Jonathan Fields  was once a “high-powered mega-firm Manhattan lawyer,” who worked “endless hours and was literally getting sick from the demands of is intense career,” that is, until a 72-hour work bender had him rushed into a stress-induced emergency surgery. He had a perforated intestine. Afterwards, he decided to leave his six-figure job and seek a better life based on meaning. He became a serial entrepreneur, building up several successful health and fitness companies (among other things) and penned Career Renegade – How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love. What’s very interesting is that his story isn’t unique – Bargaineering contributor Gary Bonner worked himself into a heart attack and Professor Jim O’Donnell left a lucrative career in finance to pursue a life with greater meaning, but Jonathan Fields wrote a book about it.
The introduction is eleven pages. The next time you’re in a bookstore, look for the book and read those eleven pages. He tells you his story, about how stress and long hours contributed to an infection that consumed his intestines from the inside out. It explains exactly what the book is about, without any salesmanship or BS. More importantly, he points to the fact that we’ve all been trained and brainwashed (he doesn’t say that, but that’s what I believe) into believing that life is about going to work, paying your bills, and then going to work some more. It’s not. You can love what you do and pay the bills at the same time, you’re not some drone on a treadmill just grinding along. After you’re done reading the introduction, you will know whether or not this book is for you.
Career Renegade covers everything from what Fields did to how you can explore your passions, create a business plan out of it, and turn it into something that could support you and your family. Fields has done it himself. He created Sonic Yoga , a #1 NYC yoga studio, as one of his first few ventures and has done very well with it. If you asked a hundred people whether you could sustain a Manhattan lifestyle by opening a yoga studio from the ground up, you’d probably get 100 “no’s”. Fields saw an opportunity, took it, and flourished.
The book is more than a touchy, feely “whatever your passion is, you can turn it into a career as long as you work hard” type of book, it gives you real ideas and suggestions on how to expand, how to research that niche to see if it’s viable, and how to do “everything else” in a business that you probably didn’t think of. Selling information products? Chapter five. Want to learn how blogging can expand your reach? Chapter fifteen. Chapter 12 gives you an overview of a lot of new technologies that can help you expand your business. There’s a wealth of resources online and Fields does an excellent job explaining them.
I was very impressed with Career Renegade, I think that if you’re interested in starting up your business and not sure where to start, read this book before you quit your job! If nothing else, look for it in the bookstore and scan the introduction. Then flip through the pages. Chances are you’ll be interested in whatever page you land on, unless, of course, you’re not at all interested in quitting your job to pursue your passions.