Rare Breed

Your knees were always scabby and hurt.

Skinned elbows, bloody scratches, dirt, bruises, scuffs: They were hallmarks of your childhood, and you earned every one of them by playing hard and never ignoring a challenge. That was then, same thing now – but how do you convert fearlessness into business acumen? In “Rare Breed” by Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger, see how feistiness can work for you.

Some things don’t make sense.

For Bonnell and Hansberger, though, dropping out of college just short of graduation did. Eager for entrepreneurship, they left their classes behind to start their branding agency, Motto, and road-tripped to grow it. For them, despite well-intentioned naysayers and a few head-hanging bumps along the way, the timing was right; even so, they’re aware that their success story is unusual.

Bonnell and Hansberger are rebels in business, not buttoned-down Wall Street types. No, they’re “defiant, dangerous and different,” which they use as “selling points” for clients who want to upend the status quo, and they embrace this all wholeheartedly. And though they don’t always like to follow arbitrary rules, there are some rules of thumb for “rare breeds” like them: daring entrepreneurs, the authors claim, share seven virtues, which “are the keys to becoming a ‘rare breed.’”

Rebelliousness is what shakes things up. It helps avoid that which is normal. It ignores some of the rules of etiquette and makes people ask “why?” Audacity is what urges an entrepreneur to try things nobody’s ever done. It’s about making big change to what’s working, just to make it work better. Obsession demands perfection from a business, and it won’t rest until it finds it. Being hot-blooded keeps the intensity high; it’s passion, times 10. Weirdness is absolutely a “superpower” that lets you be you, and it shows clients authenticity. Being hypnotic beams charisma “that turns heads,” and being emotional lets your intuition work for you.

These are traits, the authors indicate, that you probably already possess, so why not let them make you successful? After all, they say, “norms can look cozy and comforting … but so can a casket.”

For every person who ever dropped out of college, everyone who never even went, for every serial job-holder with a won’t-let-go dream, “Rare Breed” is like an entire wind storm of fresh air.

And yet – read super-carefully.

Not-so-buried inside their book, Bonnell and Hansberger offer well-considered downsides to their seven virtues, and they can’t be ignored. Indeed, despite that its verbiage is breezy and sometimes hip and flip, this book demands a fair amount of restraint and maturity from a reader who wants to put it to use. For the still-unbridled reader, “dark side” portions of the chapters explain in plain language what could happen if those warnings are dismissed.

While this book may seem best for millennials, it’s not for unripened kids. Anyone with a good head and a rebellious streak will get something from it, though, and if that’s you and you’re ready for a shake-up, “Rare Breed” can’t hurt.

c.2019, HarperOne $25.99 / $31.99 Canada 320 pages

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