Welcome back to AirSend’s Book Corner! This week we are covering a fairly recent book published in 2019. The hot-selling knowledge enthrallment that we are covering this week is titled, “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World,” written by David Epstein. In this week’s book corner, we are going to do something a little different. Rather than giving you chapter analysis’ or several key points of the book, we are going to elaborate on Epstein’s argument. Just a little something to provide perspective. Let’s dive in. 

One of our favorite comparisons by far is Tiger Woods vs. Roger Federer. Don’t worry, this comparison actually comes in handy when explaining the overall argument. So, you are probably asking, or probably not, what is the Tiger Woods vs. Roger Federer comparison? According to our analysis, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer represent two ends of a spectrum. Both sharing a commonality, specialization. However, this type of specialization is seen in two different ways. Specialization is defined as the process of concentrating on and becoming an expert in a particular subject or skill.

Alright, enough side talk. The comparison of both athletes lie in the process of their specialization. Since he was a child, Tiger Woods was a prodigy golf player. He had far excelled in his abilities, resulting in his competing at a young age. Roger Federer on the other hand, actually did not start off as a prodigy child. Instead, he played a variety of sports at a young age. Only after did he discover tennis, did he really start honing his skill in the field.  Epstein claims that though it would be nice to live in a world that is like golf or chess, i.e. a world with predicted consequences and results, and defined rules, we wouldn’t be living for one. Secondly, we wouldn’t be in a society where specialization exists. 

The argument Epstein makes is that we, as a society, should stray from a specialist-only view, in order to become better at it. In a world where specialization exists, we need to carry a holistic or broad perspective of our field, rather than having a narrow scope.

Basically having one foot outside the door. Tiger Woods embodies the narrow focus, where, even as a child, all he did was focus on golf. In antithesis, Roger Federer started with a broad perspective on all types of sports and then narrowed his focus to tennis. Now, I know you will most likely argue that one cannot compare a prodigy to a non-prodigy. That is not the argument we are making here.

The argument we are trying to convey is that Tiger Woods=specialized focus and Roger Federer= broad perspective. Of course, not every specialization can carry a broad perspective. For example, Epstein refers to firefighters and scientists. They too cannot carry a broad perspective in their field. What they could do is implement creativity in their field, which is another form is a holistic view. Without creativity, there is no innovation. 

“The more contexts in which something is learned, the more the learner creates abstract models, and the less they rely on any particular example. Learners become better at applying their knowledge to a situation they’ve never seen before, which is the essence of creativity,”- p.77

The Argument

As reiterated before, David Epstein’s argument is that we should have a holistic style of thinking in specialized focus. Especially in a specialized and industrialist society, as he notes in chapter 2. 

“The more constrained and repetitive a challenge, the more likely it will be automated, while great rewards will accrue to those who can take conceptual knowledge from one problem or domain and apply it in an entirely new one” p. 53

If we were to look back on our college days, we would find that all we knew at that time were what was in our field of study. An English Major could list you the top British Literature, but they may not be able to tell you anything related to changing a tire. An organic chemistry major could tell you all there is to know about their related field, but they probably couldn’t tell you how to file taxes. To the author, this is an issue.

The issue isn’t that an English major doesn’t necessarily know how to change a major, or that an organic chemistry student doesn’t know how to file taxes. Even in college, we have a narrow focus on our specialization that we fail to look at a broader perspective. 


The Architect

Let’s apply this to professions. Take architects for instance. According to d2 architects, an architect should have confidence, adaptability, creativity etc. Now, what if they have the focus of being creative, but do not have the focus on adaptability. For instance, an architect who is easy going and has all the creativity they need to do their job, but they lack the skills to give them range (perspective). A perspective that gives them adaptability. This is a hypothetical example, but one that actually happens in quite a range (pun intended) of fields.

Having a range of perspectives inspires creativity in a world that is heavily specialized. Of course, not all fields can have range, such as science, chess, sports, etc. 

