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Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives



Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives

Christopher Gergen, Gregg Vanourek

ISBN: 978-0-787-98862-3 March 2008 Jossey-Bass 256 Pages


"An inspirational and practical guide for anyone who wants to incorporate the dynamic skills of entrepreneurs into their own lives and work.

A new generation of "life entrepreneurs" is emerging: people who apply their vision, talents, creativity, and energy not only to their work but to their entire lives, changing the world for themselves and those around them. In this book, successful entrepreneurs Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek draw on numerous interviews with fifty-five leading entrepreneurs worldwide as well as the wisdom of multiple thought leaders to provide vivid examples, moving vignettes, concrete frameworks, and practical strategies for revving up our work and play through entrepreneurial leadership. This book starts by providing strategies for integrating life, work, and purpose and ends by capturing the implications of the current entrepreneurial boom for our workplaces, learning institutions, communities, and families.

Christopher Gergen (Washington, D.C.) is a founding partner of New Mountain Ventures, co-founder and chairman of SMARTHINKING, Adjunct Professor and Director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative at Duke University, and a life-long entrepreneur,

Gregg Vanourek (Thornton, CO) is a founding partner of New Mountain Ventures, former CEO of Vanourek Consulting Solutions, and former Senior Vice President of School Development for K12 Inc."

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Foreword, by Warren Bennis xiii

Introduction xv

List of Interviews xxvii


1 Understanding Life Entrepreneurship 3

2 Life Entrepreneurs in Action 25

3 Discovering Core Identity 38


4 Awakening to Opportunity 65

5 Envisioning the Future 80

6 Developing Goals and Strategies 93


7 Building Healthy Support Systems 111

8 Taking Action and Making a Difference 129

9 Embracing Renewal and Reinvention 145

Conclusion: Creating a New Future 165

Appendix A: Life Entrepreneurship Primer 181

Appendix B: Exercises and Helpful Resources 187

Appendix C: Interview Methodology 189

Notes 191

The Authors 199

Acknowledgments 201

Index 205