Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Creating A Bu$iness You’ll Love: Top Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets

Toward the end of 2011, I received a copy of a new book in the mail. The book was Creating A Bu$iness You’ll Love: Top Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets edited by Mark Chimsky-Lustig. The book features essays from a wide array of entrepreneurs including Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, and Craig Newmark of Craigslist. One entrepreneur on the cover of this book caught my eye in particular though—Jake Harriman of Nuru International.

I’d like to give a review of this book that was completely unbiased, but because I know Jake fairly well, that will be a bit difficult. So I’m balancing this post between the book as a whole and Jake’s contribution.

As a whole, I was really impressed with the book. The essay authors and their styles vary considerably, and make this book a very enjoyable book to read either as a whole, or by reading an individual essay.  I’d have to say the most creative essay in the book was Tony Hsieh’s “Everything I Know About Business I Learned From Poker”—It was extremely brief, fun, and engaging.

The book consists of several chapters that include a brief author bio and then a short essay about some of the pivotal decisions they made that helped them  to start and grow successful businesses. As I mentioned before, some of the authors include folks like the founders of Starbucks and Craigslist. I think it is wonderful that so many have contributed a nugget of wisdom from their experience as a contribution to this book.

Separate from the book as a whole, I love the fact that this book has given Jake an opportunity to share some of the experiences that served as the engine for what would become Nuru as well as sharing some of the challenges he has overcome in seeing this dream become a reality (including contracting malaria twice, getting struck by lightning, and being attacked by thieves). At the close of his chapter, he offers five practical pieces of advice for anyone who wants to start a business or social enterprise.

One piece of advice in particular that I appreciated was Jake’s suggestion to develop a “getting out of bed” answer. What drives you to get up each morning and do the work that you do? What compels you to push forward. I think the reason that this particular passage struck me is that I believe that this is the key to participating in any endeavor. When times get tough, what is going to motivate you to keep pushing  ahead? What is going to be your reason to not give up, when giving up is the easy route?

There’s a ton more in the book, across all of the essays, and I highly recommend you pick up a copy, and give all of these essays a read. This book would be a great inspiration for pushing your dreams forward and taking them from ideas to reality.

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