Frequently Asked Questions

What is Proving Ground about?

Proving Ground tells the story of the author, David Tarver,  an African American engineer/inventor/entrepreneur.  David grew up in Flint, Michigan during the 1950s and 60s and dreamed of starting his own electronics business.  His desire was fueled by the civil-rights movement and by the explosion of interest in science and technology that accompanied the US space program.  Ultimately David started an electronics business in the basement of his home and grew it into a multimillion-dollar international enterprise.

Why should I buy this book?

Proving Ground is the first book that traces an African American-owned technology business from dream to startup to world-class player.  It details how a successful high-tech business was built from scratch without angel investors, venture capital, or government grants.  Proving Ground conveys an in-depth understanding of race and culture in the context of corporate life and entrepreneurship.  It is a richly detailed story that will inform and inspire anyone who has dreamed of starting a business.

Why should I care?

The American Dream should work for all segments of our society.  That belief is what distinguishes the U.S. from many other countries and makes us exceptional.  To the extent that we can make the tools of entrepreneurial success available to everyone, we will continue to innovate and prosper.

What makes the author an expert on this topic?

The author has spent nearly his entire life working at the intersection of technology, race, and business.  He emerged from the civil-rights era with an advanced degree in electrical engineering.  He was a pioneering black staff member at the legendary electronics research and development company, Bell Labs.  He left his secure corporate job to start a business in his basement–in the midst of a recession–and developed it into a company that sold products in more than 20 countries.

Who is the intended audience for this book?

Proving Ground should be of great interest to aspiring entrepreneurs, engineers/inventors/technologists, civil-rights and history buffs, and anyone who wonders what it would be like to build their own business from scratch.

Why didn’t you make Proving Ground a how-to book?

Business how-to books abound, many of them written by people who have never started a business.  The author’s goal was to simply tell his story, and by doing so, convey an understanding of his experience.  People will draw different lessons from the book, given their own perspectives and experiences, but most will gain valuable insight.

Where can I buy it?

Autographed copies of the hardcover special edition and the paperback edition of Proving Ground can be purchased directly from  The general trade paperback and e-book editions are available at The E-book edition is also available for the Barnes and Noble Nook reader and for Apple iBooks.

Is the author available for speaking engagements and book signings?

Yes.  To make arrangements please see

If you have additional questions about Proving Ground, please submit them below. They will be answered promptly.

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