Luck by Design, by Richard E. Goldman (Hardcover, 2009)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
As a happy Mens Wearhouse customer, I was delighted to find out about
a book written by a man behind so much of the company's success. In this book,
Richard E. Goldman talks to the children of the Baby Boomer generation
and passes on key lessons for success in life. As a Boomer myself, I
have made many of these points while mentoring those coming up
This book is a "must read" for anyone with Boomer parents. Much of
what is going on with that generation is wasting their potential and
leaving them poorly equipped to deal with the broken world my generation
is passing to them. They need some amazingly good luck.
The good news is they can design that luck. Richard E. Goldman talks
directly to them, and explains how to make that luck happen. Thus, the
title, "Luck by Design."
Goldman avoids getting preachy, and instead relates his experiences
and the lessons from them. After he draws the lessons, he bridges the
gap from theory to application. Goldman was an English major, and it
shows. The writing style is clear and direct. He breaks with the norm
and writes in standard English, thus avoiding the many "Huh?" moments
one encounters when trying to decipher the typical book these days.
Goldman's daughter Emily heavily influenced what
he wrote this book, and it's apparent that he wrote to meet her expectations. Whereas my
generation prefers long passages, her generation prefers text in smaller
chunks. So, that's how it's written. Writing to your target audience is
never a bad idea. It's worth noting that Goldman knows this audience,
because he speaks at high schools and universities (and to other
audiences). In fact, he's a founding member of the Milton S. Friedman
Lecture Series at Rutgers University.
This book begins with an open letter that sums up
in one page how badly this world is broken. This is the sobering reality that
children of the Boomers have to contend with. They need to know what
they're up against, or they are going to be crushed by it.
continues from that point for nine chapters, then concludes with a PS to the Open
Letter. In the PS, Goldman advises to abandon hope (with a nod to Dante,
no doubt) and to embrace faith. Have faith in yourself and faith in
others. He provides insight on what this means and how to do it.
Reading this daily for a few weeks could be a "game changer" for any person
starting out in a career.
The Preface introduces the reader to the book. It
also explains whom the book is for,
and why Goldman wrote it.
Rather than a chapter by chapter synopsis, let's look at a sampling.
The title of the second chapter is "Life is Misadvertised." Goldman makes a point that too many people let
advertising dictate their choices. And those choices, consequently, are
not always in a person's best interests. Goldman asks, "What is your source of
self?" If you define who you are and what you are about, then you can
make the right choices. Goldman explains how to build the foundation for
Chapter Four is titled, "We're All Playing for the Same Thing: Time."
If you search for me online, you'll see I'm a recognized time management
expert. One of the keys to getting more done is to not multi-task. So
many people have this exactly backwards. I like Goldman's take on this,
and how he explains why multi-tasking is time-wasting. He's got many
other gems in this chapter. For example, learn how to say no. If you
carefully read, consider, and put into practice Goldman's discussion on
this, it will probably be life-changing for you. Many people in my
generation are still not getting this, and if their kids can read
Goldman and then teach them, that's great.
The title of Chapter Seven is, "All Outer Problems Have Inner
Solutions." This is a core concept in the martial arts. On its face,
this statement would seem to have many exceptions. Dig deeper, and you
find it doesn't. What determines success is how you counter, recover,
and learn from the bumps in the experience we call life. Goldman
provides specifics on turning problems into opportunities. And he
discusses many other useful concepts related to problems. Problems will
happen. It's how you deal with them that matters.
So, are you ready to make a go of it in the broken world your
parents' generation is leaving you? Don't answer that until you've spent
a little time reading and reflecting upon Goldman's thoughts.