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Review: Authentic – How to Make a Living by Being Yourself


Jacket - AuthenticTitle: Authentic – How to make a living by being yourself
Author: Neil Crofts
Publisher: Capstone
ISBN: 1-84112-519-9
Price: £12.99
Reviewer: Dr Jeff Wooller

Neil Crofts is the former head of strategy of internet consultancy, Razorfish. After years of feeling the tension between what he did and what he wanted to do, he saw the light and took control of his life, forming Authentic Business. From his initial idea, Authentic Business has grown into a series of business guides, a network of support companies for small businesses with a positive goal and now includes a PR company, a design company and soon a venture capital business.

It is a lifestyle book based on practical experience. The author’s vision of a role allowing him to be true to himself and make a positive impact on the world around him convinced him to break out of a conventional, and highly successful, corporate career.

Authentic is also about doing business with a profound positive purpose, and the fundamental advantages that this has over more conventional ways of doing business. It shows you how to have multidimensional success and to achieve everything you need by just being yourself.

Authentic offers inspiration for individuals tired of career conformity. He demonstrates the steps you need to take to find out who you really are and what you want from life, and finally he reveals how you can turn all that into a business that is authentic to you.

There is no doubt that Neil Crofts is a genuine believer in what he has done and is doing. But it will take a brave man to follow him if you have a family and a mortgage. If you take the trip and succeed then you will be in second heaven. If you take it and fail, it will be a living hell.

The author gives illustrations of organisations that live the life and are happy to do so. They include Organic Express, Yeo Valley, Howies and Solar Century. The common theme is that the workers are happy in these organisations and staff turnover is very low. Profitability is not the key objective but the organisations are doing well because they provide a good, friendly, caring service.

There is copious advice on lifestyle including an emphasis on organic produce. However, the author loses a little credibility when he advocates the common potato as part of a balanced diet. For most people there are better ways to get their carbohydrate intake!

He is not a great lover of accountants and advocates outsourcing. This makes it less likely that the negative vibes from the humble accountant will permeate the organisation.

But the most radical part relates to your wife or partner. Thirty-five business strategists met to ‘delve into themselves’. Nine months later, a third of the participants had separated from their partners and spouses

I found the book thought provoking, stimulating and an excellent read. It is not recommended as a Christmas present unless you know that the recipient is in a state of marital bliss!

Dr Jeff Wooller, President of the Institute of Professional Financial Managers.


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