The Entrepreneurs: The Relentless Quest for Value

Columbia Business School Publishing, Nov. 2022

Derek Lidow, Professor of the Practice in the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education

Book cover showing images of inventors through the centuries.

Entrepreneurs are among the primary shapers of our culture, yet their role in driving progress and influencing society has often been overlooked. Almost five millennia ago, copper tool manufacturers set up a factory in what today is southwest Spain, profiting for hundreds of years from trade around the Mediterranean. Papyri document the diverse investments of an ancient Egyptian businessperson, from grain-yielding land to flax for linen cloth.

What do these figures have in common with renowned modern entrepreneurs, and how do their similarities help us achieve a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship as well as the potential for a healthier, wealthier, and more equitable and sustainable future?

Derek Lidow delves into the deep history of innovation to deliver essential new insights into how entrepreneurs create value and bring about change. Lidow emphasizes how entrepreneurship can harm society as well as benefit it, and he underscores ways to mitigate its harmful side and harness its positive effects. By highlighting the fundamental qualities of innovation throughout history, this book provides indispensable new perspective on how it is shaping our present and future.