Make No Small Plans: A book review by Bob Morris

Make No Small Plans: Lessons from Thinking Big, Chasing Dreams, and Building CommunityElliott Bisnow, Brett Leve, Jeff Rosenthal, and Jeremy Schwartz
Currency (April 2022)

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.” Henry Ford

I wonder how Elliott Bisnow, Brett Leve, Jeff Rosenthal, and Jeremy Schwartz would have reacted in 2008 had I been able to give each of them a copy of this book, published fourteen years later. They have accomlished so much, usually against prohibitive odds, and are now well-established in the business world.

Which were the greatest challenges the Summit team encountered? It’s in the book.

Which have been the most valuable lessons learned from failure?  It’s in the book.

If possible, what would they have done and not done, knowing then what they know now? It’s probably not in the book. “There are no rear-view mirrors on spaceships.”

Who and/or what had the greatest impact on them while building Summit? Much (not all) of it is in the book.

* * *

There is much to be learned about the Summit team and its values from the book’s chapter titles. These caught my eye:

o “Ready, Fire, Aim” (Chapter 3)
o “Replace Your Weaknesses with a Partner’s Strengths” (5)
o “Mystery Makes History” (10)
o “When You Know How to Listen, Everybody Is a Guru” (13)
o “You Don’t Get Chances, You Take Them” (14)

o “Leaders Don’t Have Followers: Leaders Create Other Leaders” (23)
o “When You Have the Right Idea, It’s Always the Right Time” (31)
o “It’s Not About the Idea. It’s About the Execution” (32)
o “Pressure Makes Diamonds” (36)
o “The Road to Success Is Always Under Construction” (37)

For me, the single greatest value of this book is gained from accompanying Elliott Bisnow, Brett Leve, Jeff Rosenthal, and Jeremy Schwartz during their pre-book journey since 2008. I thoroughly enjoyed the pleasure of their company.

Consider these remarks which can serve both as an introduction to the team and a conclusion to their book:

“If there’s one bedrock conviction underlying everything we do, it’s that the world needs more big thinking — and needs it right now. It needs more seekers, dreamers, risk-takers, and doers. Don’t wait for the ‘right’ moment to take that leap; if you do, it might never come. And the world doesn’t have time for that. We need people dreaming crazy ideas and pushing past their reservations. Now like never before, we need to be radical creators, to protect the planet and to do exponentially more good.

“The world is too big for small plans. So make yours accordingly.”

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