How I Built This Book Summary By Guy Raz

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How I Built This is a must-read for any budding entrepreneur or aspiring business leader.

It provides an in-depth look into the stories and advice of some of the most successful entrepreneurs today.

The book chronicles the journeys of dozens of inspiring visionaries, showing both their difficult moments and how they achieved ultimate success.

By reading this book you will gain not only invaluable insight into how these pioneers built their businesses, but also insight into practical advice on how to succeed by following their examples.

How I Built This is essential reading for anyone wanting to learn from entrepreneurial successes and create a thriving business themselves.

How I Built This Book

Book Name: How I Built This (The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs)

Author(s): Guy Raz

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Entrepreneurship

Author Bio

Guy Raz is a highly successful journalist and entrepreneur who has built up an impressive network of business people.

He is the host of the popular National Public Radio show How I Built This, a program dedicated to interviewing entrepreneurs about their methods of success.

Furthermore, he has also created/co-created four other programs that are heard by 19 million listeners each month.

His wide reach and expertise on these matters make him a hugely respected voice in the world of business.

From Mythology And Superhero Stories To Business: The Essential Elements Of A Hero’s Journey


The heroes of the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs draw a roadmap to success, and it’s those same elements that can be seen in every successful business story.

It takes courage, faith, and an unwavering commitment to your dreams in order to achieve success.

This is what I Built This Book captures; journeys of start-up founders from the spark of their idea through challenging times to ultimate victory.

You’ll learn why a cofounder partnership is similar to marriage and why Johnson & Johnson made one of its best business decisions with a total product recall.

Additionally, you’ll get an inside view on how the founder of 5-hour Energy cleverly competed with leading beverage companies.

There is much to be learned from other entrepreneurs’ successes that will help guide you on your own entrepreneurial journey.

The Key To Turning Your Ideas Into Reality: A Balance Of Risks And Caution

Starting a business is never easy, no matter how good the idea is.

But when you find an opportunity that’s too good to pass up, it can be tempting to just throw yourself in headfirst without looking.

That’s exactly what José Andrés and Jim Koch did when they pursued their passion projects—Andrés founded a restaurant in the Washington DC area and Koch created the Boston Beer Company—despite risking failure and leaving comfortable jobs behind.

They took the risk because they knew deep down that this was their chance of a lifetime.

But it didn’t come without preparation.

Andres actively searched for opportunities, while Koch was forced to scale back his ambitions—he avoided using all his savings and instead pitched his product at local pubs before making a big investment later on.

Similarly, Daymond John had a backup plan if FUBU failed—a job waiting tables at Red Lobster kept food on the table until he got enough funding for his clothing line.

These stories illustrate that opportunity sometimes knocks but once in a lifetime, yet it pays to take precautions and weigh your options carefully before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship.

Every situation is different, and only you can know if an idea is worth taking a leap of faith over – but whatever you choose, make sure you have something to fall back onto not matter what might happen!

The Power Of A Support Network: Why Every Entrepreneur Needs A Good Co-Founder And Strong Network

No one expects you to start and build a successful business as a lone wolf–even the most influential innovators had partners or cofounders along the way.

That’s why it’s so important to carefully build your support network and don’t be afraid to lean on each other for help.

Daymond John’s mother demonstrating how helpful this network can be, by booking an ad in the New York Times that boomracks FUBU’s finances, shows just how powerful our social circle can be when it comes to getting things kick-started.

Humans are social animals who thrive when they work together, and startups are no different.

Finding a compatible cofounder is necessary—it’s like gaining a sparring partner that shares your vision but also brings their own strengths and skillset to the table.

Away Luggage gets this concept as Jen Rubio found Steph Korey when she needed someone versed in supply chain logistics for her fashion marketing startup know-how–together, they’ve already been able to raise $2.5 million before their first line of suitcases even launched!

In addition, friends and family can provide valuable financial input too.

Don’t let pride get in the way of asking those closest to you for money—by doing so, not only will you have more cash reserves at your disposal if done right, but you’ll also be driven harder because these are people who trust and believe in you–you won’t want to let them down!

Overall, it’s clear that having a solid support system is truly essential if you hope to get ahead with your startup—it provides both mental and practical resources that nobody has enough of on their own!

Don’t Give Up — Get Creative And Leverage Your Resources To Stand Out As An Entrepreneur


As an entrepreneur, the key message here is that you need to think outside the box when it comes to positioning your brand.

You cannot just knock on the front door of a crowded marketplace and politely ask for a seat at the table – it takes innovation and creativity.

An example of this is Manoj Bharghava’s 5-hour Energy shots.

