Our culture is in a crisis of initiative.
People everywhere in all walks of life feel stuck in their work, hobbies, and social lives, but they see the alternatives as too big and challenging, so they endure just bearable limits. We celebrate entrepreneurship in top-rated television shows, magazines, movies, and biographies, but fewer and fewer people are actually starting companies. What has gone wrong, and how can we break free and take the lead in our own lives?
Joshua Spodek, PhD, MBA, author of Leadership Step by Step, shows us the startling truth: The TV shows, movies, books, and courses that celebrate entrepreneurship have turned it into an artificial performance competition, not only subverting it to serve their promoters’ interests but undermining real initiative with myths and unattainable ideals. Worse still, our education system, far from helping us break free, leaves us with fewer options and less self-direction. Courses in business often skip over the hard part or leave students stuck in theory without any practice.
In Initiative, Spodek presents a practice-based method, not ideas or abstract principles but a sequence of concrete exercises that will lead you to discover and develop passions and take initiative—even if you don’t yet know what you want to take initiative on.
Spodek’s Method Initiative exercises have been tested and refined over years in his popular course at New York University. Spodek illustrates the problem and the solution with stories of students in his course who have started with only a vague idea—or not even that—and have taken initiatives that have transformed their lives and the lives of others.
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About the Author
Today, he teaches and coaches leadership and entrepreneurship at NYU and at Columbia Business School, and has spoken at Harvard, Princeton, West Point, MIT, BCG, PwC, S&P, and IBM. He has appeared on every major network, and has been featured in New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. In its "Genius" issue, Esquire listed him among the "best and brightest"; NBC has called him an "astrophysicist turned new media whiz," and Forbes and ABC have called him a "rocket scientist."
Josh has done burpees daily since 2011 (129,000 and counting at the time of writing this book), takes 16 months to produce one load of garbage, and hasn't flown (by choice) since March 2016. He blogs daily at www.joshuaspodek.com and makes his courses available online at www.spodekacademy.com.
Table of Contents
Part One: Who Stole Initiative?
1 The Problem
2 The Dog Show and Culture
3 The Solution, Part 1: Initiative
4 Our Misguided Educational System
5 The Solution, Part 2: Method Initiative
6 The Myths
7 3 Antidotes and 7 Principles
8 Initiative, Action, and Passion
Part Two: Method Initiative: The Exercises
Unit 1 You and a Problem You Care About
Exercise 1 Personal Essay
Exercise 2 5 Unsolved Problems
Exercise 3 5 Close Contacts
Exercise 4 10 Friends and Family Members
Exercise 5 5 People Who Feel the Problem
Exercise 6 10 People Closer to Your Field
Unit 3 Refining Your Solution
Exercise 7 Create a Visual Model
Exercise 8 Details, Sustainability, and Financials
Unit 4 Creating Professional Relationships with Valuable People
Exercise 9 Second Personal Essay
Interlude How to Prompt Job Offers and How to Respond
Exercise 10 Valuable People