Entertaining Entrepreneurs

Entertaining Entrepreneurs: Reality TV’s Shark Tank and the American Dream in Uncertain Times

by Daniel Horowitz, published by University of North Carolina Press (2020)

Entertaining Entrepreneurs book coverEntertaining Entrepreneurs, a wide-ranging and in-depth exploration of the wildly popular Reality Television program Shark Tank, explores how millions of Americans, through a particular and imperfect lens, learn about how the economy works. Much more than the study of one TV show, it provides a window into the ways mass media explains the opportunities, traps, and dynamics of capitalism at a time when tens of millions of Americans are facing challenges that threaten their economic and psychological well-being. It thus brings together fields of media studies, history of capitalism, and social criticism even as it combines research into material online, in books, on television, as well as ventures in ethnographic explorations. This book expands our understanding by linking Shark Tank with popular books, TED talks, movies, TV shows, and other media that offer information on American capitalism, information that both informs and distorts. Additionally, it juxtaposes such media treatments with current discussions among authors of inspirational how-to books, scholars of business management, and social scientists about capitalism, public policy, entrepreneurship, social capital, celebrity culture, inequality, insecurity, class relationships, technology, and globalization.

Digging into today’s cult of the entrepreneur, Horowitz charts its rise from the rubble of economic crisis and its spread as a mainstay of American culture, and he explores its flawed view of what it really takes to succeed in business. Horowitz offers more than a look at one television phenomenon. He is the perfect guide to the portrayal of entrepreneurship in business school courses, pitch competitions, popular how-to books, and scholarly works, as well as the views of real-world venture capitalists.

Assistant Director, Parker School of Foreign & Comparative Law
at Columbia University
New Books Network

I read the book and it was very detailed. He gives us a glimpse into the lives of the Sharks and producer Mark Burnett (a Shark himself) that most “mainstream media” sources don’t give  you. He also delves into both the societal and historical aspects of some of the more well-known pitches and entrepreneurs. If you want a deep dive into the world behind the scenes of Shark Tank, this is a GREAT read!

ROB MERLINO, Shark Tank Blog