Crazy is a Compliment - Linda Rottenberg

Crazy is a Compliment - Linda Rottenberg

Learn how to move your small business from beginner to advanced, and understand how to be a successful entrepreneur who is not afraid to take chances!

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Are you one of those people who always wanted to start their own business but don't go ahead for fear of not working? Or do you have that great idea that everyone thinks is crazy?

Know that you are not alone! The world is full of people who are afraid to risk when it comes to entrepreneurship. But according to Linda Rottenberg, you have to think big and pursue your dreams, no matter what!

In "Crazy is a Compliment", Linda Rottenberg teaches us how to perfect ideas and innovate. Through this summary, you will learn a lot from the key experiences and tips from one of the greatest leaders of the 21st century.

Want to know more? So keep reading to learn how to become a successful entrepreneur!

About the book "Crazy is a Compliment"

"Crazy is a Compliment", written by Linda Rottenberg, shows you how to leverage your business and career.

In the 288-page book, divided into 9 chapters, Linda explains through stories about her experiences that entrepreneurship is not for the few.

In addition, the author tells in her work how she helps emerging market entrepreneurs to grow. She also points out how the trajectory of these entrepreneurs can inspire anyone who wants to realize the dream of taking a great idea forward.

About the author Linda Rottenberg

Linda Rottenberg is a co-founder of Endeavor, a global nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurs and helps them grow their businesses.

The author has publications in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times, Fast Company Inc., and The Economist, and is considered a great leader in the modern world.

Linda is among the 100 most innovative women of the 21st century (Time magazine). In addition, it is one of the world's leading experts on entrepreneurship and business opportunities for emerging markets.

To whom is this book indicated?

"Crazy is a Compliment" is intended for people who want to become a successful entrepreneur. It is also ideal for those who want to realize the dream of being an innovator and get their ideas off the ground.

As well as serving those who want to make an impact or change around them and need the inspiration to perfect their projects and make them happen.

Main ideas of the book "Crazy is a Compliment"

  • To Undertake is not just about starting a business, being entrepreneurial means experiencing any initiative that has an impact;
  • There are four types of entrepreneur: gazelle entrepreneur, skunk entrepreneur, dolphin entrepreneur, and butterfly entrepreneur;
  • You must first be convinced of your ideas, and have confidence in yourself and your projects;
  • Don't be afraid to risk it, according to Linda "if you're not called crazy, you're not thinking big enough";
  • There are four types of entrepreneurial personalities: diamonds, stars, transformers, and rockets;
  • The most successful entrepreneurial leaders generally share four qualities: they are agile, accessible, aware, and authentic;
  • It is extremely important to find the balance between your professional and personal life, rather than choosing between them.

So, Let's go?

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[Book Summary] Crazy is a Compliment - Linda Rottenberg

Overview: Introduction - Why should all people act as entrepreneurs

In the introduction, Rottenberg presents the story of Brazilian Leila Velez, owner of the beauty product company Beleza Natural. Leila grew up in a Rio de Janeiro slum and prepared hamburgers at McDonald's. But she had a dream, to open a salon and create specific products for curly hair.

After years of testing curly hair product formulas, Leila opened Natural Beauty and currently serves more than 100, 000 customers monthly, and generates over 2, 300 jobs. But what does Leila's story teach?

According to Linda, we can learn many things from the trajectory of the Brazilian.

  • You have to look at the world with a different look and bet on something unusual, if everyone goes the same way, go in the opposite direction;
  • The biggest barriers to success are emotional, so you must trust yourself before seeking the trust of others;
  • People at risk are usually not alone, any support is welcome.

Entrepreneurship is not exclusive to a few people

Being an entrepreneur is not only about owning a business, but it's also about being an agent of change in the face of the problems faced in the 21st century. If you want to create something that benefits your community, or even promote a project that brings environmental improvements, you can be an entrepreneur.

