Bob Schlegel’s new book is arguably a culmination of testaments. First and foremost, it’s a simultaneous how-to guide when it comes to making solid, educated business decisions as a burgeoning force on the entrepreneurial scene, as much as it is a personalized example through Schlegel’s own, personal and professional experiences of navigating said scene. It’s also a love letter to family, endurance, the personal and professional ramifications of maintaining long-term and genuine success, and the balancing act of maintaining pragmatism with heart.
Schlegel’s generosity is visible in droves through the various layers in the writing. He’s not afraid to talk openly and honestly about where he has gone wrong, this distinctive lack of ego making the book’s legitimacy all the more apparent. Often leadership and business advice books can suffer from an unintentional sense of grandiosity, a certain removal on behalf of their authors from the common man or average reader trying to parson through the information. Schlegel has no such problems, he’s interested in keeping things concise from the top to the bottom. There’s never a sense of excess wordiness, or a lack of clear and transparent communication.
This in part may have something to do with the decidedly esoteric undertones Schlegel isn’t afraid to include in his writing. Imbuing a book like Angels and Entrepreneurs with a slightly holistic touch could seem like a bit of a stretch, particularly in less able and less confident hands. But Schlegel stands firmly with one foot in both narrative worlds, and even better – shows how the two can go hand-in-hand. As far as he’s concerned, it’s never wrong to add a little faith – pun intended – to the whole affair.
“…keep in mind that you can find passion in many ways as an entrepreneur. Some businesses offer more day-to-day excitement than others. Some are more fun to talk about with friends. Some demand more creativity. But even paving stones and nursing retirement centers, or logistics and real estate, can make for very interesting lines of work and rewarding lives,” Schlegel writes, in aforementioned vein. “I really can’t stress enough that as an entrepreneur, you aren’t just starting a business, you are embracing a lifestyle. Your success as an entrepreneur and as a person will depend in large part on the quality of the relationships you build.
Everyone who is in any way involved or affected by your business is, in effect, a partner and stakeholder in it. Those critical relationships include your employees, customers, suppliers, and even your competitors, to some degree. I know that may seem like a strange concept, that your competition is your partner, but I’m here to tell you that when the largest business I’d ever built went through an incredibly difficult period, my competitor—the largest in our market—turned out to be not just a partner, but an angel.”
It’s this kind of tone that sets Schlegel apart. It’s frankly more than a bit inspirational that it isn’t a narrative weakness, specifically his willingness to be sentimental. But for Schlegel, it’s just another oratory tool in the kit.