Years ago, shortly after I first met my NYC artist friend Sharon Frost, she mentioned that she knew Susan Brownmiller. I nearly jumped out of my skin, "You mean the Susan Brownmiller? The one who wrote Femininity?" Femininity was a book that my best friend Colleen and I had pored over and had many lengthy discussions about. To think that my new friend, Sharon, knew the author - was just - WOW! I pulled out my well worn copy of the book and found Sharon's name there in the acknowledgements. I remember thinking what an honour it would be to be acknowledged in a book like that.
So you can imagine my delight to find my name in the acknowledgements of Danielle LaPorte's new book, The Fire Starter Sessions, and to deeply feel one of my answers to the burning questions that Danielle shares in the book:
Burning Question #10: How would you like to be seen, recognized, acknowledged, awarded, praised?
Just like that. To feel that I added something of value in the creation of this work. To feel like a patron of the arts. Thanks for seeing me, Danielle.
So you have probably figured out that anything I write about this book will not be objective - thank goodness - it will be filled with love instead. I first met Danielle through her writing - which I loved. Early on in our friendship I said to Danielle, "I don't care what you write about, so long as you write." You will find nothing here to discourage her from that. In fact, I'd love nothing more than to see this book hit the New York Times bestseller list. Wouldn't it be fun to be a part of making that happen!
Here is the love letter I will be posting on Amazon on Tuesday when this book is officially released:
Imagine the revolutionary artistic fire of Frida Kahlo combined with the push-the-edges business savvy of Tom Peters and add a dash of design, Tufte-style, and you'll begin to have a sense of the poetry and practicality that Danielle LaPorte brings to this book.
The words of the great humanist philosopher, Marsilio Ficino, in his Plato commentaries, seem appropriate here, "Just as there are three main powers in fire - heat, light, and fleeting subtlety - so there are three similar powers in the soul’s essence: the power of life, of understanding, and of desiring …. At different times the soul brings forth its variety of seeds more or less in profusion."
Danielle is bringing forth her seeds in profusion. Danielle is a fire that brings the heat, light and subtlety of her words and vision to bear upon the soul's essence of life, understanding and desiring. She roots her seeds in the field of her own entrepreneurial experience, but I assure you the wisdom in this book can be transplanted to any fertile ground from creative pursuits to relationships to working "for the man". What Danielle does in this book is no less than to reclaim entrepreneurship from those who would frame it as merely a transactional economic activity to instead treat it as an art of the soul.
Danielle doesn't just want you to succeed in business, she wants you to transform your life.
She shares her own vulnerable moments and how they led to more clarity: So I admitted it, "I'm a humanitarian." And then I put a fine point on it: "Who happens to be an entrepreneur."
She highlights the tensegrity of opposites: Wisdom comes from embracing contrasting experiences. Lucky breaks and pounding the pavement. A winning streak and the dark night of the soul. Selling out and taking a stand. Wanting it all and walking away.
She composes soul sutras worthy of printing and framing: Keep breathing. You're on the verge of a miracle.
One of my favourite parts of this book is the section on time. Danielle challenges common approaches to time management and turns us on to how ridiculous that concept is. The result is a sense of freedom from the rushed, harried approach to life and a settling into responsiveness and rhythm.This book is full of powerful instances like this where she lights up her fierceness and shines it on conventional wisdom.
As she dances with the mysteries of human life, work and longing, the reader is treated to passionate manifestos, intense love and liberating turns of imagination.
It needs to be noted that this book reflects Danielle's insights not only in what she says, but also in how she says it. This is not a linear how-to book (though it can be read that way and it does contain great advice) but rather it plays with format, pacing and language so that instead of being a single lane experience, it's a book that invites you to rise above the road and fly in circles around and back and forward, making your own unique connections. And in so doing, find your own way. That's ultimately the heart of Danielle's message.
This book is a steal retailing for under $15 online! You'd be crazy not to buy one. I've already bought and given away a few copies - and I'm going to randomly give away a couple more in the next few days to my newsletter subscribers. If you are already a subscriber - great! If you'd like to join us and maybe win a copy - sign-up on the right side bar.Winners have been chosen and notified.
Extra treat: Listen in on a conversation Danielle and I had and hear her rif on the difference between excitement and enthusiasm.