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Koch Publishes New Book on the Nature of Entrepreneurial Personalities

Books, magazine articles, and educational programs on entrepreneurship are all based on the idea that anyone can be an entrepreneur--that entrepreneurs are made, not born. Well, maybe not. In a new book titled "Born Not Made: The Entrepreneurial Personality," ODU President Emeritus and Board of Visitors Professor of Economics James V. Koch and co-author James L. Fisher came up with a surprising conclusion: Some individuals are simply more naturally fitted to become entrepreneurs than others. They are pre-wired. Because of heredity, some people are much more likely to become successful entrepreneurs or pursue entrepreneurial strategies within a corporate setting profitably.

Among other things, Koch and Fisher show that true entrepreneurs not only see the world differently--they act differently. Compared with corporate managers, for example, they are more confident, more decisive, more likely to upset the apple cart and more energetic. They love to compete but are notable for the partnerships they are able to fashion with friend and foe alike. Such conclusions are remarkable. Why? Because they are based on the only empirical comparison study yet conducted on entrepreneurship. The insights are not based on personal opinion or case studies but on valid and reliable personality indicators.

Koch and Fisher arrived at their surprising conclusion after a comprehensive study of 234 CEOs. "We developed two tests that proved to be highly accurate in predicting and explaining which CEOs in our sample of 230+ were entrepreneurs and which were not," said Koch.

In addition to the empirical data, the book also provides practical methods for discerning between potential entrepreneurs and those who are better suited to other management positions. "The single best predictor of entrepreneurial behavior is past performance. If one has been an entrepreneurial risk-taker in the past, the one is more likely to be one. Those who were risk-averters in the past are likely to be so in the future," said Koch.

Because the book shows that certain kinds of people will find it much easier to start successful companies than others, it has many practical applications. It will help organizations fit the right people into jobs requiring an entrepreneurial bent. It will challenge corporations to hire entrepreneurial CEOs who will transform businesses rather than maintain the status quo. And it will speak directly to entrepreneurs and those contemplating starting a business. It will also help readers to discern whether they have the right stuff to start and sustain a business. In short, this book provides insights into the entrepreneurial soul that can change the fortunes of individuals and companies for the better.

For more information about "Born, Not Made: The Entrepreneurial Personality," visit the publisher's Web site at: www.praeger.com

This article was posted on: January 5, 2009

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