The Real Estate Agent

Let’s take another example: A real estate agent. Real estate agents should have the tenacity, knowledge of the market, and have attention to detail. Let’s say this real estate agent possesses all these qualities.

A client comes in one day, specifying all the qualities they want in their home. The real estate agent understands and picks his/her top three favorite selections. From the three selections, the client chooses none. No biggie, sometimes agents don’t get the house on the first, second, or third try. But let’s say this is the agents sixth time in showing selections. The client doesn’t like any of them. The real estate agent is confused because they used all of their strategies. However, for whatever reason, the client is not happy. Could it be that the real estate agent is focusing too much on what the client wants, and not looking on a broader scale?

Welcome to the TV series, House Hunters. Not everything they show you are true. Perhaps if the real estate agent had a range in perspective they possibly could have found the client’s dream home. Now, not every situation is like this. Half of the time the real estate agent could do everything right, and it is perhaps the client themself who do not carry a range in perspective. The point is, having a narrow focus of what you want/ know does not always lead to success. 

“It’s strange that some of the greatest musicians were self-taught or never learned to read music. I’m not saying one way is the best, but now I get a lot of students from schools that are teaching jazz, and they all sound the same. They don’t seem to find their own voice. I think when you’re self-taught you experiment more, trying to find the same sound in different places, you learn how to solve problems.” 77

So, as you can see, having a specialized focus of something does not always lead to success. However, if we were to take on range, then perhaps, innovation may happen out the wazoo! As the author points out, we should stop living in a wicked learning environment. We need to carry out the task to remind ourselves to have a broad perspective, especially in a specialized field. 

“The more contexts in which something is learned, the more the learner creates abstract models, and the less they rely on any particular example. Learners become better at applying their knowledge to a situation they’ve never seen before, which is the essence of creativity,”- p.77 

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Welcome back to AirSend’s Book Corner!! As mentioned previously in our other book corner post, also titled, “The Referral Engine,” we will be breaking this book into two parts. There is so much useful information from the book alone, we felt it necessary to break it into two parts. If you would like to read the first part of the review, click here. If you have already read the first part, and are anxiously awaiting our second analysis, welcome back! Before diving into our chosen chapter, allow us to give a quick refresher to what the book is about. 


John Jantsch, author, blogger, and podcast host published what we like to think as the holy textbook to marketing, “The Referral Engine.” Marketing expert John Jantsch offers practical techniques for harnessing the power of referrals to ensure a steady flow of new customers. Some of Jantsch’s strategies include:

  • Talking with your customers, not at them
  • The sales team is the focal point 
  • Educate your customers. 

One of the secrets to generating referrals lies in understanding the “Customer Referral Cycle”-the way customers refer others to your company who, in turn, generate even more referrals. Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving customers and prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer. If everyone in an organization keeps this sequence in mind, Jantsch argues, your business will generate referrals like a well-oiled machine. Whew, now that we have gone through the refresher portion, let’s talk chapters! The chapter we will be focusing on as part of our finale series is “Chapter Four: The Referral System View.” 

Chapter Four: The Referral System View

We believe this chapter holds some very delicate and intricate points on the idea of referrals, and how to be a success at it. Throughout the chapter, the author offers his words of wisdom, along with a step-by-step outline of referral systems. Rather than telling you the step-by-step process (because that will take all day), we will briefly go over each of the steps addressing key points. We of course highly suggest reading the chapter in full for a better understanding of context. Let’s dive in. 

Your Authentic Strategy

This is the first step in creating your referral system. Your authentic strategy should explain a core talkable difference. What makes your business stand out from your competitor? What does your brand say about you? After understanding and figuring out why you are the best in the business, you must then narrowly define your ideal customer. This strategy intertwines with the first strategy. After deducing your uniqueness, what customers can you market to that will also find your brand interesting? Who do you want to be of service to? How/what can your business do to help others? Once you have these two strategies down you are ready to graduate to the next step. 

