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I Learned The Hard Way

Steven N. Adjei Author Interview

Pay The Price provides practical advice and wisdom readers will need to find entrepreneurial success through any setbacks. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I thought my business was a no-brainer. I had done all the research, the training. Identified the market need. Launched it straight after business school. But after 10 years of slugging it out without a single pay check and enduring all sorts of challenges from near bankruptcy, humiliating chronic illness, 2 car crashes where the cars were so damaged they had to be written off, moral failure and losing 2 members of my close family, I was on the brink of giving up and sticking to my 9-5 job. But I didn’t, and after a decade, I signed my very first million dollar deal. It turns out that 90% of entrepreneurs face the same challenges but end up giving up too soon. And I felt an indescribable pain every time I walked past a closed small business, or read another story of a business going bankrupt, or met another failed entrepreneur. It sounds like a cliché but I felt deep down I had to do something about it, and this book is a result of that pain, that feeling, that ‘’calling”.

What is one trait that you think any successful entrepreneur must possess?

Resilience. If you believe in your honeymoon period, i.e your dream, your purpose and your passion, success does not come automatically. You need to have the grit, the diehard attitude to stick it out. As I say in the book, its crucial to stick with it if you believe in it.

What is one thing about entrepreneurship that you learned the hard way and how can others do it differently?

The one thing I learned the hard way? Pain. Its inevitable. I dedicated almost a quarter of the book talking about it – even to the extent of devising a brand new Pain Response Model. In that model, I show that there is a part of pain you can minimize or completely eradicate to make the journey a bit easier, to make the price to pay a bit cheaper – the pain of self-sabotage, what I call Red Flag Pain in the book. This is so simple, so ”common-sensicall” that it hardly needs saying. But it’s the one thing that trips up so many entrepreneurs even after they have succeeded. You need to know what yours is, be self-aware and take drastic steps to kill its growth before it kills you and your business in the end. My path to success would have been much smoother, but then I may not have had the ammunition to write this book!!

What research did you undertake to complete your book?

I researched using literally hundreds of books and academic papers, first hand interviews with entrepreneurs across the world, top rated podcasts, my own journals, social media feeds, and articles from dozens reputable websites such as the BBC.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | LinkedIn

The truth is that despite all our best efforts, most new businesses still fail.
Starting a business is tough. It’s even tougher building one with strong ethical foundations. Up to 90 percent of UK and US startups fail by the 10th year. This trend is even worse in developing countries such as in Africa, which incidentally is the most entrepreneurial continent in the world.
Strong foundations are impossible without going through the mill. The process. Highs and lows, shame and pain. This dark side of entrepreneurship is not highlighted enough in the literature, possibly contributing to these high failure rates.
There are plenty of business books about success out there. There aren’t nearly enough business books about failure—and how sustained perseverance through pain and repeated setbacks is often the prerequisite for true, lasting success.
This book is different.
You’ll learn how Passion, Pain, Time and Purpose are vital keys to succeed—with plenty of pioneering insights from unusual sources: music, poetry, chemistry, sport, and stories. It even has its own dedicated Spotify playlist.
In here, you’ll discover:
The Five Principles of Ethical Entrepreneurship
The Three Universal Phases of Entrepreneurship: the Honeymoon, the Formative and the Legacy.
How starting with who, NOT why is crucial for building a successful, enduring, ethical business
Overcoming the FOUR kinds of pain that lead to entrepreneurial failure with a brand new Flag Response Model.
Validating Your Business Model and Partner using real theories in Chemistry.
Earning the best Legacy type, the Pathfinder, out of the FOUR available options and much, much more.


WINX: The Problem-Solving Model to Win Exponentially with Customers, Employees & Your Bottom Line is the book every entrepreneur needs. Irma Parone has a wealth of knowledge regarding entrepreneurship and how to run small and medium-sized businesses. The author uses her professional experience to discuss crucial issues in entrepreneurship as she shares tips and problem-solving steps. The arrangement of topics in this book is one of the most appealing features of the book. Irma Parone has solutions to problems of all sizes that business owners face.

The author starts the book by guiding the reader on how to use the book, which is a plus as the reader mentally prepares for the content. The introduction part of the book was also excellent as in this part, the author takes the reader through particular mindsets and discusses emotions and influence decision-making before delving into the primary subject matter.

When Irma Parone talks about entrepreneurship, she means business. Her points are precise, and she gets the reader to fully comprehend one topic before moving to the next. In the first chapter, Irma Parone discusses the decisions we make. She writes about the good, bad, ugly, and awesome decisions and how people arrive at each. This chapter is key as it affects everyone. She not only talks to entrepreneurs but also has notes for employees and people that run companies. From using examples like J.K. Rowling and Bill Gates to sharing her personal stories, Irma Parone knows how to engross the reader. Every story shared in the book is engrossing, and every chapter has entrepreneurship lessons that will benefit both novices and veterans.

