Paula’s book review of “The freaks shall inherit the earth” was published in the Spring 2015 issue of the Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, Volume 31. (ISSN 0736-1920)
Below is a copy of Paula’s review of a book that provides new and compelling perspective on entrepreneurship.
The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators, by Chris Brogan. 2014. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 198 pages.
This book, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World
Dominators, answers the question, “How can I do business my way and be successful, when my way of thinking and my goals aren’t in line with conventional thinking?” Bestselling author Chris Brogan, talks to all the people who don’t fit into a traditional career or employment model. He calls them “freaks and weirdos,” but really they are like a lot of us who often don’t fit in without some serious effort, are not big fans of compromising, and are looking for ways for our personalities to be an asset and not a deficit. Rather than being loners, Brogan puts freaks’ need for belonging and for finding a community at the heart of his philosophy. He clearly differentiates between “belonging” and “fitting in.”
For him, belonging is about finding the place where you relax with certainty that the people around you understand you, whereas fitting in requiring hiding or masking what defines you. The universe of freaks is also not limited by age, industry, or even working environment. For example, Brogan includes solo or small business owners as well as “employeepreneurs,” the people with jobs in companies where they are happy and work with the mindset of a business owner. He reminds the employeepreneurs that not everyone, including bosses, share a similar mindset or ambition. Here the important point, according to Brogan, is that “it doesn’t matter.” By simply recognizing that a boss doesn’t necessarily share the same interests or priorities, employeepreneurs still make things happen with their passion and ambition and by doing most of the work. Remaining within the context of his world view, Brogan goes on to illuminate the challenges of defining success, building a business with discipline, managing time, creating structure and systems, and, in more detail, developing the right mindset for reaching goals.
In particular, he focuses on two mindsets essential to moving forward confidence. The first is “success isn’t a destination, it’s a state.” He provides a menu of possible ingredients for a personal success recipe— money, time, fame, achievement, progress, health, serenity, or “add your own.” The second is “falling in love with not knowing.” That is, focusing on the challenge of figuring it out without any shame or guilt from not knowing an answer, trying something and not succeeding, guessing incorrectly, or making a mistake.
Brogan also stresses the importance of communicating and connecting, from building a strong media presence to engaging with people and making them feel “part of the tribe.” He finishes up with a discussion of “When It All Goes Wrong” and provides readers with a 12-point plan for taking action.
This book is right on the mark for this Journal’s readers for broadening our own understanding of the career spectrum and for expanding our ability to help a large number of adults who get marginalized. This ever expanding segment of our society—which I speculate makes up a significant share of our businesses or classrooms—is often underserved by counselors, coaches, and teachers. We can get drawn into helping them “fit in” better, or we can fail to guide them effectively because we don’t know what to do. This book is equally valuable for us as professionals since many of us fit Brogan’s freak mold.
Not all of Brogan’s points are relevant to each reader of this Journal.Yet, as readers are touched by the points that matter to them, Brogan illuminates the issues powerfully. Here are examples.
“The number-one (and frequent) mistake I see most fledgling freaks make is that their business model is flawed—misunderstanding who is the best possible buyer and setting up a business around a buying segment that isn’t interested or able to buy your product or service.” I’d suggest it’s not only fledgling freaks. How many of us, or someone we know, have been swept away by a great idea that turned out to be a product without a market?
Another: “People can have a weird infatuation with not sleeping. Entrepreneurs love to brag about not sleeping.” He points out that sleep is great on many counts and, by the way, brilliant breakthroughs are rare from overtired people. This book is a meaningful addition to the conversation about careers. It offers a framework for giving clients and students hope and a solid foundation for planning and executing their futures, as well as helping us personally to succeed in our businesses and careers.
Much of the power of the book lies in Brogan’s ability to capture things we already know in ways that cause us to stop and pay attention, and to bring old ideas into the foreground as reminders or new perspectives. Being a Brogan entrepreneur requires managing a lot of moving parts. At times, I felt overwhelmed by the information. Also, the level of motivational cheerleading intensifies as the book progresses, although it is finally balanced with a reality check near the end. Readers are cautioned to keep in mind that change is not as easy as it sounds and that they will need to select “take aways” that best fit their own situations.
Reviewed by Paula Asinof, founder of The Yellow Brick Path and co-founder of Coach Academy International.
For more written by Paula and her team, please see the Yellow Brick Path’s authored books section of our site.