John Jantsch is well known in the marketing community as the author of the small-business-marketing classic, Duct Tape Marketing.
His latest book, the Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, is something entirely new. It’s philosophical and thought-provoking, yet still highly relevant to the audience of entrepreneurs that he reached with Duct Tape Marketing.
Most of the book is a daily journal of reading and contemplation, with one page for each day of the year, featured passages from authors in the American Transcendentalist movement. The days of the year are organized into “seasons” of entrepreneurship: planning, discovering, evolving, and growing.
Each day’s excerpted passage is followed by Jantsch’s personal commentary, applying the reading to the challenges and dilemmas that we face today. Each entry concludes with a question that you can complete on your own, applying the theme of the day to your daily work.
The resulting combination is both straightforward and profound.
As an example, the entry for October 21 (the day of this post) is titled “Expert on You.” The passage begins with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance:
Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it.
Jantsch’s commentary spins this theme to the entrepreneur. My favorite part is this:
Don’t let anyone tell you that your purpose or idea or dream is the wrong one. You may need to develop a thick skin, but you don’t have to listen. You’re the only expert on you.
Reading this book is like having a thoughtful conversation with a wise friend.
Having read the electronic version, I’ve ordered the physical book, so I can have the tactile satisfaction of revisiting it—opening it to the day, reading the passage, and contemplating my business.
I look forward to spending a year in quiet, thoughtful (albeit virtual) conversations with Jantsch through this book.
3 reasons authors should read this book
I’ve included this in my “books for writers” category for three good reasons:
Reason #1: Authors are de facto entrepreneurs.
Even if you’re traditionally published, you’re at the helm of your author business. If you’re self-published, you are also a indie publisher. The advice here is applicable to authorpreneurs of all kinds.
As Jantsch writes in the introduction,
Being an entrepreneur is as much about who you choose to be as what you choose to do for a living.
Reason #2: The curated quotes are wonderful
Authors love books. Jantsch pulls gems books you may not have visited since college, if at all. I realize now that I didn’t appreciate Thoreau when I read him in college. (What 18-year-old has time for self-reflection?)
Jantsch also introduced me to a few women authors of the period that I did not yet know, for which I am grateful. (I’ve got to read up on Margaret Fuller now.)
Reason #3: Self-reflection is golden
Jantsch’s wisdom and thoughtfulness will encourage you to step back and think about what you’re doing with your books, your writing, and more.
We all need more self-reflection in our lives.