Soloing: Realizing Your Life's Ambition

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9780066620145: Soloing: Realizing Your Life's Ambition

Soloing has two meanings: "going it alone" and being "complete in yourself." . . . But you don't just leave--a company/a career/a paycheck--and cross over to a more satisfying life. There's more to it. There is a mysterious passage to be negotiated, a delicate transition required to go from alone-in-the-desert to complete-in-yourself.

Harriet Rubin, bestselling author of The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women, returns with inspiring advice for professionals dreaming of crossing over from a corporate world of prescribed boundaries to the limitless opportunities of soloing. She describes how people can do great things--things they would never be able to accomplish inside the corporate structure--when they manage or lead no one.

As one successfully navigates the passage toward a truer sense of self that Rubin describes, four invaluable freedoms await:

  1. The first freedom is regaining your sense of identity.
    Walk out of any big company and who are you, stripped of that mighty identity? Potentially bigger and better than before. Who were you before the corporate you? To get back one's sense of self is why people go solo.
  2. The second freedom is independence.
    Why is working alone so important in doing great work, given that it's also the scariest part? Imagine having complete command and control over your time and the work you do. This is how soloists realize their great strengths: They are reduced to themselves.
  3. The third freedom is income.
    You can earn in one year what you earned in two before. Do you work harder to do this? Yes. Do you enjoy it more? Yes. Solo money is alive. Unlike a salary doled out like an allowance from parents, the money earned by soloing is a true emblem of a person's worth.
  4. The fourth freedom is illumination.
    A professional builds a career, but a soloist builds a portfolio and a life free of boredom, full of challenge. Direct contact with work itself is direct contact with life.

With insights as diverse as Henry David Thoreau's "I want to be sure the world doesn't change," and Michael Jordan's response to the statement: "There's no 'I' in team,"--"That's right, but there is an 'I' in win,"--Rubin gives readers the chance to bring their dreams into alignment with reality.

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Review:

Like legions of corporate foot soldiers who have grown dissatisfied with their safe but stifling careers, publishing executive Harriet Rubin decided to flee the massive organization in which she had become enmeshed and start over on her own. The life of a "soloist," as she came to describe this new professional direction, turned out to be both challenging and exhilarating--and one, Rubin immediately realized, that she would never trade for a return to big business. Soloing is a thought-provoking account of Rubin's career transition with helpful information for others who similarly hope to break free.

Drawing upon the wisdom of disparate authorities ranging from Peter Drucker and Tom Peters to Joseph Campbell and John Steinbeck, Rubin explores the various attractions, distractions, commitments, and opportunities that face those who drop out of the corporate ranks to go solo. She explains how to know when you're really ready (dreams were a major indicator for her and others, including Nickelodeon founder Geraldine Laybourne), how to handle the inevitable fears (in her case, by working harder than ever while savoring her new-found freedom), and how to get this new career up and running (including suggestions for building a personal "brand," maintaining visibility among clients, and creating effective proposals). The result is a truly unique look at a growing workforce segment that will prove inspiring to anyone contemplating going it alone. --Howard Rothman

About the Author:

Harriet Rubin, founder of Doubleday's Currency imprint, is a flourishing soloist. She works with leading CEOs to define and deepen their visionary objectives. A contributing editor to Fast Company, she is also the author of the bestseller The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women, She lives in New York City.

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