"Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos" (Wiley, 2011) 

Brilliant. Crazy. Cocky.

There are many paths to entrepreneurial success, but none of them are easy. Each requires a compelling and intoxicating combination of guts, hard work, talent, timing, and luck. In a world where new superpowers are emerging from the chaos, colonialism, and confusion of the twentieth century, those stakes have been raised and the potential to create new billion-dollar powerhouses has been multiplied. Massive resources are coupled with unprecedented levels of risk, making the journey towards building truly innovative new businesses more unpredictable than ever.

Sarah Lacy is an international journalist with more than a decade of experience covering the ups and downs of global innovation. In Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky, she spends more than forty weeks in eleven countries to bring a bold perspective on what can make or break new high-growth businesses in developing countries.

 From Rwanda to Brazil, from Israel to India, Lacy travels from exploding megacities to sprawling slums, meeting the daring and inspiring entrepreneurs who are turning local chaos and basic human needs into often-staggering profits. Through her eye-opening reporting, she tells the true story of opportunity in this globalized world, and it goes well beyond call centers and outsourcing.

Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky delivers dramatic narratives from the front lines of countries stirred by turmoil and teeming with billions of people who have nothing to lose and everything to gain by embracing global investment and technology.

In doing so, it shines a spotlight on the slowing growth of business in America. In forty years, the United States will be the only current G7 nation that will remain one of the seven largest economies in the world. Only by studying the rising entrepreneurial stars of our future economic neighbors can we learn how to compete and thrive within this new world order.

Praise for "Brilliant Crazy Cocky"

 "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."
-- Dan Primack, Fortune

"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. If someone doesn’t buy the movie rights for the book, based on that chapter alone, there’s something wrong with the universe."
-- Author Paul Carr

"Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky" puts a well-deserved spotlight on the fascinating entrepreneurs working in some of the most overlooked places on Earth. This book reminds us that when entrepreneurial opportunity is enabled and embraced locally, the economic and social benefits have the power to transform us all.
Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman, eBay; founding partner, Omidyar Network

"Anyone who thinks they know entrepreneurship should read Sarah Lacy's brilliant, crazy, cocky book. Being an entrepreneur is about thriving in chaos, and there's no more opportunity and chaos than in the emerging world right now. Yet for all the talk about the emerging world, only this book brings you a true-to-life account of the on-the-ground struggle to create something huge. In this engaging read, Lacy will change the way you see the world. Anyone with a pulse should read this book."
Marc Andreessen, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz Ventures; Co-Founder Netscape, Opsware, Ning

"Part insightful analysis of what ails Silicon Valley and part madcap journey to far flung hubs of aspiration and innovation, Sarah Lacy takes us around the world in 180 pages to find the fascinating people who are creating the new wealth in a new world of start ups and ventures that America ought to be paying a lot more attention to."
Maureen Orth, Special Correspondent Vanity Fair; author "Vulgar Favors" and "The Importance of Being Famous, Behind the Scenes of the Celebrity Industrial Complex"

"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."
Linda Rottenberg, Co-Founder & CEO, Endeavor

"Sarah Lacy has focused on a fascinating phenomenon and explains with clarity and unimpeachable logic why and how these global entrepreneurs are saving the planet. Everyone interested in what makes the world spin better must read this book."
William H. Draper, III, Co-founder, Draper Richards LP, Author of "The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs" 

"Entrepreneurs advance human welfare by creating the economic future through the messy process of starting and growing companies. Sarah Lacy has seen this future and, in this essential and important book, chronicles the emergence of a new, global era of messy capitalism. The critical question Lacy poses to the United States and other countries is whether they will join this entrepreneurial revolution or watch it from the sidelines."
Carl J. Schramm, president and CEO, Kauffman Foundation 

"Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0" (Gotham Books, 2008)

Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good

The captivating story of the mavericks who emerged from the dotcom rubble to found the multibillion-dollar companies taking the Web into the twenty-first century.

Everyone has heard the story of the Internet Bubble. Beginning with Netscape’s IPO in 1996, billions flowed into Internet startups, and companies with no revenues and shaky business plans earned sky-high valuations on Wall Street. It was the era of paper millionaires, $800 office chairs, and Super Bowl ads for dotcoms. Then in 2000 the Bubble burst, with the NASDAQ losing 75 percent of its value and hundreds of companies closing up shop. It was all written off to “irrational exuberance,” and everyone moved on.

Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good is the story of the entrepreneurs who learned their lesson from the bust and in recent years have created groundbreaking new Web companies, based on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with founders of Facebook, Twitter, Slide, Digg, LinkedIn and more. 

Business reporter Sarah Lacy brings to light the entire Web 2.0 scene: the wide-eyed but wary entrepreneurs, the hated venture capitalists, the bloggers fueling the hype, the programmers coding through the night, the twenty-something millionaires, and the Internet “fan boys” eager for all the promises to come true.

“No other recent chronicle delivers such intimate, behind- the scenes glimpses into Silicon Valley start-up life.”

"Lacy obviously spent a great deal of time with these celebrated entrepreneurs. Her descriptions of their business meetings come complete with snatches of you-are-there dialogue, a la Bob Woodward."
--Katie Hafner - New York Times Book Review

"By tunneling deep into their pasts, their paranoias and anxieties, their troubled romantic relationships, their outsize dreams...Lacy delivers a sophisticated psychological study of an ascendant economic class."
--Farhad Manjoo,

"With the collapse of the Internet Bubble, the mainstream media wrote off Silicon Valley and the world as dead stories – and thus missed the birth of an even bigger and more far-reaching Web phenomenon: on-line communities and social networks, the so-called Web 2.0. Happily, one intrepid reporter, Sarah Lacy, stayed on -- and she now has given us what will likely be the only real record of what happened during that remarkable era. Her portrayals of the founders of companies such as Facebook and Twitter are dead-on, and her reporting will no doubt be a vital source on this amazing time for generations to come. "
– Michael S. Malone, author of Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World’s Greatest Company

Anyone who thinks they know entrepreneurship should read Sarah Lacy's brilliant, crazy, cocky book. Being an entrepreneur is about thriving in chaos, and there's no more opportunity and chaos than in the emerging world right now. Yet for all the talk about the emerging world, only this book brings you a true-to-life account of the on-the-ground struggle to create something huge. In this engaging read, Lacy will change the way you see the world. Anyone with a pulse should read this book.
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 »

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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, the site-of-record for the startup ecosystem. She lives in San Francisco.

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