Book Review: Starting Something

I recently bought this book called “Starting Something” by a serial entrepreneur called Wayne McVicker. I found it in landmark and it was the last copy available, kind of torn in the corners and some of the pages already turning yellow. Not the kind of book I wanted to purchase from a place like Landmark. But, I read a few lines and thought to myself, what the heck. The writer seems to be authentic, let’s go for it! In retrospect, it was the right decision.

He is an architect by profession and yet ended up starting the largest ever internet medical equipment distribution company, Neoforma. Apart from the simplicity and authenticity of experiences narrated, what I really like about the book is that it is divided neatly into chapters representing the months in the life of the company from start up, to their billion dollar IPO and down again, right up to when he left (the company still exists by the way, I checked it up!).

So if you are an entrepreneur, looking to start something and wondering what the real journey might be like, it is a worth a read. He captures the ups and downs effortlessly in the simplest possible of English without an attempt to draw conclusions or make judgments or pass on learnings in the process. It’s like life, you take what you want and leave the rest.

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4 Responses to “Book Review: Starting Something”


  1. 1 Vijay September 20, 2010 at 10:19 am

    We dont get a summary? 🙂 Now I am really curious.

    Personally I think books on entrepreneurship written by non IT/Tech folks are the ones which are sensible – Not at all surprised.

    I’d also recommend this book called The Slide Rule – its a very old book, about someone who wanted to get into the business of making airplanes. It was my mentor’s Pick to show that Success is not easy and even the best of entrepreneurs might end up with nothing 🙂 He called it reality check, I called it a bummer!

    • 2 sree September 20, 2010 at 11:18 am

      :), cannot agree more. Like you pointed out, its a reality check. It is nothing out of the ordinary, but stories told the right way have an effect on you that no “morals”, “lists” or “preachy guides” do. So, a summary will only defeat the purpose of the book. You really need to go read it and I’m on to finding this “The Slide Rule”. I wish we had more such stories from India being published. Literature is a great mind-shaper and we are not doing a good job of it in the startup ecosystem in India.

  2. 3 Wayne September 20, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Hello Sreeja. Well… actually… there is a list at the back of the book. Just one. The publicists made me do it. It’s not a bad list… I actually refer to it often in my new venture… just to keep me on track. Thanks for your comments. I am glad to see that the India edition is still available here and there.


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