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Positive Enterprise Value Blog A Brief Video on Bigelow’s Entrepreneur Character Strengths Study and the Entrepreneur Risk Tolerance Study
A Brief Video on Bigelow’s Entrepreneur Character Strengths Study and the Entrepreneur Risk Tolerance Study

A Brief Video on Bigelow’s Entrepreneur Character Strengths Study and the Entrepreneur Risk Tolerance Study

October 21, 2020

4 minute watch

Portsmouth, NH

Entrepreneur Owner Managers: 

Practice vs Theory? Or Practice + Theory?

“In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

-Martin E.P. Seligman, psychologist, author and Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center

For real people, if something works in theory, but not in practice, it doesn't work. For academics, if something works in practice, but not in theory, it doesn't exist.”

-Nassim N. Taleb, essayist, scholar, mathematical statistician, and former option trader and risk analyst

“Theory can be very practical. Gravity is a theory for example. It allows you to predict that if you step off a cliff you will fall. You don’t have to experience that.”

-Clayton M. Christensen, academic and business consultant who developed the theory of "disruptive innovation”


At Bigelow, since we work exclusively with Entrepreneur Owner-Managers (EOMs) to build and capture Enterprise Value, we have a lot of practical techniques and skills we have developed to do that successfully. We are committed to being masters of our craft, however, we are compelled to complement and enhance our practical experience with the latest thinking in the theoretical foundations of behavioral finance, and positive psychology, which have massive implications for EOMs.

Don’t misunderstand—we are completely attuned to the need to be practical but supplement that with state-of-the-art scholarship. Applying this research prospectively has taught us a great deal. It is highly rewarding, but also at times humbling.

In this 4 minute video, we headline some of our foundational research and why we engaged in it.

Download the full Entrepreneur Strengths Study here

Download the full Entrepreneur Risk Tolerance Study here


What I am Reading / Listening to

Contributed by Denise C. Burke

I love reading various genres of books, but for some reason, I tend to gravitate towards thrillers in the summer.  Below is a summary of two of my favorites thus far:

A Good Marriage (2020)
By Kimberly McCreight

Lizzie Kitsakis, a young attorney at an elite law firm, receives a call from an inmate at Rikers Island Prison (her old law school classmate, Zach) asking for her help.  Lizzie agrees to help him and is quickly drawn deeper and deeper into Zach’s story surrounding the death of his wife.  Along the way, she uncovers multiple lies told by Zach, his wife’s friends, and neighbors.  As she unravels the truth, the lies she tells regarding her own marriage start to intersect with her case.  This book was extremely hard to put down.

The Last Flight (2020)
By Julie Clark

This is the story of two women, Claire and Eva, who are both looking for a way to disappear and start over.  Claire is married to a powerful husband who physically and emotionally abuses her, while Eva is manufacturing and selling drugs and doesn’t know how to get out.  They randomly meet in an airport bar and decide to switch flights.  One of the flights crashes—but neither woman is on it.  One woman is presumed dead but both are running for their lives.  This is a quick read with multiple twists and turns.

Entrepreneur Owner-Manager Quote

“Bigelow is unique – you took me from where I was in my business to where I needed to be in my life.”

-Phil Romine, Co-Founder, and former CTO, Right Networks, LLC


Phil Romine

Energy Creation

Heat Therapy Redux?

Some of you know I enjoy experimenting on myself with heat and cold therapy. I find that along with a metabolic workout and breathwork—it changes my state and creates great positive energy. So, I am updating and reporting my experience after a couple of years of consistent use (not making any recommendations).

I have given an overview of my usual morning routine on Positive Enterprise Value before. I thought I would briefly revisit heat therapy, which for me is a cheap barrel sauna that I have at home.  The headline is, I like my sauna use so much more than I ever thought I would that it shocks me.

Since Peter Attia MD is my go to source for medical data geekiness (he is strictly a data person, not an opinion person), and he had a brief podcast on his review of the literature for heat therapy recently (, I thought I would share it with you here.

Here’s a quick overview of Peter Attia’s summary of heat therapy benefits:

Heat therapy enhances sleep: 

  • Sauna before bed is one of the best tools to sleep, especially if you follow it with an immediate cold dunk or get into a cold bed.
  • The reason why, is that sleep is facilitated by the time derivative of temperature—so the change in temperature over time, the steeper you can make that a negative number, the better you’re going to sleep.
  • And there’s no better way to do that than to ratchet up your temperature in a sauna and then drop it down quickly.

