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Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes [Hardcover]

W. Brett Wilson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 6 2012

Dragons’ Den star and Risky Business host W. Brett Wilson often gets asked about his secrets to success. He became one of Canada’s top investment bankers because he was driven, willing to take risks, and saw opportunity where others saw problems. But his path to business success also saw him tripping over a multitude of misguided priorities.

For many years, Wilson pursued business with uncompromising focus, willingly working long hours seven days a week. But in the process, his marriage and his health suffered greatly; he was rarely home as his kids were growing up, divorce was inevitable, and cancer struck at age forty-three. He truly learned the hard way that one can enjoy financial success and the respect of business peers while suffering the loss of what matters most: health, family, and friends.

Redefining Success details how Wilson was forced to redefine his life, making health and relationships his first priorities. Through trial and error, he learned that these simple virtues are the foundation for real, enduring success, both in business and life.

Wilson’s compelling insights are the basis for Redefining Success. Not just for entrepreneurs and business professionals, it outlines how we can change our lives for the better by re-evaluating our personal definitions of success, then reworking them into a life plan that is both feasible and rewarding. Inspirational and paradigm-changing, Redefining Success will help you implement and sustain lasting, positive change in your life—and make the world a little more meaningful every day.

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Product Description


“Engineer, boy genius, investment banker, adventurer, mentor, TV star, Canada’s most imaginative and committed philanthropist, of course above all parent, Brett Wilson offers the only logical path to true success—behave decently with genuine concern for others and your abundance will really mean something.” - Dan Aykroyd, CM, D. Lit. (HC), head proprietor, Crystal Head Vodka

“I knew Brett long before his fame arrived. He wasn’t perfect then and he’s not perfect now. What he is, is honest, very energetic and visionary. This means there is lots of good learning and fascinating stories in this book.” - Jim Peplinski, Stanley Cup–winning businessman

“Canadian military families have benefited from Brett’s tireless philanthropic efforts. His personal story and his approach to living intentionally serve as a source of inspiration and motivation to others who may be brave enough to take on the challenge of improving our great country, and helping those in need around the globe.” - General Walt Natynczyk, CMM, MSC, CD, Chief of the Defence Staff

“We could have left the Trailer Park long ago if we had had this book. But we didn’t. Oh well.” - Michael Smith (a.k.a. Bubbles)

“W. Brett Wilson is an accomplished businessman and a philanthropist of the highest order. How he got there is a combination of a big work ethic and a big heart. Brett is a powerful and attractive man.” - Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed

“Brett does it all—he loves what he does and he does it with total conviction and passion. Here he shares with you his insights on prioritizing success. Brett’s the real deal—a true Canadian leader with an inspirational message.” - Sean Durfy, former president and CEO, WestJet Airlines

About the Author

W. Brett Wilson is one of Canada’s most well known businessmen and a respected philanthropist. His many innovative approaches to philanthropy have generated tens of millions of dollars for charitable initiatives. In addition, his commitment to celebrating entrepreneurship has inspired a nation to think differently about its future. Wilson is the chairman of CANOE Financial and Prairie Merchant Corporation. He is the hugely popular former co-star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den and Slice’s Risky Business.

Twitter: @WBrettWilson

Facebook: WBrettWilsonFan


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Effective Nov. 21 2012
Reviews to date for Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes by W. Brett Wilson have been well, gushing. Reviewers are tripping all over themselves to write about how the book has empowered them. Yet if one really reads this book Wilson prefers an ‘upfront and respectful’ approach to life.

When writing a review I make notes as I go along because it is hard to remember all the nuances by the time the book ends. When I started Redefining Success words like grandiose and self-indulgent were showing up on my notepad until I suddenly realized while pouring myself a coffee one morning that I had been rethinking my own business for the last few days from a different point of reference. The framework in which I was examining it had changed due to this book and in particular the insights of Chapter 7, Tales from the Den.

Redefining Success is multilayered; it’s a biography, one of the best guides for entrepreneurs I‘ve read in a long time and part a reminder of life and business lessons all too often forgotten. Starting on Page 4 with the economic collapse of 2008 the tone of the book is set with a clear perspective on events unencumbered by murky sentiment. Wilson is equally candid in Chapter Three’s Making Choices here he seems to hit his stride. Descriptions of his prostate cancer journey are unabashed and lines like ‘For many entrepreneurs, the journey can be a lonely one’ also find their way into this crucial chapter.

One of Wilson’s intentions with the book as well as acknowledging certain key business friends and associates seemed to be to set the record straight on a few issues such as the Fiftieth Birthday Bash and the ‘rumour on the street ‘as to the size of donation per guest being sought for the event.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Redefining Success is a Success Nov. 29 2012
By Jodi Chapters TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes

I went into this book with zero understanding of the corporate world of investment banking and the philanthropic process but came away with a deep respect for all of those who give their time and energy into both.

