Friday Book Review! Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole

Image result for hopping over the rabbit holeGrowing up on Long Island, young Anthony Scaramucci had only one dream: to own his own company. In his book, Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole: How Entrepreneurs Turn Failure into Success, Scaramucci, a hedge fund manager and conservative TV personality, recalls his success in building up his Long Island Newsday paper route through hard work and creativity. He would, for example, get free newspapers from his managers and deliver them to houses that did not subscribe, then follow up with a visit the following day, asking the “nice ladies at the door” if they enjoyed the free paper and would like to subscribe. They often did.


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As Scaramucci explains, he enjoyed receiving the money from the paper route, but his pleasure in building up his route was about much more than money. “I felt proud,” he writes. “Proud of my accomplishment. Proud that I was doing something that served people. Proud that I made people happy.” Yes, he liked the money, he continues, “but more than anything, I loved the sense of pride I felt in building something. Of hustling day-in and day-out to earn my keep. Of being my own boss.”

An Entrepreneurial Blueprint

In Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole, Scaramucci combines colorful and well-described biographical details with how-to advice drawn from the stories that end each chapter. The result is a solid overview of attitudes and approaches that can help entrepreneurs succeed.

The chapter called “An Entrepreneurial Blueprint,” for example, ends with four valuable pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t spend money on the wrong things. Scaramucci describes visiting the offices of a new investment company at the request of a mutual friend. The founder of the company, a highly respected bond trader, leads Scaramucci on a 40-minute tour of the sumptuous offices, with long discussions about the furniture and art collection. When Scaramucci returns to his own offices, he warns his friend that the bond trader will be out of business in one year.

Click here to continue reading to find out the other 3 pieces of advice.

 

Sharpen Your Role as Manager

Show Trust to Earn Trust

Trust is a lot like faith. You can have faith in people only if you don’t try to control their actions, Eric Chester points out in On Fire at Work. The moment you begin to monitor their every move, out goes that faith.

It’s no surprise that many employers don’t really trust their employees. After all, it’s the employer’s business, their department, their division at stake. It’s their butt on the line if something goes wrong.

Trust is the foundational element of any healthy relationship. For the relationship to work, both sides need some independence –– some autonomy –– lest they suffocate from too much smothering.

Where the problem comes in is when leaders want their employees to give their all while doing exactly what they’re told –– no more, no less.

In this day and age, some companies still expect employees to be humbly submissive and overly dependent on their managers’ orders and oversight. The way they see it, employees are like children: watched so they don’t misbehave. Halted in their tracks before they ever make a mistake. Employees arrive late, take long lunches, slack off, don’t care about what’s good for the company, and take every opportunity to exploit any chink in the carefully constructed corporate armor so they can kill time and goof off. Then to top it all off, they leave early if no one’s watching. The way managers see it, they have to crack the whip in order to keep the place from becoming a freewheeling fun fest or a sea of inertia.

Let’s be clear: Employees who behave and act this way do exist. Want them to do the jobs they were hired to do instead of breaking their backs to get the hell out of Dodge? Leaders who are seeking on-fire performance from their employees need to be the ones to lead the charge. They need to show trust in order to earn trust.

On-fire employees –– the kind you’re looking to hire and keep –– are looking for some latitude to make decisions in the workplace. The best companies in the world, in turn, trust and empower those employees to think and act on their own –– everyone wins!

Take the best elements of entrepreneurism –– independence, creativity, passion and a desire to succeed –– and match them with each employee’s day-to-day responsibilities. Then build a workplace environment where all of those employees perform as if it’s their own company. A culture of autonomy involves not just trust from the employer but also accountability from the employee.

It’s a two-way street. Telling employees they can start working in the way that fits them best without providing any guidance or overarching goals is like giving them permission to jump out of a plane without a ‘chute. Cultures that promote autonomy need employees to work toward targeted, concrete objectives –– priorities and deadlines set by the company or manager.

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Review: #AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk

#AskGaryVeeGary Vaynerchuk is the prototypical social-media business success. The son of a wine shop owner, Vaynerchuk started a video blog called Wine Library TV — a quirky discussion about wine by a young man who loved the Jets and spoke about which wines fit best with Lucky Charms. Ten years later, Vaynerchuk is a highly successful social-media entrepreneur and, through his firm VaynerMedia, a sought-after consultant advising Fortune 500 companies. He is also a New York Times best-selling author. And since 2014, he is the host of #AskGaryVee, another YouTube show that, this time, is focused on helping his listeners succeed as entrepreneurs.

He brings that same mandate to his latest book, #AskGaryVee. Based on questions from his viewers, #AskGaryVee is a highly valuable primer on what works in social-media entrepreneurialism and in entrepreneurialism in general. For example, his advice to worry about the top line and not the bottom line when building a business (which aligns with his advice to solopreneurs that “cash is oxygen”) is compelling given Vaynerchuk’s meteoric rise to riches.

Of course, Vaynerchuk is first and foremost a social-media expert, and his concise overview of all the important social-media platforms that exist today is alone worth the price of the book. Another typically illuminating chapter is entitled “Content and Context,” in which he answers questions related to building compelling content and gaining exposure for that content.

For example, one viewer asked him how to get people to engage in a new and small channel. The answer: quality and hustle. “That’s all you can do: put out great content, engage with your tiny audience, and go out and try to get exposure for your content by collaborating or getting press or guest posting on someone else’s platform,” he writes. Many of the questions are quite specific. One viewer asks, for example, if he should avoid doing podcasts or videos because he has an accent. Vaynerchuk points to Google co-founder Sergey Brin and replies that accents should not stop the questioner (adding that if he doesn’t get an audience, it isn’t because of the accent). Another questioner asks whether short or long videos are better; Vaynerchuk answers that it doesn’t matter. He himself broke the commonly accepted “shorter-is-better” rule when he launched WLTV, which consisted of 40-minute videos.

Every chapter in #AskGaryVee is filled with this type of clear-cut, specific advice generated by the questions from his fans.

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