Lite Review: Make Your Own Rules: A Renegade Guide to Unconventional Success by Wayne Rogers with Josh Young

This is not your typical ‘how to succeed in business’ book, but rather the story of a serial entrepreneur’s unorthodox path to business success. Rogers, a jack of many trades, takes us on a captivating journey of his eclectic 40-year career.

As the title of the book implies, Rogers believes in taking the “road not traveled” and has done so consistently throughout the span of his long entrepreneurial career. Through intriguing stories and in-depth case studies, the author shares his experiences and philosophy about what it takes to make it in today’s troubled economic climate.

His basic premise is that instead of following the rules and doing things the way they’ve always been done, a creative and unconventional approach to earning a livelihood is now required. He starts with dispelling the widely-held misconception that a person cannot or should not get involved in fields or industries in which they have no knowledge or prior experience. Through his own example, he repeatedly demonstrates how it can be done effectively.

Although Rogers does have a primary vocation as an actor (you may remember him from his role as Trapper John on the hit television series M*A*S*H and other shows) he also specializes in turning around distressed assets. He has been involved in projects as varied as real estate, banking, sports, a restaurant, a vineyard and a retail bridal shop, among others. The bridal shop venture spun off a reality show called Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. Although he had no prior experience in any of these fields, he was able to convert them into profitable enterprises.

And he maintains that you too, can be successful in unfamiliar territory, if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and think unconventionally. You need to free yourself to imagine what’s possible, and not just repeat what’s already been done. There’s no need to limit yourself to only what you know or have done before. With the right preparation, you can undertake almost anything that interests you.

Although a few of the case studies can be dense and a little bit tough to get through because of their length, they do illustrate real world situations that he tackled and triumphed over.

The author attributes his high success rate to several key factors: creativity, awareness of his limitations, the right partners, careful research, knowing the rules and how the system works, and the use of innovative financing.

Rogers hopes that you will identify with some of what he’s shared, and that his examples will help you in some way. He asks you to take what you need and can use, and leave the rest.

A mind-expanding book definitely worth reading if you’re stuck in a career rut and yearn for something more fulfilling, or simply need the motivation to attempt something that you think you cannot do. The author’s amazing exploits will inspire you to make the changes that will propel your life to the next level.

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