Printed 1/8/12 Book review
As I’m in the process of setting up my own small business, I thoroughly enjoyed David Neenan’s book No Excuses with its compelling subtitle ‘Take Responsibility for Your Own Success’.
In an eloquent way he points out how we have choices that are often induced by major perturbations in our lives. We usually experience a number of these life altering events and they mostly create an opening for paradigm shifts. David takes an existentialist’s point of view and he turns the challenging words of Albert Camus,” Man is condemned to be free” into one of his main personal values. The author provides interesting details on the subjects he uses as an analogy to clarify his message. The book is written in a pleasant down to earth style and is a worthwhile read.
What it takes to build wealth and what leads to change are addressed in both a general and a personal way. David starts out by describing how he got into the position of becoming a business guru in the first place. Founding “Business and You, ” a sort of self-help for business owners was the very last thing on his mind when he started his business journey.
One key decision he made was based on the lack of decision by his father that led to disaster in his family of origin. The experience in childhood made David determined to never give up. Inspite of obvious odds against sustaining his self-built construction business, he saved his company and avoided having to file for bankruptcy.
By doing so he helped his employees to be able to go on feeding their families and also in the process he became famous for his problem solving abilities that he based on lateral thinking. When something goes wrong approach the problem from a so far unused angle. Have the courage to be different and keep believing in it he says.
I like how he makes place in his story for his wife and daughters, pointing out how much and what they mean to him. So far he seems to have found a good balance between his intimate relationships acknowledging that everyone is a separate and autonomous person but making sure their individual universes encounter an overlap on a regular basis. He doesn’t put an emphasis on this aspect of his life in his book, but it somehow stood out for me.
David is a knowledgeable business person and it struck me as pleasant to find that, even though, he has been in the heart of where the business happens, he somehow was pulled, directed or guided to this newer way of seeing things: a whole person approach which not only deals with not only what we do but gives “who we are” an important say in the process of living–as well the place it so deserves. I personally used to associate business people like David with profit oriented attitudes, misleading sales pitches, and slick and minor commitments, small print and official documents. David quotes the Chinese proverb, “the long road is the short road.” In other words there is only one way the path of integrity.
No Excuses is such an honest report and a positive approach that I would encourage David to revise the last two chapters as their tone is a bit different, their content more scattered. It feels like he as an author hasn’t been able to take that step back to create a reader-oriented report.
I recommend this book for any person who is interested in personal growth, memoirs and such, but it is especially soothing to the entrepreneur’s soul and contains valuable information about learning to integrate business and life.