Wednesday, December 26, 2012
The Book That Changed My Life In 2012
When I began reading THE SELF-MADE MYTH by Brian Miller and Mike Lapham I initially thought it was going to be another book that just tauted the role of government in our lives. At the time the Presidential campaign was in full force, and President Obama's comment "You didn't build that" was getting alot of attention. I have to admit that even after hearing the context of what the President was saying I thought it was just another swipe at business leaders and their success. As I began the book, I just expected it to be an extension of the message coming out of Washington. Boy was I wrong!
This one book literally caused me to stop and think about my own perceptions about how people like myself "make it", and how they were able to get from point A to point B. It became one of Conversations' Top Books of 2012.
Like many of you I was one of those who was taught that you work hard, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and make things happen for yourself. My family was not on public assistance. I was fortunate to have a mother and step-father who both worked hard and set the model for me. Reading this book, however, gave me another perception of how even I have been able to do some of the things in my own life. The authors help us to see that no man is an island, and though you might have the best ideas and work ethic you are going to need others in order for it to get off the ground and become successful.
One of the best stories in the book comes from Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry's. We are able to see how they were able to start their business with almost half of the money coming from a bank loan and the rest as they say is history. Now that is not to say that banks are always responsible for providing the funds needed to start a business, but without that help they couldn't have began what is now a global brand. Cohen,though, realizes the real source of their success. "Who created the wealth," he asks. "It was really created by our customers and employees,people who worked with us." And there was the big 'light bulb moment' for me. We as business owners and thinkers are nothing without someone to believe in us and what we are presenting.
The book also gets into the issue of taxes and how by paying their fair share those businesses that are doing well are really giving back in a big way to the communities that supports them. Again, another way of looking at what could be a controversial issue for some.
I can't help but think of that famous line in the movie Field of Dreams. "If you build it, they will come." In business that is not always the case. Many people start out with solid business plans and a passion for what they do. That, however, is not enough. This book reminded me that we need the public to invest in our dream and in what we have to offer for it to succeed. I know this has been true as regards to the success of Conversations Media Group. There are lots of radio shows and magazines on the market, but what makes one a winner is the way people rally around it. That's not discounting the importance of hard work. It's just a reminder that more is needed. And that more is the people.
In the end this book helped me to see that we are really all in this together. We need to work together and support each other however we can in order to see the growth and prosperity we say that we want. THE SELF-MADE MYTH is a great component to add in when it comes to just how we move forward, but it is definitely a conversation worth having. I hope you will join the conversation with me in 2013.