Have you noticed that there is a whole new personality and a new way of being to successful entrepreneurship? Just compare the successful entrepreneurs from one hundred years ago and those of today – there is a subtle difference about how Andrew Carnegie built his business and how Larry Page and Sergey Brin built Google.
This new theme of being successful is what James Marshall Reilly (@reillytweet) explores in his book Shake the World: It’s Not About Finding a Job, It’s About Creating a Life. In the opening pages of the book, we find Reilly sitting at the Ben Franklin room at the State Department waiting Hillary Rodham Clinton to speak. As he looks around and banters with other people there he begins to wonder, “How did I end up here?” How does a guy from a no-name school who worked with and represented rock bands end up sitting at the State Department with Nobel Prize winners and Haitian diplomats?
Instead of simply letting the thought go, Reilly takes on a project of actually conducting empirical research and speaking with the young game changers of this generation to find out how they define success, how they got to where they are and can their paths be a template for others.
Shake the World Asks if You Are Willing
When I received the review copy of this book from a publicist and started reading it I was unimpressed. I thought to myself, “Here’s another book that’s trying to create some kind of success roadmap. And another book that’s trying to elevate “young upstart entrepreneurs” and their unique way of being to something few of us are ever going to do. Well, at least this guy has done some kind of research instead of just sharing war stories. I’m going to give it a shot.”
You don’t have to wonder if you can create the same success that these people did – Reilly tells you that you CAN. The question really becomes, are you will to take the same risks, make the same commitments and sacrifices as these people did? And what about those of us who aren’t nineteen anymore and have other responsibilities? How much of the blueprint for success can we follow?
Responding to Ordinary Circumstances in an Extraordinary Way
What I’m seeing inside this book is that responding to ordinary circumstances in an extraordinary way is a signature characteristic of the people Reilly interviewed. That doesn’t strike me as anything new – we can say the same thing for successful entrepreneurs of the past.
What seems to set these folks apart is that they seem to be unencumbered by the negative self-talk, complaining and excuses that so many of us default to when things don’t go our way.
Take Elizabeth McKee, for example. You’ll find her story on page 40. Elizabeth was a student at Texas A&M. When her friend had to quit school because she had a baby, Elizabeth asked herself why there wasn’t a child care facility on campus. The more research she did, the more committed she became to her cause. She went straight to the president and followed all the channels. At the age of 20, she had raised over $320,000 to build the center, hired, fired and supervised contractors and managed to stay in school. Don’t think that Elizabeth was “special” or privileged. She came from a small farm in Texas and was the first woman in her family to attend college. Her plans were to return and run the family farm. But after the child facility experience her interests changed.
What you’ll learn from each of these stories is that it isn’t the circumstance or the person that made the difference in their success, it was the actions they took in response to their circumstances.
What you’ll gain from each of the stories covered in Shake the World is a new way of perceiving your world and a new way of taking control of your life circumstances instead of them controlling you.
It’s Not Too Late For You to Read Shake the World
I know. You’re probably reading this and thinking that this book isn’t for you because you’re not twenty anymore. Not true.
Granted this book is an ideal read for a young person in high school, college or just starting out. Young people will learn that the state of the economy isn’t what drives opportunity – rather it’s the state of your mindset that matters.
Those of us with a few gray hairs will get what the title delivers – our world shaken up a bit. I’m sure that the author intended the title to mean that these people shook the world. What I got out of reading this book is that it’s never too late to shift your mindset about how the world works.
I was inspired by how these people looked at the world and I realized that with a little practice, I can change my mindset as well.
Read Shake the World and see what lessons you can put into practice for your own life and your business.