Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Review-- Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters by +Jon Acuff .

I saw this book discussed on twitter as one you will find in the business section of your local bookstore.  I can see why, although it is certainly broader in topic than just business.  It is both motivational in tone as well as practical with steps to get started with work-that-matters.  I really enjoyed reading it and have recommended it to several people since it came out in April.    

Some of my favorite points and quotes:
1. "Fear is schizophrenic--it always tries to argue both sides of the coin. It will tell you you can't chase your dream, or that if you do, it must be perfect."  Or fear will say "It's too late to chase your dream" and "You should chase your dream later." 

This is a really good point--that not only is procrastination often fear-based, but so is trying to do everything right now and perfect.  The reason fear is addressed in a book talking about doing work that matters, is that Acuff tries to put into perspective how to achieve meaningful things over the long term.  He talks about taking small steps now (starting) and knowing they grow into bigger things later.  And no-it's not too late to chase after meaningful work. He points out that in 2011, 20 percent of new entrepreneurs were between the ages of 55 and 64.  He also emphasizes that the internet and social media break down many barriers that existed for previous generations.

2. "You have to be brutally realistic about your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future circumstances." 
Acuff makes a good point about needing to be realistic about where you are.  Dreaming is not permission to abandon responsibilities to "chase after your dream."  He encourages you to be brutally honest about your finances, your family, your education, etc.  But be a starter--the only thing you are completely in control of is the starting line.  Take small steps to move toward the dream.  Be unrealistically optimistic about the future because no one knows how things will end.  You don't control the outcome, only the start.

I highly recommend this book.  I don't usually read books from the business section, but it is much broader in content and focus.  His writing style is also easy to read with many funny anecdotes and personal stories that add to the meaning he conveys.  This would be a great graduation or Father's Day gift since those holidays are coming up!