From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places


Elmira Bayrasli’s colorful narrative brings readers inside the world of high-growth entrepreneurs as they overcome vexing obstacles to build businesses that create jobs and economic growth and—perhaps most important—shift mindsets. Here are the people who personify the transformative force of entrepreneurship from parts of the world that will be the source of the overwhelming amount of economic growth over the next twenty-five years.

Bülent Çelebi applies creative genius as he searches for the talent needed to roll out a wireless mesh technology, convincing skeptics from Europe and America that a breakthrough like this could be developed in Turkey. Tayo Oviosu grapples with the poor infrastructure and political chaos to bring financial services to the vast majority of Nigerians who lack access to banks and other financial institutions.

Bayrasli takes us on an extraordinary journey, with fascinating eyewitness accounts of courage, endurance, and ingenuity, as people in some of the world’s most challenging societies build globally competitive products and services that garner international praise and investment. As these extraordinary entrepreneurs create new economic possibilities in their countries, it becomes clear that the same game-changing creative development that happened in Silicon Valley in the 1960s is occurring right now in unexpected places on “the other side of the world.”


North American publisher: PublicAffairs

Foreign rights: The Marsh Agency, Foreign Rights Management

Jessica Woollard ( for the United Kingdom

Camilla Ferrier ( for Arabic World, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy*, Japan, The Netherlands**, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Jemma McDonagh ( for Baltic States, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Rupublic, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy**, Korea, The Netherlands*, Poland, Romania, Scandinavia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Turkey



Foreign rights sold: Indian to HarperCollins India

Film rights: Gillian MacKenzie (


“Bayrasli’s book gives revealing first-hand insights into EM ventures and is filled with illuminating statistics…. A highly recommended read for its insights.”—Financial Times

“Refreshing. … Bayrasli has an eye for arresting scenes. … Her book reveals common characteristics. Entrepreneurs in far-flung places often have an American education. And they are able to tap into a burgeoning global network of venture-capital investors focused on the emerging world.”—The Economist

“Meet seven entrepreneurs who have persisted and prevailed despite difficult circumstances (including outright harassment) in order to achieve success in some of the most corrupt corners of the world…. By conveying the ingenuity, courage and smarts of these entrepreneurs, Elmira Bayrasli shows us people can thrive and create opportunities for others even in the most hostile and difficult situations.”—SUCCESS Magazine

“A well-written, completely spot on analysis about how the quality of the business climate needs to be improved in emerging economies, and about how much potential for entrepreneurship there is. If economists were to do nothing else but repeat this message, the quality and usefulness of our profession likely would rise dramatically.”—Marginal Revolution

“An interesting book…Bayrasli reveals significant institutional obstacles that stand in the way of starting and sustaining new businesses in emerging markets, even in countries that officially aspire to modernization…But the stories in this book demonstrate that talent and perseverance can overcome even formidable roadblocks. Reducing the barriers might unleash outstanding economic performance.” —Foreign Affairs

“Bayrasli (cofounder, Foreign Policy Interrupted) tells of seven innovators from across the globe in countries such as Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey, and examines how they handled the risks associated with doing business in these nations. Dangers include lack of capital, infrastructure, and business networks. Corruption and red tape are also significant factors... Potential entrepreneurs will find the stories inspirational and will be encouraged to follow their dreams regardless of the circumstances.” —Library Journal, Starred Review

“A foreign policy/business expert examines how entrepreneurs in developing countries are revolutionizing 'business, investment, economics, politics, and society.'… The author uses her uniquely bifurcated vision to explore how entrepreneurs in non-Western countries are overcoming obstacles generally unknown to Western entrepreneurs and to show how the next Steve Jobs will likely not be an American.… Throughout this eye-opening and informative book, Bayrasli offers fascinating insight into how hardship and marginalization may prove to be even greater "mothers of invention" in the 21st century than First World social and economic privilege. A sharp, thought-provoking study.” —Kirkus Reviews

"[An] absorbing debut...Bayrasli does an admirable job of showcasing these pioneers and arguing that, despite their challenges, the next big breakthrough will come from them or someone like them, not from Silicon Valley.” —Publishers Weekly

“Bayrasli’s tightly written, engrossing book jumps right to the important point: entrepreneurship isn’t limited to what Silicon Valley can create and spread… This fact-filled, hopeful book will be a boon to future-business-minded readers and a wake-up call to those thinking the U.S. holds the reins of creating new growth.” —Booklist

“Bayrasli redefines our concept of entrepreneurship and opens our eyes to the possibility that ‘the next Steve Jobs is just as likely to come from Pakistan, Turkey or Nigeria as from the Silicon Valley.’” —

From the Other Side of the World challenges Americans in one of the few areas we are still convinced we are world-beaters: technological innovation. Elmira Bayrasli tells engaging stories of seven entrepreneurs from around the world and harvests a rich trove of insights about what it really takes to create something new and turn it into a successful venture. It’s an engaging and instructive read for business leaders and foreign-policy mavens alike.” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO, New America, and Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita, Princeton University

“In these amazing stories from around the world, Elmira Bayrasli shows us that entrepreneurial spirit has gone global.” —Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus