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Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love Paperback – January 13, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
For all the corporate drones who feel drained and devalued by their jobs and long to pursue their passions, Fields, a high-powered attorney turned successful entrepreneur, offers a motivational and practical guide to starting your own business. The author tells his own story of corporate disillusionment and physical deterioration (capped by a stress-exacerbated heart attack, which he interpreted as his body literally rejecting his career) to a new life as a fitness entrepreneur. Fields moves beyond self-help rhetoric to proffer helpful, no-nonsense steps for aspiring business owners, acknowledging that career renegades must not only identify their own secret passion but must also translate it into a profitable and sustainable enterprise. In addition to sharing inspirational career renegade cases studies, such as Liv's Story, in which a frustrated artist discovers a profitable niche decorating custom cakes, Fields provides pragmatic strategies for creating a realistic business plan, exploiting technology and employing affordable guerilla marketing. While the author does not spend much time addressing the financial risks, chances of failure or enormous commitment of personal energy and resources involved in entrepreneurship, he does provide an engaging firsthand look at the rewards in doing what you love for a living. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Renegade in the title is appropriate, especially if readers are searching for a traditional career guide, which this is not. Instead, former high-powered New York City lawyer turned serial entrepreneur Fields leans heavily on the 75 percent of employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs. The first part involves discovering one’s secret passion, via a few exercises. What makes the journey with this author worthwhile are his sections on determining the exact work path (yes, via research on the Internet) and on developing a business. The references and ideas will inspire; he also interviews quite a few renewed careerists, whether it’s the tale of the young mother who started the Young Rembrandts franchise or an artist who found her passion in creating edible art through her family-owned Rivera Bakehouse. Part 3 zeroes in on honing online knowledge and creating an authority figure, via such social networks as MySpace or through blogging and word of mouth. --Barbara Jacobs
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Top Customer Reviews
First it will serve as a motivation to all who want to give up the rut we all call a job and move out on their own.
The second benefit is really a step by step guide about how to move out on your own. Not only does Jonathan tell you how, he gives links to hundreds of resources to help you accomplish what you want.
The third valuable benefit is the wisdom that Jonathan shares from his own experiences.
The third benefit is perhaps the most valuable. Under the wisdom he shares, there are two very valuable lessons - either of them worth the price of the book.
The first lesson is how to deal with fear. Here Jonathan gives some extremely good advice. Fear is probably the number one reason most people do not achieve their dreams. His advice is to explore and quantify the fear. Ask what are the consequences of failure, what is the worst case scenario, and examine the results. Often this will put fear in perspective. Then let go of the fear. Do this only once and let go.
Then you need to explore and quantify inaction. What are the results of doing nothing? If "staying the course is going to create a miserable future", that should be an unacceptable alternative. Once you explore and quantify inaction, let go. Again do this only once. What you focus on expands. So only examine the fear and inaction once and then move on.
Then the important part is to stimulate success daily. Again, what we focus on expands. So stimulate success daily. You do this by being clear about what you want, believing you can achieve it and taking focused action.
The other huge lesson is how, when and why to involve others family/friends/mentors in your mission
The last lesson is probably the best advice in the entire book. There is no one person, guru, mentor who can give you the magic formula or set of directions that will work for you. In the final analysis, "no one can stand in your shoes. No one else can take action but you."
Take responsibility for your own life.
Ask yourself this question, "Will this career choice let me spend the greatest amount of time absorbed in the activities and relationships that make me come alive while earning the living I need to live?"
The book is well written and easy to read. If you really wish to change your life, to take charge and put your future in your own hands, this is a great place to start.
Consider this quote from the Introduction:
"It's funny how the corporate grind gets hold of you. By the time you graduate college or grad school, a mountain of debt keeps you locked into a quest to earn as much as possible and pay off your loans. With each year, you earn more and fight your way up the ladder. But then, an odd thing happens.
"You don't ever get free.
"At some point, it dawns on you that the corporate ladder is really more of a treadmill."
Fields goes on to tell his own story of leaving a high-powered law practice to follow his dreams, and of making a great living doing what really made him happy. He wrote:
"... the single greatest thing that stopped me from doing what I loved was the fear that I'd either end up poor or a failure--or both....It's been a dozen years since I made the jump....My goal was three-fold: Make a great living; Love what I did; Be around people I loved....And so I started out on a new path."
Not only was Fields successful in this path, but he uses the book to teach readers how to follow this new path for themselves. This book, published in 2009, is both timely and excellent.
I think the book could be significantly improved by including more traditional ideas and suggestions for entrepreneurs. Perhaps the author felt that these are covered adequately in other books. But anyone reading this should certainly also read the excellent writings of Wallace Wattles, Geoffrey Moore, Jim Collins, Warren Bennis, Guy Kawasaki, Steve Farber, Ken Blanchard, Brady and Woodward, and Seth Godin.
Another reviewer said that the author didn't seem down to earth, and I agree. He seemed out of touch. He's making millions by doing what he loves, which is great for him, but not realistic for me.
He starts by explaining how each particular strategy can work for you, and follows through with real life examples and a list of resources for you to dig deeper on your own. Then, he continues to guide us through the process of marketing our dream, the basics of Internet marketing, and how to use blogs and social media to make our mark in the world and gain influence.
Perhaps the passage of the book that I liked the most is when the author talks about conventional wisdom, and how it gets in the way of identifying opportunity. Learning to defy conventional wisdom (or what others may call "thinking out of the box") is the best way to discover niches that nobody is addressing and that you can turn into a business.
With that frame of mind and the practical tips in this book, you shouldn't have any problem finding work that is at the same time lucrative and fulfilling.