I was not popular in high school. I was not popular in college.

It took me well into my career before I had enough confidence to speak without mumbling because I was so painfully shy.

We also moved around so much that I didn’t have a set group of friends. So I’d move into a new school (particularly in high school) and I was cute and I was smart and I was new.

On my second day in a new high school, a girl threatened to beat me up after school. Just because I showed up for the second day.

Those years were extremely painful. So painful, in fact, I refuse to attend any kind of reunion or Facebook groups.

That’s why I was so interested to read Erika Napoletano’s new book, “The Power of Unpopular.” Well that and because I love her style of writing (minus the curse words).

It turns out she was unpopular too. For a few of the same reasons (cute and smart), but also because she didn’t run with the prom queen crowds, which I so desperately wanted to do.

She was OK with not being part of the “cool” crowd and she learned some very valuable lessons about running a business because of it.

She says:

I came to understand that if something was going to work, it was up to me to make it happen.

She details some of the most unpopular, yet successful, people in history.

Thomas Edison was afraid of the dark…and had 1,093 patents in his name.

Albert Einstein was unemployed after getting his degree…and won the Nobel Prize in physics later in life.

She talks about a very unpopular business concept: Failure.

While failure is inevitable and unpopular, it’s extremely powerful. After all, it’s how we learn.

She uses this concept, and a few others (such as humility, purpose, and criticism) to show you how to use your unpopularity to build a better business.

In her estimation, those of us accustomed to being unpopular are successful in business because we grew up not caring about what others think, not wanting to be around shortsighted thinkers, and being comfortable in the unknown.

It’s not to say those of you who were popular growing up can’t be successful. Erika gives you a recipe for cheating your way through being unpopular. But it’s likely you’ll have to change your mindset and how you do things, if you want to follow her approach.

Each chapter in the book ends with a case study, and not the typical ones, that show you how unpopular brands (cough, Harry Potter, cough) eventually made it because their founders were comfortable with being told no and just kept at it. They’ll help you think through how you approach things in your own business or career.

Minus the inordinate amount of curse words throughout (poor Erika; we make her remove them all when she guest blogs for us), I highly recommend this book.

In her words, “Being unpopular means we get to wake up every day and live what we love.”

Get yourself a copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It’s available both electronically and in hard cover.

Disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book from Erika’s publicist. Just like all of the other books I receive, I promised to do a review only if I liked the book and thought it would bring value to you (be grateful I don’t review the crappy ones). To say thank you for considering it, Erika sent me an electronic monkey latte (two of my favorite things in one). Also, the links to the book are affiliates for Erika…in order to help her earn a mere $0.70 per book sale. I don’t think she should spend it all in one spot.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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