Core Talkable Difference

As reiterated before, your core talkable difference is the first strategy to implement in your referral system. During this process, you will also inevitably unearth your competitive advantage. 

“This must be something so special that people can’t help talking about your business.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 56). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

With AirSend, for example, we believe we stand alone in the conquest of efficiency. We strive to reach perfection with a purpose. To do that, we needed to create something that no one else could beat. Another example could be your favorite taco joint. Everybody loves this taco joint because they have a product that other taco restaurants don’t have. Are you more likely to go to a taco restaurant that has something no other eatery has, or are you more likely to go to a taco joint that has everything you can get from your local grocery store? 

“One of the best ways to create an innovation or differentiation for your business is to take something people already realize they may want and need and make it even easier to want.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 57). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

How to Create a Surefire Innovation

One thing to take note of is that we are entering an age of simplicity and efficiency. Simplicity and efficiency go hand-in-hand. Look at the technology that is being released. What we are really trying to say is that your innovation should simplify something. The market already understands the offering, and they already spend money here (in your desired field). So, what can you offer to the market that is more efficient and simple than your competitors? A market that already has funding in this desired field? Do not be daunted by this idea! Do not be afraid! If anything these questions should ignite an inner spark! Take these questions and conquer your field. Be the next innovator, not the observer. 

“Much of this advice has focused on entering proven markets. While that’s absolutely the advice I’m giving here, know that you must do so with a significant point of differentiation that the market easily understands and appreciates. In most cases this can be done by looking at the way most folks in the chosen market operate and find a way to simplify your offerings around breaking the mold.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (pp. 59-60). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Another key element to realize is that nothing is precious. Though we like to stick by our original ideas like they were our children, sometimes we have to adapt accordingly. Keep an open mind and study what the market really wants. 

“The owner is the customer. Understanding the characteristics, desires, and behaviors of a narrowly defined target market is very hard work but essential to your success.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 58). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

The Inbound Referral Process

From the traditional business models of hunting customers, we now enter a time era where the referral marketing system is moved from finding to being found, creating valuable content, engagement, and interaction where the ideal prospects are already looking. 

“The dramatic rise in the use of search engines in our daily lives has made being found a vital element in the marketing of every type of business.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 61). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The Customer Network

Fully developed referral system targets two groups: the customer base (direct network) and a group made of other businesses that also serve your ideal customer, who could be motivated to partner with you in some way to exchange referrals and support your customers

The Strategic Partner Network

According to Jantsch, the real unspoken referral opportunity resides with strategic partners. In other words, using businesses to refer to you and vice versa. An example that I believe takes the cake is game stores. When you go to tabletop game stores, (from personal experience especially), plenty of staff members refer you to other similar game stores that sell generally the same product. Why? Well, I would like to think it is loyalty, but in reality, it is to keep the businesses alive. To encourage more customers/ traffic.

“By using technologies such as online Web conferencing and podcasting you can easily tap the knowledge and resources of a large group of experts and partners and make the knowledge available to your customers on demand.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 63). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Fulfilling The Promise

When it comes to keeping promises, rewards are almost always the best answer. Plenty of retailers follow this strategy: “refer five people and receive a $25 gift card.” By far one of the most effective ways of gaining referrals. Much like a give and take system. Of course, remember the best referrals are earned when customers do it because they genuinely want to support the business.

“After working out your motivation strategy, you’ll create a referral follow-up process to ensure that referred leads are treated with special care, and that your referral sources are shown real appreciation to keep them motivated.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 63). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Referral Entry Points

We have finally entered the last section of the chapter. This last section essentially is a refresher course. For starters, get this through your mind: You deserve referrals!

“The expectation mindset must pervade your entire organization—it’s everyone’s job to find leads and convert them into customers.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 64). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Once you finally believe that your business or profession is worth, then create two different referral approaches (check out chapter nine). One for your customers and the other for your strategic partners. Afterward, create turnkey tools. 

