Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stupid Ugly Unlucky and Rich

Stupid Ugly Unlucky and Rich
By Richard St. John
(Author's Website)
Train of Thought Arts Inc.
Published: 2005
ISBN-13: 9780973900903
354 pages

Page 229: Experience is just another name for a bunch of mistakes. - Bob Perchat, Chairman, Bell Mobility

The author, Richard St. John, claims that he does not just talk about success. He has achieved it but he does not claim to be an expert on the subject either. What you are about to read in Stupid Ugly Unlucky and Rich contains the findings from his interviews (10 years worth!) with hundreds of successful people. He analyzed every word they said when these people answered his question on what helped them succeed. Are you ready to discover for yourself what leads to success? The author (also a designer, photographer, advertising guy, etc.) came up with this visually pleasing and engaging book. And now please check this out: The Top 8 Success Factors

What I particularly like about this book is the way it is written in a conversational tone. There are two sections to the book. Section A talks about the eight simple and really important things (see above) that anybody can do. Section B goes on to explain to readers to not to waste time on what does not lead to success and debunks the four myths: the smarts myth, the looks myth, the luck myth, and the myth of reaching the top and stop.

As I said earlier, the book is visually pleasing and I took the liberty to extract a sample page from the author's website. It is a square book with interesting graphics (left side) to best depict the point that he wants to bring across. On the opposite page is the text and quotes from the people he interviewed. Those are great quotes, by the way.


One particular section that resonates with me is found under PASSION, Explore Many Paths. Gail Percy, an anthroplogist at the National Geographic Society said, "Try lots of things. Don't stick with it if you don't like it. You can change jobs many times in your life. I've done many, many jobs." I am with her because that is exactly what I did as well. As a result of that exploration, I discovered what I really like to do, what worked and what did not; I made mistakes (that's a whole section on that as well, and it's really OK to make them as long as you learn from them); and found my passion. This not only applies to our career but can be applied to our interests and other areas of our lives. For example, I tried blogging and have been blogging consistently for the past three years. And photography--I love it! Other interests that did not quite work for me was playing the guitar, amongst a host of others. What's important is that you give it a shot.

I would like to share some quotes from the book that are my personal favourites:

Even though I have a good memory, I still write everything down. "The faintest ink is better than the best memory." - Elli Davis, top real estate agent

I don't worry so much about discovering new information, but in connecting existing information in new ways. - Richard Saul Wurman, designer, creator, TED conferences

You've got to first produce garbage to end up with gold. - Richard St. John

You've got to practice. You've got to paint very, very, very hard, every day. And after a while it starts to look like something. - Peter Max, renowned pop artist

Failing doesn't stop you. Quitting stops you. [...] - Gerry Schwartz, CEO, Onex

I highly recommend this. It is fun to read, thought-provoking with a strong call to action. The author has a great sense of humour too. There is also a more compact version of the book (8 To Be Great, 224 pages), in black and white, if you prefer a shorter read. Go ahead and indulge in this.