Class & personal introductions

- Download and read syllabus [download here]

- Complete info sheet [download here] I will bring copies

What is entrepreneurship and why study it?

In this section we will provide a more detailed overview of the course by focusing on the importance of studying entrepreneurship.

- PPTs used in class [download here]

- What exactly is an entrepreneur? [read here]

- Kirzner on entrepreneurship [watch here]

- Salvation in a start-up? The origins and nature of the self-employment boom [read here] Read only executive summary.

- Web videos and global innovation [watch here] We will watch in class.

Innovations that shook the world

 Humans are tool builders. We build tools that can dramatically amplify our abilities. Instead of adapting to our environment, our ingenuity allows us to change the environment around us and gain greater control over our lives. Some scholars even claim that ingenuity is humanity's greatest resource. In this section, we will look at some of the most important inventions in the past century that have dramatically change our lives. From the airplane to the electric guitar, to the DNA fingerprint, the twentieth century was the most spectacular era of invention in human history.


- Inventions that shook the world []

- The most important invention you never thought about [watch here]

- Top inventions of the 20th century [see here]


-  The power of the washing machine [watch here]

- Matt Demon on the best invention [watch here]

- 101 inventions that changed the world [watch here]

- Tech breakthroughs [watch here]

Entrepreneurship & the wealth of nations

To gain a deeper appreciation of social and economic progress, we will look at global patterns of economic development & innovation across countries and over time. We will discuss issues of poverty, inequality, education, intelligence, population growth, sustainability, globalization, etc. in the context of these recent trends.


- Go to and explore patterns of population growth, income, health (life expectancy), income inequality, poverty, CO2 emissions, and education over time [explore here] There are a lot of educational videos you can watch.

- The Rational Optimist [read book review here] or [watch video of Ridley]

- Read Bill Gates review of Ridley's book [read here]

- The Global Innovation Index [explore here]


- Can you survive 30 days on less than $1.25 [play here] [check website]

- Don't Panic - End Poverty [watch here]

Why are some countries more entrepreneurial (richer) than others


- The Use of Knowledge in Society [read here]

- An Orgy of Innovation [watch here]

- Institutions Primer [read here] [watch here]

- Notes on Geography [read here] [watch here]

- The Puzzle of Growth [watch here]


- I, pencil [watch here]

- - How I built a toaster [watch here]

- 60 Minutes: Chinese Real Estate Bubble [watch here]

- Guns, Germs, and Steal [watch here] <- Documentary about the important role of geography

- How has life improved since you were born? [check here]

Non-productive & destructive entrepreneurship

Even though we often think of entrepreneurs as optimistic, positive, and revolutionary figures, entrepreneurship can also have a dark side. In his seminal essay, William Baumol pointed out that the supply of entrepreneurs is never short in society. Instead, what makes some societies more entrepreneurial than others is the relative rewards to engage in productive (e.g., innovation) or non-productive (e.g., rent-seeking) or even destructive (e.g., organized crime) activities. In this section, we will look at unproductive and destructive entrepreneurship.


- Is America Encouraging the Wrong Kind of Entrepreneurship? [read here]

- Baumol, W. (1990). "Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive and Destructive." Journal of Political Economy" [read here]

- Rent-seeking [read here] [watch here]

- Occupational licensing [watch here] [read here]


- The sharing economy [watch here]

- Lessons from Organized Crime [watch here]

Are patents good for innovation?

Patents are temporary government-granted monopolies to new inventions. Historically, patents were intended to encourage innovation by providing an incentive to companies--a guaranteed level of return--to innovate, so they can recover their investment in R&D. However, there has been growing concern in society that patents can be a net negative for innovation in society. Issues related to patent trolls, firms abuse of patents for profits, high cost of certain essential goods (e.g., drugs and healthcare) that cannot be justified by , as well as creating barriers for further innovation (e.g., software development) have lead to the views that abolishing the patent law system can benefit society on net. Do the readings below and come to class ready to debate the questions below:

Are patents a net negative or net positive for society? Should some industries be subject to different patent laws than others? How can we reform the current patent law system to be more efficient?


- Nicholos, T. (2013). "Are patents creative or destructive" [read here]

- Tabarrok on Innovation [listen to podcast]

- Time to fix patents [read here]


- Milton Friedman on Monopoly [watch here]

- Atlanta Street Vending Monopoly [watch here]

- The most dangerous monopoly [watch here]

- Michael Jackson’s patent [watch here]

- 20% of our genes are now patented [read here]

- Intel ad [watch here]

- Panda cam [panda cam]

- Dwight restrict the supply of dolls [watch here]

Is social entrepreneurship different than for-profit business

In the past couple of decades, we have seen the rise of the so-called "social entrepreneurship" or companies that develop, fund, and implement solutions social, cultural, economic, or environmental challenges. But are social entrepreneurs any different than for-profit entrepreneurs? Read the following debate between Milton Friedman, one of the most influential economists of the 20th century and a Nobel laureate in Economics, and John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, and come to class ready to debate your point of view.


- The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur [read here]

- CATO DEBATE: Milton Friedman vs John Mackey [read here]

- What can non-profits learn from Coca-Cola? by Melinda Gates [watch here]


- Milton Friedman on Greed [click here to watch]

- How I fell in love with a fish [watch here]

- TED Talks on social entrepreneurship [watch here]



The Myths of Entrepreneurship

What does the entrepreneurial journey look like? There are far more entrepreneurs than people realize. But the failure rate of new business start-ups is disproportionally high and the businesses that survive typically have a relatively low economic impact. This means that most young and aspiring entrepreneurs operate under the false set of assumptions when it comes to starting and running a new venture. In this sections, we will ask who are the entrepreneurs, why they start new businesses, how many jobs they typically create, and how they finance their startups.


