Initiative: A Proven Method to Bring Your Passions to Life (and Work)

Initiative: A Proven Method to Bring Your Passions to Life (and Work)

by Joshua Spodek


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781733039901
Publisher: Joshua Spodek
Publication date: 05/21/2019
Pages: 258
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Joshua Spodek is a TEDX speaker, professor at NYU, host of the award-winning Leadership and the Environment podcast, a columnist for Inc. magazine, and author of the #1 bestselling book Leadership Step by Step. He holds five Ivy League degrees, including a PhD in astrophysics and an MBA from Columbia, where he studied under a Nobel laureate and helped build an X-ray observational satellite with the European Space Agency and NASA. Josh left academia to found a venture based on his invention that showed animated images to subway riders between stations.

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 and makes his courses available online at

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

Interlude Professionalizing

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




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Initiative: A Proven Method to Bring Your Passions to Life (and Work) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Conrad_Martin_Ruiz 12 hours ago
Joshua writes to a truth about the nature of how we see the problems in our lives without seeing the underlying issue, which is how to take action on those problems! How do we do it? What's really worth solving? Initiative delivers a process to answering these questions in a manner that can heartily be followed and it WORKS. Excellent stories to connect with, including the author's own. Great point of the show business that mires real business. An honest review of entrepreneurship today. Buy this book.
dsahr 3 days ago
Initiative stands out from other individual self-improvement books because it provides a systematic method for igniting passion into action in a way that meets the reader exactly where they are! This is about bringing change into your own life without relying on luck, and that's something we need to understand in a "Dog Show" society - a metaphor that will instantly hook you as a reader to flow from one chapter to the next. The clear, smooth writing makes it a simple read yet the ideas are so profound that they go beyond the usual quick-fix methods touted in the marketplace. Spodek's use of case studies is inspiring without overshadowing how he helps you get right to your own needs, to your own self-reflective process, in life by providing manageable exercises and a sense of support along the way, as if he were sitting across from you - coaching you directly. Initiative can be applied to the life of an artist, writer, teacher, hedge fund CEO, political activist, lawyer, or environmentalist. In other words, we can all take a page from this book to re-align the paths of our lives to match our true expectations of leading a meaningful life.
tsglaze 4 days ago
Initiative is a tremendously inspiring how-to manual for people to have more impact. Within its pages, you will learn how to discover the idea that will provide work you will be passionate about… you will learn the step-by-step formula of activity to lead you into successfully growing that idea into reality…and perhaps most importantly you will enjoy reading the real, personal, inspiring stories to give you the confidence to move yourself to action. Take the initiative to click on and buy Initiative! It will help you make the incredibly vital shift from simply knowing what to do to actually benefitting from doing it!