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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
Jonathan Fields, former hedge fund attorney is not like you or me (I ain't no hedge fund manager.) The average person doesn't a ton of money in the bank to take them thru a career change in NY, or a contact list that can circle Manhattan (financial guys are notoriously out of shape, and they'd work out with someone who understands them than some stranger; it's intimadating.) and most people do not have the confidence or the financial means to quit their job, especially when they are married with kids. Most people are uncomfortable with the the amount of risk it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Most businesses fail within a year.
Repeat: contacts are enormously important. At least in this universe.
The average person also doesn't have the business or legal education, the negotiating skills, the manic energy, and the drive to do what Fields did.Not to mention the ability to handle enormous stress. The comeptitive spirit to dominate and win.
I applaud Fields, but he is not average and while the advice in the book is good, it is good only for some people, a rare few. Buy it, read it, and if you are one of those special few, by all means go for it. But don't ever feel like a failure just because you can't achieve what he did.
Whether you want to leave your job and go out on your own or you want to carve your dream job from your current position --this book is for you.
I highly recommend to all of my friends trying to find themselves, in the 'career' sense of the word. Young professionals, recent grads, or anyone looking for a career upgrade get this book.
Career Renegade is not a "You can make millions of dollars sitting by the pool in your underwear" book and it is not a "Somehow the money will find you if you love what you do" book. Rather, it is a book that shows you how there are many, many ways in which you can make a quite decent living out of the knowledge you have - or can get - about things you are passionate about. And, he also shows you how to discover what you are passionate about. Lots of good stories to illustrate his points. For instance, Harlan Kilstein wanted to promote his hypnosis franchise and discovered his love of writing while creating advertising for his venture. He is now also a world-class and well compensated copywriter.
Two things make this a super book and one thing leaves you somewhat hanging.
The first good thing is that Jonathan clearly lays out your situation and why you should do something about it now. You probably have thought quite a bit about the "risk" of breaking out on your own. It is unlikely that you have explicitly considered the "risk" of not doing so. How about years - or decades - of desultory living in uncongenial surroundings and the attendant adverse health factors? He gives you a good framework to do your own analysis. He also shows you the many ways in which you can re-configure your business model around what it is you love anyway. For example, there was the artist who could not make it in the regular art world. So she created her own niche by teaming up with vineyards to paint their fields and sell them to well-heeled tourists who came for wine-tastings. One insight that many will find reassuring is that you don't have to be world-class in your field to make a decent living - you just have to be pretty good and willing to work hard at it.
The second neat thing about the book is that he gives you tons of references and resources. He tells you where you can get excellent copywriting tips. How to find out which the most popular blogs are and what is the protocol for reaching out to a top blogger. What are the social media sites - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc - and how to use them. He shows you how to use the audience-votes-count sites like Digg. Its worth buying the book just for the resource list and tips on how to use them. Do take notes as you go through the chapters. It would have been very useful if there had been an appendix that listed all the resources that he scatters throughout the book.
The thing that sometimes leaves you hanging is that he occasionally makes statements that many readers cannot take action on. For example, on page 98 he recommends that you do an intellectual property search to make sure that no one has already created and protected the idea you want to market. But he does not tell you what this is or how to do it or how much it may cost. He was a good attorney so he perhaps assumed a level of knowledge the average reader does not have. But this is a minor flaw and I suggest that you simply contact him via his website if you need clarification
So, if the thought of spending the next ten years at your job doing what you presently do makes you sick to the gills, run and get this book. Read it. And then TAKE ACTION. He tells you what to do and how to do it. But its pretty useless unless you actually DO it!!