book covers built not born

A 5 Minute Overview Of

Built, Not Born

A Self-Made Billionaire's No-Nonsense Guide for Entrepreneurs

About the Author

Tom Golisano is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civic leader. He is the founder and chairman of the board of Paychex, Inc., which now has 12,000 employees, 100 office locations in the United States, and a market valuation of $28 billion. Tom Golisano founded Paychex in 1971 with just $3,000 and a credit card, and served as the company's CEO from 1971 to 2004. He was named by FORBES magazine as one of the top 10 bosses in the U.S. for three consecutive years, starting in 2002. His charitable foundation, established in 1985, has now distributed more than $300 million to hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations. Mr. Golisano is a graduate of Alfred State University, holds five honorary doctorates from colleges and universities, and is married to Tennis Hall of Famer Monica Seles.

The Main Idea

Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?

Starting a business can kind of feel like it's a high-wire act with no safety net, especially the first time around. However, the reality is starting your own business today is in fact less risky than the more traditional career paths. You get to call the shots, which means you can respond to changes in the marketplace fast if you're smart.

To succeed as an entrepreneur, there are seven principles you need to apply:

There is a difference between the business principles taught in academic institutions and those learned over many years of actually running a business. Both experiences have their place and value, and a good entrepreneur can learn from either perspective. It's your choice: you can spend the next few years working toward a master of business administration, or you can start your business life right now. My aim is to help you become more successful and hopefully entertain you along the way.
Tom Golisano

Seven Principles for Entrepreneurial Success

1. Principle #1 — Entrepreneurship — A risk worth taking. If you run your own business, there are risks, but at least you can manage them. Isn't that better than turning up at work one day to find out you've been laid off?

2. Principle #2 — Never forget in business, money matters. Too many businesses fail because they are undercapitalized at the start. Make sure you start with enough funding to take your business to the next level.

3. Principle #3 — Would you buy what you sell? Passion tends to drive most start-ups. Build a business which sells a product or service you'd be prepared to buy. Don't be in business just to make money.

4. Principle #4 — Always hire for attitude, train for skills. Hiring and firing well will be central to the success of your business. Always hire for attitude, train for skill, and be quick to fire when necessary.

5. Principle #5 — It's true — Lead, follow, or get out of the way. The person at the helm always sets the direction for the organization as a whole. Make sure you're a good business leader, manager, or owner.

6. Principle #6 — Make sure everyone gets a good deal. You'll always achieve a lot more if everyone you deal with feels like they are getting a great deal. Make that your personal ethos. Look for the win-win sweet spot.

7. Principle #7 — Build a positive public image. Always be building your image right from day one. The more people know about you, the better. Deliberately kick your profile up a notch or two. It's worth it.

Key Takeaways

  1. Starting your own business today is less risky than traditional career paths. You are in the driver's seat rather than being reliant on the whims of a boss.
  2. Building your own business builds an asset that you can sell, pass on to an heir, or whatever. You can't sell a job.
I believe entrepreneurs are extremely important to our country and to our future. I have the utmost respect for the people who take the risk to become an entrepreneur and the value they can and do create for our citizens.
Tom Golisano

Summaries.Com Editor's Comments

I must admit I wasn't familiar with what Tom Golisano had accomplished until I read this book, but now I am up to speed I find his story very appealing. He started Paychex with $3,000 and his credit card, and has grown the company to a $28 billion market valuation. I have a lot of respect for what he's done, which is amplified by the fact his foundation has given more than $300 million to hospitals and schools.

Built, Not Born is an unapologetic tribute to entrepreneurs and their capacity to solve problems. Tom Golisano points out that newly minted entrepreneurs will make mistakes, but that's OK because that's the best way to learn what works in the real world, as opposed to what the academics say. He suggests the best way to learn is to take the plunge and start something, and learn as you go along. I like that philosophy a lot. It makes sense to me.

All in all, a great book for anyone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. Give it a go. Build a masterpiece you're proud of. As Tom Golisano says: "Cradle-to-grave jobs have gone the way of pay phones and Blockbuster Video stores. There's a lot of insecurity working for other people. You can't sell a job or pass it along to your heirs. Build a successful business, however, and it can provide income and security in retirement; not only that, it can outlive you."

Want in-depth 30-minute summaries?

In addition to this 5-minute overview, Summaries.Com has a premium 30-minute summary of this book and 1,000+ more, to help you advance your career and business.

Check Out Premium Plans Today!

Want more 5-minute Snapshots?

To get a new 5-minute business book snapshot each week, sign up for the free plan.

Sign Up for the Free Plan

Entrepreneurialism 101 Collection

If you enjoyed this summary, here is a collection of related business book summaries, to help you get ideas and strategies that will give you an edge over your competition.

This mini-course will fan the flames of your entrepreneurial itch.

Buy Entrepreneurialism 101 Collection (5 x 30-Min Summaries)
book covers built not born
Summary published 11/2020
Built, Not Born

A Self-Made Billionaire's No-Nonsense Guide for Entrepreneurs

by Tom Golisano

book covers crushing it
Summary published 4/2018
Crushing It!

How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence -- And How You Can, Too

by Gary Vaynerchuk

book covers the third wave
Summary published 5/2016
The Third Wave

An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future

by Steve Case

book covers the creators code
Summary published 4/2015
The Creator's Code

The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

by Amy Wilkinson

book covers roadmap to entrepreneurial success
Summary published in 2004
Roadmap to Entrepreneurial Success

Powerful Strategies for Building a High-Profit Business

by Robert Price

Buy Entrepreneurialism 101 Collection (5 x 30-Min Summaries)