Starting your own business is daunting-take heart in the wisdom of those who've persevered and launched some of America's most successful enterprises. In How I Got Started from FORTUNE Magazine, the men and women behind groundbreaking businesses tell their own stories of the creation and ascent of such icons as FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Staples, Domino's Pizza, Crate & Barrel, and many more. This collection of 26 stories offers unfiltered access to the thinking, insights and experiences that these founders needed to make businesses work: How Pleasant Rowland's unshakeable belief in her product gave birth to American Girl. How Jim McCann's authenticity rescued his 1-800-FLOWERS from crippling debt. And how wanderlust, a cache of surplus clothes and a sideline flea market business inspired Mel and Patricia Ziegler to start Banana Republic. Their firsthand accounts capture the elusive alchemy required to found and nurture companies. Some started as ambitious employees who decided to strike out on their own; others nurtured their big-idea, mom-and-pop operation into a big business. You'll meet women who found success in unconventional ways, immigrants who pursued the American dream, the athlete who put snowboarding on the map, and more. You'll also find plenty of useful, practical lessons as well as inspiration to sustain you on your own quest for entrepreneurial success.