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The Journey Within

  • Dec 31, 1999
Rubin suggests that soloing means "going it alone" and "being complete in oneself." To become a soloist is to gain "the knowledge one needs to cross over into a world where work and freedom are one and the same thing. This book is about becoming a soloist." She cites several different examples of those who have done so. Peter Drucker is "a lone worker who refused for years to let his local university, Claremont College, start a business school in his honor because of his fear of becoming a person who has to take meetings." For him, a waste of time. Drucker once gave Rubin two pieces of advice: It takes three years to break even financially as a soloist, and to learn anything you have to be prepared to teach it. Rubin seems to be a natural teacher. In Soloing, she helps others to understand both the perils soloing creates, and, the rewards which await those who overcome the perils.

Rubin understands full well that soloing is not for everyone. However, if you now live a life of "quiet desperation", if you feel trapped within an organizational structure which limits (if not demeans) you, then you should read Soloing. Plato once described a situation in which people sat in a cave watching shadows dance on the wall. Once in a while, someone would discover the true source of light. It was outside the cave. For a soloist, it is inside the person.

One final point: The title is somewhat misleading. Although recommending "going it alone" and "being complete in oneself", Rubin duly acknowledges a number of people who encouraged her during the initial, immensely difficult phase of her own soloing process after she walked away from a lucrative but unfulfilling career situation. Soloists are not alone. Rather, as has Rubin, they tend to develop new relationships, new networks, and new friends. Also, as Rubin learned, and more importantly, the journey within (required by soloing) results in a quite different relationship with one's self. Not everyone is willing to complete such a journey. So be it.

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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #169
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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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.Soloingis 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

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ISBN-10: 0066620147
ISBN-13: 978-0066620145
Author: Harriet Rubin
Publisher: HarperBusiness

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"The Journey Within"
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