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What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 [Kindle Edition]

Tina Seelig
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $22.99
Kindle Price: $11.89
You Save: $11.10 (48%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

Major life transitions such as leaving the protected environment of school or starting a new career can be daunting. It is scary to face a wall of choices, knowing that no one is going to tell us whether or not we are making the right decision. There is no clearly delineated path or recipe for success. Even figuring out how and where to start can be a challenge. That is, until now.

As executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Tina Seelig guides her students as they make the difficult transition from the academic environment to the professional world, providing tangible skills and insights that will last a lifetime. Seelig is an entrepreneur, neuroscientist, and popular teacher, and in What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 she shares with us what she offers her students—provocative stories, inspiring advice, and a big dose of humility and humor.

These pages are filled with fascinating examples, from the classroom to the boardroom, of individuals defying expectations, challenging assumptions, and achieving amazing success. Seelig throws out the old rules and provides a new model for reaching our highest potential. We discover how to have a healthy disregard for the impossible, how to recover from failure, and how most problems are remarkable opportunities in disguise.

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 is a much-needed book for everyone looking to make their mark on the world.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Seelig, executive director of the entrepreneurship center at Stanford's School of Engineering, presents a thoughtful, concise set of observations for those making the unsteady transition to adulthood. While the majority of her advice is intended for would-be entrepreneurs, her accessible lessons should come in handy for those in any field, as well as those still trying to decide on a field. Culled from her personal experience as an entrepreneur and teacher, as well as the stories of entrepreneurs and students she knows, Seelig avoids (and at times dissects) cliché and provides informative discussion throughout, despite a narrower focus than readers might expect. A chapter on acknowledging, learning from, and even seeking out failure ("Fail fast and frequently") provides valuable advice and comfort for the fearful, including Seelig's own "failure resumé" (broken into professional, academic and personal failures). The chapter titled "Don't listen to career advice" helps readers avoid the pitfalls of oft-heard, wrong-headed maxims like "follow your passions" and "stick to the plan." Readers will either be relieved or frustrated that Seelig doesn't provide any numbered steps, bullet-pointed recaps or self-assessment quizzes, but she makes the most of her knowledge and authority with a friendly, efficient voice.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Wise, witty and packed with stories of those who are making a difference and some who are making a fortune...The only trouble is that you will need two dozen copies to give to everyone.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 399 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (May 12, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0028MVGZQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,979 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
108 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Wait to Innovate! April 17, 2009
Reorient your brain and body to creativity and innovation!
This book will make you want to become an innovator so bad.

I'm a 20-year-old Stanford sophomore who learned what Tina wished she had known when she was 20.

As a freshman, I took her class "Creativity & Innovation," mainly offered for graduate students. When, on the first day, Tina said "Creativity can be learned," I was skeptical. I simply thought her class would be no different from typical college classes with competitive individuals, problem sets, and grade curves.

The class was given the first assignment to come up with the best and the worst business ideas. My teammates and I were enthusiastic about developing fantastic ideas and scribbled total nonsense for the bad ideas when the time was running out.

I was baffled, however, when Tina ripped up all sheets of paper with the good ideas and gave us the bad idea submitted by another team. The idea was "selling used hypodermic needles." We laughed out loud at how terrible it was until three seconds later when we all turned silent and questioned, "Wait, is this really the worst idea?" We ended up coming up with a really clever plan that involved selling used needles to doctors who need small tissue and blood samples for their experiments. We even felt as if we could start selling used needles right away! Besides learning that it is always worthwhile to question our assumptions, my classmates and I were no longer competitors but awesome business partners!

