- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio; Second Printing edition (Nov. 6 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 067006694X
- ISBN-13: 978-0670066940
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.3 x 23.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 431 g
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes Hardcover – Nov 6 2012
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“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
“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
About the Author
W. Brett Wilson, CM, is one of Canada’s best-known businessmen and most respected philanthropists. His innovative approaches to philanthropy have generated tens of millions of dollars for many charitable initiatives. His celebration of entrepreneurship has helped inspire our nation to creatively explore and identify new business opportunities. Wilson is chairman of both Canoe Financial and his Prairie Merchant Corporation. Even in reruns, he remains the hugely popular co-star of CBC’s award-winning Dragons’ Den and Slice’s Risky Business. He is a member of the Order of Canada.
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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. Wilson explains (quite a few times) the difference between a large donation and a ‘meaningful’ donation. For me the numerous accolades and explanations were a bit self-serving but it is his book.
You cannot be in business and not read with great interest the rise and challenges of companies such as FirstEnergy but it is Wilson’s perspective on entrepreneurism that defines Redefining Success as a new classic among business books. Phrases such as ‘Entrepreneurs view risk differently’ and ‘Entrepreneurs are innovative thinkers, who are consistently asking ‘how can we make things better’ can only come from someone who has had his breadth of experiences.
I was pleased to be one of the ten bloggers/writers chosen to review this book. We received a smart package with two copies of the book but what struck me was the accompanying letter appeared to be hand signed as were the books themselves. In Chapter 9 Brett Wilson writes about hand signing over a thousand letters for his Kilimanjaro fund rising initiative; attention to details is ingrained in everything he does and this left an indelible impression on me.
Creatively presented is the photographic art (by Cynthia Robinson) and complementing short essays (written by Aritha van Herk) at the beginning of each chapter. Not every biography could carry off something so unique but this one can.
Upon reaching the end of the book I felt as though I had spent a long winter evening sitting in a comfortable yet eclectic living room listening to Brett Wilson talk and then all too soon it is dawn on a cold Alberta morning and I am finding my way home with an awful lot to think about. As I look back on my way out of his front door I think I would have seen Brett sitting quietly with his dog, J. Cash Wilson beside him, perhaps musing on his next challenge but ultimately quiet and content.
Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes is authentic – no gushing or superlatives needed.
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. The publish information page tags the book as 1) Success in business 2) Work-life balance 3) Quality of life as the top 3. I'll tell you right now , this book has maybe 5% to deal with those 3 topics when you distill the book down.
If you're a huge fan of Brett Wilson - 3/4's of this book will be old news to you. If you are not, get ready to read a very extra-ordinary investment banker's biography.
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.
If nothing else, this book serves as a warning to those who forget about family and community, when focusing on business success and building your wealth. Learn from his mistakes, and see how he redefined his success before it was too late!
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