According to Rottenberg in "Crazy is a Compliment", entrepreneurship gained strength through the need to overcome the obstacles of the modern world.

Today, jobs and the economy are uncertain and constantly changing. Therefore, to be entrepreneurial is to be dynamic and have the ability to reinvent and risk surviving in the face of this changing scenario.

The different types of entrepreneur

In this section of "Crazy is a Compliment", Linda presents simple and easy-to-understand terminology to explain what types of entrepreneurs are and their areas of expertise. You are sure to identify with any of these groups.

Gazelle Entrepreneurs

This is the entrepreneur who creates his company with the goal of accelerating growth. According to Linda Rottenberg, the term "gazelle" refers to high growth companies, with sales that double every four years.

This terminology was chosen because gazelles are fast-moving animals that can jump very high.

Skunk entrepreneurs

These entrepreneurs are innovative and risk-taking their company's ideas into a profitable product.

Rottenberg says you need to encourage people to be independent and creative within their work environment. Many times, your jobs in a company are not safe. Thus, having the ability to innovate can be a differential not to lose its place in this venture.

The name "skunk" refers to the "moon factory" of the comic book known as Ferdinando. In this story, moonlight came from the grinding of dead skunks.

Dolphin entrepreneurs

According to "Crazy is a Compliment", these are the entrepreneurs who work in nonprofit organizations or in the public sector and want to make a big change. They have entrepreneurial skills and use their ideas to make a real impact on society.

The name "dolphin" was used to represent these entrepreneurs because these animals are intelligent and selfless, and always defend their flock.

Butterfly Entrepreneurs

These are the small scale entrepreneurs. They are freelancers (artists, freelancers, etc.), or have a small number of contributors. This is the largest group among the types of entrepreneurs, reaching all age groups, from young to old.

Why the name "butterfly"? According to Rottenberg, the choice of this name is due to the fact of the variety of butterfly species. In addition, butterflies represent the freedom and individualism of these entrepreneurs.

Overview: To begin

According to Rottenberg in "Crazy is a Compliment", the support you need to start your own business does not come from your family, your friends, or your boss. You are the person who needs to be confident and secure in your projects.

The first day

Rottenberg says the first step to becoming an entrepreneur occurs in your head. You are the one who must decide when the time is right to make this decision.

"The first day" is the name given to the moment when the entrepreneur decides that he is prepared to innovate and put his ideas into practice.

Crazy is a compliment

If you are struggling to get to your "first day," you need to know two things:

  1. Allow yourself to be different, take the opposite and less safe path;
  2. Make things happen, try, take risks, be a "doer".

Linda Rottenberg, still points out that there are no premiums if there are no risks. For her to be called crazy is to know that she is on the right track.

The myths about risks

In this section of "Crazy is a Compliment", Linda shows that to become an entrepreneur you need to take caution and intelligence. You have to assess and calculate the risks, so Linda teaches you the following four strategies:

  • An entrepreneur should not be irresponsible: do not endanger your livelihood and your family, risk it with caution.
  • Do not test your project with your friends: they may overreact and not honestly, which may invalidate the test of your idea.
  • Trust the crowd: learn who supports your idea through crowdfunding, which is raising capital for initiatives of collective interest.
  • The art of going after: Pursue your competition, your customers, and your allies, find out who they are, and when it's time to put the cards on the table.

Chaos plays to your advantage

For Linda Rottenberg,

"Overcoming failure is more important than dealing with success."

That is, it is from failure that the best ideas and projects can emerge.

Walt Disney created his most famous character - Mickey Mouse, after suffering one of the biggest blows of his career. He didn't let his fear of failure be greater than the desire to try again.

With this story, the author shows that we must overcome the obstacles that eventually cross the path. When chaos happens, ally with it, and become a stronger entrepreneur.

Overview: To grow

In this part of "Crazy is a Compliment", Rottenberg explains what are the different personalities of entrepreneurs. This shows how it helps entrepreneurs overcome adversity.

