My review of Michael Ellsberg's "The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late"
Whenever I stumble upon a self-help book, particularly the kind of motivational, how to be successful type of rhetoric, I find myself to be very skeptical. There is something about the self-help category that bothers me. It seems as if those supposed gurus have the secret to financial success, fame, happiness, spiritual fulfillment... and they are happy to share it with you for the modest sum of $29.99. Just give them your money, follow the steps, and all of your problems will be solved.
Sometimes they'll throw in some new age mumbo-jumbo, sometimes a few marketing buzzwords, or a mix of the two. As it turns out, all they offer is some basic common sense knowledge for anybody who hasn't been asleep for their whole life, masqueraded as divinely inspired epiphanies. I get annoyed very quickly by that kind of thing.
Then, you come across something distinctly different.
A few days ago the crowdfunding campaign for my upcoming book was ending, and I was checking out the donations coming in. I noticed that a certain "Michael Ellsberg" just preordered a copy of the book, and he tweeted that to his 5K followers. I remembered reading an article of his' some time ago, and I was intrigued, but didn't follow up right away, as I already had a ton of books waiting for me, most of which essential for moving forward with mine. Well, things were about to chance very quickly.
We went back and forth a few tweets, and in a matter of minutes I received a gift notification on my kindle. A few seconds after that, I was already reading his book The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late. Now, that's what I call direct marketing done right.
First off, Michael doesn't pretend to be a guru of any sort, nor does he wish to. He is somebody who has developed over the years a level of hands-on knowledge, the kind of street smart that you won't learn in school, and he has a history to prove it. He presents a clear, lucid, and very genuine insight into the world of reinventing yourself, and how to find an equilibrium between success and fulfillment. The book is fluid and organic. It's well structured, and it's a pleasure to read. You can tell he spent a great deal of time writing, reading, proofreading, checking, going back and forth to fix it several times before publication. There is a lot of time, effort, and professionalism put into this work, and it transpires from every page. The insights and advices he gives make perfect sense (once explained), but they are not obvious at all. Throughout the 272 pages of the book, his personal life permeates and surrounds the events told. It's compelling. And most of all, it feels real. Not for a moment are you treated like a mindless moron, looking for instant satisfaction and empty slogans to fill your void with more emptiness. Instead, Michael treats you like a smart, intellectually engaged person, who is trying to be even more stimulated, in order to take the next big step in their life.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading his book, and needless to say I would recommend it. But not to anybody. If you are not prepared to challenge your views and maybe even change the way you live, then this book is the last thing you want to read. Personally, it has helped me substantially, and it is also thanks to him if I finally decided to leave my safe and secured, well paid job, to become self employed and pursue my passions (taking risks, but with care and intelligence).
Now, I feel like I've known Michael a little bit, and I would like to know even more and learn from him. But most of all, I want to try and help him any way I can, by sharing ideas and giving him insights in those areas that I know fairly well, but that he may not be familiar with.
His book inspired me to strive for excellence with mine. It was one more reason to put all my efforts in writing as best as I can. There is still a lot of work to be done, and I can't wait to get back and make it happen. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do now, so forgive me if I stop writing so abruptly.