Monday, September 08, 2008

Book Review: 1,000 Dollars and an Idea

My computer was incapacitated when I received this book, so I wasn't able to review it as quickly as I would have liked.

That being said, this is everything I look for in a great autobiographical (or even biographical) work.

1,000 Dollars and an Idea flows well from beginning to end (almost too well; I couldn't put it down). Wyly is a billionaire, but by no means does his book come across as "elitist." His "humble beginnings" were primitive by any American's standards, yet he didn't gloss over them or excessively flaunt them.

As an entrepreneur myself (as well as being involved in raising and managing capital), it's my opinion that every entrepreneur should read this book. (As should anyone with dreams of becoming a multi-millionaire.) The book isn't written as a "how-to-" book for billionaires, but nearly every chapter contains an idea, tip, or guide to improve one's business- and personal-life.

There was only one aspect of the book that was distasteful: rather than being informative, in 2 areas he resorted to raw advertising. First, I didn't mind reading that he follows "Christian Science" (I do not) but the prominence he gave it (and to its founder) was annoyingly distracting. The second was the entire last chapter (The Good Earth). I won't go into a point-for-point refutation here, I'd just recommend you do your own research. Having done extensive work for environmental businesses, I do have more than rudimentary knowledge of the need for environmental responsibility and can relate to the fact not enough is being done. While Wyly's description of the problems we face does raise some important issues that need to be dealt with, his overall "call for action" seems based less on reality and more on "Henny Penny," which was rather disappointing.

The epilogue returns to the style of writing I enjoyed, and my overall impression of the book is: 1,000 Dollars and an Idea is one of the few books I will be rereading at least yearly.

No comments: