Book Review: Daring and Disruptive

Book Review: Daring and Disruptive

At first glance, Lisa Messenger’s book “Daring and Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur” is yet another book in a long line of business self-help books, filled with inspiring stories, embarrassing failures, and eventual triumph. The model is one both Dr. Donnelly and I are well familiar with – it starts with an idea, there are trials and tribulations along the way and eventually ends with the final and most philosophical, and carefully packaged insight to guide you on your way.

After reading that opening paragraph you would think I was about to produce a negative review of the book, which is not the case. Messenger’s prose is short and sweet, and she inventively includes what appear to be hand-painted interludes and excerpts from her diary to illustrate her more salient points. For anyone looking for a quick, and uplifting read about the struggles of entrepreneurship, it is a perfectly suitable book.

Though I am a die-hard romantic, the pessimist in me often struggles with the more inspirational tomes. I think one of the more important lessons I’ve taken from my academic background (and love of literature, honestly) is that you connect with words, and stories, and characters, and writers that resonate with you. And these words might resonate with you and not with someone else. Case in point: I am an unabashed lover of Jane Austen, and though Dr. Donnelly has read and enjoyed her books, does not return to them with the frequency that I do.

The important exercise is continuing to seek out and find these writers and stories, as you constantly grapple with your own self-worth, the power of your idea, the future of your business. We should always seek the voices of others to help us along the way. For reminding me of that, Messenger’s book was quite helpful. Her chapters are short and easily digestible, and given some of the obtuse and inaccessible academic writing I’ve had to swim through, that is always appreciated.

Of her chapters the three that resonated most with me were “Know Your Why,” “Culture Up,” and “Invest in You.” Know your why was an always needed reminder that if we aren’t finding and living out our passion, we will go through work unmotivated, unhappy, and unmoored. Culture up introduced a conversation that Dr. Donnelly and I both believe many more businesses and organizations need to be having, about culture, cross-cultural and cross-generational differences, and knowing your people. And invest in you touched on one of my favorite subjects, self-care. Though I am constantly aware of my own regime, we all need reminders on the necessity of investing in ourselves, our health, our well-being, especially since starting and running a business is one of life’s most draining tasks.

In short, Messenger’s book may not be a book I always return to when I need advice, or comfort, or inspiration, but in my constant work of collecting new voices, and stories, and perspectives, her voice is a refreshing reminder to keep searching, keep listening, and keep learning.



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