Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind
The co-founder of the menswear startup Bonobos opens up about the struggle with bipolar disorder that nearly cost him everything in this gripping, radically honest memoir of mental illness and entrepreneurship.
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The co-founder of the menswear startup Bonobos opens up about the struggle with bipolar disorder that nearly cost him everything in this gripping, radically honest memoir of mental illness and entrepreneurship. At twenty-eight, fresh from Stanford's MBA program and steeped in the move-fast-and-break-things ethos of Silicon Valley, Andy Dunn felt like he was on top of the world. He was pursuing an unproven model--a digitally native, direct-to-consumer brand--out of his Manhattan apartment. It was a new-school approach to selling an old-school product: men's pants. Against all odds, business was booming. Dunn hustled to scale the business, raising tens of millions of dollars in venture capital, while boundaries between work and life evaporated. As he struggled to keep Bonobos afloat, Dunn was also haunted by a ghost: a bipolar diagnosis received after a wild manic episode as a college undergraduate, one that had punctured the idyllic veneer of his Midwestern upbringing. He had understood his diagnosis as an unspeakable shame, which, according to the masculine codes of his fraternity and the business world, should never be addressed. With Dunn's secret locked away, Bonobos began to take off, and some of the very traits powering his success as a founder--relentless drive, confidence bordering on hubris, and ambition bordering on delusion--were now threatening to undo him. A collision course was set in motion--one that would culminate in a violent night that nearly unraveled all that he had built. Burn Rate is an unconventional entrepreneurial memoir, a parable for the twenty-first-century economy, and a revelatory look at the prevalence of mental illness in the startup community. In intimate and insightful prose, Andy Dunn fearlessly shines a light on the dark side of success and how he overcame it.