There is no single, be-all-end-all book to read if you are an entrepreneur or aspiring business owner. To survive and thrive in business requires continual self-education. However, while there is a plethora of books published for aspiring entrepreneurs, it can be challenging to identify those worth the effort to read. I strongly recommend that you add Soar!: Build Your Vision from the Ground Up, the latest book by New York Times bestselling author T.D. Jakes, to that list.
Jakes is world-renowned as Bishop T.D. Jakes, the founder and leader of the Dallas-based Potter’s House megachurch. However, while he is called to ministry, his upbringing is rooted in a family legacy of entrepreneurship, including the examples of his father, who owned a janitorial services business, and his mother, who excelled as a savvy real estate investor. As CEO of TDJ Enterprises, L.L.P., Jakes has been true to that legacy, launching successful ventures ranging from major live events like the faith-and-family focused MegaFest to the production of film releases like Jumping the Broom.
I’ve had the privilege of speaking with Jakes often over the years, both via on-stage interviews (including at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit) and private conversations. I can vouch for him as an excellent source of entrepreneurial advice and mentorship. However, since gaining direct access to him is a very remote possibility for most people, his new book Soar! is the next best thing. In fact, reading this book is like getting a guided tour of one of the most imaginative and tuned-in entrepreneurial minds of his generation, while getting specific advice on what it means to get a company off the ground, guide its ascension through storms and obstacles, and perhaps most importantly, keep it from crashing.
With Soar!, Jakes teaches a master course on the risks and rewards of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, and how to live it successfully. Drawing from the example of flight pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright (making business ownership analogous to building a flying machine), Jakes covers practically every challenge you are likely to face during the life cycle of a business, from pre-launch to exit. At each stage, he stresses the importance of preparing for and planning each stage of execution, using plenty of real experiences (his own and others) to illustrate the realities of what’s at stake and to be gained. While Soar! covers marketing, branding, e-commerce, and other expected topics, the most valuable chapters are those that focus on deciding whom to bring on board, when and why—especially when it comes to hiring friends and family.
Whether you’re trying to get past the fear of launching a business, or you’ve already taken off with your enterprise but are struggling to keep it airborne, Soar! was written for you.