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Publisher's Summary

Written with the cooperation of Harvard Business School, here is an instructive and inspiring book for anyone who dreams of starting a highly profitable business.

In 1998, three Harvard Business School graduates - two men and one woman - turned down six-figure salaries at big corporations, bet on themselves, and launched their own new companies. By their 10-year reunion, their audacity had paid huge dividends. They'd made many millions of dollars, created hundreds of jobs, and left their mark on the world.

The three entrepreneurs: Marc Cenedella (, Marla Malcom Beck (, and Chris Michel (, Affinity Labs).

Based on dozens of interviews with highly successful entrepreneurs, Harvard Business School professors, and HBS alumni, The Intelligent Entrepreneur tells the compelling and instructive story of how these three young founders developed ideas, assembled teams, built ventures, and achieved their dreams. Along the way, they learned that starting great companies requires much more than a ferocious work ethic or good timing. Their hard-won insights distilled into 10 key rules that will help anyone become a successful entrepreneur. What they teach you at Harvard Business School is that intelligent entrepreneurship can be learned. In that spirit, Bill Murphy Jr. uses a unique combination of vivid storytelling and lucid instruction to tell would-be entrepreneurs how to improve their odds of creating dynamic, lasting businesses.

This audiobook includes an exclusive roundtable discussion with Marc Cenedella, Marla Malcom Beck, and Chris Michel.

©2010 Bill Murphy (P)2010 Audible, Inc

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner - Best Business/Educational Audiobook, 2011

"This is an excellent, thought-provoking overview of entrepreneurship... that uses actual cases to describe the challenges of starting a business and realizing success." (Booklist)
"Narrators Fred Berman and L.J. Ganser split the narration, chapter by chapter, with one delivering the true-life accounts of three entrepreneurs who attended HBS while the other delivers the theoretical lessons to be learned from attending HBS." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Toney, AL United States
  • 11-04-10


If you are a HBS Alum or in some way associated with HBS - then you will love this book. This is really a story about the lives of three Harvard Business School Alums starting businesses and their experiences in the HBS Program. I guess I was looking for less of an advertisement and more of a guideline for successful strategies and characteristics of entrepreneours. Narration was average, the material was simply lame or even corny in many parts of the book.

66 of 69 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • Portland, OR, United States
  • 01-23-11

Terrible waste $ and a lot of time

This is my first time ever writing a review. I am taking the time to do this to save you, the stranger I don't even know the horror of this lame and useless book. Hours and hours of droning on about these few boring people who magically were successful after going to Harvard Business School!? Give me a break, this book is insulting to me and to all the men and women who start businesses with little formal eduction, credit cards for financing and their spare room as an office. Instead of this pile of cow dung go read Rich Dad/Poor Dad before you quit your job, The 4 Hour Work week by Timothy Ferris, Rework by Jason Fried, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, and The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. Unless you went to Harvard Business school, then read this and call all your friends and laugh about how fun it is to part of the ruling class in this country. Bill Murphy, you have brought shame on your family... fall on your sword.

74 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lorena
  • Whitby, ON, Canada
  • 11-04-10

HBS promotional material

I purchased this book under the premise that I would be inspired, that if these three entrepreneurial examples could do it, so could I. Well, the book follows three Harvard Business School Graduates, all who graduated at a similar time and all who started dot com business and of course overcame obstacles and were ultimately successful. I suppose if I graduated from HBS, I would be able to relate. I would have much preferred the book if three entrepreneurs with entirely different educational, social and economical advantages/disadvantages were studied, that way, the likelihood of identifying with at least one character would be higher. I just hoped to walk away with even a glimmer of inspiration, but I did not. I would recommend this book to those who are curious about HBS, how the school is run, its pros & cons and are interested in capturing a portrait of their student alumni.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not recommended

I don’t like to make negative comment on someone’s hard work. But I could not stop doing this time. This book is very rudimentary. Book’s title is misleading. It does not give much insight to make anybody intelligent entrepreneur. It simply narrates life-story of three HBS students and tries to summarize their efforts in some points to guide the reader to his entrepreneurial skills, but hopelessly fails to do so. I think the author simply wants to fool people and make money. I do not recommend this book unless you have no more educational exposure than to high school diploma…………..

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Wei
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 11-14-10

Skip every other chapter, but good story

I agree with other reviewer it is a good book overall, but frequent advertising of HBS is really annoying. I got the idea that HBS is a good school, but maybe author could save it for another book. Story about three entrepreneurs are fascinating. Just skip these HBS advertising every other chapter.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 10-20-10

not bad but could have been better

Basically liked the book but I agree with a previous review - a lot of the time it seemed like promotional material for Harvard Business School. Plus the tie-ins were a little forced. It was interesting enough but it's certainly not a manual for opening your own business. Wasn't crazy about the reader: his pronunciation of "entrepreneur" got on my nerves - and the word crops up a lot!