W. Brett Wilson opened his world laying bare his successes and mistakes in his journey through life. He prides himself on giving to worthy charities and helping start-up businesses hit the ground running.

I'm not going to lie, this book is a deep read requiring focus to understand the business dealings with his company FirstEnergy Capital Corporation; it may be that I am sorely unversed in the investment world. I will say this book is a must read for students from the high school level thru to university and anyone looking for assistance in business startup.

Bottom line, I had a deep respect for W. Brett Wilson prior to reading this book and came away with the understanding that respect was and is justified. Well done Mr. Wilson!

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author for an honest and unbiased review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Br S
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First to give you some perspective, I'm a believer in *good* self-help books and have a keen appetite for business and entrepreneurship. I love Dragons Den and have always loved Brett's attitude of succeeding in business while maintaining integrity and your values as well as giving back.

With that out of the way... I wish my love for Brett in the Den translated to his output here.

If you like Brett a lot and go in expecting an autobiography first and foremost and just a sprinkling of self-help, little of which will be new to you if you've read a few books by Covey/Carnegie/Hill, then you will like this book.

My error was I reversed them and expected more on the advice/guidance side so you can imagine my disappointment. I think what made it worse is that I felt like I could learn everything useful in this book in 2 pages that took Brett 200 to say. His stories quickly got tedious and didn't add much to learn anything more than superficially. To be honest, I don't care about the namedropping of corporate bigwigs and hollywood stars that he knows or that inspired him UNLESS he would have talked about what they actually DID that helped him or taught him. I'm happy he was able to befriend people with big rolodex's to make big sales but that doesn't necessarily speak to his own business acumen.

I read Robert Herjavec's book Drive a year or so back and actually thought it was similar in the wordiness and also limited in advice but I felt his stories were to the point and clearly laid out. Even if I disagreed with some of his points, it was still a fun read. Whereas I literally had to start scanning pages with this book because I got so tired of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By K. Wong
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am in my mid 20's and now in the corporate community, right in Wilson's home city of Calgary. I went to the same school Brett went to for his MBA (UofC), and I even like a lot of the stuff he likes. But his book reads horribly, even as a commuter book.

What this book is:

-A random biography that goes from: getting ripped off when cutting lawns; his entrepeneurial pub crawl bus business; his MBA (Which was ANOTHER best choice in his life) - in a span of 2.5 pages.
-Rehashing moral rhetoric until you feel like you're experiencing deja vu
-Shout outs to many, many individuals that run on for more than a page
-An inspirational book on a superficial level
-A touching short chapter on how he hand an epiphany that he was a horrible father

What the book is not:

-A source of insight into the business community
-Advice or rationale on how to get things done (Like a handshake, prairie heritage, and
-Relevancy to any Generation Y or younger, or any of the younger dragon's den viewers
-Actual advice that works in today's world

Target audience for Dragon's den will be disappointed if you're looking here for an intellectual read or even an enjoyable biography. Instead we have page after page of shout out to this banker, that doctor, this YPO buddy, prairie people are awesome, how hand shakes magically make business better, and how awesome prairie people are (I am from Alberta, just FYI). Quite honestly, the book reads out like an old cowboy reminiscing about his glory days (in this case, an ibanker) and how wild he was and how he got here. Except chop in a few dozen random and pointless tid bits and dull anecdotes in the book. Yup, that's Wilson's book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great read, excellent advice.
Published 3 months ago by Angie
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful - worth a read
In this book, Dragons Den investor Brett Wilson shares his philosophy on life and business. Through personal stories, Wilson explains how taking calculated risks and learning from... Read more
Published 6 months ago by ADRIAN23
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Informative
When I bought the book, I didn't know who Brett Wilson was. Watching TV isn't my thing these days, so the fact that he was on Dragon's Den didn't mean much to me. Read more
Published 8 months ago by MyWritingSide
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The book is a great read. However I do have a problem with the cost of books that can not be loaned to other people. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Doug
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to Classify
Like most people, I became aware of Mr. Wilson when he joined CBC's Dragon's Den program. He provided a different style than the others who evaluate potential investments on this... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Jeffrey Swystun
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy with purchase
Bought this for my husband for Christmas. He is enjoying the read very much. I plan to read it when he is done. Easy read.
Published 21 months ago by HSid
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Book
When I sat down to read the book, he had me at the Chocolate Lab on the back cover ... but what about what's in the book? Read more
Published 22 months ago by Laura
4.0 out of 5 stars Good guy.......good book
I enjoyed the last few chapters more than the first few. When he hits his stride and begins to expound on his philanthropic endeavors as a marketing tool the book takes life. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Vintage Kerry
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it, especially for the Den's details
I enjoyed reading this book (kindle), especially the part about the Dragon's Den. We all see what's on TV and read little pieces here and there about most of the deals not going... Read more
Published 22 months ago by E. Marcotte
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