Book Review: Break Free by Don Soriano
Like many of you who read my blog, I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. I want to experience and learn about different cultures and traditions and hopefully, understand the world better. However, traveling can be costly: it requires time, effort, and a serious amount of money.
Since traveling long-term is one of the goals I want to achieve within the decade, I have decided to be more mindful of how I earn and spend money. I also started to look for opportunities to augment my income. Recently, I’ve taken interest in books and seminars that promote financial literacy and money management. That’s why I was very excited when I was invited to review Don Soriano‘s book, Break Free: 8 Principles to Get from Employee to Employer in 3 Years or Less.
Break Free: 8 Principles to Get from Employee to Employer in 3 Years or Less
This short book focuses on the principles that the author wished he knew before he started out as an entrepreneur:
- Don’t quit your job just yet.
- Start learning as much as you can.
- Increase your active income.
- Manage your money well.
- Maximize leverage.
- Put yourself in the right environment.
- Create passive income.
- Learn to master yourself.
Bite-Sized Chunks of Information
The strength and weakness of the book lie in its brevity and lightness. Its easy-to-digest chapters are designed for readers with a short attention span, which characterizes many millennials today. I also found it helpful how the author included illustrations and pointed to online materials as a supplement to the book. Nevertheless, I think there are more ideas that can be explored in most chapters.
What I Enjoyed Reading About
Income is directly proportional to personal development, according to the author. I recently read Kiyosaki’s The Business of the 21st Century, and he wrote about the importance of self-development as well. You can never go wrong when you invest time and money in your own education and personal growth. By attending seminars, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and reading voraciously, you will arm yourself with the most important tool in business today: information.
A Universal Formula?
I noticed how the author has given emphasis on what he considers as fast and easy steps to achieving financial success. In many parts, the Pollyannish attitude of the author makes me feel uneasy, but I know that he means well: it’s important to motivate and encourage the reader to take an active role in the improvement of his financial situation, after all. This is what most Filipinos need today.
Nevertheless, real life is messy, and getting into the life of an entrepreneur even more so, especially in the Philippines. It can be dangerously naïve and simplistic to propose a universal formula for massive business success, considering that there are many challenges facing the Filipino entrepreneur. For instance, the author swears by the importance of having the right disposition in his success: “success is only 20% skill and 80% psychology,” he wrote. While having the right mindset is crucial in developing character, I believe that hard work, grit, resilience, and sheer damn luck should also be included in the equation.
I invite everyone to read this book, but I suggest that you take the author’s advice with a grain of salt. Personally, I think this book can be used as a springboard for a meaningful conversation about personal finance and entrepreneurship. What worked for him may not work for everyone, yes, but I do agree that maintaining a positive attitude, leveraging what resources you may have, and managing your money will get you very far.
About the Author
Don Soriano is a personal finance coach, speaker, and entrepreneur whose goal is to empower Filipinos to make good choices when it comes to personal finance, sales, investments, and business. With his mission to promote financial literacy and awareness, he manages a team of personal finance coaches and speaks about his journey to financial freedom.
Don Soriano graduated from De La Salle University – Manila with a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy and ranked 7th in the Certified Public Accountant Board Exams in 2011. He spent more than a year as an External Auditor in a well-regarded accounting firm before he tried his hand on several business ventures, most of which failed. At 24, he found himself P500,000 in debt due to his poor lifestyle choices and business decisions. In three years, he managed to turn his situation around, becoming a part-owner of a restaurant and a franchise owner of a successful food cart business.
I’m a person of simple tastes and wants. All I’ve ever wanted since I was 12 was to have my own room where I can display my notebook collection. When I was 16, I was content to stay in bed and write in my journal. At 22, I thought I needed nothing more than classical music and a bowl of spaghetti.