Hello and welcome to the first of my Tuesday book review series.
Since starting this freelance life of mine, I have read blogs, books, taken courses and coaching sessions – all to help me to figure out how to get better at what I do and how to use the skills I already have to best effect.
And, with that in mind, I thought one of the best books I could kick the book review series off with would be Marianne Cantwell’s ‘Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9 to 5, create a life you love and still pay the bills’
DISCLAIMER: This is NOT an affiliate or sponsored post.
So you want to work for yourself but have no clue what you want to do.
Or you are bursting with ideas but can’t figure out where to start.
Or maybe you just have a nagging feeling that there’s more to life than your current job and that it is, indeed, a short one so you want to make the most of it.
If that sounds like you, then Marianne says that this is the book for you.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Marianne’s philosophy is pretty much that we shouldn’t feel like we are trapped in our career cages (i.e. the 9 to 5 job) due to needing to earn a living or worrying about what society might think of us doing something crazy like – starting a business or living a location free life. Instead, she advocates that we should find the work that we are best suited to, that uses the skills and strengths that we already have and that makes us not just get up in the morning, but look forward to the day ahead.
Written in a no nonsense tone, Marianne’s prose is not for the formal or faint hearted. Yep, she will thrown in the odd expletive. Her writing style is bolshy, energetic and enthusiastic. All of which means that, if you’re looking for a formal business guide – or you don’t like a conversational tone – then this isn’t a book you’re going to want to read. It’s not a formal business guide. And Marianne certainly doesn’t do boring.
Marianne has walked the talk. She lives a free range life after having been in the career cage herself and has built her business up from scratch through sheer determination. However, what I like most about the book is that she doesn’t just focus in on her own story, but instead features case studies of people who have started their own free range careers – from someone who started a t-shirt business (that made 6 figures before he moved on to something else) to a guy who was terrible at languages at school who now earns a living, yep, you guessed it teaching languages online.
Each section deals with a specific aspect of your free range journey, so you can work through it at your own pace and filling it in according to your own situation. I bought the Kindle version so used a notebook as I read it, but it’s great to jot down ideas, thoughts and work through the exercises in the book.
The first time I read it (I’ve read it 3 times now) although I felt inspired, I was a tiny bit overwhelmed too. It’s a lot to take in and is a different way of approaching our working lives – so it takes a bit of getting used to (particularly if you’re used to the more formal career cage life). I did have a moment of panic when I got to the end of the book, but still didn’t really have an idea that I loved or that said ‘That’s me!’ in any definite way.
However, because Marianne is a believer in ‘play projects’ or just getting stuck in and trying things out in a small way before you dedicate your life to it, that doesn’t necessarily matter.
By the second reading, I had gotten used to the approach and started to form some more concrete ideas on where my focus would be. And, because Marianne thinks you should try out ideas in a small way first, you don’t need to bet the house on your new business venture or dedicate yourself to years of learning a new skill. In fact, that’s entirely against the ethos of Free Ranging.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT
This is a practical guidebook, where you are inspired by the content and then work through the exercises tailoring them to your specific wants/needs. And that means that there’s no ducking out or skimming through it only to come to the end, stick it on the shelf and forget about it.
Marianne knows her stuff – so read it, work through it, and get the most out of it.
One idea that really resonated with me is that we spend so much time trying to improve the aspects that we’re not so good at, that we forget about the areas that come naturally to us. And those are the ones that we need to concentrate on if we want to really shine in this life. Wouldn’t it be better if we were all encouraged to work to our strengths and build those?
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS
This book was a slow burn for me – although I suspect there are others who will read it and be raring to go the minute they put it down. I found that having the opportunity to think it through and then go through it again (hey, that’s just the way I roll) worked best in helping me to form my ideas and get clarity on the way forward.
If you’re looking for a standard business/how to manual then this isn’t the book for you. But if you want to have a different career – even if you’re not sure what that might be – or if you have aspirations to get more out of your life AND build a career that works directly towards your own strengths – then this is a must read.
Have you read Free Range Humans? What did you think of it – what were the best and worst bits for you? And if you have any other books in a similar vein that you’d like to see in the monthly book review, please let me know in the comments below. Or get in touch if you’d like to submit a guest book review.