If Miki Agrawal weren’t an actual person, you would think she had been designed by a consortium of Silicon Valley startups as the embodiment of millennial DIY entrepreneurship. The French-Canadian daughter of Japanese and Indian parents, Agrawal grew up immersed in three cultures and moving seamlessly between them. After graduating from Cornell and a false start along a lucrative, traditional career path that might have pleased her parents but that made her life miserable, Agrawal decided to transform her craving for a healthy slice of pizza into a New York business: Slice (later renamed Wild) – now a national franchise in partnership with her good friend, Zappos’ Tony Hsieh. Since then she has blossomed into a successful serial entrepreneur
Agrawal’s adventures in leaving the well-trodden path behind and diving into the risky yet exhilarating unknown are the basis for Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After – a self-help book for would-be entrepreneurs in need of a friendly kick in the pants. Agrawal’s book, and her message, are unflaggingly upbeat, yet tough – like a neon-pink pair of steel-toed Doc Martens. “Follow your heart to a career only you could create,” is the book’s mantra, “and woe be to those who stand in your way.” In her chapter on relationships, Agrawal advocates a careful, steely-eyed assessment of your friends, family, and lovers. If any relationship on the list is less than “MB” (mutually beneficial), she says, it’s time to cut the taker loose.
Video: Miki Agrawal on doing cool sh*t, and the MB relationship
Do Cool Sh*t is full of anecdotes from Miki’s experiences learning to make friends with total strangers, raise money for her businesses, get personal audiences with entrepreneurial rock stars like Sir Richard Branson, and the doing of cool sh*t instead of (she implies but is too positive and forward-focused to say outright) the humdrum sh*t most people spend their time doing.
Above all, though, the spirit of the book is classic American (by way of Montreal) Can-Do. Throughout, Agrawal encourages readers to experiment with her tips and techniques, and to share their experiences on the accompanying website. In a job market full of highly educated graduates seeking unpaid prestige internships that probably won’t result in a job but maybe just might look good on a résumé, Do Cool Sh*t reminds young careerists that they have other options – and that pursuing them with intelligence and courage can result in a life full of stories that have never been told before.
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