Bookworm: Getting ahead in business and life

Terri Schlichenmeyer
“Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different” authors Sunny Bonnell, left, and Ashleigh Hansberger.

“Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different”

  • By Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger
  • c. 2019, HarperOne
  • $25.99, $31.99 Canada; 320 pages

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 to you convert fearlessness into business acumen? In “Rare Breed” by Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger, see how feistiness can work for you.

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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.

"Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different" by Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger.

Bonnell and Hansberger are rebels in business, not button-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 it 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 ten. 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 free to work for you.

These are things, the authors indicate, that you probably already own, 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, authors Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh 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.

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While this book may seem best for Millennials, it’s not for unripened kids. Anyone with a good head and a rebel 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.

 “Full Throttle: Stories”

  • By Joe Hill
  • c. 2019, William Morrow
  • $27.99, $34.99 Canada; 480 pages

The pedal’s to the metal and you’re in a hurry. You need to get somewhere fast, somewhere nobody’s ever been before – or you need to get away from there. The engine’s roaring to rush you across town or across time. Watch the road. Beware of sharp curves and drive safely; in the new book “Full Throttle: Stories” by Joe Hill, hard-braking tires scream … and so will you.

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Race was far ahead of the pack – so far ahead that his father, Vince, could barely see him on his Harley a half-mile up-front. But that was just Race, and Vince still loved him, still wondered what went wrong to make Race a killer. Vince watched as his son let a girl get hacked to death, right in front of their whole biker group, and the kid was insisting on more revenge. But in “Throttle” (written with Stephen King), exactly whose revenge would it be?

"Full Throttle: Stories" author Joe Hill.

John never planned on becoming a librarian, it just happened: after his parents died in a murder/suicide, he found a very overdue book that his mother had borrowed and when he returned it, one thing led to another and he ended up working in the Bookmobile. It was a decent job, made better by the elderly patrons who came to get books, only in “Late Returns,” some of them got more than just reading material.

When the onboard movie went black, Gregg Holder, who’d been watching the famous woman sitting next to him, took note. He also noticed the shake in the pilot’s voice, as passengers were informed that they were landing in Fargo soon, diverted due to DPRK missiles. But in “You Are Released,” going to Fargo isn’t far enough …

@TYME2WASTE was Tweeting her vacation, bored with everything, fighting with her mother, wishing she was home. Ugh. In “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead”, her eyes rolled hard when her father decided to stop at some stupid side-of-the-road circus. #DumbestThingInTheWorld.

"Full Throttle: Stories" by Joe Hill.

In his introduction, author Joe Hill does something charming: he gives major kudos to his parents, as parents and as writers. This gives fans some great stories, and it offers readers insight from where Hill’s novels spring, as you’ll see when you read it.

Similar to his mother’s talent, the thirteen short stories Hill presents here ooze with a psychological tautness that goes unnoticed until you realize that your fingernails are embedded in the arms of your chair and you’re holding your breath. It’s like hearing a chainsaw outside your house, and somehow knowing that it’s meant for you.

As does his father, Hill puts characters in situations that are distastefully disgusting and unimaginably frightening – a dead animal near a lake, a madman down the hall in your bedroom – but in Hill’s case, they’re exquisitely possible. There’s no revived-cats-in-the-cemetery here, no clowns-in-the-sewer; instead, there are things that, if you squint, really could lurk outside your window right now.

But don’t look. Instead, grab the keys, run, and get “Full Throttle” in your hands. Take a break and get ready to scream.

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The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.