Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship
by MJ DeMarco
Whenever I am given a book, it immediately goes to the top of my list to review. I was given “Unscripted” as a Christmas gift by one of my colleagues, so naturally I read it next.
The first thing I noticed about this book was the size. At 6”x9” and over 400 pages, this is a large book. The writing is small and the paragraphs are normal (unlike some books where every sentence is given its own paragraph to make the book appear longer), so this book is information-dense. And unlike some of the books I have reviewed, MJ does not tend to repeat himself.
The information contained inside “Unscripted” is not your typical run-of-the-mill business guru advice. Actually, much of what MJ says flies in the face of what might be termed “conventional wisdom”. MJ does not recommend the traditional path of “go to school, get loads of student debt, get a job, pay off the student debt when you’re 50, finally start saving for retirement and hope that compound interest will save you (it won’t), retire at 70, go back to work at 71 because your savings didn’t last, and never live your dreams.” MJ recommends an entirely different approach to life.
MJ’s approach is perfectly summed up in the subtitle to this book, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship”. According to MJ, entrepreneurship is not just about creating some idea, getting investors, and then exiting via IPO. That’s nearly as rare as becoming a pro basketball player. Instead, entrepreneurship is about solving problems. That’s why entrepreneurship is a pursuit. If I had to define the most key point to this book, this would be it. Find a problem to solve that is painful enough that people will pay for the solution. Solve their problems and they will solve your financial needs. It really is that simple.
To say that you want to be an entrepreneur is to say that you want to be a lifelong problem-solver. Entrepreneurship isn’t something you do; it’s something you are. It’s a way of life, a way of approaching the world. Someone can approach a 9-5 job with an entrepreneurial mindset. Or they can leave the 9-5 and approach their own business with an entrepreneurial mindset. The point of the matter is that entrepreneurs don’t see problems. Instead, they see opportunities. If you find yourself or someone else saying things like: “This sucks…” or “I hate…” or “I wish…”, then you can often identify an opportunity, a problem to be solved and money to be made.
I really liked that MJ gave practical advice as to how to identify and take advantage of opportunities. He mixed in stories and examples, which made the dense material easier to digest. Although I will say that there is so much information packed into this book that it would take multiple readings to really get it all.
The one difficulty I had with this book was the number of acronyms. MJ uses a lot of acronyms throughout the book. I eventually started writing them down on a separate piece of paper to keep track of them. The acronyms aren’t frivolous, though. They are useful for describing the concepts in this book. Just realize that there are a lot of them.
Overall, this is one to read, especially for those who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey or those who simply want to. This is definitely one of the more valuable books I have and I will be reading it again very soon.
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