Invisible Capital by Chris Rabb - Book review

Invisible Capital

How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity

By: Chris Rabb

Published: November 2, 2010
Format: Paperback, 192 pages
ISBN-10: 1605093076
ISBN-13: 978-1605093079
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

"Very few entrepreneurs will create businesses that are profitable, let alone businesses that will be able to hire employees", writes consultant, and speaker on the intersection of entrepreneurship, media, civic engagement, and social identity, Chris Rabb, in his challenging and eye opening book Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity. the author describes how dangerous myths stand in the way of the success of many entrepreneurs, who then fail to draw on their invisible capital and develop a plan that builds on strengths and lessens the impact of weaknesses.

Chris Rabb points to some very sobering statistics that give pause to the mythology and misinformation that surround entrepreneurship. The author writes that only one in four businesses will generate enough revenue to add paid employees, with the owner of the independent business being the sole employee. In the words of the author, the entrepreneur is the entire business. Chris Rabb considers the high failure rate among independent business owners, not due to lack of entrepreneurs, but rather the need for better informed and more skilled entrepreneurs. Very often, according to the author, would be business people fall the idea that a good idea, a good attitude, and hard work are the keys to success. Chris Rabb dispels that argument and demonstrates that those characteristics alone are not enough. To fill the knowledge and information gap that stifles the success the majority of entrepreneurs, Chris Rabb recommends tapping into the entrepreneur's store of invisible capital.

Chris Rabb (photo left) understands that entrepreneurs possesses more invisible capital than they realize, in the form of social networks, and through weak and strong ties to other people and groups. The author considers the entire community to be a powerful source and base of invisible capital, but the entrepreneur must get past the myths of the lone business person and challenge the very concept of what success really means in their own business and personal context. Chris Rabb points out that every entrepreneur has access to their own, often hidden and unrecognized invisible capital, and that the invisible treasure trove is unique for every business owner. Invisible capital relies on networks, but is even more complex and diverse than social and business contacts. Invisible capital also includes the person's skills, existing knowledge, available resources, and experiences. When added to the networks, invisible capital becomes a very powerful source of business success.

For me, the power of the book is how Chris Rabb looks beyond the standard explanations of how business people succeed, and considers the deeper issue of why entrepreneurs create profitable and growing companies. For Chris Rabb, that success results from leveraging one's own storehouse of invisible capital. The author describes invisible capital as being little known, and even less understood, because of what he calls the "entrepreneurial-industrial complex". Chris Rabb charges this mysterious entity as proffering deliberate misinformation and mythology to the general public, where it is absorbed and internalized by potential entrepreneurs.

At the same time, writes the author, those same cynical manipulators of public ideas, make total use of their own invisible capital to enhance their own business success. Chris Rabb presents the important remedy and solution to this myth perpetuation through encouraging communities to help people build and strengthen their personal capital. The resulting skilled, and invisible capital guided entrepreneurs in turn build the economy of the community in a sustainable and beneficial manner. By unleashing the latent potential of invisible capital, the business person and the community enhance and build one another's prosperity, in a mutually satisfactory and community centered way.

I highly recommend the insightful and important book Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity by Chris Rabb, to anyone seeking a fresh and community centered approach to entrepreneurship that is both sustainable and works for the betterment of everyone. The author draws back the curtain that shrouds the critical concept of invisible capital, and shines a bright light on this relatively unknown and often misunderstood component of business success. The idea that the community itself can spawn and nurture successful businesses is a powerful one for this and any economy.

Read the essential and thoughtful book Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity by Chris Rabb, and change your view of why some entrepreneurs succeed why so many others fail. Discover how invisible capital, combined with a rethinking of what success really means for the business person and the community, levels the playing field for entrepreneurs. This book can transform a possibly failed business venture into a sustainable one that forms an integral part of the overall community.

Tags: Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity, Chris Rabb, community based entrepreneurship, business book reviews.

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