The Leap: Reviewed (And You Can Win A Copy!)

rick-smith-the-leap.jpgHere’s something for all you media folk contemplating a new venture.

The Leap isn’t really about a leap. It’s about the lack of one.

See, Rick Smith argues that to be truly successful, you don’t have to bet everything and mortgage the house.

When he started his company, w50, he continued interviewing for a “real job” long after the checks started rolling in from customers.

Bill Gates, Smith reminds us, didn’t “drop out of college to found Microsoft” – he didn’t drop out for 12 months after selling BASIC to his first customer. And Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX, didn’t quit her day job until the product was already a success and risked only $5000 of her own money. A writer friend of Smith’s wanted to switch from magazine writing to books, but didn’t quit his day job until he’d written several books during lunch, on his weekends, and before and after work.

The book is full of inspiring stories like these, reminding us that we can make huge changes in our work lives without having to bet the farm.

It all comes down to personality: call it Myers-Briggs if you want or “Primary Color” if you’re Smith–essentially, he argues, as long as you come up with a great idea that’s aligned with your personality, you won’t fail. This isn’t what people like to hear–we like to think that ideas are a dime a dozen and it’s hard work that differentiates winners from losers–but Smith may be on to something. He summarizes success in three steps, which I’ll paraphrase here:

1) Determine your personality type (your “primary color”)

2) Come up with a selfless and simple idea that fits with your personality

3) Let success happen slowly, not overnight.

Smith’s most successful when he shares what others have done; other how-to sections come across as a bit preachy. And I definitely don’t buy the idea that Steve Jobs is selfless “because he builds products he thought should exist.” That was the sourest note in an otherwise breezy read.

Are you interested in taking your own leap? Take the Primary Color test here to get your own primary color/personality type. We’ll randomly select one test-taker between now and Nov. 15 to win a copy of The Leap.