Book Reviews

The Faces of Main Street Business Builders Have Changed

Elizabeth McBride and Seth Levine – The Builders

Alexandria, VA –

Review: The New Builders – Face to Face with the True Future of Business

Authors: Seth Levine and Elizabeth MacBride

Publisher: Joe Wiley and Sons

Reviewed by: Ralph Peluso, Literary Editor

Zebra Rating – 5 Stripes

“The founders of this country, our country, were true entrepreneurs,” Elizabeth MacBride will tell you. That one perspective-enhancing statement shines a different light on the qualities needed to take on a challenge, conquer a new frontier, or build a successful business.

MacBride and co-author Seth Levine write about a topic usually reserved for advanced textbook boredom and masterfully give it novelesque qualities. America loves heartwarming stories, especially involving an underdog or someone who is provided a second chance. Who doesn’t remember Cinderella Man or Seabiscuit? Levine and MacBride weave warm-hearted entrepreneurial success stories throughout their work, The New Builders.

While the face of Main Street business owners has changed and evolved over the past 200 years, one thing that has not changed is the lack of availability to the capital markets. I am sure most readers have heard stories of immigrants who came to America in the early 1900s with only change in their pockets and a pack of children in tow. They built businesses out of necessity. The grocers, butchers, barbers, and more. Their only capital was the clothes on their back and an indomitable spirit. Without formal business training, need drove them to succeed.

The internal qualities of today’s enterprise builders are much the same as their predecessors, but almost everything else is different. They face make-or-break decisions daily. Entrepreneurs are still extraordinarily driven and hard-working, but most lack banking relationships, support networks to help overcome issues, or even a business mentor. Most fly alone without a GPS. Today’s world is filled with regulations, accounting and tax rules, and environmental concerns, but who is there to help them navigate the pitfalls and landmines?

These New Builders are essential to growing a more dynamic and diverse local economy and revitalizing the neighborhoods folks have forgotten about. Their success stories mount. Whether it is the Dominican woman who bakes cakes for her community, a family of Montana tour guides, or a young man designing t-shirts for his classmates, this increasing segment of the economy needs to catch the attention of the capital markets.


This void has existed for too long, and many share the blame. Levine and MacBride leverage data that reinforces the generations of bias in the banking and financial markets. For example, the consolidation of the banking system and the decline of community banks left many small business owners without personal or institutional sources of cash to grow a business or get a business off the ground. Not every business is destined for greatness, but it is time to give good concepts a better chance to take off. If they stumble, help them get back up and start over.

Seth Levine, Managing Director at Foundry Group, lives in Colorado with his wife and three children. Elizabeth MacBride is a writer, traveler, and 7th generation Washingtonian, living in Alexandria, VA.

Readers will enjoy the backdrop of captivating business stories as their work shepherds you into a different appreciation for the New Business Builders of today. Zebra Rating 5 stripes

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