January 2011 Archive

A Very Personal Review of Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky and a Quick WSJ Mention

I really love this review of my book by Tim Joslyn, mostly because it's not really much about my book. It's about how the book made him think about the relationship between the developed and developing world.

I love this analogy:

"Another key theme is how much further emerging economies exploit technology when compared to their developed peers.  We concentrate on packing in more features; they focus on getting more out of the limited features that are available and pushing the boundaries with what they have (look at the ingenious ways that SMS is used in Africa and India or the paper alternative to the RSA token). 

As a child I remember growing up wanting a Lego Technics set, I thought about all of the things I could make if I just had the set and how long it would have kept me occupied for.  Then one day I met another kid who was spoilt by his parents.  He had the Lego Technics set, had built a car one day and now it sat on the shelf never to be used again whilst he played with all the other toys he had.  Developed world when it comes to technology, I think we have become that kid.  We constantly look for the next thing, never exploiting the true power of what we currently have."

He totally gets the message of the book, and nothing is more gratifying as an author.

As a side note, WSJ.com had a quick mention of Dan Primack's excellent Tuesday review too.

My Books in Chinese and (a Little) Portuguese

Wow. Tuesday just keeps on giving. First, a great review. Second, we are FINALLY installing heat in our drafty old Victorian in the Mission after three years of huddling around space heaters. (Might be the most exciting development.) Third, is an update on that thing I mentioned months ago that I still can talk about, because it's not finalized and I don't want to jinx it.

And fourth--I just got an email from my agents bearing an offer to translate "Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good" and release the book in China! Given the Internet explosion happening in China now, I can't imagine a better market for the book. More details when we finalize it all.

And for the Brazilians in the house, Marco Gomes has translated an excerpt of "Brilliant Crazy Cocky" into Portuguese here. I'm glad he did since his family doesn't speak English and couldn't read what I wrote about him! Hopefully the whole book will be in Portuguese soon.

Review #2: Dan Primack of Fortune

There are certain peers who you respect, but you know they would give you a nice review even if they hated the book or just not say anything at all. (cough) Then there are certain peers who are just hardcore reporters, and would love nothing more than to poke holes in your argument if they could. The latter is Dan Primack. He's one of the only people I know who has obsessively covered venture capital as long as I have, and he loves to call me out on anything he disagrees with. Unlike a lot of people who simply don't understand the specific twists of the asset class, Dan usually has a point.

So imagine my delight when I saw this mini-review of Brilliant Crazy Cocky in his newsletter today:

"My goal this morning was to offer a comprehensive review of Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky – a new book on emerging market entrepreneurship by TechCrunch scribe Sarah Lacy. But time is running short, so here is an abbreviated version: Go buy it.

Seriously. This is an outstanding piece of journalism, based on Lacy’s ten months of travel to Israel, Brazil, China, Rwanda and Indonesia. She obviously touches on the macro trends affecting each market, but does so via seemless examples of entrepreneurs who have launched companies to make everything from mobile apps to toilet paper."

Thanks, Dan. And for everyone else Amazon has the book in stock now. If you pre-ordered, you should get it soon. It's in book stores early next week.

Book Review #1

Ok, this review is insanely biased, but it's my first review nonetheless, so I'm posting it.

It's by Paul Carr, my coworker at TechCrunch and one of my best friends. But we only got to be friends because of mutual admiration for each other's first books. Now, we both have second books coming out, and yes, you can expect a pretty glowing review of his second book here when it launches. Not because he's my friend (ask him, I'm plenty critical on other areas of his life...) but because it's pretty amazing. Nevermind, he broke a solemn promise to me that I would not be in it. That was an interesting conversation...

Anyway, here's an excerpt of what he wrote about "Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky;" the full review is here:

"The book opens with Marco Gomez, a young entrepreneur from Brazil who defied an upbringing surrounded by criminals and drug dealers to become a wildly successful technology entrepreneur. His story neatly sets the tone of the book, which provides all of the insight and practical wisdom of a business book but delivers much of that wisdom through a series of remarkable personal stories. At several points in the story, if you didn’t know that you were holding a painstakingly researched piece of journalism, you could be forgiven for thinking you were reading a movie.

Where else but the realms of fiction would you meet Jean de Dieu Kagabo, a Rwandan entrepreneur who, having survived his country’s genocide, identified a need in the landlocked nation for locally manufactured everyday staples – toilet paper, tomato paste, toothpaste – which previously had to be imported from neighbouring countries. Determined to make those items – and countless others – affordable for Rwandans, he taught himself Mandarin and then traveled to China to acquire the necessary manufacturing equipment to start his new business. The growth of Kagabo’s empire has been rapid, punctuated with reminders of his past – including the moment when the son of the man who murdered his parents came looking for a job. If someone doesn’t buy the movie rights for the book, based on that chapter alone, there’s something wrong with the universe.

