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Ten Steps Ahead
by Erik Calonius

Release Date: 4th Apr 2011
Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 978 0 7553 6235 6
RRP: £12.99

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To be ten steps ahead, there has to be people going slower than you - most of us are those people...

There’s nothing so appealing as the notion that we have within ourselves the potential to become great leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries; if only we knew the secret handshake, the business stratagem or the hot stock to back – we’d all be able to make billions and feel that self-satisfied feeling all those ‘successful’ people swim around in. So Ten Steps Ahead’s subtitle: “what smart business people know that you don’t” is a killer tagline aimed at reeling in those seeking to change the world… or, their personal wealth ratio at least.

Apparently, the secret is in all our heads – or our brains, to be more precise. Neuroscience is altering our perceptions of what allegedly makes one individual able to ‘see’ opportunities ripe for exploitation, where another stumbles blindly past it. Ten Steps Ahead isn’t in the strictest sense, a self-help book. There are no quizzes, check boxes to tick or activities to pursue. There are nine solid chapters centred on the theory of how visionaries’ brains are programmed to function, along with some well-trodden and more current scientific thinking; from the premise that our brains function in a similar vein to the binary code of a computer, to the importance of being able to really see the world around you. Unsurprisingly, the eye is drawn instinctively to chapter 10: “Can you learn vision?” The answer? Yes, yes you can… with the following caveats: you’ll need good intuition (which may also lead you astray), luck (that fickle Lady), courage and conviction (otherwise known as bloody-mindedness) and a lot of hard graft.

A mix of nostalgic reminiscences of ‘visionaries’ Calonius has interviewed or befriended over the years (along with snapshots of their respective facts and figures)and a hodgepodge of scientific, generic and subjective opinions as to the cause of such geniuses amongst our midst; Ten Steps Ahead promises answers where they are already known, we just don’t like the sound of them.
A little dry for my tastes and despite Calonius’ last ditch attempt to provide a frisson of excitement; ultimately, there isn’t anything substantially newto sink our teeth into. The problem is that for every genius or visionary out there carving their niche in the world; there are a gazillion others who’d rather stick to safe, comfortable ground and complain about our lot in life. And no book is going to change that, until they discover a quick, simple and easy way of becoming great.


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