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What I’m Reading: The Start-Up of You (Pt. 3-Pursue Breakout Opportunities.)

Alternate title of this post:

More from The Start-Up of You: #slowestreaderever

I read books slowly. Some books. Others, I breeze through but most books I read, I read slow. The reasons being 1) I take ALOT of notes because it helps my brain to connect the dots. 2) I like to. So there. 3) I sometimes get sidetracked by other books and start reading more than one at a time.

I’m still reading the Start-Up Of You By Ried Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. And If you can’t tell by the other two posts (Here and Here) I’ve written about this book, I like it. The chapter I’m in now is titled, “Pursue Breakout Opportunities.” The Big Idea of this chapter: Success begins with opportunities. Seeking them out, recognizing them, acting on them. This chapter stood out in my mind because these same principles apply to business and creativity.

Some ideas, favorite quotes, and my thoughts from this chapter:

The idea of serendipity:
Pg. 151 “Winning the lottery is blind luck. Serendipity involves being alert to a potential opportunity and acting on it. Still, even if you’re curious and alert, opportunities won’t just fall into your lap. Almost every case of serendipity involves doing something.”

After that quote, he references back to an earlier story he told about a young George Clooney moving to Hollywood from Kentucky, like so many others, in hopes of becoming a star. But he didn’t just sit around, He was auditioning non-stop, playing in bad movies, looking for a breakout opportunity. That’s when he got wind of a show in the works called E.R. He didn’t wait for them to call him, he called the executive producer and let them know that he wasn’t going to let any other actor have that lead role. He auditioned and got the part. Because of the momentum from that opportunity, soon after that came Oceans Eleven and now he’s George Freaking Clooney.

Pretty cool how momentum works. Your doing stuff and doing stuff and doing stuff and it seems like forever. Then when that opportunity comes along, and your paying attention and you act on it, things seem to happen a lot faster after that. It’s like a snowball rolling down the hill collecting snow as it goes. The farther it rolls down the hill, the more snow it collects with each turn. Clooney wasn’t an over night success but it looks like it unless you pay attention to the hustle.

The Idea of Courting Randomness

Love this idea. Sometimes opportunities present themselves when we’re in a random situation that we aren’t usually in. So seek out randomness but give it some direction.

“The best way to ensure that lucky things happen to you is to make sure a lot of things happen.”- Bo Peabody

Connecting to Human Groups

YES! Like real live humans! Connecting with other people is important on so many levels. Hang out with your friends and think stuff up.

“Opportunities do not float like clouds. The are firmly attached to individuals.”

He talks about meeting regularly with friends at a coffee-house to think and dream and talk shop. He tells the story of Benjamin Franklin’s tendencies to round-up friends for regular meet-ups. One of the groups Franklin started, called Junto (“hoon-toe”), birthed ideas such as: public libraries, volunteer fire dept., public hospitals, and the University of Pennsylvania.

“The only thing better than joining groups is starting your own.”

Sometimes just hanging out with friends in a group and talking can bring crazy ideas to life. You might not even be trying, but when we’re in a group full of like-minded people, group creativity can run wild. See for yourself! Start a group and hang out! If it’s good enough for B-Frank, It’s good enough for me šŸ˜‰

“Chance favors the connected mind.”
-Steve Johnson

You can get this book here:


I would recommend it to anyone who wants to shake stuff up and make stuff happen. Especially if you make stuff for a living.

Loving it still. I keep you updated as I continue to plow through šŸ˜‰

Happy Wednesday, guys!

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