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Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur: Why I Can't Stop Starting Over

ISBN: 978-0-7879-8732-9
224 pages
February 2007, Jossey-Bass
Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur: Why I Can


Entrepreneur Stuart Skorman—the founder of Elephant Pharmacy, Hungryminds.com, Reel.com, and Empire Video—grew up in a retailing family in Ohio. He worked every kind of job, from cab driver to professional poker player to CEO. In this entertaining, personal account of his coming-of- age in the business world, Skorman gives an insider’s view of what it takes to start a business from the ground up.

Stuart Skorman offers his hard-won lessons in business for any entrepreneur or small businessperson who wants to create a company that has a heart and soul. He reveals what he learned about marketing while working a stint as a rock band manager and bares his soul about his failure during the dot-com bubble. He describes in vivid terms the roller coaster ride of the entrepreneur in good times and bad and explains how to survive in today’s uncertain business environment.

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Table of Contents


1 My Jewish Merchant Family.

My home town was never home. Thank heaven for Life magazine.

2 Sex, Drugs, and the Business of Rock-and-Roll.

Some went to business school; I managed a rock band. (Guess who had more fun?)

3 Bankruptcy at Home.

How I tried and failed to save my father’s business.

4 Helping to Invent Whole Foods.

Battles with my mentor made me wiser, confident, and determined never to work for anybody again.

5 Bike-Touring Adventures.

By the end of my cross-country journey, I’d decided to become an entrepreneur.

6 Building a Video Empire.

My perfect start-up: a hole-in-the-wall video store.

7 Millionaire Without a Mission.

I struck a deal with Blockbuster, headed for Silicon Valley, and left small-town retail behind forever.

8 My Professional Poker Career.

After two years of high-stakes poker, I was ready for anything.

9 Easy Dot Come: The Making of an Internet Pioneer.

How I founded and sold a company for $100 million in less than three years.

10 Easy Dot Go: Getting Carried Away with the Internet.

Good intentions but a lousy business plan is a great way to lose millions.

11 Adventures in the Wild.

The sharks of the South Pacific are as dangerous as the ones in Silicon Valley.

12 Taming a Wild Elephant.

I thought I was ready for the biggest project of my life; now I’m not so sure.

13 What It Takes (and Doesn’t Take) to Be an Entrepreneur.

Know yourself, keep learning, and hang on for the ride!


About the Authors.


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Author Information

Stuart Skorman founded and is former CEO of four innovative, trendsetting companies: Empire Video, Reel.com, HungryMinds.com, and Elephant Pharmacy. Skorman has been featured in numerous publications, including Business 2.0, Fortune Small Business, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and USA Today.Please visit Stuart at: www.stuartskorman.com

Catherine Guthrie is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in dozens of national magazines.

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"Here is another 'hyper kid' who turned his childhood handicaps and failures into success and happiness as an adult. This book will be an inspiration to all future entrepreneurs and a good read for just about anyone who enjoys a great adventure."
—Paul Orfalea, founder, Kinko's, and author of Copy This!

"Stuart Skorman leads the reader on a riveting journey as he chronicles his entrepreneurial career. This book provides valuable insights into the joys and challenges of starting and growing a new business. Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur is the exciting tale of Skorman's passion to enrich his customers' lives and a vital resource for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders."
—Carl Schramm, president and CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

"Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur is an entertaining, non-stop read. The fast-paced story never wavers from business smarts even during Skorman's zaniest adventures. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to bridge creativity and the boardroom; I also strongly recommend it for socially conscious entrepreneurs."
—Gary Erickson, founder and owner, Clif Bar & Co., and author of Raising the Bar

"As an entrepreneur, Stuart is an investor's dream because he is the quintessential 'what you see is what you get' guy. Confessions reflects that honest, straightforward style. It realistically portrays the challenges of starting a business, and it is a delight to read."
—Peter Mills, cofounder, CMGi/@Ventures, and the lead venture capitalist for Reel.com

"The minute I walked into Elephant Pharmacy I knew it was something special. After meeting Stuart and reading his book I know why. Stuart's guide to socially responsible entrepreneurship is full of heart."
—Woody Tasch, chairman and CEO, Investors' Circle

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