4 out of 4 stars
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"How is this world supposed to be?" This is a relevant and recurring question that drove a lot of the legendary Michael Keresman's decisions in becoming successful at creating and growing a global e-commerce company that focused on authenticating digital transactions. Patrick R. Alexander's Encrypting Billions: How Michael Keresman Made Cleveland the Epicenter of E-Commerce and Made Millions focuses on Michael Keresman's rise from graduating college as an accountant and working at a health insurance company, HealthAmerica, to his role in co-founding an eventual multibillion-dollar healthcare company and finally going out on his own to start up CardinalCommerce. At the same time, we take a look into Michael's driven, light-hearted personality and get to see how he sees the world differently.
The book is a biography, but in Michael Keresman's story, readers will get to pick up numerous lessons on entrepreneurship. The author did well to reinforce that aspect of the book by including several takeaways that readers can apply at the end of each chapter, and it was Patrick Alexander's ability to perfectly balance storytelling and educating that was my favorite aspect of the book. From always looking to challenge the status quo, embracing disruptions and using them as tools, and picking and accessing your staff to the importance of attention to detail and trust, the lessons littered across this intriguing story are relatable and easily applicable, as we get to see first hand how Michael applied them.
The story is told in a conversational tone that will draw readers in and make reading the book fairly comfortable as they read through the numerous challenges Michael faced. Imagine having to deal with the fear that a machine will replace you, taking on the biggest corporations that see you as a threat, having to handle a problematic employee, or even dealing with staff retention in the presence of companies that can pay much more. These are all easy scenarios to imagine as entrepreneurs because we experience such issues frequently, and with each challenge, Michael consistently scaled through, showing a different side to his can-do attitude and innovativeness that I found contagious.
While it may be easy to get lost in a few of the e-commerce terms employed in the story, the lessons are easily accessible. I must also commend the author on presenting a fairly well-edited book. I found about eight errors while reading, but they were minor and non-distracting. At about 170 pages, the book is a light read and can be read in one sitting; however, I strongly recommend taking the time to pick up and dissect the lessons in the story. I even learned more on my second read.
I cannot think of anything I dislike about this book. Therefore, Patrick Alexander's Encrypting Billions: How Michael Keresman Made Cleveland the Epicenter of E-Commerce and Made Millions deserves a rating of four out of four stars from me, especially for a thoroughly entertaining, educative, and inspirational story. Entrepreneurs will greatly benefit from reading this book. If you enjoy biographies, you will also love this book, as Patrick Alexander's storytelling is also impeccable.
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