- Shane, S. (2010). The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By [] Read only Ch. 1, 2, 3, and 4

- Interview with Scott Shane [read here]

Elon Musk: Founder of Paypal, Space X, and Tesla Motors

We will watch a documentary about the life of Elon Musk, who is undoubtedly one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. We will discuss in class what are the traits that possibly helped him become so successful. There are no readings for today, just come to class ready to watch the documentary below.

- How I Became the Real "Iron Man" [watch here]

- What makes things cool [watch here]

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

We will watch a documentary about the life of Steve Jobs, who is another one of the iconic entrepreneurs of our time. Similar to our lecture on Elon Musk, we will think about the traits that made Jobs successful and then parallel them with those of other entrepreneurs.

- Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview" [available on Netflix]

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

What are the traits of successful entrepreneurs?

- Carol Dweck (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success [amazon] Read only Ch. 1-3 [TED talk] [Bill Gates review] [RSA animate]

- Bill Gates on success [read here]

- The Two Key Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs [watch here]

The power of failure


- Haidt, J. (2006) "Flourishing"  Ch.7 [available on Canvas, read only chapter 7]

- Wagner, E. (2013) "9 Lessons from a 10-time startup failure" Forbes. [read here]

- Strategies for learning from failure [watch here] While we learn as children that failure is “bad,” recognizing and learning from failure can be a strategy for avoiding bigger failures.

- The Biggest Reason Businesses Fail [watch here] John Taffer explains why the biggest reason businesses fail is blaming someone else.

- Embracing Failure [watch here] Sara Blakely, CEO of Spanx, describes how her mindset of embracing failure has helped her take risks and learns valuable lessons.


- The Reality of Failure [watch here] Entrepreneur Andrew Dreskin of Ticketfly discusses that accepting failure is critical.

- Developing Grit [watch here] This video gives practical suggestions for developing grit.

- Conan O'Brien [watch here]

- Nietzsche on hardship [watch here]

- Steve Jobs: How to live before you die [watch here]

- The last lecture [watch here]

- Working with failure [read here] This article compares failure in different industries and gives practical suggestions for working with failure to learn from mistakes and decide how to move forward.

Defining success

- Flourishing [available on Canvas]

- Can money buy happiness [read here]

- The happy secret to better work [watch here] We will watch in class.

- The 8 secrets to success [watch here]

- Grit is the quality that enables people to work hard and sustain interest in their long-term goals. Grit is also related to resilience, not just in the face of failure, but in perseverance to stick to long-term commitments and goals.Take The self-quiz is found at gritty are you? What do you think about the results? Any surprises? Do you think this is a valid indicator of your personality? Is grit a valid indicator of entrepreneurial success?

- Find your character strengths at Print them out and bring them to class. What are your signature strengths? Were they a surprise to you? How can you (or how do you) capitalize on them in your personal and professional life?



The creative pursuit of ideas


- What makes things cool [watch here]

- Secrets of the Creative Mind [read here]

- Play is more than just fun [watch here]

- Does school kill creativity [watch here]

Supplementary Material

- 7 Amazing Origami Inspired Innovations [watch here]

- The Struggle to Create Creativity [read here]

The innovators dilemma & creative destruction


- Christensen, C. (2011). The Innovator's Dilemma. [] Read only Ch.1-2, Ch.4, Ch.8 [4-min summary of the book] [watch his talk]

Supplementary Material

Podcast: McCraw on Schumpeter, Innovation, and Creative Destruction [listen here]

Creating value with behavioral economics

Behavioral economics combines principles from economics and psychology to explain decision-making. One of the greatest insights from this most rapidly growing field in economics is that people are less rational than most economists think they are. In fact, we are prone to a variety of cognitive mistakes (predictably irrational behavior) and small changes in the environment around us (often called "nudges") can significantly change our behavior. Businesses are well aware of


- Ariely, D. (2010). Predictably Irrational. [] Read only Ch.1-3, Ch. 6, Ch. 10, Ch. 11

- How behavioral science can lower your energy bill [watch here]

- Life lessons from an ad man [watch here]

- How to Make Better Decisions [watch here] We will watch in class.

Supplementary Material

- The battle of future vs present self [watch here]

- Optimism bias [watch here]

- 8 Optical Illusions [watch here]

- TED: Predictably irrational (series of 11 talks) [watch here]

- The surprising truth about what motivates us [watch here]

Entrepreneurship & happiness

- Epicurus on Happiness [watch here]

- The Price of Happiness [watch here]

- The Paradox of Choice [watch here]

Supplementary Material

- Daniel Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness [watch here]


I will assign groups and books in the first two weeks of classes



Are robots taking our jobs

Over the last century, new technology has always created more jobs than the ones that were displaced as a consequence of new innovations that rendered whole industries obsolete. But many modern leaders are now claiming that this time is different. Some even advocate policy measures such as basic income for everyone. Is our increasing reliance on automation going to cost us our jobs? Complete the readings below and come to class prepared to discuss the issue.


- Are robots taking our jobs [read here][read here]

- CASE STUDY: Driverless cars [read here][do we want them]

Supplementary Material

- The jobs we’ll lose to machine—and the ones we won’t [watch here]

- How to beat the robots [watch here]

The world in 2050

Innovation is driven by people's vision for the future. In this section, we will look at the technological and social trends that are likely to define what the future of humanity will look like in the  ? There are no readings for today. We will watch and discuss the following documentary in class:

- BBC Documentary: The world in 2050 [watch here]

Supplementary material

- The world in 2030? by Dr. Michio Kaku [watch here]

- TED Talks on the Future [watch here]

Reflections on the course

There are no readings for today. Come to class ready to earn some bonus points for your final exam!