Entrepreneurial You: A book review by Bob Morris

Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive
Dorie Clark
Harvard Business Review Press (October 2017)

How to “reap the potent promise of entrepreneurship”

Long ago, Andrew Carnegie hired Napoleon Hill to interview those who were at that time the world’s most successful businessmen. What were their secrets? What did they share in common? Two years later, Hill shared with Carnegie what he learned. He later published The Laws of Success in 1922 and Think and Grow Rich, a bestseller since 1937 when it was first published. More recently, in Think Bigger, John Sonnenfeldt also shares valuable lessons learned from a variety of sources during a 40-year career as an entrepreneur. For example, common wisdom is that the best teacher is experience. “I have found that the best teacher is experience – someone else’s experience . Each and every time, what helped me build multiple businesses (and non-profit organizations, too) was the hard-won advice of other entrepreneurs.”

“This book started when I asked myself a question: What have I learned from my nearly 20 years of intimate connection to some of North America’s most successful and creative entrepreneurs?” Sonnenfeldt is the founder and chairman of Tiger 21, the premier peer-to-peer learning network for high-net-worth first-generation wealth creators in North America and London.

I mention all this by way of creating a context, a frame-of-reference, for Entrepreneurial You in which Dorie Clark shares what she learned from interviews of more than fifty of today’s most successful entrepreneurs. “This book distills the secrets I learned — practical, hands-on advice about how to monetize your expertise and build a sustainable, thriving business in the new economy.” She offers a number of “proven strategies that will help you develop new income streams that leverage the work you’re already doing, and open up new opportunities for freedom and flexibility.”

Clark has had an especially interesting career thus far. Briefly, at age 14, she entered Mary Baldwin College’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted. At 18, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College, and two years later received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Today, after holding several executive positions, she is a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review. Recognized as a “branding expert” by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc. magazine, she is the author of Entrepreneurial You (Harvard Business Review Press,), Reinventing You, and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine and one of the Top 10 Business Books of the Year by Forbes. It was also a Washington Post bestseller. Her books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French, Polish, Korean, and Thai. To learn more about her, visit her website. Be sure to download the free self-assessment workbook.

In this book, she shares with her reader the process by which she completed a transition from a moderately successful but unfulfilling career as an independent marketing consultant to achieving two separate but related career objectives: “to upgrade the clients I worked with to larger companies with bigger budgets; and to extricate myself from the ongoing press of day-to-day client responsibilities and develop a more location-independent business model.”

Think of the material in Entrepreneurial You as the closest and most productive interaction you can have with someone who is superbly qualified to help you resolve the questions you must answer (and only you can) as well as help you think through the issues that must be considered so that you can make the best decisions (and only you can), decisions that are most appropriate to both (a) where you are now and (b) where you want to be within (let’s say) the next 3-5 years.

No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Dorie provides. However, I hope I have indicated why I think so highly of her work, especially her latest book that will prove to be her most valuable — at least thus far — because its material will have the widest and deepest impact.

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