Turnkey Tools

“Put tangible referral tools in the hands of your referral sources.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 65). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

In other words, make it easy and accessible for your clients to refer to you. Additionally have multiple creative ways for clients to refer to you.  Have a social online presence everywhere- great for versatility. Then, plan for logical collections. 

“The best time to collect referrals from customers is at the point when they realize and acknowledge a good job was done.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 65). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Finally, after following all these steps, and having a basic outline of how your referral system should be, measure and adjust. Hardly ever do we get our referral system right the first time. Your dashboard (outline) should be used as a place that you can go back to. Much like a drawing board. Mistakes are inevitable, and you may not have the referral system you dreamed of first time around, but with time and confidence in your product and/or service, you will surely reach your goal. 

“This is a place you might consider going back to your referral sources to discuss your referral campaigns, the type of ideal customer you are focused on, the best way to make an introduction to your firm, and your total product or service offerings.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 66). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Alrighty, folks. It is time to break out our library collection and review this week’s book topic: referrals. As indicated by the title, we are going to be tackling “The Referral Engine,” by John Jantsch. John Jantsch? Is he not the guy who is the brilliant author, speaker, and marketing consultant that hosts his very own marketing podcast called The Duct Tape Marketing? Yes! That’s the guy! To find out more about his and other like-minded marketing podcasts, check out our other blog on the top three marketing podcasts. In this mini-series, we will crank out our analysis of two chapters that are incredibly useful. This blog post will cover the one out of two chapter analysis. The second upcoming blog post will cover our second analysis. The chapter we will be covering is “Chapter One: Realities of Referral” Let’s dive in. 

Chapter One: Realities of Referral

Throughout the reading of this novel, Jantsch repeatedly presents a theme. A “how-to” theme. That theme is how to get your customers to refer your business, or in this case market for your business. Jantsch also grounds his argument of marketing campaigns behind the idea of word of mouth (WOM). He’s not wrong. Word of Mouth is considered to be the most effective form of promotion. Why? Simply because a person is more likely to believe something that comes from a person that he/she knows or respects, instead of sources like commercials or print ads.

Think about it. Would you rather try a weighted blanket because a commercial told you it was amazing, or because your favorite aunty told you it is worth the try? See my point? Anyway, in addition to WOM, Jantsch argues that the social drive for marketing referral is the hypothalamus. We had to reread the sentence too- don’t worry you are not crazy. The argument is actually logical. According to Jantsch, the hypothalamus likes validation. Additionally, the hypothalamus registers pleasure in doing good and being recognized for it. 

“Human beings are physiologically wired to make referrals.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 3). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Now that we have an idea of what WOM is and a fun fact on the hypothalamus, we now enter the five realities of referrals.

Reality #1: People make referrals because they need to

One of the key takeaways from reality #1 is that we rate and refer as a form of survival. Not survival in the sense of nomadic tribes, but survival within the community. In other words, building credit. We refer to build our own form of social currency. We refer to connect with other people.

“I think the growth of many popular social networks can be traced to the fact that people love to connect and form communities around shared ideas.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 4). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Reality #2: All Business involves risk

As much as the hypothalamus enjoys validation, it also controls and analyzes fear. However, fear is a necessary risk in creating or maintaining a business. Check out our other book review, “Uncertainty,” by Jonathan Fields to understand and conquer the concept of fear in your business.

“When we make a referral, we are putting the trust we have established with the recipient on loan to the person or company being referred.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 5). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Making decisions is another element of risk. Through Jantsch’s perspective, decisions about business are the same thing as making decisions about a purchase. 

“People don’t get emotional and passionate about ordinary products, a satisfactory result, or a fair price. They talk about things that surprise them or make them feel great about themselves—and, in effect, remove the feeling of risk they might have about doing business with that firm.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 6). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Reality #3: Nobody Talks about boring businesses

Jantsch makes an important argument here. To build a business, you have to first discover or create something that makes your product stand alone. A product that gets people talking. You should have a product that convinces and encourages people to refer to you. Take AirSend for example. We stand alone from our competitors because we have the ultimate efficient life hack. We give out customers the opportunity to do everything from ONE place. Send messages, organize files, assign tasks, create a guidebook with a built-in wiki, work with email, and more! What are some ideas or products that make you stand alone from your competitors? What does your product have that others do not? Why should customers use your product and not your competitors? These are the questions you must ask yourself when you design your product. 

Reality #4: Consistency builds trust

Put simply, having consistency, authenticity, and repetition in a business are the foundational tools of the referral trade. Customers come back because they like what you have. If you were to change this, chances are customers will slowly stop coming back. Of course, changing your product for the better is always a good thing, but keep it in moderation. Take your favorite restaurant for example. Let’s say you go to your favorite Thai restaurant. They serve your favorite duck curry. One day, you go in to have your usual, and all of a sudden, instead of seeing your usual on the menu, you see Mexican dishes. Would you feel inclined to go back? An extreme example, but you get the idea. To gain referrals, stick with your product and build consistency and authenticity. 

Reality #5: Marketing is a System

According to Jantsch, there’s an easy equation to remember. Business= systems and processes. Referral generation is a set of processes within the overall marketing system.

“You must embrace the true value your organization produces and develop a referral system that allows you to bring the best of your authentic self to every opportunity.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 9). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“Expecting referrals is not about you; it’s about getting the customer what’s possible. Find a way to detach yourself from any personal feelings of pride or self-doubt and get to work on creating a brilliant system that’s focused on getting results for your customers.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 10). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition .


Referrals aren’t easy to gain; however, if you have a product that you know will sell then half of your work is completed. You must remember that with referrals comes trust, loyalty, credibility, and an amazing product. If you have these elements in your business, the rest is up to your consumers. Let your customers do the marketing for you. All you need to do is trust them, and have passion and belief in your business. How hard can that be?

Jantsch offers amazing insight into the essence of referrals, how to create your referral system, building your authentic strategy, creating your customer and strategic partner network, and more! Look forward to our second chapter analysis!

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Here are five keys to effective communication from George J. Thompson’s book Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion.

Have you ever been misunderstood? Chances are the answer is yes, whether you’re aware of it or not.

The frustration of saying one thing only to have your words misconstrued by the listener is something we all experience at one time or another. In our personal lives, misunderstanding causes unexpected hilarity and unnecessary arguments. In our professional lives, the consequences can be more serious.

If a potential client misunderstands what you say, you may lose the opportunity to work with them. And misunderstandings between business partners or between managers and their employees can have a negative impact on productivity and overall business success.

Effective Communication = Success

Source: unDraw

While it isn’t always your fault, practicing effective communication can go a long way in preventing misunderstandings before they begin. Effective communication is the key to success in business not only because it mitigates the negative effects of misunderstandings but also because it is the foundation for excellence in sales, marketing, management, and collaboration — all central aspects of running a business.

So how do you communicate effectively?

Here are five keys to effective communication from George J. Thompson’s book Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion. The first three are positive actions, or things we should do to communicate effectively, and the last two are negative actions, or things we should not do under any circumstances.

Key #1: Know what you represent.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.

— Plato

Whenever you talk to someone in a professional setting, whether that person is a customer, employee, or business partner, you are representing something other than yourself. You might be representing your company, a product, or your department.

It is important that you know what it is you represent and the reason why you are communicating at all times. Before you open your mouth, think about these questions:

  1. For whom am I speaking?
  2. Why am I speaking?

Key #2: Move your audience.

Audiences are made, not found.

— Aristotle

The second step after you know what you represent is that you must communicate in a way that generates compliance, cooperation, or collaboration.

Your overarching objective as an effective communicator in business is to bring your audience into harmony with your goals. If you’re talking to a potential customer, that means convincing them to try your product or service. If you’re talking to a business partner, that means helping them see your perspective.

No matter what your audience’s starting point is in terms of knowledge and opinion (Point A), you need to move them to where you want them to go (Point B).

