Author Q&A


The Book

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There’s no Cliff Notes version of entrepreneurship. In a similar way, you’ll get the most out of this book by reading it, absorbing it, and finding yourself in its pages, stories, and lessons.

That said, the following 10 questions are likely to be top of mind for many of you before you crack the cover of A Deliberate Pause. (This is the only ‘Top 10’ you will find in A Deliberate Pause or for that matter in entrepreneurship.)

Ten Questions and Answers with the Author

1. Why should I read this book?

Have you ever had an idea - a really good idea, the game changing, world changing kind... and talked yourself out of it?

Maybe you thought it had already been done. Maybe you concluded it was too hard.

Imagine if you’d had a book that could have made you change your mind, encouraged you to go forward, and inspired you to change the world.

A Deliberate Pause is just such a book. It explores how entrepreneurs follow their ideas and in the process, change the world. It’s a book that shows how anyone - even you - can do just that.

2. 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.

3. Why did you choose the title and subtitle you did?

The main title, A Deliberate Pause, has deep and layered meaning. A deliberate pause itself is the very secret to success practiced by the very best entrepreneurs. It is the source of the breakthrough visions that send them down the entrepreneurial path in the first place. but it is also what the best do repeatedly and perpetually, allowing them to overcome the hurdles that stop others.

Taking a deliberate pause is also what I have done in writing this book. It is what I have asked the books contributors to do. And it is what I am asking you, the reader, to do. By learning and practicing a deliberate pause, each of us has access to this powerful force, no matter what we do in life.

The subtitle - Entrepreneurship and its Moment in Human Progress - is full of important meaning as well.

Entrepreneurship is what this book is about. A Deliberate Pause shows us that entrepreneurship is also about much more than we commonly assume.

Moment means both ‘an increment of time’ and ‘importance’ and both are critical take-aways from the book.

Human Progress is what really drives the kind of entrepreneurship that has lasting impact, the kind we all admire.

So, A Deliberate Pause is a book about entrepreneurship and its importance, but it is also about entrepreneurship’s unique ‘moment’ - what I call a deliberate pause. Together, entrepreneurship and the deliberate pause are the source of all human progress.

4. What’s the symbolism of the front cover?

The black & white picture of the boy on the front cover is simple and clear, something I hope the lessons of this book will be as well. He is literally in a deliberate pause, held in a moment, having leapt off the edge confidently, with purpose and on purpose, arms spread wide, ready for whatever lies ahead.

And the image is purposely of a child. Exposure to entrepreneurship is critical to making it happen, more often, more effectively. I wanted youth to be prominent and up front, to show both that exposure should start early and that entrepreneurship is accessible to all.

Like the choice of a black &  white photo, the font and its case are purposely simple. Though I don’t think of A Deliberate Pause as a business book per se, I know it will often be shelved there by those who think entrepreneurship is bound by business. When you go into a bookstore, take a look at the books in that section. Virtually everyone has a cover screaming the title in capital letters. To me, such formatting says, ‘I’m smarter than you. I know better.’ Worse, I find such covers to be off-putting, as if the books wearing them are for an exclusive club. The simple font, the lower case of the first two words, and the conscious absence of capital letters is intended to say to you the reader, ‘This is your book. It’s topic is accessible to you, no matter what you know or how much you know about entrepreneurship. Come take a look.’

5. Why is this book different ?

Beyond the cover, this book isn’t what you most likely will expect. It isn’t a business book. (Entrepreneurship is a human opportunity, not a right of passage available only to profit seekers.) It isn’t written in techno speak. (The style is conversational and the book contains countless stories repeatedly bringing the reader in and out of the topic to gain a new view and seeking to entertain, even as it teaches.) And it is not like any other book you may ever have read or seen with the word “entrepreneurship” in the title.

More specifically, this book is different in several ways...

  1. -It offers a different view. Traditionally, most books on entrepreneurship tell one story, come from a single source, or offer a formula answer to explain what entrepreneurship is - this book does the opposite.

  2. -The role of success is different too. Rather than focusing on how to get a venture going or how to reach some narrow measure of success like market leadership or a profit mark, A Deliberate Pause focuses on success that lasts, the kind of true changes that goes beyond and benefits more than the entrepreneur, their venture, or their time.

