You won't find much about mezzanine financing or business dinners in hip "Eurotrash" restaurants, but if you want a practical guide to self-employment, seriously consider If You're Clueless about Starting Your Own Business and Want to Know More. This is a good first book to read about going out on your own, even if it's not the last one you'll need. This straightforward workbook by Seth Godin is part of the Clueless series of primers on stocks, insurance, and other topics. If You're Clueless about Getting a Great Job and Want to Know More, released this past April, is the most recent addition to the series.

Easy-to-read chapters help you assess the skills and personality traits you'll bring to your business venture. Other chapters discuss how to obtain financing and how to choose a legal form for your business, among other basic needs. Chapters are consistently broken up by useful sidebars that often tell you where to find further information. Short "Try It His Way" and "Try It Her Way" anecdotes provide real-life examples relevant to the topic at hand.

Becoming your own boss is an increasingly traveled road to the American dream. But the failure rate is high, and it can be all consuming. Before you embark, certainly get the practical knowledge you'll need. Reviewed by Neal Lipschutz.

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