Business podcaster and journalist, Guy Raz, offers insights on how many innovative companies got started in How I Built This. Raz summarizes key takeaways from his podcast where he interviews founders.

Even though no two stories are alike, there are some similarities. In his estimation, entrepreneurs are open to the call. Some businesses were a direct response to an unmet need. Carol’s Daughter, FUBU, Walker & Co. met the needs of an ethnic demographic. Other companies thrived when their business model tweaks the industry: Airbnb, the Knot, Stitch, Rent the Runway, Canva, Warby Parker.

Entrepreneurs face many obstacles which Raz eloquently describes in Part 2. Some companies are noted for how well they have recovered from setbacks e.g. Jeni’s Splendid ice creams. Others are notable for how well they have pivoted into new niches: Stacy’s Pita Chips, Angie’s Boomchickapop, Slack, Twitch.

Even after companies have succeeded, founders must decide whether to sell or to maintain creative control. Neither decision is right or wrong; it just depends on what the founder’s goals may be.

While there are many success stories, there are a few cautionary tales: Dippin Dots and American Apparel.

How I built This is great for those who want to dip their feet into the entrepreneurial waters. While it offers many tips from the world’s foremost startups, its an enjoyable and engaging read.