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Friday, April 07, 2006

Book Review: You Need To Be A Little Crazy

Just over a month ago a message was left on a blog followed by several emails and then a book came to me so that I could write a review. Completely honored by the author’s request, I jumped at the chance, but quickly realized the conundrum I placed myself in. What if I didn’t like the book? What would I say? Fortunately after reading only the first chapter I realized I wouldn’t have to deal with the possibilities of that problem any longer. I truly loved the book. So here it is, my review of the book “You Need To Be A Little Crazy: The truth about starting and growing your business” by Barry Moltz.

We all have friends of varying degrees in different circles. Some are surface friends that compliment your clothes even when you look atrocious, and some are real friends that tell you when your breath smells or when your zipper is down. To all entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs, Barry Moltz is the latter. He unguardedly tells you exactly how tough it is going to be starting your own business. No candy coating it with what I, what we all, have come to expect from self help / start your own business and rule your own destiny books that line the shelves at the mega book stores. By the end of the first chapter he almost has you believing that you either need to go back to work for fortune the 500 company you left or check yourself into the local mental health institute.
“You need to be a lunatic who has a steadfast long-term belief in her vision – a lunatic who will try anything, ask anyone for everything, and see everyone as a source of help. You also need to be comfortable being alone in your beliefs \because the only thing others will agree with you on is that you are indeed crazy.”
A refreshing change from the psycho-babble of most you can do anything if you just try hard enough and wish on the right star books, Moltz not only deals with the possibility of failure in your small business, but personally guarantees it’s going to happen.
“It is not a question of whether you will fail as an entrepreneur, it is simply a question of when and how. One key to being a happily successful entrepreneur is the way you handle failure. An entrepreneur is defined by how he or she handles failure, not by how he or she handles success.”
So why would you ever want to become an entrepreneur? Why would you face the horror of Moltz’s reality? As he dangles the straight jacket in the doorway to the room with padded walls, he addresses this fact by saying it’s who you are. Not only should you accept it, but you should embrace it. As he helps you into the straight jacket and cinches down the last of the straps he smiles as he locks the door behind you. He smiles because he knows what you are about to go through. He’s been through it himself.

Because of my former profession and many of my readers present involvement in churches, I will make mention that Moltz seems to touch on the topic of faith and its necessary involvement in small business. I couldn’t help but draw comparison after comparison between the words he had written and scripture. The margins of my copy are scribbled with notes to myself about scripture references, concepts of faith and comparisons between entrepreneurs and pastors. Perhaps I was overtly influenced when I read the statement that when he was growing up he wanted to be either a lawyer, the president of IBM or a rabbi. Perhaps I just drew my own conclusions because I wanted to connect dots that weren’t intended to be connected.

Bottom line, if you are starting anything from a bio-tech company to a church to a lemonade stand, this book is a must read. It will challenge your motives as well as your thinking. If you don’t you are a little more than crazy.