James Marshall Reilly
Release Date: December 29, 2011
James Marshall Reilly set out to capture the insights of today’s brightest business and nonprofit leaders. He conducted in-depth interviews with Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), Shawn Fanning (Napster, Rupture, Path), and Jessica Jackley (Kiva, ProFounder), among many others. And he learned that despite their different fields, they’re all using similar tools to seize opportunities and redefine success. Embracing a shift in generational values, these young people share a passion for driving powerful global change while creating sustainable organizations that often blur the old boundaries between business and philanthropy.
To really “make it” these days, according to Reilly, you need to break the old corporate mold, ignore the “rules,” and create your own opportunities. The true game-changers are the men and women starting their own businesses, inventing jobs that didn’t previously exist, and committing themselves fully to attaining astonishing success, however individually defined.
After reading the first few pages of this book I was tempted to set it aside and pretend I’d never started it. James Marshall Reilly pats himself on the back so hard, it is a wonder that his shoulders are not permanently dislocated. (yawn) Move along, please!
It took a bit, but when Reilly gets to the meat of the book- the interviews- the entire feel changes. The interviews are nothing short of astounding. The passion for doing things differently rings true and clear in the words of game changers such as Blake Mycoskie of TOMS and Elizabeth Gore of the UN Foundation.
The thing that stands out about each of the people interviewed is that they did not set out to become wealthy or influential, it happened organically through their individual passions. They took chances and sometimes failed, but rallied to take more chances to embrace what they felt was right.
Granted, not everyone who embraces their passion will become the next multi-millionaire CEO of a revolutionary company. There is a good chance that they won’t….but, there is also a good chance that they will be happy and content. What more can you ask out of life?
My verdict: Read it! I found this book to be informative, interesting and inspirational. I think it should be required reading for every high school senior, as it challenges the notion that you move from high school, to college, to career on a pre-defined and immovable path. I recommend it for anyone (of any age) who is ready to follow their passions.
I’m disappointed that it will not be out in time for holiday gift-giving. I hope that it will become the next Oh, The Places You’ll Go! in the world of graduate gifts.