The Book in 3 Steps


Step 1 . . .

What Is: A Deliberate Pause?

A deliberate pause is a conscious moment in which we open our minds and ask “why are things the way they are?” and wonder “how could life be better?” Pausing to ask such questions is a natural and uniquely human inclination. It’s also the critical factor that sparks fresh ideas and is seized by entrepreneurs to catalyze seismic changes—ones that allow humanity to progress.

A Deliberate Pause (the book) reveals the power of a deliberate pause (the action) while unveiling unexpected truths about entrepreneurship itself. Through example, exploration, and analysis of the innovative thoughts and achievements of more than 200 seasoned entrepreneurial leaders, Larry Robertson shows how each of us can adopt a deliberate pause and an entrepreneurial mindset to better our lives, our species, and our world. In the process, he gives us the understanding of entrepreneurship we’ve been missing—and need now more than ever.

The power of entrepreneurship isn’t limited to the few—every one of us has the opportunity to tap it. It is, as Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus put it, “in every human being and in everything human.”

The many contributors to A Deliberate Pause bring to life the truth in Dr. Yunus’ statement. You will discover people, stories, and ideas you can relate to within these pages that will spark or support your own entrepreneurial spirit. The more than 200 people who shared their perspectives include:

  1.   Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank

  2.   Caren DeWitt Merrick, Co-founder, webMethods

•Bill Drayton, Founder, Ashoka

•Carter Cast, Co-founder, CEO,

•Richard Tait, Co-founder, Cranium

•Robin Chase, Co-founder, Zipcar

  1.   Esther Dyson, Founder, Edventures

•Dipak Jain, Dean, Kellogg School of Management

•Bill Shore, Founder, Share Our Strength

•Rob McGovern, Founder, CareerBuilder

•Sandy Robertson, Founder, Robertson, Stephens & Company

•Peter Senge, Author, The Fifth Discipline

•Jeff Sandefer, Co-founder, Acton MBA

•Verne Harnish, Founder, Young Entrepreneurs Organization

•Alice Waters, Founder, The Edible Schoolyard

•Dan Pink, Author, A Whole New Mind

•Gene Kahn, Founder, Cascadian Farms

•Steve Mariotti, Founder, Natl Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship

•Guy Kawasaki, Author, The Art of the Start

•Tom Szaky, Co-founder, TerraCycle

•Patrick Von Bargen, Executive, Kauffman Foundation

•Wayne Silby, Founder, Calvert Funds

•Peter Seligmann, Co-founder, Conservation International

•Michael Chasen, Co-founder, BlackBoard

•Nell Newman, Co-founder, Newman’s Own Organics

Click the link at the bottom of any web page for a complete list of Contributors and check out  the book to you can learn more about these amazing and wise individuals and their fellow contributors. 

Of everything to which we could apply entrepreneurial thinking, why have we not applied it to entrepreneurship itself? Instead of deliberately pausing to take a fresh look, we regularly make these errors:

•We seek a formulaic answer, a recipe, for how to make an entrepreneurial undertaking succeed. There isn’t one.

•We believe that the story of the individual entrepreneur tells us the story of entrepreneurship. It doesn’t even come close.

•And narrower still than looking to one story, we look to only one source, one time, or one form of entrepreneurship in our search for its secrets. Why?

Ironically, approaching entrepreneurship this way is the opposite of what entrepreneurs do when seeking to understand something and find its value.

True entrepreneurs pause—deliberately, habitually.

As they do, they look for and see patterns others miss—patterns they can act on, draw others to, and extract value from as never before. Even more compelling (and revealing), the best do so not for a personal reward but for the advancement of humanity.

A Deliberate Pause takes an entrepreneurial look at entrepreneurship, learning from those who know best what really makes it work. Larry Robertson combines his vast experience with the sage insights of more than 200 individuals living in the entrepreneurial universe. In doing so, he shows us the power of a deliberate pause and the truth about entrepreneurship as we’ve never known it before. More, he places the power directly in our hands and invites each of us to change our lives and our world. 

When you look at something in a different way, you can’t help but learn and advance your thinking. Both are empowering. This book represents an entirely new view of entrepreneurship and a capacity to apply it anywhere in your world. The many lessons in this book are delivered within a framework of four parts.

Part I, Entrepreneur, offers a view of this contradictory character called an entrepreneur. It serves to unwind your preconceptions and give you a clear view of what an entrepreneur is, why the dominant myths about them are simply false, and where entrepreneurs fit into the more important dynamic of entrepreneurship.

Part II, Entrepreneurship, builds on your newfound sense of who entrepreneurs are, then reveals their relative importance to the larger ecosystem that makes entrepreneurship work. You will learn that creating community is a powerful, necessary force in entrepreneurship that brings forth lasting change.

Having a clear sense of who is behind entrepreneurship begs the question of how entrepreneurs do what they do. Part III, Perspective and Discipline, takes you there. You’ll see that the tales about entrepreneurs focus on the beginning and the end of their stories, but in reality, it’s the middle part that makes all the difference. Part III explores the fundamentals—for both the individual entrepreneur and the ecosystems they spawn. It also explores oft-overlooked distinctions between evolution and growth, and rights the assumed roles of failure and sacrifice in successful entrepreneurship.

Why entrepreneurs (and those they attract and inspire) do what they do follows from the lessons of who they are and how they operate. This becomes the focus of Part IV, Reward and Reason. By the time you reach it, you won’t be surprised to learn that value and success in entrepreneurship differ vastly from common assumptions—at least for those ventures that make real the changes they seek and have lasting impact. You’ll also discover there’s something more to the who, how, and why of this powerful force called entrepreneurship. And you’ll see why the importance of always asking why never fades.

Step 2 . . .

How the Book is Structured

Step 3 . . .

The Power in the Pause: People

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A Deliberate Pause is an 8-time award winning book whose honors include...