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Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives Hardcover – March 7, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0787988623 ISBN-10: 0787988626 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787988626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787988623
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This well thought-out, inspirational book is designed to help people creatively construct their best lives "through opportunity, recognition, innovation and action." Experienced entrepreneurs with backgrounds in education, Gergen and Vanourek interviewed 55 individuals who have applied successful business lessons to their personal lives and extracted a number of hands-on lessons for their readers: if you discover your "core identity," learn to recognize opportunities, develop a "life vision" and set clear, purposeful, achievable-but challenging-goals, you too can have an extraordinary life, they claim. While the book's content is standard inspirational fare, the authors have given it a spin that effectively taps into modern day work trends and language and taken their thinking beyond the surface level of many books of this kind. They balance specific advice, such as stumbling blocks to avoid when setting goals, with big ideas concerning "untethering from traditional careers," authenticity and integration. Despite occasionally lapsing into a paternalistic tone, they sprinkle enough juicy first-person accounts throughout their chapters to keep their maxims alive.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"The real question is not how to just make a living, but how to make a life. Life Entrepreneurs helps all who are struggling to integrate money and meaning in their careers to do just that."--Dr. Mark S. Albion, New York Times best-selling author, Making a Life, Making a Living®, and True to Yourself

"Like jazz musicians, good entrepreneurs improvise, finding the roads less traveled. Life Entrepreneurs does a great job of capturing this spirit and sharing valuable lessons for work and life."--Gary Erickson, owner/founder, Clif Bar & Company, and author of Raising The Bar

"In Life Entrepreneurs, Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek address the central issue of every emerging leader, ‘How can I design my life to be both fulfilling and significant?’ Through the life stories of many entrepreneurs who are impacting the world in dramatic ways, this compelling and refreshing new book provides deep insights that make it a must-read for all of us to use on our own journeys."--Bill George, author, True North and Authentic Leadership, former chairman and CEO, Medtronic

"At last, a powerful guide to integrating life, work, purpose, and work-life balance, one of the greatest needs of leaders in all three sectors of the emerging work force. Christopher and Gregg bring a new definition, a new clarity to life entrepreneurship that will make a difference in the lives of leaders at every level. A great gift."--Frances Hesselbein, chairman, Leader to Leader

"Business leaders and entrepreneurs alike will greatly benefit from Life Entrepreneurs. It captures the essential qualities of leadership including finding a worthy path, being willing to fail, and taking courageous action. I highly recommend it."--Howard Schultz, Chairman, Starbucks Coffee Company

"This is provocative reading for all those committed to creating a life of significance and meaning. Filled with helpful strategies and hopeful stories, Life Entrepreneurs is an intriguing, challenging guide for the next generation of leaders."--Wendy Kopp, president and founder of Teach for America


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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It's easy to follow and well thought out.
William Young
So most importantly, this book dares and inspires us to reflect on our current life paths, take some chances and live a life that ,above all, is true to ourselves.
Miguel Brookes
Inspirational and practical so not only will you decide to get moving, you will know exactly what you need to do to get started!
A. Fuller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book based on all of the great reviews. Overall, I found it to be somewhat bland and uninspiring. While there were plenty of great stories of individuals making great accomplishments in the midst of adversity and faced with tough choices, the way the book was written took the energy out of it.
There were dozens and dozens of famous quotes, sometimes several per chapter. On top of the famous quotes, there were several excerpts from other books and authors peppered heavily throughout each chapter. Sometimes it just felt the authors were too lazy to express ideas in their own words so they just borrowed them from other authors. There are a lot of exercises included that are supposed to help you dig deeper inside of yourself to find your true purpose and your core identity. The exercises were probably the most useful part of the book, but not enough to make the rest of the book seem interesting.
All in all, I did not find anything new or profound in the book. Just a bunch of life stories chopped up and stirred into a text full of famous quotes, excerpts from other books, with a little writing that ties it all together in a somewhat bland manner.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Lightfoot on April 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Some of the most useful leadership/management books have been research driven and then provided a framework for changing behavior and results. Good to Great comes to mind as one of the best of the bunch.

Life Entrepreneurs does the same thing, but instead of doing it for your business, you'll be doing it for yourself.

This is a great book if you want to take charge of your life and get more reward and meaning out of it.

Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andrew R. Skotzko on June 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Life Entrepreneurs is a powerful book. I was fortunate to encounter this book at a turning point in my life, and it's with complete sincerity I attest that this book changed the course of my life: Gergen and Vanourek's work inspired me to follow my dreams after graduating from college and travel abroad for a year, rather than giving in to the societal pressure to get a job and take the typical post-grad path. I am eternally grateful to the authors and this book for the positive influence it's made in my life.

This book will inspire you to be your own person and write YOUR story -- not someone else's. Get this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Cook on January 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Life Entrepreneurship is really unlike any book I have ever read. The content of the book closely resembles a course I took on "Visionary Leadership", in which the prospect of mapping out your values, purpose, and vision for your life will add great meaning, depth, and "success" in your life. However, the book goes further - challenging the reader to gaze inward to really understand exactly what your values and purpose are. This level of introspection is not for the light-hearted! I cannot recommend the average person read this book. However, if you are one of the few (and lucky) self-actualized individuals out there - this book is very powerful and very thought provoking. My whole concept of success, purpose, and meaning were peeled back like an onion - to the point at which I am literally trying to redefine what is important to me and how I want to live my life. Life Entrepreneurs is more of a compass than a map - it shows you the direction but it is up to you to have the courage to follow through. Most of us take on jobs and responsibilities that we thought we needed in order to live a life that we ended up not wanting in the first place. This book allows the possibility of breaking those chains and living the life you were meant to live. Deeply inspiring, deeply moving - I finished the book only to turn back to page 1 and start again.

I think many of us end of living lives not of our own choosing, but rather the one based upon what circumstances life has given us. If you are walking down the road of life and wondering how you can get back to the dreams and happiness of your youth by reinserting meaning and purpose into life - this is the book for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George Johnson on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I felt like I was reading my life story when I read Life Entrepreneurs. Sometimes as an entrepreneur you feel a little, well more than a little, crazy. It was great to read all of these stories of other entrepreneurs who are ,well, crazy like me. I couldn't suggest this book more for anyone interested in becoming a Life Entrepreneur or learning about the life of one.
The book is well researched and filled with practical suggestions, buy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Petrilli on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Everyone I know is looking for more balance in their lives: balance between work and home; between adventure and serenity; between individual growth and community connection.

In this inspiring yet down-to-Earth book, Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek introduce us to dozens of people who have struck the right balance in their own lives. What they offer is not a formula but a foundation for our own quests.

These are people defined not so much by their jobs (though they tend to have pretty cool jobs, for sure), but by their unique approaches to life. Simply put, they make their lives extraordinary. And now, the rest of us can too.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Welch on March 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Length: 2:18 Mins
Student and entrepreneur
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miguel Brookes on June 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book challenges you to live the life you want to live, even if you don't know it yet. A life without regrets. It instills confidence, inspires and guides you to make a seemingly daunting task very real, within reach. It does not presume to define an extraordinary life, but rather helps us in our efforts to define it for ourselves. The examples within of ordinary people discovering and living their own extraordinary lives are diverse in nature, and bring the book very much down to earth. Gregg and Chris show true understanding of the pressures we all face that influence our life decisions. So most importantly, this book dares and inspires us to reflect on our current life paths, take some chances and live a life that ,above all, is true to ourselves. While never claiming this to be easy, it is certainly possible and so, so very worthwhile. I recommend this book to anyone that needs reminding of that, or simply some motivation and guidance to make it happen.
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