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Paper – Failure, Risk, and the Entrepreneurial Library

Failure, Risk, and the Entrepreneurial Library, Tom Wall, University Librarian, Boston College.

“This past spring, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressed the graduates from Harvard College and said that “the greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.”1 Likewise, in a recent letter to shareholders, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos made it a point to equate invention with failure, calling them “inseparable twins.”2 Arguably leading two of the most innovative companies in the world, both CEOs have essentially the same message: without a culture that accepts the inevitability of failure, and learns from it, innovation will remain elusive and/or nonexistent. Clearly with risk comes a degree of failure, but by playing it safe you get exactly what you would expect: mediocrity.”

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