Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags by Linda Rottenberg ‪


Book #5: Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags by Linda Rottenberg #‎100BooksChallenge2016‬

Favourite TakeAways

The first step to acting like an entrepreneur is to look not at the writing on the wall but at the spaces between the writing. It’s in the gap between what’s being said (or done) and what’s not being said (or done) that entrepreneurs thrive.

There is always a void left between what we are and what we can be. “Whatever human accomplishments there have been in history, they have been possible precisely because of this empty space,”

At every turn, someone (or, more likely, everyone) will call you and your idea crazy. The job of the innovator is to push past naysayers and find a way to drive forward.

Before 1954 everyone thought the four-minute mile was the physical limit of the human body. When Roger Bannister broke the world record, he also broke a psychological barrier. By the end of 1957 sixteen runners had accomplished the feat. “Too many aspiring entrepreneurs make the pre-Bannister mistake,”

“We censor ourselves. We discount our potential and therefore don’t make it big

Don’t look to others to validate your desires; look to yourself. Or as the legendary Bob Jones said about golf, it’s “a game played on a five-inch course—the distance between your ears.”

entrepreneurship, like great cooking, can be practiced and honed by anybody with a desire to learn. (Also, just like master chefs, even the most skilled entrepreneurs drop some pans and break a few eggs along the way.)

Anybody can be a change agent today. There are no admission criteria. There is no wardrobe requirement. There is no secret vote. Entrepreneurship is for everyone.

In the end, mastering the art of entrepreneurship is not simply about starting a business. It’s about taking chances, overcoming doubts, managing risk, dealing with chaos, cultivating employees, coping with stumbles and successes, integrating work and family, and paying it forward to ensure that the next generation can dream big as well.

heart + mind – fear = entrepreneur

Jeff Bezos has a wonderful way of describing the heightened mind-set of being an entrepreneur. He calls the mix of anticipation, excitement, and uncertainty Day One. In Bezos’s coinage, “Day One” is not a date on a calendar; it’s a commitment to seeing every day as a fresh opportunity to create something new. Sixteen years after Amazon started, Bezos concluded a shareholder letter by saying his approach remains unchanged: “It’s still Day One.”

The first thing to know about chaos is that it happens to everybody. Turbulence is the official climate of entrepreneurship. Sometimes the source of unrest is external: a natural disaster, a revolution, a war, or, as happened to me, a high-risk pregnancy. Whatever the situation, the key is not to flee from the situation but to run into it.


Successful entrepreneurs don’t innovate; they minnovate. They don’t create Google; they create a more targeted search engine that serves a market or location that was overlooked.

Flawsome -A combination of “flawed” and “awesome,” “flawsome” is a way to say something is great but imperfect. In business the term has come to mean an awareness of, and a willingness to admit, your shortcomings.

The biggest barriers to success in the entrepreneurial age are not physical, financial, educational, or national. They are psychological. The keys to unlocking success are believing in yourself and finding others who believe in you.

Everything in the life of the entrepreneur is conditional. If the work isn’t interesting or fun enough, the employees leave. If the profit or impact isn’t great enough, the funders leave. If the product or service isn’t effective enough, the customers leave.

Types of Entrepreneurs


This is the classic entrepreneur of myth and reality, someone who starts a new business venture and aims for it to explode into a white-hot phenomenon—Home Depot, Facebook, Jenny Craig, Under Armour, Instagram. High growth is the goal. The term “gazelle” was coined by the economist David Birch in 1994. It describes high-growth businesses whose sales double every four years. Gazelles are fast moving and high jumping.


The term “intrapreneur,” which first popped up in the 1970s and first appeared in the American Heritage Dictionary in 1992, is defined as a person within a large corporation who takes responsibility for “turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.


Dolphins are my nickname for contrarians in the nonprofit or public sector who are willing to buck the conventions of their professions and agitate for real change. Why dolphins? Because they’re smart and social (they live in cooperative groups, called pods) and are one of the few animals shown to be altruistic toward others. But they’re not pushovers: Harm a dolphin’s pod, and watch out!


Diamond entrepreneurs are brilliant dreamers who start bold, disruptive organizations.

Steve Jobs. Mark Zuckerberg. Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Ted Turner. George Lucas. Elon Musk.

They are charismatic evangelists who capture the imagination of everyone they meet as they talk about revolutionizing people’s lives. Diamonds envision a more exciting world, then inspire others to help them achieve it. But diamonds often lack a clear road map for growth; they tend to have highly unstable and unpredictable futures. When diamonds succeed, they can be game changers. But when they fail, it’s often quick and messy.


Butterfly entrepreneurs often dive into their enterprises without a plan. They see something that needs fixing, and they go about fixing it. In their case, it’s often not a choice because many don’t even realize they’re starting something when they do.

Why is it that so many entrepreneurs, in so many divergent fields, are all called, well, nuts? The short answer is that seeing things in an unconventional way is threatening: It’s threatening to those who benefit from the status quo, and it’s equally threatening to those outside the establishment who might have had that idea or taken those steps, if only Machiavelli made that point in The Prince: “There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.”


Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products. – Steve Jobs

Starting a company is like getting married,” said Georges Doriot, the father of venture capital. “Most of the problems are discovered after the honeymoon is over.”

Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.- Warren Buffet

stability is the friend of the status quo; chaos is the friend of the entrepreneur.

Henry David Thoreau: “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”

Entrepreneurs know how to hedge their bets, but they also know when to play their cards.

If everybody else is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.- Sam Walton