All human beings are entrepreneurs

All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves, we were all self-employed … finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s where human history began. As civilization came, we suppressed it. We became “labor” because they stamped us, “You are labor.” We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.

– Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and micro finance pioneer

I read this quote this weekend from the book, The Start-Up Of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. I’ve only just begun this book but I can tell I’m going to like it.

I love the concept that the quote invokes. As the book opens (and the title suggests), the authors emphasize that being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to go start your own company. You can still think and act like an entrepreneur. Or as I’ve stated previously, you can be an entrepreneur with a job.

I’ll report back on how the book is as I go along. Might be a while as I just loaded my iPad up with the first two seasons of Breaking Bad, and from what everyone has told me, its going to distract me for a while.


  1. Sherry Heyl on March 19, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I just finished  the book I was reading, History of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs, and was wondering what my next book should be. This looks like a good one. Thanks!

  2. Julie Marateck on March 19, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I feel like so many people are entrepreneurs-at-heart but we have built a society where it’s “bad” to make a mistake instead of looked at as a learning experience.  I think women feel a lot of pressure to be great at everything – great employees, great looking, great wives, great moms – and so the entrepreneurial spirit for women can sometimes feel so daunting.  Luckily I have built a very supportive community of friends + family who support my quests!  But I see a lot of the fear of the unknown with friends of mine.  Sometimes it’s just easier to slip into the “Laborer” role instead of jump headfirst into the unknown.  I like that theory though – that the entrepreneurial attitude can lend itself to be a big or small goal!  

  3. Jeff Hilimire on March 19, 2012 at 9:11 am

    History of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs, thanks SH, I’m going to get that one!

  4. Sherry Heyl on March 19, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I enjoyed it – but the Kindle version has a lot of typos…however the book introduced me to some interesting people – some were inspiring and others were….driven. 

  5. Joe Koufman on March 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    All humans are entrepreneurs and all entrepreneurs are sales people.   Entrepreneurship is the very reason I have staked the last 10 years of my career on business development.  Sales people are true free agents.

    While I work for a company selling a valuable service, people are buying me.  I represent our company to most of our prospects.  Also I am compensated based on what I sell.  I remember when I first started, you mentioned to me that I could run laps around the office all day long and nobody would care if I was bringing in the business…  It is true that sales people are evaluated first and foremost on their sales performance.  Don’t get me wrong, how you get there does matter and integrity is critical, but at the end of the day, the numbers don’t lie.

    Many years ago I approached the CFO of my company and made him an offer:  don’t pay me any salary – don’t pay me any benefits – just give me 20% of what I sell.  He thought for a moment about my offer and declined.  At that time, I had just destroyed my quota for the year with over $1 million in sales, and his quick mental math computation told him that based on my recent performance, I could possibly get to $1.5 million in the next year or even more (meaning he would owe me $300k+).   I had enough confidence in my ability to risk the “comfort” of a base salary or benefits.

    We are all in sales.  We all are selling something – whether it is our kids on eating their vegetables or our spouse on seeing that chick-flick.  Our kids are selling us on why they should get to stay up for that extra half hour at night.  We are selling our employees on pushing themselves harder to perform better.  

    We are all sales people whether we admit it or not.

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