Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Two Books to Read: Six Degrees of Connection & Making Ideas Happen

In the past few months two people I know and respect have become first-time authors. Liz Dow has recently published Six Degrees of Connection: How to Unlock Your Leadership Potential, a book focused on the common characteristics of "Connectors." After degrees from Cornell and Wharton and a successful run in corporate America, Liz gave up the rat race to become the CEO of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia. LEADERSHIP's mission is to mobilize and connect the talent of the private sector to serve the community. Scott Belsky is in the process of publishing Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, focused on the importance of execution when it comes to ideas. I guess you would describe Scott as the Harvard Business School and Cornell graduate with a great finance career who decided instead to found and run his own company (Behance). The truth is, in both cases the (stellar) resumes do not do the person justice - Liz and Scott are passionate, intelligent, creative people.... perhaps most admirable to me is that they don't sit around and wait for the world, they act.

But this is more than just a plug for these books - both Liz and Scott have in their own way inspired me to create The 52 Week Project. Through a variety of thought-provoking emails, Liz helped me remember how much I enjoyed writing, and encouraged me to find my voice. And about a year ago I caught up with Scott and ran him through a series of my ideas. Prior to this conversation my mentality had been: how do I decide if and when to quit my job and pursue an idea of mine? In other words, it was binary: job or idea. He suggested a more flexible (and realistic approach): putting aside a set amount of resources - primarily time and money - to develop ideas. This helped me realize there can be a middle ground. It wasn't until I internalized both my desire to write and my willingness to devote time outside of work to a very different kind of endeavor that I was able to jump into The 52 Week Project.

Both books are available for purchase on Amazon - I encourage you to click on the book links to the right (scroll through the carousel and you can find each cover), and purchase a copy of either or both of these books. I'm confident you will not be disappointed.

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