Short essays by Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., the author of TING AND I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published in September 2011 by Outskirts Press (Parker, CO, USA), available from outskirtspress.com/tingandi, Barnes and Noble [bn.com], and Amazon [amazon.com], in paperback or ebook formats. Please visit us at tingandi.com for more information.
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Review of THE LIFE OF AN ENTREPRENEUR IN 90 PAGES
Be Careful What You Wish for
If you want to become a successful entrepreneur,
really successful, then this fine book is for you.
The authors call our attention near the beginning
to a video, “The Life of an Entrepreneur in 90 Seconds,” which went flu-viral
(millions of viewings). It starts with entrepreneur Patrick Bet-David getting
into his beautiful sports car (not being a big fan of cars, I don’t know which
one), and encouraging the viewers that they can become highly successful
entrepreneurs, and enjoy the perks, but “what most don’t see, is what they’ve
overcome. All the struggles, the daily rejections, the heart aches, the
betrayals, the rumors, the criticism, the empty bank account, and all those
lonely nights while trying to make the vision a reality.”
That viral video inspired the follow-up book about
the life of the entrepreneur, in 90 pages rather than 90 seconds, and it is a
fine, inspiring, informative read. Here are the major elements:
THE TRUTH: Don’t fool yourself. You are where you
are largely because of your own choices. If you want big success, you will need
to make big changes.
VISION: Yogi Berra told us if you don’t know where
you are going, you’ll never get there. A vision keeps you motivated, keeps you
on course. Make it one that is worth the effort you will expend.
COMMITMENT: To reach your goals, you will have to
be committed. In a ham-and-egg sandwich, the hen is involved, but the pig is
committed. Well, you’ll need “skin in the game,” but probably won’t give your
life. Or will you?
Cellist Yoyo Ma started practicing at five years of
age. Author Malcolm Gladwell gives examples of winners who invested 10,000
hours or more to achieve exceptional proficiency. These authors regard the
40-hour week as “part-time” for entrepreneurs, and those who are “all-in” work
100+ hours per week. As Steve Jobs commented, it isn’t work if you love it. Do
RESILIENCY. Winners make it through the School of
Hard Knocks by bouncing back when disaster strikes. General George Washington
weathered Valley Forge and got to accept British Lord Cornwallis’s surrender at
Yorktown. Phenomenal driver of race cars Al Unser, Jr., suffered many losses
before surpassing the racing record of his famous dad.
VALIDATION: Incentives incent. You need to keep
track of your little victories. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and crew started with a
bell that rang each time they made a sale; they turned it off when it didn’t
DRIFT OR DRIVE: You can go with the flow or you can
paddle against it. Not always clear which is wisest, but to make a big impact, you
will probably have to drive hard and fast and sometimes against stiff head
Fine book. Well worth reading.
And yet…I advised my son, as I advise myself, to “optimize
the life, not the career.” We don’t know what lives these prominent
entrepreneurs would have had if they had taken another route, and we don’t know
what lives they have now, in fact, other than what they choose to show us. They
probably are happier having done this, but would we be, if we followed their
advice yet achieved much less? The winners of a lottery can tell us how they
picked their numbers, but if we mimic that, we still are unlikely to win. These
winners were not merely lucky, but many others have probably invested much the
same effort without such spectacular results.
When I was finishing Basic Training in the Army in
the Vietnam War era, I was among a select group invited to view a recruiting
film to induce us draftees to enlist for an extra year, go to Officer Candidate
School, and get the gold bars of a Second Lieutenant. The movie closed with the
line, “Don’t go to Officer Candidate School unless these gold bars mean more to
you than anything else in life.” They did not.
One can admire those who chose to take a certain
path without deciding to imitate them. ### My latest book is Write Your Book with Me. I help others write and publish their books; see my site http://WriteYourBookwithMe.com