TNW Book Review: "Dear Entrepreneur": Letters from Those That Have Made It

Sissy Müller, founder of Green Crowding, reviews "Dear Entrepreneur: Letters From Those That Have Made It & Are Making It Happen", a collection of letters from business founders who have been there and done it. It includes letters containing advice, words of wisdom, motivation and true-life stories from top businesses including Innocent Drinks and Morphsuits.

Since starting my own company Green Crowding last year, I’ve absorbed a lot of information about entrepreneurship. I read business books in the evenings, listen to podcasts while running and watch youtube videos during lunch breaks. Stories of fellow entrepreneurs, their struggles, achievements and lessons interest me most. So I was excited to review the book ‘Dear Entrepreneur’, a collection of letters from entrepreneurs for The Next Women.

Let’s evaluate the book like a 3-minute startup pitch. First of all the idea, the execution and the presentation. Then, I’ll provide my overall rating on a scale from 1 to 5.

Idea

The idea is very good. I enjoy reading concise articles, stories and letters. Motivational letters are already common in online magazines. Top 5 XYZ...Lessons as an entrepreneur ... My story as a social entrepreneur... As such, the book cleverly addresses an existing audience by publishing a collection of letters.

The book has a defined audience in mind, people who started or want to start their own company. The authors use their own experience, which is great. The title alone sold the book to me.

Execution

Short letters of advice can be extremely hard or easy to write. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s book ‚Rework gets it right. Reading their book, I got the impression that every sentence was carefully scrutinized and reviewed. I don’t think the same standard was applied to Dear Entrepreneur. The quality of the letters varies. Extracts from great letters include the following:  

Becoming an entrepreneur, expecially if you’re in the CEO role, is a strange journey from specialist to generalist. Forget all the years you’ve spent becoming an expert in whatever it is you do, now your job ist o find better experts than yourselg and orchestrate some magic. Vicky Brock, Clear Returns.

There are fundamentally two classes within society: Those who create and those who farm. Nell Watson, Poikos.

Presentation

Letters are between 2 and 4 pages long. More than 70 are included. Only the name oft he author and logo of their company is provided. I hadn’t heard of many of the companies featured in the book. Personally, I would have preferred fewer letters from selected people with a story about their company and journey as an entrepreneur.

Letters are arranged in an alphabetical order of the company names. People can browse to a company they like and read their letter. As such, the book works differently than many other.

The sequence of letters is not related so you can dip in and out of the book as you like which is a plus point for busy entrepreneurs.

Overall grade

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’ll give it a 3. I think it is a great idea. There is an audience for the book. However, I never really got it; maybe a more careful curation of content could have helped.

First-time entrepreneur Sissy Müller recently founded Green Crowding, a crowd investing website for tangible green projects. In her last job as an energy trader, she decided to move to the renewable sector and start a meaningful company. She is putting the best of her knowledge, network and skills to work, making it possible for renewable energy projects to find finance from their local communities. Her experience at an economic consultancy and the European Commission helps her along the way. For the past decade, she has lived abroad, currently in the European capital Brussels.

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