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INTRODUCTION Tapping the Wisdom

What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? Is it a specific talent or an inborn quality? What roles do early influences, opportunities and experiences, and even luck play?

These were the questions I had in mind when I began researching and writing The Wisdom of Titans. Entrepreneurs are a unique breed in the business world, particularly those who, against the odds (the success rate is about 20 percent) launch their own businesses. Those who truly make it, who reach a pinnacle of success, are rare indeed. Thus, to define what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, I went to the top, to some of the best-known business builders in their fields. The result was a pantheon of talent-the “titans,” as I call them-representing the 1 percent of entrepreneurs who really make it, those whose companies expand nationally and globally, whose employees typically number in the thousands and even tens of thousands.