Apart from problem-solving and building an empire, Irma Parone also discusses imperative subjects like interacting with colleagues, connecting with prospective clients, viewing different angles of a business problem, handling small and large amounts of data, and dealing with failure. WINX is more than just excellent reference material for business owners, as it also has nuggets of wisdom for individuals who are not in business. Each of the 8-step WINX Processes shared in the book is distinct and gives value to both the customer and employee. The conversations in the book were another excellent feature. I enjoyed reading Irma Parone’s thoughts and her exchanges with other people. These conversations made the book engaging and more fun.

I recommend WINX: The Problem-solving Model to Win Exponentially with Customers, Employees & Your Bottom Line to readers who are unsure if entrepreneurship is for them. By the end of the reading, you will get the confidence you need to run a business and use the practical lessons Irma Parone shared.

Pages: 182 | ASIN : B0B5JS4CZ8

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ACTing Now: A New Approach to the Old Techniques of Acting

ACTing Now by Norman B. Schwartz is an enlightening book that provides guidance that will help actors prepare for the demands of the contemporary acting world. The content of this book provides advice on topics beyond acting and includes areas such as commercials, film, and even television. The techniques highlighted in this book are not mere postulations and conjectures as Norman Schwartz has experience as an actor, director, film editor, and teacher of creative writing and he brings that experience to bear in this informative book and shares key principles that will help budding actors get and keep an acting job.

The chapters of this book are grouped into three parts – Acting Then, Acting Now, and Acting Next. This organization is essential as it helps guide the reader, and future actor, on what acting used to be, what it is today, and what it will be in the future. Beyond the keen insights, I enjoyed the historical evolution shared here.

In Acting Then, Schwartz covers some of the techniques that theater actors used as far back as the 1920s such as the Strasberg method which leaned on some of Stanislavski’s writings. Stanislavski is one of the first to offer formal training in theater acting. When the first generation who studied at the American Laboratory Theatre began their study of acting, they also based their variations on the Stanislavski system.

Thus, the system evolved to the present form where there is little accommodation for improvisation to performing monologue exercises, being mindful of camera angles and self-taping. Schwartz covers all these old techniques and suggests new ones that embrace the old ones but also better prepares the actor for the new reality of modern acting with lots of multimedia coverage.

One of the outstanding qualities of this book is that it is as expository as it is suggestive. It focuses on the history that has driven acting to where it is today. For instance, Stella Adler’s disagreement with Strasberg’s methods and teaching of tapping into emotions from one’s personal life as opposed to one’s imagination helps one glean some lessons on how best to trigger an emotional response while on stage.

ACTing Now is a must read book for any aspiring actor as it contains actionable advice that can help their career. This is an illuminating book that will also appeal to performing art students who are interested in the evolution of acting and the industry.

Pages: 163 | ASIN: B0BFPP1N2S

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Pay The Price

In Pay the Price, Steven N Adjei shares bits of his life, discussing entrepreneurship and how to be successful. The author has a distinct way of telling stories, sharing experiences and giving lifelong lessons, all the while making them both informative and engaging. The author has written a pragmatic guide for business students and individuals that are enthusiastic about entrepreneurship. The author shares his ups and downs, and gives sharp analysis when it comes to entrepreneurship. Pay the Price is easy to read as the author uses an easy to follow style and arranges topics so that one flows into the next. Every chapter contains actionable advice that I haven’t yet come across in other business books. I admire the simplicity with which the author conveys the information. This makes all the information within the book easily understood by layman, not just seasoned entrepreneurs.

Pay the Price is divided into five major parts, The Introduction, The Honeymoon Period, The Formative Period, The Legacy Period, and The Outro. Everything you need to know about business is in the chapters discussing honeymoon period, formative period, and legacy period. The author leaves no stones unturned when it comes to business matters. The discussions are enlightening but never feel didactic. Periodic questions after every few pages was a great way of engaging with the reader.

To me, there are three elements that make Pay the Price the incredible book it is. The prose that makes up the major part of the book, the poems shared in every few chapters, and quotes from global icons. There is immense wisdom between the three elements to last an entrepreneur a lifetime. In the honeymoon period, Steven N Adjei discusses the purpose, the person and the passion in a business. Every topic is discussed in depth, with the author giving sensible examples for each. The formative period also has gems on pain in business, different kinds of partners and payoff in entrepreneurship. The legacy part of the book was my favorite as the text felt philosophical, and objective.

