A book combines a personal guide and business manual with a culinary story.
Buchanan’s (Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth, 2016) work blends self-help strategies and business planning. She lays out a series of plain-sounding but persuasively thoughtful principles organized around the straightforward contention that there really isn’t much difference between the two disciplines, asking a deceptively simple question: “Can implementing business values improve personal lives?” She uses the distinctions among a job (a stop-gap measure—temporary, one hopes), a career (the long-term investment in an occupation), and a vocation (a “meaningful, joyful” calling) to open up a larger examination of the ways, in her conception, an individual bears many similarities to a small business. Therefore, many sound principles for small businesses might help to clarify diverse areas of life. And her ongoing illustration of these correspondences is the imaginative highlight of the book: the vibrant account of the founding and running of a French restaurant called La Mandarine Bleue in Boise, Idaho, complete with recipes. By spotlighting the establishment and its creators, Buchanan is able to give her broader lessons some much-needed human grounding, particularly because some of those teachings are very broad indeed. “The good news is, you don’t find your purpose,” she asserts. “You determine it. It’s a choice, a conscious decision that you make.” At another point, she writes: “If we wear a suit of armor all the time to protect ourselves and to hide our fears and feelings, we’ll never allow ourselves to be hurt.” She intersperses these maxims with sayings drawn from a wide variety of popular business and motivational books and speakers, all focused in one way or another on the volume’s central concept of the personal as professional. “How do you conduct your life?” she asks her readers in the manual’s key point of thematic intersection, its discussion of building a personal brand. “What are your ethics and practices?” This work is a fine, clear-headed place to find some answers.
A lucid, step-by-step guide to personal and professional success—with vichyssoise mixed in.