cover image Upstart Start-Ups!

Upstart Start-Ups!

Ron Lieber. Broadway Books, $15 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-7679-0088-1

Fortune writer Lieber (who's 26) gears this chatty guide to people under age 35 who don't have rich parents to help them get started. He distills the hard-won insights of 34 young entrepreneurs who launched successful start-ups--an online personal-finance forum, an art gallery, a wine distributorship, a funky Mexican restaurant, a chain of airport-based music stores, among others--and kept them going. Their firsthand experience is the core of the book, which follows the approach of Lieber's Taking Time Off, which advised college students by example in how to carefully tune in and temporarily drop out. While this is not a comprehensive, detailed handbook, the savvy tips of Lieber's interviewees acquaint tyros conceptually with a variety of standard business practices. They offer such basics as ""Do What You Know,"" as one acne-prone woman now runs a thriving skin-care spa notes, to do-it-yourself market research, like that of a swimwear designer who apprenticed in retail to find out what women really wanted. Other young turks take us through formulating a business plan, attracting venture capital, hiring and firing employees, budgeting and so forth. This upbeat primer will serve as a springboard for readers of any age, though some of less sunny casts will scoff at its lack of fatal mistake-makers. Editor, Suzanne Oakes; agent, Anne Edelstein. (Aug.)