American Dream is one book I was glad to have received, especially with the wave of uncertainty across the globe. The book is simply a compilation of 6 in-depth interviews of leading men and women in diverse industries that have surpassed expectations and gone all the way to building empires that are larger than themselves. As simple as the layout was, the questions covered almost everything about these business moguls and entrepreneurs that would nudge the reader into rising above all inhibiting factors and pursuing success.
The entire eBook is as little as 79 pages. However, it was somehow still able to cover the totality of what the author apparently strived to achieve – proving that the American dream is not dead. The author explained that:
“Life is full of opportunities. But we must have the awareness to see them, the courage to pursue them, and the perseverance to see them through. We will face many setbacks on our journey, but it’s the determination to get back up, after we’ve been knocked down, that will make the difference between success and failure. Although industries will rise and fall, the American Dream is not dead. These interviews serve as proof”
While I am not an American, the entire book still spoke to me as it would to any other reader. It provides hope and certainly causes a thirst for ambition in the minds of the readers. Here is a summarized look at the 6 professionals interviewed by the author in the American Dream.
Peter Mallouk is the president and chief investment officer of Creative Planning and some affiliated companies. Creative Planning provides wealth management services to high net worth clients, manages over $20 billion for clients in all fifty states and abroad, and has been featured twice as the #1 Independent Wealth Management Firm in the United States by CNBC (2014 and 2015). Born to immigrant parents who were big on education, he went through a solid educational path, purchased Creative Planning in 2004, and organically grew it to what it is today. While this may seem typical, he explained some of his challenges. He, however, was able to leverage on the few things he had to getting what he wanted with care and persistence.
Ben Caballero is the #1 real estate professional in the U.S. for 2016 in two categories — number of real estate sales transactions, and cumulative transaction (dollar) volume. He was named Most Innovative Real Estate Agent by Inman News in 2013 and finalist in 2016. He is CEO of HomesUSA.com and is on the board of directors of the Greater Metro MLS, MetroTex Association of Realtors. With next to nothing left to him by his broker parents, all he had was his wife, $500, and a borrowed car to kick-start his career in real estate. Just in case you were wondering how he did it, the interview provided a complete walkthrough of the steps he took to grow. One thing he believes in is not to quit prematurely.
Benjamin “B.J.” Armstrong joined Wasserman in 2007 as a player agent and was elevated to co-manage the Basketball Group in 2012. He was named to the NBA All-Star team in 1994 and later played for the Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets, and the Orlando Magic before finishing his career with the Bulls. He then went ahead and became an NBA analyst on ESPN and a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Also with a simple childhood and background, he pursued his passion for basketball and made it a more than lucrative career. His responses to the series of questions were much different from those of others, however. Success meant nothing, he did not believe in the law of attraction and felt he did not need to set goals.
Shelly Sun is the CEO and co-founder of BrightStar Care, a premium healthcare staffing company. BrightStar Care has grown to over three hundred locations nationwide, serving over fifteen thousand families and generating over $350 million in system-wide revenue. BrightStar was named to First Place on the 2014 Forbes’ list and remained among the Top 10 on the 2015 and 2016 Forbes’ list for franchises under $150,000 initial investment. She started off her career by pursuing a job opportunity in a company she wanted to work for and absolutely refused to work as a secretary because her accent was cute. Based on the healthcare need at the time and the situation around her, she launched her company and grew one client at a time with all the love in the world.
Scott Gerber is the principal and chief executive officer of hospitality industry leader Gerber Group. Gerber Group encompasses fourteen venues under such brands as Whiskey Blue, Whiskey Park, Irvington, Kingside, The Roof, and Mr. Purple. With an intention to pursue real estate, Scott unintentionally found himself in the bar business and then intentionally got around to making $50 million a year in revenue from it. He definitely does not believe that the American Dream is dead in any way.
Liz Elting co-founded TransPerfect in 1992. Today, TransPerfect is the world’s largest privately held provider of language and business solutions. The company has more than four thousand employees and over ninety offices in cities around the globe. TransPerfect has been an eight-time recipient of the Inc. 5000 Award, a six-time honoree of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, and other numerous awards. Her background served as the basis for her business today, as she grew up living, studying, and working in five different countries. Thus, learning multiple languages. Hard work and perseverance were some of the things she demonstrated to get to the height she reached.
She says “Know that bossy and difficult are labels given to women who have the courage to lead and the gall to speak their mind”
Asides from the apparent responses given by these top business men and women about the American Dream being very much alive, they all shared few characteristics. An unapologetic doggedness, passion for whatever it is they did, and a desire to succeed. However, I was curiously waiting on to see names of younger people who have actually proved that the American Dream is not dead. So many young people are breaking records, especially in the digital world, today. I believe that this would have served as a much direct proof of the opportunities available with the peculiarities of today. The author also did not leave as much as a closing remark to conclude the motivational seed that the interviews had sowed.
However, by showing the life and times of these people, he opens the eyes and minds of the readers on the possibilities available. You can be whatever you want to be, no matter how ambitious and crazy it sounds. I recommend this book for first, entrepreneurs and the general public as well. One cannot get enough motivation for success.
You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.
All through the short period of reading American Dream, I was given a daily dosage of inspiration in ways I ordinarily did not expect. Seeing regular people start from almost nothing and becoming names to reckon with in the various industries they belonged to, showed that limitations were things of the mind. I very much enjoyed reading this and I believe that any person would too.
I rate this book a 4 out of 5. You can give it your own rating below.
About the Author
Jason Navallo is a career advisor, executive recruiter, and author. He has a B.B.A. in Finance from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business and lives in New York City. He is the Author of four other books including “Thrive: 30 Inspirational Rags-to-Riches Stories”, and “Never Give Up”.
NB: The author offered this book to LW, in exchange for an honest review.