Equally inspiring – and Hollywood-ready – is the story of Frederick Ndabaramiye who had both of his arms hacked off during a brutal attack by his own people, only for the assailants to accidentally save his life. And how about the comically inspirational adventures of Israeli movie mogul Erel Margalit; or Xu Xiong’s Chinese driving school and petting zoo (petting xu?); or Lakhal Lal and his shop of tiny things; or Ravi Ghate’s mini mobile media empire; or “Ciputra”, the one-named Walt Disney of Indonesia or… or… or…

As a writer, it’s these characters who make the book such an utterly engrossing read. If, on the other hand, I were the CEO of a major company – either in the US or elsewhere in the western world – Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky… would grip me for quite different reasons. Because from all of the amazing stories, there emerges a common thread: these entrepreneurs are building businesses which, today, are reshaping their countries but tomorrow will likely begin reshaping the world. And in many cases they’re doing it without any help from America."

The Book Is OUT...on Kindle

Don't let my silence fool you-- this is a big month for me. My book is finally coming out after two years, hundreds of thousands of dollars of our own money, 40 weeks of travel, countless hours stuck in un-airconditioned airports on layovers, thousands of hours of interviews, hundreds of global entrepreneurs, way too many trips to consulate offices, and 13 vaccines, a few parasites, tropical fungii and malaria scares.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows what a labor of love this book was to produce, and how much it changed me as an American, a reporter and a human being. So I won't belabor all that...AGAIN. But it's slightly unbelievable that this book that so few people believed in-- and so few believed I could write-- is finally almost on shelves.

This book is probably one of the most important things I'll ever do in my life. When I was back home in Memphis for Christmas, I got in several arguments with incredibly smart people who believed --fervently-- that all Chinese people were "peasants", "idiots", or "unoriginal." It's gotten to the point, where Mr. Lacy has heard my rebuttal to this so many times, he actually argued the case for me to one drunk redneck in a bar on New Year's Eve. I wish I could force every American to read this book-- not for the royalties, but so they'd realize what is going on in the emerging world beyond the warmed over stories about outsourcing and "job stealing."

Anyway, so it's out on the Kindle NOW and that includes the Kindle versions on the iPad, iPhone, Mac etc. You can also read the first chapter for free on the Kindle. I've already gotten some nice feedback on the first chapter since this went up yesterday-- trust me, it gets a lot better once you really start to get deep into the countries. If you are a dinosaur like I am, Amazon will have hardcover books January 25. And they should be in bookstores nationwide the first week in February, and on all the other digital formats soon after.

For international readers, the book will be available roughly a month after it launches in the US globally in English. I wish it were available in other languages immediately, but local publishing offices want to see the book and see demand first. Given the swell of Tweets the book is already getting in Portuguese, I don't think creating local buzz will be a problem. That's what happens when you open a book with a Brazilian...

Finally, this site is undergoing a redesign and on the new version, I'll have a photo gallery showing photos of all the entrepreneurs in the book, their companies and environments. Just in case my descriptions aren't enough! 

A lot of people have asked what they can do to help with the launch. Other than of course buying the book, there's a lot you can do to help support it. Amazon reviews are HUGE, even tweeting about it and "liking" it on Amazon are great. I'll have more on future launch parties, events, signings and reviews in the future. Thanks again to everyone who made it possible-- and especially to Wiley and Amazon who have just been killing it with early promotion/digital availability.

Sarah Lacy’s entertaining and informative tour of the world’s fastest growing economies undeniably proves what we’ve known at Endeavor for more than a decade: that impressive and inspiring Entrepreneurs can truly come from anywhere! In taking us on a whirlwind journey bursting with frenetic energy – matched only by that of the amazing entrepreneurs she meets – Lacy gives us an important glimpse into the future of the global economy – a place where the craziest, high-impact entrepreneurs from anywhere and everywhere set the pace.
Brilliant. Crazy. Cocky.

New Book

An unforgettable portrait of the emerging world's entrepreneurial dynamos Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky is the story about that top 1% of people who do more to change their worlds through greed and ambition than politicians, NGOs and nonprofits ever can. This new breed of self-starter is taking local turmoil and turning it into opportunities, making millions, creating thousands of jobs and changing the face of modern entrepreneurship at the same time. To tell this story, Lacy spent forty weeks traveling through Asia, South America and Africa hunting down the most impressive up-and-comers the developed world has never heard of....yet.

Excerpt »

Buy it from these sellers

Srah Lacy

Sarah Lacy is an award-winning reporter who has covered high-growth entrepreneurship for more than fifteen years. She is the founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of PandoDaily.com, the site-of-record for the startup ecosystem. She lives in San Francisco.

Learn more »


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