Other purported clinical benefits of heat therapy:

  • Decreased pain, including DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness).  Heat therapy appears to offer analgesic benefits with no risk of detrimental effects.
  • (Associated) Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.  A series of Finnish studies, which are some of the largest heat therapy trials, found that increasing frequency of sauna usage is associated with a decreasing risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), fatal coronary heart disease, CVD, and stroke (Laukkanen et al., 2015Laukkanen et al., 2018).
  • Improved endurance and performance.  Data on the effects of heat therapy on muscle strength is inconclusive, but heat therapy appears to improve jump height, power, and endurance. Heat therapy may offer performance benefits with a low risk of detrimental effects.
  • (Associated) Decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. More frequent sauna visits have been associated with a larger decrease (Laukkanen et al. 2016). 
  • (Associated) Decreased risk of respiratory disease. This includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, pneumonia, and the common cold.  Heat therapy can also improve the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia (Kunutsor et al., 2017Laitinen et al., 1988Cox et al., 1989Ernst et al., 1990).
  • Improved insulin sensitivity and glucose control.  Heat therapy may reduce fasting glucose, body weight, and adiposity (Krause et al., 2015).


Finland sauna study: The most impressive sauna literature is an observational study out of Finland comparing different frequencies of sauna use led by Jari A. Laukkanen.


  • 2,327 men participated and filled out a survey of their sauna use.
  • They have been followed for 20+ years.
  • Since all participants used the sauna, the “control group”—aka Reference Group— were those who used the sauna once a week.
      • Because presumably it controls for one of the biggest biases, which would be socioeconomic, presumably all of those people have saunas or access to saunas — if it hadn’t tried to extract that piece of information, you’d have probably one of the biggest confounders possible in this study.
      • It’s still not randomized — therefore it’s going to be subject to limitations. 

Details about sauna use:

  • Type of sauna: It was dry sauna (i.e., not infrared sauna).
  • Temperature: Avg. temperature was 170 degrees Fahrenheit / 78.9 degrees Celsius.
  • Duration: 
    • A big range, 2 minutes to 90 minutes.
    • duration per session was 14.2 minutes.
  • Frequency:
    • Group 1 (Reference Group): At least 1 time per week.
    • Group 2: 2-3 times per week.
    • Group 3: 4-7 times per week.

Results: The following are the results comparing the Reference Group (at least once per week) to Group 3 (4-7 sessions per week):

  • All-cause mortality: 40% lower relative risk and 18% lower absolute risk (after 21 years, the Reference Group had 49.1% mortality and Group 3 had 30.8% mortality).
  • Fatal cardiovascular disease: 50% lower relative risk (hazard ratio of 0.5), and 10% lower absolute risk for Group 3.
  • Sudden cardiac death: 63% lower relative risk, and 5% lower absolute risk for Group 3.
  • Fatal coronary heart disease: 48% lower relative risk, and 6% lower absolute risk for Group 3.
  • Stroke: 62% lower relative risk, and about an 8% lower absolute risk for Group 3.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 65% lower relative risk, and about a 3% lower absolute risk for Group 3.

Key takeaways related to the Finland sauna cohort:

  • What conferred the most benefit? 
    • At least 20 minute duration per session
    • At least 172 to 174 degrees Fahrenheit / 80 degrees Celsius
    • And at least 4 times a week
  • In all-cause mortality: An 18% absolute risk reduction — “I’m not aware of a single [positive] intervention that leads to an 18% absolute reduction in all-cause mortality.”
  • For MACE (major adverse cardiac event): 6-7% absolute risk reduction over 20 years.
  • Risk profile of patients: Important to note that these are NOT really high-risk people, increasing the impressiveness of the numbers.
  • Stroke reduction: 8% absolute risk reduction.
  • Alzheimer’s disease reduction: 3% absolute risk reduction. Note: given avg. starting age was 53 and followed for 21 years makes them 74—which means this is probably undercounting what the potential is for Alzheimer’s risk reduction—so as this cohort gets older you could see more data related to Alzheimer’s disease.


Here's the bottom line for me: I thought a sauna was just kind of a self-indulgent semi silly activity. Instead, after a couple of years now, I found that for me it seemed to confer health benefits beyond what I expected. Then along comes Peter Attia MD who summarizes the scientific literature and WHOA. Great energy creation.

Our home sauna is made by Almost Heaven and is a four person sauna which we use for 1 or 2 . When I called the company to order one, they said I could save money by ordering from Costco instead, which I did. I think a couple of years ago it cost in the $3000 range, plus two days of labor to assemble it and attach the 220 V electrical.

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