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And For Your Reading Pleasure…

“How can we make business inspiring?” “What is the day-to-day life of a virtual CEO like?” “What would an insider say about the Valley’s VC world?” “What’s the difference between drive and passion?” “How can we live a meaningful life?” “How can I drop an egg three feet without breaking it?”

If any of those questions caught your attention, then I highly recommend you read, “The Monk and the Riddle,” a bestseller by Randy Komisar and Kent Lineback. It’s a very rich work mixing an enlightening perspective on business, inspiring pieces of wisdom about business and life, and a compelling story. What more could you want? A summary maybe… Well, just in case you are busy these days, here are some highlights.

First, Komisar’s business experiences force respect. Among other jobs, this guy exercised law at Apple, operated LucasArts as CEO, lea TiVo as Virtual CEO and co-founded Claris Corporation. Let’s just say that he knows what he’s talking about. But more important than his track record, his perspective on his life’s experience is invaluable. To him, business is the only community left where one can lead a meaningful life.

Second, the book is very well written, thanks to the talent of Kent Lineback, a professional writer and producer. “The Monk,” could have been the standard boring biography of your usual exceptional business guy, more interested in giving a last polish to his ego than in communicating his experience in a compelling way. But no! Kent mixes different streams of narration, including Komisar’s memories, provocative kernels of wisdom, and the difficult funding race of a young start-up. This may not be the best book ever (Randy indulges slightly on the biographical part, and some events in Kent’s story are not altogether credible), but it is definitely the best business tale I have ever read.

One of the concepts in the book is “the deferred life plan.” Namely, we settle for the things we have to do first (earning money, climbing the professional and social ladders, you name it), so that we are then free to do the things we really care about. The problem is that under this strategy, we often lose what we were trying to reach in the first place. Most of the times, we will forget, like the guy who sold his start-up for $50 million and decided to start another one just to earn more.

Why do we even adopt the deferred life plan? Because we usually mistake drive for passion. Drive pushes you, but passion pulls you. Drive is from the outside in, but passion is from the inside out. According to Randy, if you don’t know yourself enough, it is very easy to confuse the two. You relegate your passion to the second part of your life while driving yourself to achieve external imperatives that fit your perception of what your social environment expects from you. Drive, followed – potentially – by passion, is the recipe for the deferred life plan.

But if you don’t pursue your passion now, when will you? And why use today to achieve goals you don’t really care about? As Ben & Jerry state it, “if it’s not fun, why do it?”

If you are interested in finding meaning in your life through the practice of business, you have no excuse for not reading “The Monk.” If you want a good business story, or want to learn about an amazing entrepreneur, I suggest that you read it as well. Now, if you just want to know how to drop an egg three feet without breaking it, you can always e-mail me; I’ll give you the answer. But be sure that you don’t miss this tremendous book. I guarantee it will be two hours well spent.

April 8, 2002
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