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcio
  • Dee Why, Australia
  • 10-21-10

Surprisingly good

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I bought this audio. I haven't studied business or anything like that, but have always been intrigued by successful business people. I decided to give it a shot. To say it in a few words, I couldn't stop listening to this audio. The story line is very well constructed and I was always interested in finding out what would come next in the lives of the three protagonists. The analysis at the end of each chapter is very interesting and puts the whole chapter in context. I think anyone wanting to start a new business should listen to it. It goes deep, showing the joins and tribulations people can go through when starting off. It will certainly help anyone who asks themselves "do I have what it takes to start a business?". I higly recommend it.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tavares, FL, United States
  • 12-15-10

20 hour ad for HBS, and three great companies

Personal stories were interesting; I am now a huge Marla, Chris, and Marc fan.
Has motivated me to apply to business school. Would be nice if the narrators could agree on how to pronounce Chris' last name!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • United States
  • 07-10-11

Not Hypothetical Examples

I was a little worried when I bought this book. I just thought that it will be another business book with hypothetical examples and trying to solve a math problem as a final exam. I was wrong. This book has three real life examples and their life and passion for their companies. It is almost like taking a class in college on Business 101. It's like being in school, reading their stories and having a followup lecture on what we learned and at the end of the semester, having the real entrepreneurs in class as a guest panel for question and answer.

This title is well written. The author did a great job at telling their stories and going in depth on what just happened. Good concept on a business book.

I just wished that there were more of this book and it kinda felt like a infomercial for Harvard Business School.

I just wanted more, but good and interesting read.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • pleasanton, CA, United States
  • 10-30-10

The how to book for Entrepreneurs

An amazing book, with great stories of individuals that bet it all and then some to make their ideas come to life. The ups and downs, frustrations and celebrations. If you own your own business you will enjoy this, if you have wanted to start your own business this is a must read. Narration is wonderful, the story is never slows down. You don't want it to end. Please write a sequel. Its not what you know, its how much drive and determination you may have.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Adrian
  • 01-27-11

Very Interesting and Relevant

Fascinating book from the perspective of three friends who meet at Harvard Business School and go onto found very succesful but very different businesses.

The start of the businesses is in the late 90's but the narrative continues on through the credit crunch and right up to 2010.

The insights into the decisions taken by the three people are fascinating and it's interesting to see the mistakes they make and how people can mix up being prepared for being lucky.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • 10-30-10

Don't make the same mistake

I am in the midst of starting up two businesses while working full time and was needing some insight and inspiration to keep me motivated. This book sounded good but it really disappoints. The author has attempted to use the life stories of three entrepreneurs to illustrate his 10 key points. The end result however is a very poorly written narrative of each person's life full of uninteresting anecdotes and obvious conclusions. Murphy Jr. could really have benefited from an editor, for example, 'She was on her computer, Powerpoint was running on it'. Having paid 18 quid for this i suffered through it hoping to find some insight but to no avail. The context is the internet boom of the late 90's and feels completely out of touch with today's environment and issues. This book could be 30 mins and cover all points he makes adequately. If you're after a great book on entrepreneurship i recommend Rework by the guys at 37 signals. It current, fresh and not mired in old thinking like this one is.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ryan Clontz
  • 05-23-11

a great book!

This is a great book - engaging, informative and inspiring. I am not trying to start a business, but my husband is and this book helped me understand what he is going through. It also made me respect entrepreneurs a lot more. The readers are dynamic and enjoyable to listen to. An excellent choice if you want to learn about entrepreneurship.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Nathaniel
  • 11-16-15

Really insightful

I read this book before I downloaded audible and it's one of the only books I already have in print that I would listen to multiple times. The stories about how these entrepreneurs have gone through the different challenges has really helped me through the hard parts of setting up my own company. Very good.

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  • Karl
  • 01-19-15

Good, honest advice

The truth behind successful business not just the glamour side of always getting it right. Excellent advice well captured and holds your attention throughout.

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  • greg
  • 05-12-13

Absolute drivel

Frankly it was tortuous listening to this.I don't want to listen to padded out drivel about perfect people and fortune 500 companies.Perfect people that just ooze good fortune.I want to hear about the guy that spent his last 5 dollars and was on the verge of skid row but some how managed to make good despite adversity.Seriously, if I wanted to hear about perfect people I would buy a glossy magazine.

  • Overall
  • Gisele
  • 06-11-11


Starts a bit slow but snowballs into a very interesting series of entrepreneurial stories which I found both inspiring and fascinating. Not a book for the ADHD at heart - you'll need some patience but it's worth it.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful