This book builds upon the success of Guy Raz’s popular podcast of the same name, and offers a more in-depth look at entrepreneurship and the very human stories behind some of the most interesting businesses today. This book is a must read for an aspiring entrepreneur, or for someone who is simply trying to figure out what to do with their great ideas. The case studies contained in this book will inspire and educate readers on navigating the uncertainties inherent in launching and building a business. Guy Raz’s own story in life and in business is wonderfully written, honest and insightful. Read this book, and then get to work on bringing your great ideas to life!— From What Matt Is Reading
WALL STREET JOURNAL #1 Bestselling Business Book
Based on the highly acclaimed NPR podcast, How I Built This with Guy Raz, this book offers priceless insights and inspiration from the world’s top entrepreneurs on how to start, launch, and build a successful venture.
Great ideas often come from a simple spark: A soccer player on the New Zealand national team notices all the unused wool his country produces and figures out a way to turn them into shoes (Allbirds). A former Buddhist monk decides the very best way to spread his mindfulness teachings is by launching an app (Headspace). A sandwich cart vendor finds a way to reuse leftover pita bread and turns it into a multimillion-dollar business (Stacy’s Pita Chips).
Award-winning journalist and NPR host Guy Raz has interviewed more than 200 highly successful entrepreneurs to uncover amazing true stories like these. In How I Built This, he shares tips for every entrepreneur’s journey: from the early days of formulating your idea, to raising money and recruiting employees, to fending off competitors, to finally paying yourself a real salary. This is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of starting their own business or wondered how trailblazing entrepreneurs made their own dreams a reality.
About the Author
GUY RAZ is the creator and host of the popular podcasts How I Built This,Wisdom from the Top, and The Rewind on Spotify. He’s also the co-creator of the acclaimed podcasts TED Radio Hour and the children’s programs Wow in the World and Two Whats?! and a Wow!. He’s received the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, the National Headliner Award, and the NABJ Award, among many others and was a Nieman journalism fellow at Harvard. He lives in the Bay Area.
"Featuring his probing yet welcoming narrative voice, Raz presents stories that serve as solid lessons in entrepreneurship. While the syntheses of the lessons are useful, it is the learning curve—the story-by-story building of business acumen—that imparts the most wisdom...Years of business wisdom distilled into an entertaining and useful narrative." - Kirkus Reviews
“Drawing on interviews with successful businesspeople conducted for his podcast (from which this book gets its name), Raz distills lessons for aspiring founders, including tips on how to nurture an idea and win funding, and dispels some myths.” - Publishers Weekly
“Behind every great entrepreneur is a great story, and no one is better at identifying and telling that story than Guy Raz. After spending countless hours inside the heads of the world’s best founders, he’s written the mother of all entrepreneurship memoirs. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to start a business, grow a business, or be inspired by those who do.” - Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
“If you have dreams and ambition, and worries and woes—and you wonder how to take all of that and build something great, this book is for you. Guy Raz is supremely himself in this guide for aspiring entrepreneurs: brilliantly perceptive, incessantly curious, infectiously energetic and above all, a master storyteller.” - Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and founder and CEO of Character Lab“Truly remarkable stories…about truly remarkable people. Imagine compiling thousands of hours of Guy's greatest hits from How I Built This into one how-to manual for starting a business. Well this is IT. Guy Raz captures their stories on the page to incredible effect.” - Jennifer Hyman, CEO and founder of Rent the Runway
“This book is all about inspiration – told with blood, sweat, and tears. You’ll come away refreshed. And ready to hit the ground running.” - Mark Cuban, entrepreneur, 'shark' on Shark Tank, and proprietor of the Dallas Mavericks
“Now more than ever we need visionaries leading the entrepreneurial charge. Through stories of passion, audacity and courage, Guy weaves together a shared business-building experience that’s both inspiring and real.” - Lara Merriken, founder of LÄRABAR
"Guy Raz has an extraordinary talent for not only unearthing the most powerful ideas in any story, but also translating those ideas into wisdom accessible for everyone." – Chris Anderson, head of TED
“A love letter to the idea of possibility. That’s exactly what this book feels like to me. It grabs you immediately, which is the beauty of Guy. His superpower is creating a conversation where people willingly illuminate both their brilliance and their private battles. This book explores all the discrete nooks and crannies of an entrepreneur’s voyage through success and failure.” – Alli Webb, Drybar founder
“If only this book would have come out years ago, building my business would have been so much simpler. At least we have it now!” - Simon Sinek, optimist and New York Times bestselling author of Start with Why and The Infinite Game
“The harsh truth is that the great majority of people who chase their start-up dreams fail. But there’s so much to be learned from their stories of struggle, survival, and the few who manage to succeed! If you’re determined to reach for your dream, read this book.” -Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and ‘shark' on Shark Tank
“What’s so remarkable about Guy’s book is not so much that all these individuals saw their dreams come true, but that as their stories of overcoming frustrations and hurdles unfold, you end up cheering for them to succeed. That’s the magic of Guy Raz.” -Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com
“If you enjoy the How I Built This podcast, you’ll love this book. You'll identify with the ups, downs, and pivots that make up the proverbial roller coaster ride of entrepreneurs.” – Stacy Madison, founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips and BeBOLD Bars
“Guy is clearly a person who is tapped into this community of entrepreneurs and shares stories of relevance to our community. Now, more than ever, entrepreneurs and small businesses need a curator of stories and Guy is that ‘guy.’” - Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter
“These stories of founders and their companies are told with the same energy and openness it takes to be an entrepreneur. They're about raising money, taking chances, failing, succeeding, and forging a culture of caring for people while doing it. From more recent upstarts to brands that have been around for decades, each one shows how to build a company that will last for generations to come through informed decisions fueled by true passion.” - Eric Ries, CEO of the Long-Term Stock Exchange and author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way
“I love Guy Raz’s How I Built This podcast and the book was just as great. There’s probably nobody else who could tell these inspiring stories as well as Guy. From page one I was fully invested.” – Logic
"This was a delightful read. As someone who's had the privilege of being on Guy Raz's podcast, I've experienced firsthand his knack for capturing entrepreneurs' journeys and quickly getting to the core of our stories. This book was no exception. Career trajectories rarely follow a straight line—they're a zig zag of unexpected opportunities, unplanned stops and pivots. Guy captures it all perfectly while offering relatable, genuinely helpful advice along the way. It's so inspiring it almost makes me want to start another business." – Sarah LaFleur, founder and CEO, M.M.LaFleur
“If you’ve ever dreamed of starting a business, How I Built This is a must-read.” – Michael Dubin, co-founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club
“I've long been a fan of Guy's podcast (even before he interviewed me) because he gets into the human stories behind the CEOs who build these business empires. Now, more than ever, we need dreamers and builders - this book is full of them and their stories of inspiration.” - Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and Initialized
"Guy Raz has seen inside the brains of more founders and hyper-growth entrepreneurs than anyone I've ever met! What an incredible buffet of how-to-build-it-right-wisdom. Thank you, Guy!" -Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and O2E Brands
“Guy interviews innovators but he is also one himself. He upended the traditional ‘business’ podcast by telling the less told story before the story, all while creating something engaging and digestible for his listeners. The subtlety of these insights demonstrates his thoughtfulness and creativity but also the idea that big ideas are often versions of what we know coupled with a whole lot of hard work rather than bolts of lightning. I can't think of a better placed person to tell us if starting and growing a company is really about hard work or good luck!” - Tim Brown, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds
“Anyone who reads How I Built This will have an incredible advantage. Guy provides the compass, the map and the headlamp you need to navigate the wilderness of entrepreneurship.” - Joe Gebbia, entrepreneur and co-founder of Airbnb
“This book, like the podcast that spawned it, makes entrepreneurship broadly accessible by showing how the quest to innovate is one of humanity’s most defining qualities. At a time when our need for breakthrough ideas is stronger than ever, How I Built This is an indispensable guide for anyone eager to challenge the status quo in pursuit of some new and better version of the world. Highly recommended.” - Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and co-author of Blitzscaling