Getting your audience from Point A to Point B is moving your audience.

Key #3: Disappear personally.

Source: unDraw

In the process of moving your audience, you must disappear personally. Remember that you are representing something other than yourself whenever you communicate in a professional setting. You are not you — you are your company, product, or department.

That means you leave everything that is irrelevant at the door. Had the worst day of your life yesterday? Is that relevant to the objective and what you are representing? If not, then keep it to yourself when you’re talking to your new client or having a meeting with your employees.

The more you can disappear personally in front of others, the greater power you will have. Power that you can use to make your business successful.

Key #4: Don’t lose your temper.

Source: unDraw

The previous point — disappearing personally — will help with this. In his book, Thompson describes a state called Mushin, which translates to “no mind.” It is a state of being with no ego — no biases. A person in this state is calm and centered. No matter what is happening, she remains undisturbed.

You must practice Mushin at all times. No matter what is happening, never show anger. The moment you lose your temper is the moment you lose all hope of effective communication.

Key #5: Never insult.

Source: unDraw

Along the same lines of not losing your temper — don’t insult others. Remember that your goal as an effective communicator in business is to bring your audience into harmony with your objectives. If you insult people in any way, they are much less likely to want to comply, cooperate, or collaborate with you.

Insulting others also builds ground for them to stand on that they didn’t have before. Now the main focus becomes your attitude and what you are actually trying to communicate fades into the background.

Practice = Improvement

Like most difficult yet worthy endeavors, effective communication in business is something that you may never perfect. However, practicing the five keys above can lead to improvements that will help you achieve the success you’ve been working towards.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for businesses to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.


As previously mentioned before, Airsend is introducing our very own book corner. Here, we read, research, analyze, and write about book suggestions that are beneficial to all industries. From marketing to real estate, to plain business, we offer various types of books that are fascinating reads, and no, we assure you these are not textbooks.

This week we are covering a Stanley Bing novel, “Sun Tzu Was a Sissy: Conquer Your Enemies, Promote Your Friends, and Wage the Real Art of War.”

One of the most exciting novels to read, Bing provides a whole new perspective to the philosophy of a once-renowned Chinese General. However, this book is not a philosophy book. This book applies the everyday workforce philosophy with a  thrill of satire, dry humor, motivation, aspiration, inspiration, and ancient philosophy. It is like military tactics meeting the workforce.

Throughout the novel, Bing proposes a new perspective: apply Tzu’s core philosophy and essence of military tactics to the workforce. Wild, huh? But it works! Though the book feels like a how-to guide to becoming a great leader, there is plenty of useful and inspiring information for followers as well.

There are nine parts in the novel, however, I will only provide a brief summary to two parts that we believe are the first step in succeeding: leadership. This blog will focus on, “Part One: Preparing Your Bad Self,” and “Part Four: Quashing the Sissy Spirit.”

Part One: Preparing Your Bad Self

“Fate is both Yin and Yang. It is ice. It is fire. It is winter and spring, summer and fall, and then winter again. Go with it. Go against it. That is victory,” Sun Tzu.

Bing, Stanley. Sun Tzu Was a Sissy (p. 5). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.


Through each chapter in each part of the book, Bing provides a guided tour of self-improvement and conquering. Within these two categories, we felt that Part One was a calling. In the first chapter under part one, Beyond Yin and Yang: The Secret of Yinyang, Bing provides two real-person examples, Martha Stewart, who represents too much Yang, and Jerry Levin, who represent too much Yin.

In his analogical examples, Bing simplifies the concept. “Yang never drops its sword until death has made its decision who to take. Yin hopes that the other guy will die of a heart attack while he’s stabbing you,” ( p.6). However, if you combine the Yin and Yang together, you obviously get YinYang, which in its essence is winning, “It is Oneness, Sureness, Obnoxiousness. It is your warrior attitude. Beyond Yin. Beyond Yang. That’s so Old School. It’s YinYang. Get some,” (p.8).

