CEO: Tim DeMello, founder of Wall Street Games, currently launching SkyRock Services, a consumer-services company based in Newton, Mass.

Book: Steve Jobs and the NeXT Big Thing, by Randall E. Stross (Atheneum, 1993, $24).

"In a start-up you really have nothing but an idea, a vision, so perception is often ahead of reality. But the people around you accept that and grant you a certain entrepreneurial license. This book is about how Steve Jobs seems to have abused that license by stretching it to the breaking point and beyond.

"This was a very important book for me to read right now, in the early stages of my second launch. Jobs has been a real inspiration for me, but reading this reined me in. It made me more patient with my employees, more responsive to my board. It reminded me how important it is to respect capital. Perhaps most important of all, it has left me wondering if the margin of difference between success and failure -- even success as phenomenal as Steve Jobs's -- is much smaller than we'd like to believe."

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