Why I Wrote This Book
Think you have at least one good book in you before finishing your real-life epilogue? Of course you do…you, me and millions of other author wannabes.
Before rushing into it, however, you would do well to check your motivation and your material. So I asked myself, “What would motivate me to birth a tar baby affectionately known as ‘My Book’ for the next year or two?” Make that three.
My singularly sufficient motivator was the deathbed promise I made to my father in 1991 to write the book he never got around to. While mustering motivation and archiving material, Pop ran out of time. The gold watch my father received from Sears & Roebuck the previous year stopped ticking when he was 60 years young. Three weeks later, his only son turned 35 and feels like he’s been aging in dog years ever since.
Material? Oh sure, lots of it. Been up in your attic lately? That’s how your book material looks at the beginning of the birthing process.
Mind you, I’ve been a lost ball in high tech weeds since joining IBM’s white shirt army in 1978. My contemporaries are Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, for crying out loud!
Thankfully, things got a bit less challenging when their children’s generation came online. Yeah right. You know, pikers like Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Seriously? These kids give every day billionaires inferiority complexes. What could I possibly say to a generation that defines success with a capital “B” and has every word ever written a mere click away?
“So What?” and “Who Cares?”
Two of the most illuminating questions I’ve found at the intersection of business and life are, “So what?” and “Who cares?” These questions have become the governor on my penchant for espousing profundities that mean little to anyone beyond the man in the mirror. So, while cradling my tar baby along with your favorite Starbucks venti, know that every word to follow has passed through the “So what?” and “Who cares?” filter.
We should probably put that filter to the test from the get-go. Know that I bring some strong biases into this project. I sincerely believe that everyone would benefit from experiencing the following at least once in their lifetime:
(a) Starting, owning and operating a business (for at least 2 years);
(b) Getting fired from a job and
(c) Spending the night in jail.
If you’ve already hit this trifecta, you might conserve your ammo and just download a copy of Brad Stone’s fascinating book, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. It’s a great read and I’m sure Jeff would appreciate your business. Otherwise, check your mouthpiece and cinch up your gloves, because we won’t be pulling any punches, though I sure wish I had on that fateful day in 2001.
If you’re looking for another “How I succeeded in business and you can too” book, well, keep looking. My first book will likely disappoint you. It took me 27 years to complete this project, partly because I falsely believed that without a substantial business empire platform to stand upon, I had nothing worthwhile to say. I’ve come to believe just the opposite. My answers to the “So what?” and “Who cares?” questions have come at great cost on the battlefields of life and business. As such, they have “been tried as silver is tried” (Psalm 66:10). I now have the good fortune of sharing some of the lessons learned along the way.
Just prior to starting this little writing project, our humble enterprise known as Ambassador Solutions celebrated its 25th anniversary on April 1, 2014. In 2009, we “celebrated” our twentieth in the depths of The Great Recession. By God’s grace, that marked the only money-losing year in our company’s history. That also marked our second near-death corporate experience; 2001 was the first. The latter has been orders of magnitude more difficult to recover from. But recovering we are, albeit in a new fast and light condition.
While I’ve been in business my entire adult life and learned much about the business of life from it, I’ve not allowed my business to be my life. To which my lovely bride says, “Really? What about all those lost evenings spent brooding over deals gone bad and opportunities lost? What about all that whining over not being able to catch a break if it was dropped in your lap? What about all those ungrateful employees who just didn’t seem to get it…whatever IT was at the time?”
Ouch. The lady has a point.
Okay, so let me dial-back a bit and distinguish how I have wanted to view my business versus how I have actually viewed my business. Over the last quarter century plus, I’ve spent way too much time and energy acting as if my business was my life. I hope this book helps balance the scales. There really was much more than just business going on during those years. In the end, the reader will be judge and jury regarding the value of the resulting wisdom contained herein.
With that, all please rise. The court of reader opinion is now in session. Please ignore anything that cannot pass through your personal “So what?” and “Who cares?“ filter. If you neither get it nor care to, the fault is mine, not yours…move on. If something in my story connects to a dot in yours, I would be deeply grateful to hear about it. On the flipside, if I offend you in any way, I beg your forgiveness in advance and would be equally grateful to hear from you. I’m serious about both; in case you missed it, my full contact information is included at the front of this book. In the end, if something of what I’ve learned about the business of life enhances yours, it will have been worth the birthing process.
“My Book” is now yours.