If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen me waxing lyrical about The Challenger’s Almanac while on holibobs last week.
As usual, I gave myself three months to read the book, but only got to it in the final week! Such a procrastinator. Fortunately, the book is written so beautifully, and laid out so cleanly that I devoured it within a couple of days by the pool.
Inspired by ‘challenger agency’ eatbigfish, founded by two people who have no experience in publishing (Mark and Emily Anderson), and funded by Kickstarter, the Almanac is made up of a series of inspirational stories from businesses that are “prepared to break the rules”, punctuated with recommended reading and talks, and beautiful photography.
It’s one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read. Every story of success and failure from these amazing, tenacious people just confirmed for me what I already believed about going it alone: believe in your business, believe in yourself, work hard, and stop WORRYING.
Everyone makes mistakes, everyone fails (talked about candidly and hilariously by serial entrepreneur BJ Cunningham who ended up over £800k in debt at the tender age of 23) and it’s ok. You learn from it, you grow from it, you improve your business because of it.
This book is for you whether you’re running your own business, hoping one day to work for yourself, or even if you just enjoy reading the mini memoirs of good people. And they are good people.
From the Brand Director of Peppersmith, to the Financial Director of NaturePaint, to the MD of 1% for the Planet, from writers, to designers, to investors, there is such a huge wealth of experience and advice. And, delightfully, they all seem to agree with each other on what it means to be successful.
I think a few of you will be familiar with the message below. It’s been shared over 80 million times and been translated into more than a dozen languages! I think I first saw it hurtling around Pinterest, but I didn’t know it was the manifesto of challenger brand Holstee. It was lovely to read the story of the people behind it and what it means to them.
In case a load of non stop inspirational stories was too much, the book then ends with thoughts from Helen Redstone, Head of Creative and Production at eatbigfish, on the risks and realities of being an entrepreneur.
At first I found it a bit of a kick in the teeth as I was so hyped up from the rest of my reading, but her final advice, on defining the “why” of your business, ended up being one of my favourite parts of the book. But I won’t spoil the ending here!
The Challenger’s Almanac is available online for £25. It may seem steep but considering the amount of time and work that’s gone into it (not to mention the immediate desire to read it again) I think it’s worth every penny.
You can also follow the team behind it on Twitter at @tca_team.
Usually about now I’d select a new book to review in three months but I’ve decided (as well as still doing the odd review and discussion) to make it a bit more ad hoc from now on so I can also tell you about the many good reads making it on to my ever growing wishlist!
So I shall be writing up a few recommendations in the coming weeks!
What have you been reading? Any inspirational reads to share?
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