take a gamble pursuing his passion–writing. For the past 11 years, Kimbro, 47, has performed his “labor of love”–promoting self-improvement and entrepreneurship through the written word.
Kimbro, who earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, believes complacency is achievement’s biggest adversary. “Most people are satisfied with settling for too little because it’s safe,” he says. “To find your life’s destiny, you must break out of your comfort zone.” The Jersey City, New Jersey, native’s willingness to embrace this philosophy led to his first and most popular book, Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice (Fawcett Book Group; $5.99), published in 1992.
A former Clark Atlanta University School of Business professor, he spent five years reworking and expanding A Black Choice, which was based on the original 1930s classic Think and Grow Rich, by Napolean Hill (Napolean Hill Foundation; $15.95). One of the first self-help books written specifically for African Americans, it launched Kimbro’s book career and spearheaded the sale of over 500,000 copies of his three titles to date, which include What Makes the Great Great: Strategies For Extraordinary Achievement (Doubleday; $23.95).
A husband and father o
f three, Kimbro caters to the entrepreneurial spirit. “People often feel they can’t afford to give up their 9-to-5 and achieve their own goals,” he says. “In reality, you can’t afford not to go after your dreams.” He brings in a six-figure salary from books and lectures, although he dispels the myth that success is synonymous with money. “Success is a process, not a dollar amount,” says Kimbro, whose price for lectures ranges from free to $25,000. “It’s why NBA superstar Michael Jordan shoots 300 jump shots a day and why Marva Collins, the nationally acclaimed Chicago teacher, makes it a point to learn 15 new vocabulary words each day. They realize success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal–not money or fame.”
Kimbro, who recently submitted a four-book deal to his literary agent, is currently working on his fourth book tentatively titled Wisdom of the Ages, which solicits advice from black grandmothers on solving today’s problems. His ultimate goal: “To leave a legacy of personal development and self-sufficiency for generations to come.”
PATRICIA RUSSELL-McCLOUD COUNTS
herself among the last of a dying breed. In the tradition of Frederick Douglas and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she’s more than just a motivational speaker–she’s an orator. “My speaking style is big, broad and animated,” says the 40-something president of Russell-McCloud & Association in Atlanta. “Those qualities seem to be lacking in many modern-day speakers.”
Russell-McCloud practiced law for the Federal Communications Commission for a decade before changing career paths in 1983. “I wanted to take my love of public speaking beyond the courtroom to impact people’s lives on a broader scale,” says the graduate of Kentucky State University and Howard University School of Law.
She has spoken to groups exceeding 30,000 in number, and her client list, which includes McDonald’s Coors, the CIA, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Medical Association and the AFL-CIO,