Every few months I’m contacted by an author/publicist and asked to review their new book. It’s one of my favorite perks about having a semi-popular entrepreneurship blog – they need book reviews so they send me a free book and I get the pleasure of reviewing it. I had one publisher tell me that my blog post generated more sales than their radio campaign, and I take great pride in that. Why am I telling you this? Because the most recent book – If Nobody Loves You Create The Demand by Joel Freeman was one of my favorites. But before I get to that, I want to thank Joel for his personal approach to contacting me.
Most of the time I get sent a mass email from a publishing company essentially saying “Our author just wrote a new book about entrepreneurship, we think your readers would be interested in it, can we send you a copy?” I always say yes, review the book promptly, and send them a thank you note. And that’s great. A few times, particularly in the case of the great book by Barry Moltz, I struck up a conversation with the author and now consider them an acquaintance.
Joel Freeman took the personalized customer service to another level. HE sent me the initial email, HE replied to me, and HE mailed me the book. How do I know – because the envelope had a personal note, his business card had his personal cell hand written in (great technique for personalization by the way), and the book was autographed with a personal message. I received the book Saturday and those touches blew me away. I picked it up Sunday, finished it last night (I’m a real fast reader) and here I am reviewing it today. Anyone who thinks that personalization doesn’t matter should take note of this post: I just spent a few paragraphs endorsing Mr. Freeman as a person BEFORE talking about his book. How much more likely are you to purchase his book now that you know he’s the type of guy who cares to go the extra mile?
On to the book review. Although I am a fast reader, I have to be engaged to not put a book down for hours at a time, and Joel Freeman definitely accomplishes that. It’s hard to say what the book is about: it’s not a marketing book (although I learned some interesting marketing techniques), it’s not a business plan book (although it discussed planning strategies), and it’s not an autobiography (although it covered a lot of Joel’s personal experiences). Essentially it’s a book about being an entrepreneur…the entire scope of being an entrepreneur. It’s a tough thing to do – I try it with this blog – but Mr. Freeman blends every aspect of being an entrepreneur into one. Because it’s not just about career happiness and making a lot of money, becoming an entrepreneur makes you ask the tough questions like: what is the purpose of life? how can I best use my God given talents to improve the world? how will my personal life blend with my business life if I start my own company?
You may never know for sure the answers to those questions. But to be a great entrepreneur you need to grapple with them and come to your own conclusions before embarking on your journey. Those who use their talents to change the world are much more likely to be successful, happy, and rich than those who simply want to make a lot of money. People who chase the money won’t make it in most cases because the focus, determination, passion, and sacrifice that all great entrepreneurs have made is hard to justify if money is your only goal.
Aside from the fact that Freeman quotes The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lews (one of my all-time favorite books), there are two things that I really loved about the book:
- The baseball analogy. I am probably as guilty of this as anyone who ever walked the planet. I want to hit a “home run” with every project I work on. I want to change the world for the better with every second I spend. It’s a great thing, but it doesn’t pay the bills. I’ve reached the same conclusion Dr. Freeman has – spend 70-80% of your time on “singles” and “doubles” and spend the rest of your time swinging for the fences. Most great businesses aren’t home runs, so you don’t want to become Jeremy Burnitz and swing for the fences all day long. Google has been the most successful at adopting this with their 70-20-10 program (70% of your time on core projects, 20% on side projects, and 10% on whatever the hell you want). My partners and I always classify all of our projects in terms of baseball, and I think it’s pretty cool that someone else feels the same way.
- The non-profit factor. Freeman encourages every entrepreneur to form a non profit. The tax benefits help your bottom line, but the good you do for the world will likely outlast the for-profit work you do. Who knows, you might even become the next Bill Gates/Warren Buffet. There’s a reason that those guys are devoting their lives to helping cure disease and poverty – only so much gratification can be had from money. True happiness for those with lots of money does not come from their money. A lesson for every entrepreneur.
Why did I love those two things so much when there are so many other interesting chapters in the book? Because that’s what I/we aspire to be at Pure Adapt. We want to set up the systems and processes so that the “singles” and “doubles” happen without our work, and we can focus on swinging for the fences and giving back to the community. It’s nice to see other entrepreneurs who feel the same way.
I recommend this book to any new and aspiring entrepreneur, or a current entrepreneur looking for some guidance. If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, this book will ask the questions to help you progress. If you do, it will reinvigorate you and provide reassurance that you have chosen the correct path.