Picking up Be Fearless by Jean Case made me a little uncertain because I was not wanting to read another book by a successful person giving their own story of success. However, Jean Case takes her own story and weaves it through a series of stories of successful people who she explains have spent much of their life filled with doubts and seeing failure.
You may be pleasantly surprised by the book because it gave far more information and actionable tips regarding how to become successful than I had imagined.
Jean Case is undoubtedly a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist who sits at the top of the National Geographic brand. Her story was inspiring to read because of the difficult early childhood she lived through. The circumstances of growing up with a single mother who battled to keep the family moving forward. This made her a gritty professional. GRIT is another book worth reading on success and developing skill.
What you'll enjoyed about the book was Jean Case tells the story of her own family life, but framed the difficulties she and her family faced within the rules of success she discusses.
One of the main takeaways from Be Fearless is that of seizing the sense of urgency most entrepreneurs feel when they are looking for success.
This sense of urgency seems to run through the life of Jean Case as she explains her rise from considering law school to seize in the early years of the internet with AOL. By jumping into the online sector early in its launch, Jean Case began a career that could have taken a different direction without trusting her belief in the future success of the online sector. Another book on this subject would be I Love Capitalism authored by the cofounder of The Home Depot.
As you read Be Fearless, you will found yourself looking forward to the stories of everyday people, celebrities, and world-famous CEOs that are intertwined with the how-to aspects of the book. The attention always tends to fall on the famous people who are interviewed for the book, but you should also equally enjoy the stories of everyday people who had found success within the framework of Case's book. This is comparable to the book The Messy Middle.
The knowledge that ordinary people have been able to set out on their journey to business and life success, should make it easier to embrace the strategies and action items explained by the author.
Hearing the story of Barbara van Dahlen and the work she has done to provide free healthcare services for veterans is inspiring and shows how a small idea can form into a large organization.
A psychologist, Barbara van Dahlen identified the huge mental health crisis in the U.S. following the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and began volunteering an hour each week. Eventually, other healthcare professionals followed suit and a national network has now been built that has given over $25 million in services to veterans. There is a similar non-profit example like this is about donating uneaten food in the book Contagious.
One of the most revealing interviews in the book is used to explain the idea that failure should not be feared, but should be seized upon to spur us on to greater successes is that of Steven Spielberg. The movie director may have enjoyed a long and successful career, but his many failures along the way have not halted his continued upward career trajectory. For Spielberg, the failures in his life have formed a drive to bounce back from each issue and achieve more than in the past. If this topic is interesting you must read the book Antifragile.
Unlike many other books in the business sector that include celebrity stories, Jean Case does not dwell on the stories of those who have already achieved. The inclusion of Oprah Winfrey and Sheryl Sandberg may grab the headlines, but I was more inspired by the inclusion of the chimpanzee and great ape advocate Jane Goodall.
The story of Goodall battling to overcome the issues she faced trying to protect chimpanzees early in her career makes for a stunning and dramatic read that brings the principles of Jean Case to life. The big gamble that Case pushes as her mantra is Be Fearless was, for Goodall the decision to head into the wild and interact with great apes instead of simply studying them in captivity.
The life of Jane Goodall was changed by a meeting with Louis Leakey who was willing to give the untrained Goodall a chance to head to Africa and forge her career with little training. Taking the big gamble in life will always have a positive impact on the life of an entrepreneur no matter what stage of life we find ourselves at. If reading specific success stories like this are interesting to you then you would love to book Small Giants.
The achievements of Jean Case are many and include her role as one of the early pioneers of the internet as a tool for business and leisure. The author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist was not born into a position where business was at the top of her to-do list. Instead, Case set out from her humble origins intent on becoming a lawyer or political figure upon leaving Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Life changed for Jean Case when she identified the potential of the internet in the early-90s when she joined the digital marketing team at the Source Telecomputing Corporation. A series of moves followed that took her to General Electric and then on to AOL that was the leader in bringing the internet to the public at the time.
Since leaving AOL in 1996, Jean Case has gone on to become the CEO of the National Geographic brand and has become one of the leading investors and philanthropists in the U.S. Case recently joined the Giving Pledge initiative that sees billionaires promise to give the majority of their wealth away to help those in need.