  3. - There is an access point for everyone. Through the hundreds of people in its pages, the stories that bring its lessons to life, and the simple, conversational language it uses, A Deliberate Pause is accessible to anyone interested in entrepreneurship, a different way of looking at the world, a chance to change that world, or the central theme behind all human progress.

  4. -A Deliberate Pause is the first truly entrepreneurial look at entrepreneurship. Why we have not until now turned that unique capacity of the entrepreneurial mind on entrepreneurship itself is hard to account for. This book does.

6. Who is the intended audience?

The audience for A Deliberate Pause includes...

  1. -Those who are (or believe they are) part of the entrepreneurial universe (entrepreneurs, those who work with and for them, and those who advise and invest in them

  2. -Those who are interested in the topic of entrepreneurship

  3. -Those seeking a different way to look at the world and a different path to and reason for success

7. How did you pick the contributors (interviewees)?

For A Deliberate Pause, I interviewed more than 200 individuals whose experiences encompass a full range of profiles and perspectives that make up the entrepreneurial universe. And that was exactly the point - to see it for the universe of contributors it is and rise above the focus on the individual entrepreneurs who catalyze entrepreneurship but often skew our views of it.

These interviewees are part of the conversation you’ll join in choosing to read this book. I call them contributors. They cross boundaries defined by industry, tax status, definition of value, geography, gender, and other limiting demographics. Many are, of course, entrepreneurs. Just as important, they are investors and donors, advisors and teachers of entrepreneurship, with several filling more than one of these roles. About half come from the nonprofit world; nearly one-quarter are female; roughly one-fifth are minorities or immigrants.

As you will see, these entrepreneurial contributors belie the stereotypes. They know what makes entrepreneurship work and they eagerly shared what they’ve seen and learned. When you meet them on the pages of A Deliberate Pause, you no doubt will recognize some names from news headlines and others associated with whatever slice of the world you inhabit. Many will be new to you. But regardless of role, background, notoriety, or geography, all of them feel deeply passionate about entrepreneurship. Individually and together, they have a great deal to teach from their own ventures, from advising others, and simply from inhabiting the entrepreneurial universe.

One thing is clear: What these exceptional, thoughtful individuals contribute about entrepreneurship isn’t commonly taught in business schools or noted in trendy business books. This book relates what these veterans and advocates of the entrepreneurial universe believe should be known and talked about but isn’t. Their stories allow you to understand who is behind the powerful force of entrepreneurship, how they go about doing their work, and why they do what they do despite the odds and setbacks.

8. Which one of your interviewees would you say is the best entrepreneur?

It took a long time to write this book. All things worth doing do. While I was writing and especially while I was conducting interviews with the book’s contributors, people regularly asked me questions like this. What I realized acutely as this book took shape was that it was the very fact that we tend to begin with questions like this one that we get off track so fast when it comes to the topic of entrepreneurship.

I am at once hopeful and confident that by reading A Deliberate Pause you will gain a deeper sense of entrepreneurship so that if you asked me “who among your contributors are entrepreneurs?” you wouldn’t be surprised at my answer. I’d tell you that it’s those who realize they are the catalysts who must attract others to them into an ecosystem they build together. Less than being about an entrepreneur, it’s more about understanding what it means to be an entrepreneur who empowers others.

Similarly, if you asked “who among your contributors is the most successful?” I’d say I can look at the impact they’re making and give you a progress report, but I can’t tell you where their journeys will end. By reading the book you will quickly come to know that my answers aren’t evasive; rather, they’re reflective of progressive thinking and humbled by the recognition that the answer doesn’t lie with one person, one book, or one time.

9. What is the formula to successful entrepreneurship?

I’m baiting you a bit now after the answer to the last question. But whether or not this question is asked of me, I know many of us hope their is an answer in the form of a formula. So let’s get it out of the way right now and quickly: if you are searching for a formula to successful entrepreneurship you need to read this book, not because it gives you one, but because it teaches you about entrepreneurship thoroughly enough so that you’ll know that there’s no such thing.

Entrepreneurship is by its very definition about newness and change. I’d take that further. The kind of entrepreneurship we all so admire and are attracted to is about seismic change, making the world better, and advancing the species. that kind of change and that kind of ‘new’ doesn’t come with a recipe because it hasn’t yet been done.

Not that you asked, but I’d be cautious about looking for a formula for most things in life.

10. What is an entrepreneur?

Glad you asked. I know a great book that will get you to a better answer than you expected. You can buy it by clicking on the link below.

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