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Wharton School Press  |  March 10, 2020

The Unicorn’s Shadow Cover Poll

Vote for the Cover You Think Is Most Compelling

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Wharton School Press will publish Wharton professor Ethan Mollick’s new book in June. We would like your help in choosing the final cover. The poll is open until March 11, 2020, at 9 a.m. EDT.

About the Book

Destined to forever change the way we think about entrepreneurial success, this bold call to action dispels the most pervasive startup myths and lights a path to entrepreneurship for those eclipsed by the hype.

When you think of a successful entrepreneur, who comes to mind? Bill Gates? Mark Zuckerberg? Or maybe even Jesse Eisenberg, the man who played Zuckerberg in The Social Network? It may surprise you that most successful founders look very different from Zuckerberg or Gates. In fact, most startup origin stories are very different from the famous “unicorns” that have achieved valuations of over $1 billion, from Facebook to Google to Uber.

In The Unicorn’s Shadow: Combating the Dangerous Myths that Hold Back Startups, Founders, and Investors, Wharton School professor Ethan Mollick takes us to the forefront of an empirical revolution in entrepreneurship. New data and better research methods have overturned the conventional wisdom behind what a successful founder looks like, how they succeed, and how the startup ecosystem works.

Among the issues he examines:

  • Which founders are most likely to succeed?
  • Where do the best startup ideas come from?
  • What’s the most foolproof way of securing the funding need to take a company to the next level?
  • Should your sales pitch really be something out of Hollywood?
  • What’s the best way to grow and scale your company and create a thriving culture that won’t hinder expansion?

Mollick argues that entrepreneurship is too important, both for society and for the individuals who start companies, to be eclipsed by the shadows of unicorns. He shows we can democratize entrepreneurship—but only by following an evidence-based approach that puts to rest the false narratives that surround it.

Ethan Mollick is an associate professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studies and teaches innovation and entrepreneurship, with a special emphasis on how to give everyone more opportunities to be innovative and entrepreneurial. His papers have been published in top management journals and have won multiple awards. His work on crowdfunding is the most cited article in management published in the last five years.

Prior to his time in academia, he cofounded a startup company, and he currently advises a number of startups and organizations. As the academic director and co-founder of Wharton Interactive, he is working to transform entrepreneurship education using games and simulations. He has had a long interest in using games for teaching, and coauthored a book on the intersection between video games and business that was named one of the American Library Association’s top 10 business books of the year. He has built numerous teaching games, used by tens of thousands of students around the world.

Mollick received his PhD and MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, magna cum laude.