Foreword by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Every day, when I deal with the events impacting family-owned businesses, the anxieties, emotions, plans, enthusiasms, conflicts, and errors that I feel inside me build up and spill over. These feelings characterized my first eighteen years of life and left an indelible imprinting.
The case studies that I have gathered in over thirty years of professional study and research, including the university setting, today permit me to investigate human, organizational and economic realities that are common to the majority of families engaged in entrepreneurial activities in Italy and in the world. The complexity of psycho-social dynamics interwoven with the purely technical ones render this sort of professional activity all the more fascinating, new and productive. It is a profession that tends toward giving life; statistics show that two thirds of family businesses do not survive the second generation and only 9% survive the third.
Each time I accompany one of these businesses to any positive result and we plan future scenarios together, I feel that on that day in April in 1974 I was wrong; nothing is ever really ended.