When I was in high school the world seemed to be a blank canvas. I couldn’t wait to make my marks on it. However, as I drifted through my second and third years at St. Norbert College, the canvas changed. The real world was slowly encroaching on my fun. No longer was this metaphorical canvas blank. Rather it had turned into a printed question: “What in the $@*% are you going to do with your life!?!”
Now – for the first time ever – I had to make a life changing decision. Do I go back to Lac du Flambeau and work with my Dad’s company? Relaunch my business? Stay in Green Bay and become a “townie?” Continue onto post-grad education? Or start climbing the corporate ladder in Chicago?
Oh how I wish that during these decisions I could have read Rick Smith’s recent best-selling book, The Leap: How 3 Simple Changes Can Propel Your Career From Good To Great. Who knows where I’d be now if I had been able to spend my senior year reflecting on the thought provoking case studies of this book!
After co-authoring a best selling book resulting in him being left on the street by his employer, Rick Smith was forced to make a change. Was it a drastic one? No, not at first. Like most of the unemployed world, he looked for another job. However unlike the typical jobless executive, he had an extraordinary idea to change his life. Why not get the top executives and world influencers together? They need to network and chat just like the rest of us. World50 was formed. Instant success? Nope. Everyone he knew said it wouldn’t work… except his target market. Nonetheless, one email to a CMO, a positive response and a $50k check later, w50 was in business. Forty-nine others quickly followed suit with $50k checks. Rick Smith had taken the leap. Rick has since worked with the likes of Bono, Alan Greenspan, Francis Ford Coppola and on & on. His knowledge and expertise made this book an eventuality. So without further ado:
Rick Smith was kind enough to send me a copy during his launch event. Don’t worry everyone; this wouldn’t alter my verdict on the book! But it did help bump it to the top of the stack of books on my desk I wanted to read. Even so, I initially was scared off by the addition of the word career in the title. Didn’t I become an entrepreneur to avoid that dreaded 9-5 career thing? Despite the slightly construed title, this book’s content definitely encompasses business owners.
Anyway, I recently finished reading this book and believe me, it’s good. From the countless books I have read on business, professional training and personal development, this ranks in my top 5. That’s a pretty bold statement. (In case you were wondering, my other four recs. would be The Four Hour Work Week; How to Win Friends and Influence People; The Cash Flow Quadrant; & The Secrets of Power Negotiation)
The Good Stuff
Rick Smith has found a way of making a 200-page book on career development and life choices fun to read. I’m not kidding. I started reading it after dinner and closed it – wondering where the time went – just before the airing of the nightly news. My biggest pet peeve is a dry, slow reading book. Fortunately The Leap passes the readability factor for me.
More importantly, the book is extremely thought provoking. I would have cruised through the book in under 3 hours if I hadn’t been constantly scribbling notes and ideas. In fact, I’m still frequently thinking about the case studies days later.
My favorite chronicle in the book is of Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx panty hose. I first heard of Sara in an interview she did about a year or two ago. She discussed the unique stories of the creation and initial sales presentation of Spanx. And from what I know of the formation of her company Rick has done an excellent job detailing her trials and tribulations. Additionally, I enjoy that he equates her startup costs with a two-week vacation to Hawaii. Great symbolism!
Nonetheless, the examples in the book of past successes would be nothing new if he hadn’t continually re-framed them in a comprehensive theme. Rick Smith keeps cohesion mainly through his concept of finding one’s Primary Color. Basically, it’s a concept that helps you find your true life’s goal/path/calling. If you are interested, check out the website to explore your Primary Color, it’s really pretty interesting.
The Bad Stuff
I’m usually pretty critical of business books, but I really can’t complain this time. My only complaint would be the length, or lack there of. I am not saying that the author didn’t cover everything he intended. Not at all! Instead, it was such a fun easy read that I was a little sad when I finished it. I guess I am a bit selfish that way… hehe!
Another downfall that comes to mind; no audio book version! I absolutely love road trips – my iPhone, an audible download and the open road – not the case for The Leap. Hopefully soon!
With the lack of complaints, you can see why this book hopped onto my top 5.
I recommend everybody read this book. Whether you are unhappy with your career path or have embraced a life you absolutely love. I strongly believe everyone will take something positive away from Rick Smith’s book, The Leap: How 3 Simple Changes Can Propel Your Career From Good To Great.
Any of you already read it? What were your thoughts?
Video interview with Rick Smith on Book Blade
The Leap Builder – Cool set of tools for your leap