This latest work by Lisa Messenger is an engaging, spirited, and rollicking kind of read. Once I got started I read the majority of it at high speed. But that’s not to say that I didn’t approach this book without trepidation.
Well, that’s to say – when I saw it in bookshops. I walked past this book on display cases in bookstores in airports much of this year. And every time I did, a little bit of me sighed and thought, here we go another wanky women’s yay for us being awesome entrepreneurs books. The cover smacked of Women’s Day and just didn’t sing to me.
Man was I fucking wrong about this book.
It may be because I’m growing my Pixie. It may be because I read the majority of this book in a hot bath after smashing my way to 3rd place at Startup Weekend, and was grappling with two companies and not one by Monday. But whatever it was, I came to the conclusion that this woman is a sister and I need to coffee with her.
(I have actually written to Lisa because of this book. I wrote to her as soon as I put the book down, in actual fact.)
Daring and Disruptive is not a wanky book. It’s a fast, high-level view of the life of an entrepreneur. And if you’re an entrepreneur, this book will sing to you. It doesn’t talk about raising kids, or balancing your fucking housework like many unfortunately do. This book is the hard-and-fast reality of taking risks, living a life that isn’t all peaches and cream, and doing cool shit anyway. It’s a book that includes the failure and the difficulty.
In particular there are some tight lessons in this book for anyone on a similar path. Lessons about risk, validation, failing, persistence, and what happens when big shit happens in a small space of time. There are also some nice lessons here about using thought experiments to get past difficult things like what I now call ‘entrepreneurial anxiety’.
Don’t learn the lessons yourself: Learn them from others and move on quickly and more easily.
The design of this book reminded me of those other women’s books, filled with scrawly handwriting and fancy things, and I am just not that market. It’s pretty, the layout is reasonable, and the typesetting gave my thumbs margin space so the margins nerd in me is happy.
But I’m the woman who reads Blue Ocean Strategy and S+B magazine for fun. I’m the woman whose house is dusty and needs a good clean, and really struggles with just putting shit away. I’m not your usual chick: Riot’s Crimson Storm from Thundersteel is my pre-presentation power song. I might be a dancer but I sure as hell don’t gel with all those things that seem to make other ladies (wild generalisation – sorry not sorry if you choose to be offended) think that it’s friendly.
Lisa Messenger is a tough cookie, and has a spirit with which few people are endowed. She’s a risk taker, and willing to take a punt on things that terrify most hardened business people. But she has a spirit of using business for good, and as an entrepreneur who is also on that road, it’s good to learn about the people who go ahead of you.
Also, I’m pleased to say, that this was such a good read that I smashed it in about two days. I went to sleep with the book open, trying desperately to stay awake to finish those last ten pages.
Gripes? Sure, there are some. Like with the majority of books in the 21st century, where editing is an after thought and not a value, it’s not cleanly edited: There are copyediting errors, there is duplication in one or two places, and some of the grammar caused my inner editor to suck in her breath. It’s not much, but as someone whose primary profession has been editing, it’s enough to lose me in a lesser book. Just as well Ms Messenger has style!
If you’re a sucker for a good entrepreneurial read, especially in the style of Richard Branson, this is one for you. And if the girly bits annoy you, just turn past them like I did. They’re so minor that you’ll forgive it and move on.
Daring & Disruptive by Lisa Messenger is published by The Messenger Group. Get your copy at Dymocks.*
*Disclaimer: This book was provided by Dymocks for me to review as an independent critic; this is not pay for play. Just because I got the book to review is not reason enough to enjoy the book – it did that to me all on its own. Give Dymocks your cash though, cos they’re an Aussie business that deserves your support… if you can find the book on their site.