Are you ready? It’s such a simple question. When asked of the would-be entrepreneur inevitably the answer is an enthusiastic, “Sure!”, or, at the very least a more tempered, “I think so.” Contained within that one question is a whole universe of variables that business strategist Carol Roth seeks to unfold and hold up to the scrutiny of common sense and rationality in her book, The Entrepreneur Equation, which I was lucky enough to receive as an advance copy. Styled by her friends as the Lucy Van Pelt of the business world, Carol offers her assessment of how people should go about determining whether or not they really want, need or should be entrepreneurs.

Half measures are not an option and often, in the world of entrepreneurship, end in disappointment.

Seeing a book like this, questioning the basic foundation of the “can-do” ethos that powers so much of the spirit of enterprise in the USA, coming to the market at a time when small business is being touted as the savior of the economy, is a testament to Carol’s personnel commitment to supporting excellence and success. Certainly the advice it contains seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom. But isn’t that what has been said about common sense – it’s not that common.

With over 90% of all entrepreneurs losing some or all of their investment within the first five, perhaps taking a closer look at the attitude and effort it takes to make a business work is warranted?

To call Carol a pragmatist would be to understate her willingness to address some fundamental flaws in the ethos surrounding building a business. With the enduring love affair between business and innovation, Carol’s approach is to dispel the notion that anyone with an idea could or should be in business for themselves. She focuses on the idea that a passion does not make a business and that an invention is not a business model. If a business is not desirable, feasible, or viable, it should not exist. Carol’s goal is to provide her readers with a useful set of assessments to determine whether they have the right idea and the right fit to create a business from the ground up.

This is not someone who hides her recommendations in a cloud of jargon or confusing “consultant-speak”. Carol calls it like she sees it. A hobby that you turn into a job is a “jobbie”; the call of the new, a business idea that will break you out of your everyday and perhaps hum-drum existence, is targeted at “The Shiny New Thing Syndrome”; and the bottom-line to Carol’s advice, she’s the friend who tells you that you have “Spinach in Your Teeth®”. It is rational, accessible, witty advice delivered in a frank and concise manner.

In reading Carol’s insights, I often found myself laughing at my own choices and furiously scribbling down notes to help me tighten my approach. The wisdom she shares from her own experience, and the experiences of others she taps into frequently, help make this book a great, low cost, low threat tool for assessing yourself and your ideas before you spend, and perhaps waste, a good deal of time, energy and effort. The best part about how Carol presents her ideas is how accessible she makes that advice. The “Personal Brainstorm” that concludes each chapter is only one of the many ways she makes her advice tangible. Which is what she is all about. Carol was, in her words, compelled, to write this book to help others.

To that end, Carol has partnered with the national non-profit organization SCORE, to help with their quest to create 1 million successful American businesses by 2017.

If your friends won’t tell you your business idea is no good, why not use Carol’s tools to conduct your own self assessment? After all, if The Entrepreneur Equation saves you from yourself, or better yet helps you to make a better business, Carol Roth may be the best friend you never met.