of Street Smarts. But it will give you a very good idea about how to be a good business owner. Doesn't mean you will be successful but at least you know where some of the common potholes are located.

It's a great book and if I had my way. I would make all high school students read it!
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the most practically minded business books I've read (bar textbooks of course). Provides really great tips and highlights areas to look out for without adding too much of his own subjective ego into things, though it's still there it is negligible. It's a well rounded book. Would recommend to anyone who is starting up. ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great advice for people who aren't quite beginners in the business game. As a beginner, I would have loved to have heard more about the "early" days of the businesses he spoke about. Felt like it was a little beyond where I am at this point. ...more
Antti Vilpponen
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good overview of principles running a business. The first bit of the book was a little bit too basic, talking about the differences in sales and cashflow. However, it got better and managed to upkeep my interest towards the end. Was expecting more indepth experiences and views to be shared though.
Nick Sotos
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book with plenty of practical business advice with real examples. I am a big fan of Norm Brodsky from his columns in Inc. magazine. If you have a business or are thinking of starting a business, this is the book for you. Highly recommended!
Brandon Carlson
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some really good advice on running your business. Lots of advice for first time entrepreneurs. Some really interesting and counter intuitive examples as well, including not paying sales a commission and not hiring "rockstar" salespeople. Good read. ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
An entrepreneur talks about the things he learned as he built a 100 million dollar business.

This is a good book for a person running a very small business with a few employees or for someone looking to start a business.
Abdullah Alaqeel
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
Best book I've read on entrepreneurship. It's a must read for all people in management positions or looking to start new businesses. The advice Norm give is priceless and essential. This book gave me a lot of perspective on how to go about my new business ventures. ...more
Badarudheen Kunnathodi
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Perfect for small and medium businesses, but might not easily apply to growth focused modern Silicon Valley startups. Yet, the principles derived from his experiences are universally applicable and worth being aware of. I would re-listen this again.
Michelle Monroe Rowan
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
GREAT business book with examples and definitely learned some new ways of thinking about the next sales person I bring on board.
Kristian Norling
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
By @NormBrodsky - advice on entrepreneurship with good stories from his own experience as an entrepreneur.
Payal Radadia
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author gives great tips in business, connecting with customers from his experinces and smary business practices. I enjoyed the stories.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Indeed a swiss army knife of skills required to start your own business!
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46 likes · 12 comments
“Buying market share by hiring your competitors’ salespeople does nothing good for your reputation in the industry. Maybe you don’t care when you’re young and brash, but eventually you learn that reputation is a crucial business asset, worth much more over the long run than a few extra sales.” 2 likes
“With a salary, salespeople work as members of a team. When you put them on commission, you’re giving them an incentive to follow individual agendas.” 0 likes
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