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  • Published: 8 December 2020
  • ISBN: 9781984881229
  • Imprint: Viking
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $49.99

A Practical Way to Get Rich . . . and Die Trying

[Tentative] A Cautionary Tale



A young tech entrepreneur's memoir of building his hugely successful company and the mental and physical price he paid for it

At the age of twenty-six, John Roa founded ÄKTA, a Chicago-based tech-consulting and design firm that became one of the fastest-growing companies in America, which he sold in 2015 for a fortune to the largest tech company in San Francisco, Salesforce. His account of his rise from a self-described below-average student, to becoming a poster boy for the ambitious, successful young entrepreneur, to nearly destroying himself in the process is the subject of A Practical Way to Get Rich . . . and Die Trying. Roa's twenty-year-long journey from being dead-broke to wealth he never imagined is an absurd and often comical story of talent, luck, risk, rapidly changing technology, larger-than-life personalities, sex, gambling, and excessive alcohol and drug consumption. Roa's intention for his memoir is not to present a glamorous rags-to-riches saga, but, instead, to serve as a cautionary tale of the toll that entrepreneurship can take on ambitious young people unprepared for the peril, responsibility, long hours, relentless pressure to grow and be profitable, and the physical and mental costs that "making it" can take. Those pitfalls are seldom acknowledged in the romanticism that pervades the tech scene, and they eventually took their toll on Roa, who, in the face of round-the-clock pressure and risk taking, ultimately suffered a psychotic breakdown from which he almost didn't walk away. As he healed in the aftermath, he began to question the ethos that had brought him to that dark place, and he learned from other entrepreneurs that they, too, had experienced similar debilitating issues that they felt unable to admit, let alone discuss.

A Practical Way to Get Rich . . . and Die Trying is a compelling memoir and the foundation for a strong and important campaign of honesty and vulnerability in an industry that currently allows neither. Roa aims to be the bridge to helping young leaders confront mental health issues and abuse that too often accompany the tech startup that so many have embraced as their salvation for their future.

  • Published: 8 December 2020
  • ISBN: 9781984881229
  • Imprint: Viking
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $49.99

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