By Bestselling Author:
Lloyd Shefsky

Writer, Consultant, Professor



This site is the home of the book VISIONARIE$ ARE MADE NOT BORN™ by Lloyd Shefsky. The book will be released in 2017.

The stories are great and superbly told. The lessons are profound, providing a whole new way of looking at how business visionaries do their thing, explained in ways we all can emulate. Don’t miss Visionarie$ are Made Not Born. It’s a great book to give to a rising entrepreneur, friend, colleague or family member!

— MAXINE CLARK, Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop

About Lloyd Shefsky

Lloyd Shefsky is a consultant, coach, mentor and advisor to entrepreneurs, family businesses and public companies controlled by families. Over the years he has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, often from their earliest stages through expansions, public offerings, sales of the businesses, and in some cases succession to one or two additional generations of the founders’ families. Shefsky has co-founded several businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Lloyd recently retired as Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship, Founder and Co-director of the Center for Family Enterprises and Co-Founder of the Center for Executive Women at the Kellogg School of Management. He has taught courses, lectured and spoken in China, Japan, India, Thailand, Canada, Israel and throughout the United States. Shefsky has written professional articles on family business, entrepreneurship, and other related topics. He is the best-selling author of Entrepreneurs Are Made Not Born, published by McGraw-Hill and translated into seven languages, and Invent Reinvent Thrive, published by McGraw-Hill in August, 2014, as well as Visionarie$ Are Made Not Born, published in 2017.

Lloyd serves on corporate boards and has served on boards of private and public companies in the U.S. and elsewhere. 

Lloyd serves as Of Counsel to the Taft Law Firm which recently acquired the Chicago law firm, Shefsky & Froelich which he founded.  

He received his JD from The Law School at the University of Chicago, a B.S. from DePaul University, and is also a CPA.



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The 19 business visionaries include:


Founders of EDS, Perot Systems, and Jr.’s inland dutcy free port on his Dallas land.

Teen-aged crop duster who was to found Federal Express.

Created her USA Network in her 20s

Who founded the massive Cardinal Health on ‘spagetti’ thin cash.

Rescued the limping, over-the-hill Chicago Blackhawks with a $40 million bet that struck Stanley Cup gold 3 times.



About the book


Obsessed as our society is with superheroes, it was probably inevitable and certainly understandable that a superhero status was created for business visionaries, indeed for all visionaries. It was assumed that those whose visions prove true and valuable have superpowers, likely God-given. If you assume that certain powers are determined by your DNA, then why bother working to develop such powers? Doing so seems to be chasing a futile dream. Business leaders are too pragmatic to do that; they tend to focus on achievable dreams.

Imagine how much better the world can be if unachievable dreams prove to be achievable.

For decades I succumbed to the superhero dogma. It wasn’t  just a simple explanation; it was downright addictive. How did that happen? I’ve rubbed elbows with many business visionaries: representing, coaching, consulting, interviewing, studying and contemplating them. I was lulled into simply ignoring the theory (that extraordinary business visionaries were born with special powers). If I had just asked myself, I knew the theory was flawed. I knew super powers were of comic books and not real. I knew these visionaries weren't just masquerading as Clark Kent and didn’t have capes hidden under their suits. Then I started going giving it serious thought and of course visionaries didn't have crystal balls, didn't see the future, didn't have superpowers. Unlike Superman, they weren't "more powerful than a locomotive;” they simply worked harder and smarter and with greater determination and dedication, kind of like the "little engine that could." I concluded that, instead, they had unique processes

So why did I undertake this project that filled a good part of a few years? Sure, I enjoy doing this and love getting to know the fabulous people I interview for my books. There are two other reasons for my doing all this:

  • It improves the quality of my consulting work. The interviewing process is a critical element in understanding the issues and underlying problems facing my clients. And comparing a client’s issues with those of other clients facilitates my helping clients solve their problems.

In consulting, I view part of my assignment as the elimination of my job. I aim not only to help them solve the problem at hand but also to enable the client to solve future problems on their own.

  • I hope my readers can learn from this book and help themselves, their colleagues and their families.

With a client I can only expose the skeletal stories of
other clients, whose identities must remain confidential. It’s much like the disclaimer at the beginning of TV detective shows, “The names are changed to protect the innocent.”

In this book, due to the gracious willingness of my
interviewees, you can learn from named experts,
identified visionaries. That is their gift, their invaluable gift, to you.

For those who aren't willing to undertake hard work, the dream may remain impossible. If you are willing to work hard and to learn to work smart, you can become a visionary. All you need is a set of instructions and some guidance. To create those guidelines, I present the extraordinary business visionaries’ stories, the steps they took, which are replicable by you. After years of studying their steps, I came upon approaches which I explain in this book and which you can follow to make yourself a successful business visionary.




Please click the Buy Buttons below to get a copy of my first two books



Visionaries are business superstars as rare as pop divas—and richer, too. But instead of using natural talent, they learn their craft: one that powerfully impacts segments of our lives, often in ways that we don’t even recognize. And their cunning is accessible, once defined. In Visionarie$ Are Made Not Born, retired Kellogg School of Management Professor Lloyd Shefsky illustrates the concrete steps you can take to achieve, explain and use visions to lead your business to a successful future. Shefsky lays out five elements of visions and explains how to use them in your own ventures. He uses the stories of successful business visionaries, in addition to his expert insight, to demonstrate how those elements have been effectively used in the past.

The 19 business visionaries include:

  • Ross Perot and Ross Perot Jr., founders of EDS, Perot Systems and Jr.’s inland duty free port on his Dallas land.
  • Fred Smith, teen-aged crop duster who was to found Federal Express
  • Kay Koplovitz, who created USA network in her 20s.
  • Robert Walter, who founded the massive Cardinal Health on “spaghetti” thin cash.
  • Rocky Wirtz, rescued the limping, over-the-hill Chicago Blackhawks with a $40 million bet that struck Stanley Cup gold 3 times He gives special attention to the added complexities of family businesses, which account for over half the U.S. GDP and where family visions and business visions often collide and conflict. He explains that listening is often a key to vision, and points out that being a visionary doesn’t consist of time travel or magic. After all, vision has no presence in the future; it merely envisions the future in the present.


Invent Reinvent Thrive tells the stories of the founders of: Starbucks, Costco, Staples, CDW, Charles Schwab & others, and the families that own companies and products such as: Hyatt, Seagram’s, General Dynamics, Jet & Ebony Magazines, Radisson, TGIF & others.


Many Americans want to join the ranks of the successful entrepreneurs. They'd love to pick the brains of the self-made moguls - and now they can - in this collection of "how-to-wisdom" from 200 magnates and "entrepreneurs" such as Ben Cohen, (Ben & Jerry's homemade ice cream), Fred Smith (Federal Express) and Debbi Field (Mrs Field's cookies). Going far beyond or biography, entrepreneurial expert Lloyd Shefsky draws from each interviewee's experiences to develop targeted lessons in entrepreneurship. Not just for fledgling and current entrepreneurs, this book will also appeal to venture capitalists, bankers, accountants, lawyers, and everyone who must understand entrepreneurs to deal with them better.


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