I really have no idea how I stumbled upon this book, though I’m fairly certain it was through a tweet recommendation from @HeyAmberRae (or this Tumblr Post). The title caught my attention and I pre-ordered it, which I almost never do with books. I guess that shows how great of a book title / premise he chose.
First thought: I wish I read this 10 years ago. Second thought: At least I’m only 25.
This was a book I kept itching to read, whether it was on the go on the Kindle app on my iPod or at home on the iPad, I burned through it.
The book is written in a more conventional sense, meaning that unlike most business books today, it doesn’t have the ADD style of being able to pick it up for 2 minutes, put it down, and be able to come back to it (Josh Kaufman’s Personal MBA is a great example of an ADD style book). This isn’t a slight against the book as the content is phenomenal, but something I noticed. Some people might feel as though some of the writing could be more concise.
What I learned:
Where to start…
One of the signs of reading a good book is that it recommends at least a couple other books that interest me. I think in the course of reading this book I added at least 5 books to my Wish List (and am currently reading The Copywriter’s Handbook).
Sales – Like a lot of people today, I found the education of college a bit overrated and this book further showed me what I missed. In my 4 years at a private college I didn’t have one class on sales. Which is a problem, because as I’ve come to learn–sales is everything. It doesn’t matter if you’re talented if you can’t sell those talents.
The power of networking – This point was beaten in across the book and for good reason-it’s an important one. This also comports with Charlie Hoehn’s advice of doing free work for people after college. If you can genuinely give to the right people, you’ll get far more in return out of it. Ellsberg has several person examples of that. I’ve even had some success after college doing free work to build up experience.
And of course the education of millionaires/billionaires. The interviews with a wide variety of millionaires and billionaires was great. A lot of them had great advice with a consistent theme of “Obsess over self-education, hustle as hard as you can, and see opportunity in everything.”
“There is literally no job too shitty or low-paying for which you won’t get a river of BAs desperately asking you for the work.”
“At any point in your career, you’ll usually be choosing between one path that is safer and one path that has the potential to feel more meaningful to you, between one path that is more certain and one that offers more of a chance for a sense of purpose and heroism. It’s hard to be a hero if there’s no risk involved.”
“That is one of the most powerful things you can give someone, ever: a wake-up call.”
“The happier you are in giving,” self-made multi-entrepreneur Russell Simmons told me, “the more people are excited to be around you. You become ‘sticky.’”
“Give give give. Give give give. Give give give. Give generously within your network, and to people you hope will be in your network one day. Always inquire within yourself, and within your deepest creativity, how you can be of greater service.”
“Understand that no matter what you’re doing, even if you want to be a ballplayer, a rapper, a movie star—nothing happens until something gets sold. Ever.” – Frank Kern
The Verdict: 10/10 – Must Read.
The best time to read this book is when you’re 16. The second by time is now. If you’ve ever fantasized about picking the brain of millionaires and billionaires, there is no other book you want to read. This was one of my favorite reads of the year.
On a side note, this book is the perfect compliment to The Personal MBA. They should come packaged together for anyone debating between college and a start-up.
Connect with me on Twitter: @BenNesvig