After elaborating on Yin and Yang, Bing carries you into the next topic with a question that is also the chapter title, Are you Worth Dying For? (I’m Guessing Not). In summation, you must remember, you are your own army. You are not part of anybody else’s army, You create followers/supporters, not join them.

The last three parts of the chapter are dedicated to understanding the concept of “self-love,” and having people love you. The People’s Fate Star: You! Essentially, companies are usually deemed successful based on the quality of leadership. With leadership comes with having supporters- i.e. a company’s CEO who has loyal workers who are determined to achieve overall success. Why? Simply because they have respect for their leader.

Part One is a great starting point for readers as it is the focal point of the novel, and sets the overall tone of how this book turns out. Bing first tells you indirectly that you are not worth dying for, along with the secret of success, and then transitions to qualities of a leader through admiration of yourself, and then finally concludes that with becoming a leader, general, or CEO, you determine the outcome of your life and work. 

Part Four: Quashing the Sissy Spirit

“If it is not to your advantage, do nothing,” Sun Tzu. 

Bing, Stanley. Sun Tzu Was a Sissy (p. 86). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.


The first chapter to part four is titled, Angry You, Invincible You. With a reference to the Three Stooges, Bing highly emphasizes that “other than patience and a hollow leg, anger is the single most important personal attribute that a warrior can possess. On a business terrain, the player who fights without anger is at a distinct disadvantage, because the real guns out there are furious all the time,” (p. 89-90). Anger, of course, is done best in moderation, which leads to Bing’s next topic, Finding your Button.

Through the process of finding your button comes the five-step progress of producing a sustained amount of anger.  A particular statement I found interesting and believe to apply to everyone is that “anger,” which in the professional terrain is transposed into competitiveness and determination, is sustained through the idea of having a competitor. The idea that company adversaries have the possibility to become more successful than the other, is, put simply, outraging. However, this concept of anger and competition has been around for a long time. We have just failed to use it to our ability.

The remainder of the chapter deals with relishing in competitors’ weaknesses, and what it takes to bust a move so to speak. “Great warriors may also lurk before they leap—but they have the capability, the need, to bust a move and make something happen,” (p.101).


As reiterated before, much of this book is dedicated to creating an excellent leader. However, there is also plenty of information on how to become a successful person in a company for those who do not aspire to be leaders by giving them the qualities of a leader. In other words, confidence. Bing’s analogies, references, and philosophy could be applied to entrepreneurs, aspiring leaders working under someone else, or the one-man-band type who carries their own clients.

We believe the purpose of this novel is to provide qualities of leadership to every aspect of society.

“Sun Tzu Was a Sissy,” is a comical, enlightening, and intrinsically knowledgeable book that enriches and inspires each reader to become their own leaders one day. What do you think society would like if all we had were leaders?? 

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“It is not just a book, it is the guidebook to facing the unknown  fear.”

Please note that this blog will be discussing two chapters that we believed carried the most significance to our topic. The whole book is a wonderful read, and as much as we would love to discuss the whole book, the magic should be left for the reader to experience.

The purpose of Fields’s research is to convince readers that having fear of the unknown is necessary for business. Additionally, Fields provides wonderful examples and strategies of how to combat uncertainty when starting a business.  Uncertainty is fear. Fear can be anything when starting a business, such as the unspoken judgment when a project launches, the unpredicted feedback, or simply the fear of an idea being successful or not.

The two chapters we will be focusing on are, “Chapter 1: Why Uncertainty Matters,” and “Chapter 4: Find your Certainty Anchors.” Found in the introduction, Fields discusses filmmakers and CEO’s who turned their life around with fear and an idea. Additionally, he also provides a general layout of what the book will cover and their significance. Every professional is afraid to start their own business, expand on an idea, etc. But, according to the author, we shouldn’t be afraid of uncertainty. The Uncertainty Matters, and here’s why. 