His brand competed directly with Big Soda, so he had to come up with something different – so he shrank his drink down to a two-ounce shot which allowed it to be sold off store countertops instead of refrigerators.

Another way entrepreneurs can build exposure for their brand is by pitching tastemakers such as those found in Vogue magazine.

This can get people talking about your product before it even hits the shelves!

But even with all that exposure, you still need something extraordinary in order for your brand to take off – and that something extra starts with having a great product!

If you have something people love, they’ll tell their friends about it and share it via word of mouth marketing.

That kind of buzz will go further than any advertisement ever could!

The Key To A Successful Entrepreneurial Pursuit Is Humility And Focusing On The Big Picture

As an entrepreneur, you need to stay focused on the big picture when things get complicated.

It’s important to be aware of the minutiae of your startup’s problems, but it’s just as important to zoom out and see the whole picture.

Things may seem like they’re never going to get better, like when you don’t hear back from potential investors or no one is buying your product.

That’s why Paul Graham calls this time a “trough of sorrow”.

Despite this distressful time for entrepreneurs, Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham advises that the way forward lies in pushing through it.

Believe that one last push will help you make it out alive.

Most importantly, never give up hope – even if investors aren’t calling you back and nobody is buying your product.

Just keep going and eventually success may appear in unexpected places.

You don’t have to take as much money from venture capitalists as they want either.

You don’t always need their financial support in order to succeed; sometimes all that’s needed is dedication and hard work coupled with an understanding and realistic attitude towards opportunities around you – like Stacy Madison and her then-boyfriend Mark Andrus who started a successful chips business instead of sandwiches.

It requires courage and humility on your part to let go of your original idea, but those qualities can often lead to better prospects than first predicted!

Don’t forget that while venture capitalists are experienced in money management, they may not know your business or industry better than you do; so stay focused on what matters most – building a great product and selling it customers.

Good Leadership And Humility Are Essential For Weathering A Crisis

When tragedy strikes, companies can easily crumble under the weight of the problems.

But when the CEO or founder of a company takes a moment to set their pride aside and focus on what is best for their customers, it can mean the difference between success and failure for their business.

This is something that James Burke, CEO of Johnson & Johnson in 1982, understood perfectly when someone poisoned seven people with cyanide in bottles of Tylenol.

Despite immense public pressure, Burke recognized his responsibility to those who trusted him and made the difficult decision to recall all 31 million bottles from shelves across America.

His humbleness and straightforward action took a huge financial toll on Johnson & Johnson but ultimately resulted in the product’s successful relaunch and recapturing nearly all of its market share within two months.

We also see how taking pride out of the equation was key to Method founders Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry’s survival as business partners.

When they were taking their frustrations out on one another after launching a failed product line, they were able to prioritize their broad shared goals over their personal differences long enough to make it through tough times.

They sold Method in 2012, putting an end to years’ worth of uncertainty and proving that setting aside pride in favor of resilience can pay off both emotionally and financially.

Knowing Your Mission Is Key To Achieving Long-Term Business Success

Business Success

It may sound counterintuitive, but the scariest aspect of entrepreneurship isn’t failure – It’s success.

Once you achieve success, continuity and legacy become the focal points.

To build a business that will stand the test of time, it’s important to tap into whatever drove you to pursue entrepreneurship in the first place.

This is why mission-first businesses usually find success more quickly than those driven solely by profit-making goals.

There’s something more empowering about pursuing a cause at heart; some kind of meaningful purpose that goes beyond money.

After all, employees and founders become more motivated when their work serves some personal cause that keeps them going regardless of difficult times ahead or sudden fortune.

Take for example Jenn Hyman who, despite facing sexism and chauvinism from investors at Rent The Runway, held on to her mission which was to make women feel great.

Her strong sense of purpose and drive was what brought RTR to its 1 billion dollar evaluation in 2019.

Being committed to one’s mission makes decision-making easier as well since it gives entrepreneurs direction with which they can better evaluate options before them.

This is why having authentic values allows entrepreneurs to stay true to their business and why they are doing it even when opportunities come flooding in or challenges appear out of nowhere.

In short, successful entrepreneurship lies in being able to connect with your greater purpose – Mission-first businesses find successes because they know exactly why they got started in the first place!

Wrap Up

When it comes to the How I Built This Book Summary, the final takeaway is this: being an entrepreneur is a difficult, yet rewarding journey.

It’s not just about finding a job and earning money; it’s about discovering your purpose and transforming your life in the process.

No matter the trials and tribulations that you may face along the way, if you persevere, success will be yours!

Not only will you make a fortune in becoming an entrepreneur – you’ll also have found a true sense of purpose in life.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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