Getting There Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Getting There will inspire you to move toward your entrepreneurial dreams with the business journeys of six successful entrepreneurs.

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The Jim Rohn quote “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” is vital advice for anyone who wants to improve their life. Looking to our role models, however, we often find that their popularity and lack of proximity keep us from becoming like them. If the most influential people in the world became our “five people,” how would our lives change? You can become like your heroes if you will open up their books and read. For this reason, I say that you are the average of the five authors you read the most.

Books, the internet, and all the content out there from the people we look up to most make it possible to close the distance and reputation gap. The greatest people in the world will be our mentors if we will simply read, study, and emulate their lives. 

In Getting There: A Book of Mentors, author Gillian Segal shares the stories of six people who started small and persevered through difficulties. Each of them created well-known and successful companies, some of which include Spanx, Teach for America, and Craigslist. 

Here are 3 of the most influential lessons from the book:

  1. The Internet and starting small and simple can help you overcome your biggest weaknesses and find success.
  2. No matter how idealistic people think you are, persistence through rejection wins.
  3. The greatest setbacks provide pivotal moments that we need to create something amazing.

Are you ready to feel some motivation by hearing the stories of a few successful people? Let’s get to it!

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Lesson 1: Regardless of your weaknesses you can utilize the tools at your fingertips to build your ideas.

Innovation is all around us in the age of the internet. This tool remains highly underutilized as a way to not only grow businesses, but ourselves. Young Craig Newmark, while nice, was nerdy and shy. He wanted to have many friends, but recognized that his poor communication skills were holding him back. So he did what any introverted young person might do and turned to the internet. 

Newmark enjoyed connecting people and allowing them to use their respective expertise to help each other. Starting small, he began an email list to give tips and connect people with others and the things with which they were interested. As word spread, more people asked to join the newsletter and his following grew. 

Eventually, the lists within his emails grew so large that Craig began his own website to handle all the information. Not long after, in 1997, Craigslist was born and is still going strong today. Newmark’s innovative view on how the internet could solve his and others problems made a big difference for him and those he serves.

Lesson 2: When you persist time and again after being shot down, you’ll reach your dreams.

When you are inspired to make something good for the world, you make it happen. This is one of the core beliefs of Wendy Kopp, who started Teach for America. The road to building this organization which has impacted millions, however, wasn’t easy.

When Kopp began at Princeton, her determination to make a difference led her to join a student organization. When they approached the CEO of a large company for funding, however, everything changed. Upon completion of her group’s presentation, the CEO noted the impoverished people right out the window. He challenged their request by questioning why he would help their cause when there were more pressing needs in the world. Kopp then dedicated herself to the higher purpose of providing equal education to the poor.

Inspired to make a change, she resolved to beat all odds to raise the needed $2.5 million estimated budget. Approaching businesses for help to reach this dream, she received a lot of push back from people who told her that she was too idealistic. Kopp showed them her determination by gathering over 2,500 potential recruits. After news outlets picked up on her efforts, the project quickly received the money needed to move forward. Wendy Kopp’s grit triumphed over staggering odds to create one of the most influential organizations in the country.

Sometimes, though, changing direction when things get hard is exactly what you need to do, as we’ll see in the next lesson.

Lesson 3: Even when you fail at first, it can be an opportunity to do what you were meant to.

From the time she was young, Sara Blakely hoped to be a lawyer when she grew up. Unfortunately, she failed her law school admissions test twice, which broke her resolve to continue. After giving up, she took a door-to-door sales job. Enduring pitches to one uninterested customer after the next, Blakely grew her determination to close each sale. The longer she worked though, the more she wanted to sell something about which she could really get behind. 

One day, as she was dressing for a party, she removed the feet on a pair of panty-hose to wear her sandles. After looking over her new creation, Blakeley saw the opportunity that she was looking for. She began working on a product that she cared about, getting patents, doing research, and making connections in private for a year. 

With her newfound strength against rejection, she persisted through all the difficulties of beginning a new venture. Sara Blakely created the now popular brand “Spanx” and became among the youngest of America’s female billionaires. Even though her first dream didn’t pan out, continued effort paid off in a big way for this entrepreneur.

Getting There Review

Getting There really inspired me to do and be better. I feel more motivated to work harder through the difficulties and excuses that so easily hold me back every day. I highly recommend this book!

Who would I recommend the Getting There summary to?

The 26-year-old college graduate who isn’t sure what they want to do with their life, the 30-year-old who is launching their first business, and anyone beginning what will be a lengthy project.

Last Updated on August 23, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.