Book Review: Escape from Cubicle Nation

Wow, I had a few paragraphs written about this book already and the – BOOM! – my browser crashed and I lost everything.  Maybe that was a sign from God that my original review was pretty crappy.  Well, first off I want to say that I finished this book about a month ago.  Usually I don’t wait that long to do a book review, but there were a lot of suggestions and tips from the author that I wanted to verify actually worked or at least had some value. 

Honesty is the best policy

I’ve been on a business book binge for that last year, and I have to say that there are a lot of books out there that aren’t honest.  For the most part, a lot of entrepreneur books out there romanticize the idea of working for yourself.  They promise that you will work less, have less problems, and that you’ll have no issues finding work to keep your family afloat.  That simply isn’t true, and Pamela Slim starts right off by dashing all of your dreams of a worker’s paradise by relaying all of the problems that she faced when she began her own business.  Stories about her puking in an airport gutter because of morning sickness, and being up until 3AM trying to prepare a presentation quickly show you that you are in for quite a ride if you want to be in control of your career.  The purpose of this is not to scare her readers off from seeking freedom from cubicle nation, but to give them a dose of reality.

In the end, it’s worth it

Aside from the doom and gloom at the beginning of the book, Pamela Slim shows that – despite the hard work involved – striking out on your own can be a worthwhile experience that will change your life forever – even if you “fail”.  For example, what you can expect (and I can attest to this) is that you will find out more about yourself in 1 year of being an entrepreneur than you will in 20 years of being an employee.  The reason, as Pamela shows, is that rather than being a subset of a business, you are the business.  You are in charge of everything from finance and accounting, to your technology infrastructure, to marketing and sales.  Through it all, your strengths will be refined and your weaknesses will begin to show more than ever before, but the great thing is that you will learn how to adapt.  Not only is it a great and difficult adventure, it also makes you a better employee should you ever move back into the workforce.

escapePamela does a great job of giving you the tools, or links to tools, that will help you with all of the aspects of a business.  She has a number of templates that help you to develop your business plan, assist you with the fears that come with entrepreneurship, and help you with handling business functions.  All of these tools are very practical and really do work.

The good and the bad

The big win with Escape from Cubicle Nation is that it covers just about everything you will face when you are on your own.  It may not go really deep into a particular subject, but you will at least have an idea of how to survive.

The only problem that I had with the book is that, although it explains the pros and cons of entrepreneurship, it’s missing one big thing that affects me (and a lot of other people): the patience needed if you live in place that has a high cost of living.  In essence, she suggests that you have about 6 months of savings stored up before you leave your day job.  Well, when your mortgage is about 60%-80% of your paycheck, that’s a little difficult.  In that case, rather than trying to save for 20 years in order to get to that 6 month threshold, you need to work at night.  Personally, my weekdays consist of working 8 am to 4 pm at my normal job, being with my family until 8 pm, and then work on my business until 2 in the morning.  Sounds fun, huh? (actually, it kind of is)

Should I get the book?

Overall, the book is fantastic.  I really enjoy her style, and it is very practical.  I highly recommend it to anyone that’s looking to move out on their own.  Anyone disagree?

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