Nov 17 2022

Book Short: It’s All About Creative Destruction

I was excited to read Launchpad Republic: America’s Entrepreneurial Edge and Why It Matters, by Howard Wolk and John Landry the minute Brad sent it to me. I love American history, I love entrepreneurship, and I’m deeply concerned about the health of our country right now. I have to say…on all fronts, the book did not disappoint!

The authors make several points, but the one that sets the tone for the book is that like our country’s origins and culture in general, entrepreneurship is itself rebellious. It’s about upstarts challenging the status quo in some way or other with a better way to do something, or with a new thing. The balance between protecting private property rights and allowing for entrepreneurs to fail and to disrupt incumbent leaders is what makes America unique, especially compared to the way European business culture has traditionally operated (consensus-oriented) and the way China operates (authoritarian).

I loved how the authors wove a number of business history vignettes together with relevant thru lines. Business in Colonial times and how Alexander Hamilton thought about national finances may seem dusty and distant, but not when you see the direct connection to John D. Rockefeller, IBM, GE, Microsoft, or Wendy Kopp.

The book was also a good reminder that some of the principles that have made America great and exceptional also underly our successful business culture, things like limited government, checks and balances within government and between government and the private sector, and decentralized finance.

Without being overly political, the authors also get into how our political and entrepreneurial system can and hopefully will tackle some of today’s more complex issues, from climate change to income inequality to stakeholder capitalism.

At the heart of all of it is the notion that entrepreneurs’ creativity drive America forward and are a leading force for making our country and our economy durable and resilient. As a career entrepreneur, and one who is now in the business of helping other entrepreneurs be more successful, this resonated. If you’re a student of American history…or a student of entrepreneurship, this is a great read. If you’re both, it’s a must read.