New book reveals the effects of an entrepreneur’s family member on successive generations
Brenda Cook’s new book, The Entrepreneur’s Family: Seeking Balance, Recovery, and Growth, is a groundbreaking look at how an entrepreneur’s passion and drive can have both positive and negative effects on a family. Cook reveals that while the media praises entrepreneurship and the belief that the entrepreneur can have it all, both wealth and free time, thereby benefiting their family, this belief is often a myth or dub. less distorted. Entrepreneurs often spend little quality time with their spouse, children and grandchildren; may be more passionate about their business than family time; and must decide whether and to what extent to involve their family in the business. All of these factors lead to a family dynamic that has long-lasting effects on the entrepreneur’s children and even on successive generations.
Cook, as the daughter of an entrepreneur, has witnessed these effects firsthand, and she skillfully and honestly shares how her father’s entrepreneurial drive has affected her family in many different ways, from her mother, who had almost her say in the family businesses, except when it was convenient to list properties in her name, her older brothers who eventually took on important roles as their father’s successors, and Cook herself. same, who was marginalized and nearly ousted by her brothers once her father was no longer able to run the business, despite his intention that his three children have equal roles in the company’s operations. Add to this that his father had international businesses, one in Canada and one in the United States, in short, one for each of the Cook brothers and none for Cook, and you have a real recipe for family dynamics reminiscent of the Ewing family of Dallas. . fame.
Although Cook has had the small end of the stick in his family at times, it has also opened his eyes to how entrepreneurship influences family dynamics. Rather than being disgruntled, she entered academia and research, which allowed her to explore best practices for entrepreneurs to consider in relation to their families, especially their young offspring. In the book, she explores the decisions not only of entrepreneurs, but also of their children, when they are young adults, to become involved in continuing the entrepreneur’s business. His father’s sense of manifest destiny to further his affairs played a significant role in his analysis of family dynamics.
Cook does not limit the discussion and examples to his own family. She went out and interviewed many entrepreneurs and their descendants, most of whom were involved in one way or another in the family business. The case studies provide many examples of positive and negative ways in which entrepreneurs seek to include their children in the family business, or sometimes exclude them, often so that they have the opportunity to pursue their own personal interests.
A key part of the book is simply the awareness of how entrepreneurship affects family members. Cook admits that for most of her career, she didn’t consider her skills and attitudes towards work in relation to her upbringing as a child of an entrepreneur. Although she chose not to remain involved in running the family business but to work in other organizations, she found that the family imprint of entrepreneurship made her opinions and actions different from those of his colleagues whose families were not entrepreneurial.
Communication skills are another important factor that Cook explores. Entrepreneurs are often driven and focused. On a simple level, Cook’s father didn’t care about public opinion and didn’t let it interfere with his business activities. He was also always engaged in pursuit to the point where he didn’t stop to chat and be friendly, but just tip his hat, smile, and move on to where he needed to be or what he needed to do. On a more serious level, Cook learned to improve her own communication skills so that she could transition from an entrepreneurial/business experience to working within an organization where she needed to be part of a team. His brothers, who never worked outside the family business, by comparison, did not have to develop these skills since they were the owner’s sons and later owners, and therefore still in position giving orders rather than receiving them or having to work as a team.
One of the main benefits of The Entrepreneur’s Family is how it will get entrepreneurs thinking about their role as parents and how their entrepreneurial drive affects their children. Cook details the stewardship tools that the entrepreneur needs to pass on to their children as they grow within and potentially within the business. She also explains how children can identify and build their own identity independent of the business to honor their personality and energy and find forms of self-expression outside of the family business.
Cook’s assessment of entrepreneurship and its effects on family members ultimately concludes that the pros and cons result from growing up in an entrepreneurial family. These downsides are also opportunities for personal growth, as Cook learned. His explorations here provide opportunities for others to learn how to do better. Either way, Cook is grateful for the experiences she’s had, saying “many exciting and inspiring moments happen when you grow up with an entrepreneur. These moments shouldn’t be ignored because they’re totally unique and important for developing your personality.”
Ultimately, Cook’s goal is reflected in his caption. Her book offers an opportunity for those who grew up or are growing up in an entrepreneurial household to seek much-needed recovery as well as balance and growth in their personal and professional lives.
The Entrepreneur’s Family is a true tour de force among business books. This is one of those books that you might not have noticed was missing from your library, but once you’ve read it, you’ll find yourself thinking, “Why hasn’t anyone written this book years ago? Fortunately, Brenda Cook did, and once you read it, you’ll find it life-changing.