Follow in footsteps

With Dragons' Den and The Apprentice being popular shows on UK television, there is now more than ever an appreciation for the what life can be like for an entrepreneur. A number of high profile businessmen and women have also written books about their experience, many off the back of the popularity of these television shows. However, some such biographies really are interesting, and we recommend a few below:

Alan Sugar  - known for his recent television appearances, he was actually one of the first of the UK's entrepreneurs in consumer electronics. His story of dealing with suppliers in Asia, communicating by telex and fax before email, and having to sprint to bring out new product lines in a fast-paced market sector is fascinating.

James Dyson  - known mainly for the cyclonic vacuum cleaner that not only works but looks stunning, his story highlights the pitfalls and stresses in trying to start and sustain a business built around intellectual property rights. With tales of re-mortgaging the family home, building prototype after prototype, and fighting court battles overseas, his story is testament to the fighting spirit seen with many entrepreneurs.

Richard Branson  - well known for his brash and high profile marketing style, the story of the rise of the Virgin brand and diverse (but linked) range of companies is well worth a read. Highlights include the dirty tricks episode with BA, the decision to de-list from the stock exchange, and the rise and fall of numerous early businesses as technology advanced and fashion changed.

Steve Jobs  - this biography is a weighty tome that is actually extremely readable and provides a great account of the history of Apple. Portraying Steve as the difficult character he was alleged to be, the book also demonstrates how he was single minded and tenacious in his quest to create innovative products. But the account also describes some of the less successful ventures, such as Next computers.

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