Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson

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Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson

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Buy Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Not the basic book about starting your own business which you might have been expecting but an inspirational guide to the life of an entrepreneur.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Viking
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0670919413

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Luke Johnson is one of our busiest tycoons, with a personal fortune which runs into nine figures. He's been the driving force behind Pizza Express and Channel 4 and has a renowned column in the Financial Times. He's done all this over a couple of decades, so he obviously knows what the score is in terms of getting businesses up and running – and then turning a profit. So, Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think is going to be perfect for my friends Mr and Mrs Cook, who want to open a restaurant, Mr Plumb, who's been havering about splitting from the builder who employs him and Miss Baker who think that our prosperous village is ripe for an artisan bread shop? Well, perhaps…

I'll confess that I was expecting a practical guide to starting your own business, particularly when I saw the sub-title A How-To Book by Someone Who Has. I thought that all those daunting points which deter people – making business plans, dealing with government departments or the council or impressing the bank manager would be made simple. I should perhaps have read the back of the book before I began reading. Jeff Randall, Sky News Presenter and Daily Telegraph columnist comments on the useful advice for wannabe tycoons. This is the book for the man (or woman – but I'll come back to that later) who sees himself as an entrepreneur – and they, I suspect, are a different breed.

So, I began by being rather disappointed, but as I read I warmed to the book. It's an easy read – and it's a fast one, but part of that might be down to the regular blank pages and the quotations in large font which take up a whole page. There's fascinating information, anecdotes and advice in there, based on Johnson's own experiences in business. He's not frightened about telling us of the failures as well as the successes. His advice on what to look for in the management when you're buying a business is gold dust and I had every sympathy with his comments about those parts of a business which seem to grow like Topsy but never operate at the coal face. I settled down for an entertaining read. Then he upset me.

Astoundingly, the first business computer software program was devised by a woman.

Now, I know that I'm prone to comment that men are frequently under-rated and, provided that they're accompanied by a responsible adult, don't cause a lot of problems. But equally, I know that if I say this in print there's a strong chance that I'm going to alienate 50% of my readers. What Johnson's statement did do was crystallise an unease in my mind: as I looked back through the book I realised that it was really about men in business. There are three pages about women inventors, but I'm not certain why and it felt like something tacked on to give a bit of balance.

I finished the book with a rather sour taste in my mouth.

Another tycoon has recently gone into print with his story: you might enjoy Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz and Joanne Gordon. If you're looking for a guide to starting your own business in not such a big way then we can recommend Make it Happen: The Prince's Trust Guide to Starting Your Own Business by The Prince's Trust.

Buy Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson at Amazon.com.

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