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Keen On…Top Dogs: What Finger Length Tells Us About Entrepreneurial Success

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Ron Conway once contended that successful entrepreneurs – the seriously big dogs of tech like Gates, Jobs and Zuckerberg – are born rather than bred. But what Conway neglected to add is that entrepreneurial success can be measured by the length of our fingers. That, at least, is one contention in the new book by best-selling writer Po Bronson (co-written with Ashley Merryman), whose Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing is getting attention in all the right places.

Success can be determined by measuring the length of our index finger in comparison to our ring finger, Bronson told me about the research behind Top Dog. But that’s not the only conclusion about success that Bronson revealed. Riffing off Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Bronson explained the science of winning and losing, thereby rendering the legendary intuition of venture capitalists redundant.

So is Bronson barking up the wrong tree? Is there really a science of winning and losing? And should VCs like Ron Conway and Mike Arrington base their investment decisions on the finger length of start-up entrepreneurs?