Pay the Price is one of the best entrepreneurship books I have read this year. The language used is straightforward and easy to follow. Pay the Price is for readers that want to be employers or own their own business. The author gives tips on ethical entrepreneurship, how to be a steward, global markets, being competent, and how to be committed to your cause. Steven N Adjei will give you the push you need to follow your dreams, and give you the information you need to make your entrepreneurial journey a successful one.

Pages: 290 | ASIN: B0BB5PVNW4

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A Time to Lead

A Time to Lead: Mastering Yourself so You Can Master your World is a well-researched and rational book with tips that can equip any potential leader. The author writes with enthusiasm and is open to sharing his experiences with readers that are passionate about leading. The information found in the book works not just for contemporary leaders but also for future leaders. Craig Dowden has penned a profound book that will enlighten the reader on being a people-oriented leader, among other things.

One of the best things about this book is how realistic the author is. Craig Dowden is not just theoretical but shares what works and how it works. Living in a world full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity require one to have principles. The author shares plenty of rules to live by, and as a leader, the approach to take to be effective in your role.

Even with the challenges, Craig Dowden remains positive in his messages. There has never been a better time than now to lead. The author writes extensively about why leadership today is crucial. He expounds profoundly on how you can master the inner game of leadership and gives legitimate examples of leaders while giving details. Together with his master class instructor Alan Mulally

Alan Mulally’s lessons on mastering our mindset are priceless. Your mindset will set the pace for everything you do, including leadership. Paying particular attention to one’s mindset will be crucial to growth. On mastering our emotions, the reader is advised that as much as emotions are critical in decision-making, they should not get the better of us. This lesson will be helpful in every reader’s future endeavors.

One thing I loved about this book was the notable quotes. There are dozens of wise quotes with life teachings and good advice for both young and seasoned leaders. A favorite excerpt from the book was, “Difficult conversations are a part of life, personally and professionally.” This quote is important as it will enable the reader to be more open to uncomfortable conversations and welcome different perspectives and ideas not initially subscribed to.

Craig Dowden uses tables to make the point more comprehensible. The author also shares concluding thoughts, which perfectly summarize topical discussions. Major lessons in the book are resilience, receiving feedback, decision-making, and being an authentic leader. Knowing one’s strengths, dealing with obstacles, and showing flexibility are other great qualities the author broadly discussed. I recommend A Time to Lead… Mastering Yourself so You Can Master your World‘to young and hopeful leaders, as there is a wealth of knowledge that will be useful in their leadership.

Pages: 241 | ASIN : B09MR2R74S

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Adventures in Local Politics

Adventures in Local Politics by Jeff Perlman shares the inspirational and enlightening journey the author embarked upon as he became mayor of Delray Beach, Florida. The author provides readers with an up close look as to what it takes to be Mayor of a city, detailing the good and the bad.

I enjoyed the moments where we got to learn about the authors personal life. It was like I was having a conversation over lunch and catching up with an old friend. This helps endear you to the author and makes the story much more engaging and personal. While this is ultimately an inspiring story, the author does share his traumatic experience battling COVID and how surviving it changed his perspective on life.

The author covers twenty topics on various subjects throughout the book such as the kind of leadership that it takes to be a mayor, having a clear vision, the ability to execute a plan, and partnering with the community. I also appreciated how deep we dive into each topic. The author shares his experiences and the outcome of his actions. This helps to show readers how to implement the ideas that are presented in the book.

This is the perfect book for readers who want to make a positive change in their community or want to learn what it takes to be in local politics. The author shares valuable information with readers, and I appreciate that he doesn’t sugar coat his bad experiences. Perlman has made big changes in Delray Beach and it shows as the city is now know for its tourism. The author comes off as personable and the tone throughout the book is that of a mentor. I think this book would be beneficial to read in a political studies class as there is a wealth of information shared by the author and lots of topics to discuss. Adventures in Local Politics is a fascinating story that is infused with practical and actionable advice that makes this illuminating book both entertaining and educational.

Pages: 182 | ASIN: 1457538938

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Beware of Companies That Rip Off Their Employees – Book Trailer

Beware of Companies is the story of how one man contributed a number of visionary ideas that the casino he worked for used to grow its business 

and add comforts to its customers. This should be a story about great success for the writer and his employer, but unfortunately it is not. This memoir is also the chronicle of how the author’s ideas were stolen, under the guise of an “employee suggestion program,” then he was marginalized, his sanity questioned, and then ultimately pushed aside. It revolves around a series of dark chapters from 1996 to 2004 that would change the author’s life, but also teach valuable lessons about the nature of casinos and the truth about what can go wrong between the powerful and the powerless. This is one man’s story, but it could happen to anybody.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award October 2022

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and writing talent of these brilliant authors.

Gold Award Recipients


Captive Attraction by Patricia Crumpler

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.

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