Tina taught us that there are no bad ideas and how to redefine problems in different ways. In following assignments we got to redesign the cover for a large national magazine (and they even used our idea!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Passion October 30, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
How many times have we heard the expression, "Follow your Bliss" (at least you hear it alot in LA where I live!!) but where is the practicality in that, especially in today's economy?? I thoroughly enjoyed Tina Seelig's wisdom and realistic inspiration throughout "What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20" but especially on this topic. Tina says, "It's important to know whether you're putting energy into something that has the potential to pay off. This is one of life's biggest's always a mammoth challenge to separate your desire to make something work from the reality of the probability that it will work." I have seen that with many career twists and turns before I found the job that utilizes my skills best and is something the world wants and will pay nicely for. Tina's book helps you to look at what isn't working in your career and turn it around to your benefit.
I enjoyed Tina's viewpoint about being practical with risk-taking too while not letting risk restrain your potential.
She says that if you are going to take the high-risk/high reward road, only do so if you're willing to live with all the potential consequences. You should fully prepare for the downside and have a backup plan in place. Tina writes, "Experts in risk management believe you should make decisions based upon the probability of all outcomes.including the best and worst-case scenarios, and be willing to take big risks when you are fully prepared for all eventualities."
If you want a roadmap to a great career looking at the big picture vision without losing sight of necessary practical details and passion along the way, I highly recommend Tina's book.
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140 of 183 people found the following review helpful
Open letter to Professor Seelig:

I picked up your book eagerly when it came out, because I'm a Haas Business School student wishing to make a contribution to this world through entrepreneurship. But I stopped after the first 10 pages or so, and made sure to flip through the rest of the chapters to make sure I wasn't missing out on some big message. I was disappointed.

"What would you do to earn money if all you had was 5 dollars and 2 hours?" Seemingly harmless and interesting experiment, but your example of the "winning" team had me furrowing my brow in disbelief that a Stanford professor would laud this team for rigging restaurant reservations and taking a commission cut as being "innovative" and "creative" thinkers. Are you serious?? Can nobody else see how ridiculous this is?

Umm....hello? It's called SCALPING. Scalping is not a novel, innovative concept. Anyone can do it and earn $600 in two hours - ethical people just choose not to.

Innovative: 0. You can find ticket scalpers anywhere, from crowded sold-out railroad stations of third world countries, to rock concerts. These ticket scalpers are often street kids who don't even have a high school education and are just trying to survive to feed themselves. How is this "creative thinking" by privileged Stanford students?

Unethical: 1. Those unsuspecting people who are outside waiting in line aren't "benefitting" and "happily paying" for a spot, they've been duped out of a spot, and are unfairly waiting in line because these Stanford students took up a fake spot in the first place. That's like creating an anti-virus software company and then creating a virus so that you can make money from your anti-virus software. It's a cruel and meaningless way to make money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking read at any age.
The idea of giving ones self permission to grow and to fail will change my attitudes and thoughts on a daily basis
Published 4 days ago by Denise L Timothy
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every page of it
This is a good book for anyone who is an entrepreneur, designer or enjoys learning new things.

I picked up a bunch of useful tidbits on entrepreneurship, product design... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hemanshu
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful for those who really want to succeed
This book can help anyone who is struggling to find out his/her genuine interest. Author have mentioned good example of how to convert person's interest into profession which can... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Akshay Sahane
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
It's a very good start for who wants to make the difference in the world. For entrepreneurs, everyone who wants to learn more about the spirit of the entrepreneurship. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ericson Sarmento
1.0 out of 5 stars book didn't measure up to Stanford association
I have no doubt the author was a well intentioned educator but the lessons the book teaches are somewhat mislabeled and misguided. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Shu Mi
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful insights
This book offers many great insights for getting the most of your life. I strongly recommend it. It will benefit anyone at any age.
Published 3 months ago by sophia
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and so inspiring!
Everyone should read this book! I certainly wish I read this book when I was 20, but better late than never to be inspired to change your life and to follow your dreams!
Published 3 months ago by jaime
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Great reading. I recommend to all especially young people to take matter in your life. Easy to read and follow. Tina is amazing and inspirational.
Published 4 months ago by Ana B. Campos
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bible for Entrepreneurs
Amazing book, I like how the author gives a concrete example for every concept she talks about.
It's a must if you want to be an entrepreneur and also has very solid life... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Alvaro Ingold
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book!
Great book - This has the exact combination of practical examples along with theoretical information needed. It's very motivational and really interesting. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gil Barr
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More About the Author

Tina Seelig has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford School of Medicine and is the executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, which is the entrepreneurship center at Stanford University's School of Engineering. In addition, Seelig teaches courses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the Department of Management Science and Engineering and in the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University. She frequently speaks and runs workshops for executives in a wide range of disciplines and has written several popular science books for adults and children.

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