I don’t know about you, but virtually every single self-help book I’ve ever read, regardless of subject, has been muddled by some extremely confused or downright horrifying metaphysics.
They’re often full of great pieces of practical advice and then messy spirituality gets in the way and often ruins or at least greatly subtracts from the point.
This is true of every self help book I’ve ever read.
Every. Single. One.*
And this book, a pretty unconventional business self-help book, is no exception.
But let’s deal with the good stuff first:
Leister is a good writer in terms of getting his point across. Aside from his occasional ARBITRARY CAPITALIZATION, he is extremely capable of conveying his ideas with brevity and clarity.
(I’m sure he he realizes he is INTERNET SHOUTING when he capitalizes, but his shtick is that following this particular social convention is oppressive so he doesn’t do it.)
But the real value in Leister’s writing – whether his book or his newsletter – is his insights into how solopreneurs should view themselves and how they get clients.
Leister has pretty strict standards when it comes to who he works with and why. One might suggest that this is because he is privileged, which is pretty apparent, but I think that might miss the point.
So many times in my life I have said yes to something I didn’t want to do because I thought I should, or I thought that’s what I needed to do.
I can’t imagine anybody was happy as a result. I certainly wasn’t.
So many times I took less money than I should have and that’s never ended well either.
Leister’s central message is the solopreneur needs to have faith that they are uniquely valuable, and that’s the only reason someone would want to work with them, or should work with them.
It’s a great message and it’s one I struggle to internalize. I suspect it’s true for basically everybody else in my position.
If there is value in reading the book or subscribing to his newsletter, it is getting constant doses of affirmation: I am the only person like me in the world and the only person who can offer the advise I offer. This advise is valuable to someone. (Now to find that person…)
But, that’s not all there is to this book and why I can’t recommend it unequivocally. Leister appears to believe some pretty bizarre things about how the world works.
Like so many self-help authors he seems to believe in energy fields but, as is so often the case, he never fully explains what he is talking about. There is lots of other metaphysical mumbojumbo in here too. (As well as at least one chapter that contains outright science denialism.)
Worse, Leister appears to believe in some kind of eternal conspiracy to keep most of us down through norms and rules, perpetuated through the government. He never explains who is doing this or how, though he does spend a fair amount of time on half of the ‘why’, though only on the easy part of that question (i.e. it’s happening because it benefits “them”).
More than once I decided he voted for Trump. But then I realized: no way he votes. Also, if someone who uses the words “kindness” and “love” this much voted for Trump, well, that would be weird. (Hardly impossible, though. Witness the Evangelical support of Trump.)
To his credit (I guess?), Leister appears to try to live his principles: he claims to homeschool his kids, not have driver’s license and I’ve heard that he doesn’t have car insurance for his car. So he’s far less of a hypocrite than most self-help authors.
But that does not explain, to me, why it is necessary to believe things that are demonstrably not true to offer good advice to people. If you are looking for that answer, look somewhere else.
Still, this book contains valuable advice for the solopreneur if you can tolerate and not fall prey to the metaphysics and very squishy philosophy underpinning that advice.
*Okay, okay. I can think of one self-help book I read that didn’t fall prey to this, but it’s only one, and it was part sociological study, so it had to be free of metaphysics.