The personality of the entrepreneur

Linda Rottenberg has created a personality test that helps entrepreneurs identify their positive and negative aspects. For this, she analyzed thousands of entrepreneurs and their characteristics. After that, he sent a questionnaire to 200 entrepreneurs.

After studying the answers to the questionnaires and the interviews, she came to four personality types among entrepreneurs:

  • Diamonds: Visionary dreamers who run revolutionary enterprises;
  • Stars: Charismatic people who turn their names into brands;
  • Transformers: Promote change by re-legalizing traditional sectors;
  • Rockets: Analytical thinkers and authors of better strategies.

The whiteboard

The author says in "Crazy is a Compliment" that she has produced a list that contains possible solutions to the problems faced by entrepreneurs when trying to go a step further. She wrote them on a whiteboard and shows it to those who ask her for help during difficult times.

  • Close the door: Don't be afraid to quit your initial job when you feel your business is already working;
  • Dismiss your mother-in-law: Working with your family can cause problems, be prepared for obstacles and separate the professional from the staff;
  • Innovate in small things: Small and simple ideas can solve big problems and be revolutionary;
  • Drop the pens: Before you try to innovate and broaden your ideas, drop the pen, go back to where it started and focus on what's important;
  • Think high but do it carefully: Do not advance ahead of time, you have to be down to earth and walk slowly.


According to Rottenberg, to be a good leader, you need to stay agile as your business grows. Know when to risk, but always safely. And be always up to date on new technologies and social media.

According to the author, the best qualities a leader should have are:

  • Agility.
  • Accessibility.
  • Awareness.
  • Authenticity.

The mentors

In entrepreneurship, finding people who help you is extremely important.

You need to find a group of mentors when at the beginning of your career. And then another group of mentors when it's already established as an entrepreneur.

You need to have someone to guide you about leadership and problem-solving. There is a group of mentors for each situation, tell someone your needs and mentors will appear.

Overview: To came back home

In later chapters of "Crazy is a Compliment", Linda reflects on what drives an entrepreneur when he realizes he wants to innovate.

Goal-oriented work environment

To meet the needs of its customers, entrepreneurship needs to act as a whole. May leaders and their collaborators work in unity.

For this to happen you need to remember that your employees are people and you need to put them first. Adapt the work environment to the needs of your employees, not the other way around.

For your business to work well, it takes more than good leadership, you need to work on employees.

Grow and Appear

Finally, Rottenberg points out that to become an entrepreneur, you must "live within your dreams and strive to make them come true." The entrepreneur sees solutions where other people cannot find. This is why it is capable of causing major transformations and life changes.

Take support from others and take a moment to admire what you built. Believe that what you dream can come true.

What do other authors say about it?

Peter Thiel's "Zero to One" explains everything you need to know about innovation. The author points out the following steps to become an entrepreneur and look for new ways when it comes to strategies for your business.

In Bob Fifer's book "Double Your Profits", topics like productivity, strategy, and motivation are covered. The author shows how to keep the mood and dynamism of your company reducing costs.

Finally, in the book "The Complete Manual for Undertaking", the 53 authors who wrote it state that the goal of entrepreneurship should not be just financial gain. Although generating revenue is very important, doing what you like will motivate, inspire, help you get the best out of your business.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

There is no simple and easy way to become a successful entrepreneur. However, when you decide that you are ready to get your ideas off the ground and put your projects into practice, remember that:

  • You should not be afraid to risk, just be responsible and know the right time to act;
  • It is important to have a mentor to guide you on the right path and to help you make the best decision about problems;
  • You must know how to separate personal and professional life;
  • If your ideas go against everything others are doing, and you feel you should go in the opposite direction, you are on the right track;
  • Run after your dreams and do not give up in the face of adversity. They may be your chance to come up with a better idea.

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If you want to know more about the crazy world of entrepreneurship, the complete edition of the book is available for purchase by clicking on the image:

Book 'Crazy is a Compliment'