Chapter One: Why Uncertainty Matters

Probably one of the most significant and meaningful inspiration can be found in the first chapter, “When you begin, nothing is certain save the drive to create something worth the effort. The more certain you are of the answer or the outcome in advance, the more likely it is to have been done already- to be derivative- and the less anyone will care, including you. Anything certain has already been done,” (Fields, p. 15). 

Consider this quote to be a Business 101 Guide to learning how to start your practice. To find certainty in an idea means to create something innovating. In other words, the idea should only speak uncertainty. The question then remains, how do we use the uncertainty to our advantage?  

“Creators need data. They need judgment, feedback, and criticism. Without them, there’s no way to know whether what you’re creating is working or not. When you base your actions on random guesses, rather than on relevant information, growth and movement towards brilliance slow dramatically or grind to a halt. Kill constructive judgment and you retard growth, adaptation, and evolution,” (Fields p. 18). Judgment, feedback, and criticism are all uncertain elements that we dread to hear when testing out an idea. Why? Because we do not want to be told our idea is a failure. As leading innovators, our ideas represent who we are, and what we stand for.

Additionally, Fields has taken the opportunity of including subsection that eases the reader into the topic of uncertainty. For example, there is a subsection titled, Amplifying Uncertainty, Exalting Uncertainty, It’s Not Just for Start-Ups and Tech, and Hailed But Reviled. Through each subsection, the author provides amazing examples of other like-minded creators. These creators, much like us in the beginning, had an uncertain idea and ran with it. As reiterated before, when facing uncertainty, it is almost always best not to face the unknown empty-handed. Chapter four is the first step in creating your arsenal.

Chapter Four: Find Your Certainty Anchors 

The purpose of this chapter is to prepare your arsenal for uncertainty. First, we must ask the question, “What is a certainty anchor?” Under the subsection, The Power of Certainty Anchors, the author explains the definition. “A certainty anchor is a practice or process that adds something known and reliable to your life when you may otherwise feel you’re spinning off in a million different directions,” (p. 46). In other words, the concept of certainty anchors is routines or ideas that remain with you at all times.

Certainty anchors could be ideas, rituals, routines, or positive thinking. We find it best to think of Certainty Anchors as routines that help expose my creative process. The reason being is that routines are always there. They are grounding experiences to which you can always return to. In other words, no matter how successful or unsuccessful business is, you can always return to my routines.

Steven Pressfield, author of “The War of Art,” opens a window into the power of ritual in creative work. “Broader lifestyle routines serve as a salve to calm a bit of the anxiety of creation and to drop an anchor to which we can tether our creative lines, knowing we can then float higher up in the clouds and stay there longer, trusting that we will be able to find our way down,” (p. 47).

Routines, i.e. certainty anchors, help overcome the fear, anxiety, and discomfort of uncertainty. Routines are one of the symbols of familiarity (the other is knowledge). Familiarity helps take on challenges that make you feel productive. You wouldn’t try something new unless you were positive you had the knowledge to do so. Why? Well, again, it is because we know that our familiarity (routines and/or knowledge) cannot be taken away from us.


The first step in dealing with uncertainty is to first acknowledge its presence. The second step is Certainty anchors. Accept the fear (i.e. uncertainty). You can always acknowledge that something exists, but to accept it as a part of creation is different. After acknowledging and accepting the uncertainty, Fields uses the remainder of the book to discuss how to apply uncertainty to your practice.

Throughout the book, there are many examples, advice, and knowledge of how to start a business. Fields’s research revolves around facing uncertainty in the business/professional world. His goal is to provide insight and inspire like-minded entrepreneurs to face fear rather than run away from it.

Fields once said, “Snuffing out uncertainty leads to a sea of prematurely terminated mediocre output…if only we’d had the will to embrace uncertainty, risk, and judgment, and hang on a bit longer. If only we’d learn how to harness and ride rather than hunt and kill the butterflies that live in the gut of every person who strives to create something extraordinary from nothing,” (p.27).

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