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Book Review: Driven: How To Succeed In Business & In Life by Robert Herjavec
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Book Review: Driven: How To Succeed In Business & In Life by Robert Herjavec - Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: Driven: How To Succeed In Business & In Life by Robert Herjavec

Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: Driven: How To Succeed In Business & In Life by Robert Herjavec

Robert Herjavec is one of the hosts of the popular ABC television program Shark Tank, in which startup business owners needing capital pitch their products to five billionaires, hoping for cash in exchange for equity. In the show’s weekly opening, he is introduced as “the son of immigrant parents,” a part of his story often cited in his interactions on the program. Herjavec’s usual position is at the end of the lineup, seated furthest from the camera, and he usually plays the quiet observer on a panel of strong personalities. He’s often the first one to declare himself “out” of a deal, especially when the pitcher’s stated valuation is unrealistic. He typically gets worked up about two things: excited in a good way when dogs are involved in the presentation, and excited in a bad way when any pitcher shows signs of entitlement or lack of drive. This is when the immigrant story usually makes its appearance.

The passionate drive Herjavec recalls in his years of struggle is the main topic in Driven: How to Succeed in Business and in Life (HarperCollins, 2010). Using his experience and observations as a member of the Shark Tank panel (and in his role on the Canadian equivalent, The Dragon’s Den), the venture capitalist shares anecdotes from his personal story to highlight his philosophies, both practical and ideal, about success. Much of the advice is directed right at entrepreneurs, but even most of that can be applied to one’s approach to other areas of life.

Passion and drive are the theme he returns to again and again: “Nothing of any consequence was ever achieved without enormous passion and total dedication,” he writes, “not to the goal of making money but to the objective of becoming nothing less than the best. Those who lack the necessary passion, or never search for it deeply enough in their souls, risk wasting their potential. And here’s the gold at the end of the rainbow: when you become great at something you love, the money always follows.”

Fans of the television programs will find a lot of interesting material here, including behind-the-scenes details: the two questions he’s asked most often about the shows are “Is Kevin O’Leary like that in real life?” and “Do you wear colored contact lenses?” The answers are yes and no, in that order.

Fascinating trivia like this is really just the shading for the bolder colors of what the writer hopes will be the reader’s main takeaways, which he puts right in the chapter titles: “Know a Good Deal When You See One,” “How to Pitch a Good Idea,” “Why Pitches Go Wrong,” and “When Necessary, Burn the Ships.” The chapters are usually quite short, making this a great book for the nightstand or quick breaks at the desk, and Herjavec’s writing is functional if not especially elegant. Fans of the television show know him as “the nice one” on the panel, and this kind, gentle persona translates well in his writing voice.

There isn’t much here that’s disruptive—just solid advice from someone who’s been there and who has seen thousands of pitches from ambitious entrepreneurs while also running the businesses that afford him pretty much anything he wants and qualify him for that space on our televisions every week. You could do a lot worse.

 

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Book Review: Driven: How To Succeed In Business & In Life by Robert Herjavec - Executive Leadership Articles

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