I’m diving into the second book in my new book review video blog series (in case you missed it you can check out my very first book review here). I’ll be alternating between fiction and non-fiction books for these reviews.
Why? Because part of me wants to learn something that’s relevant to what we do as entrepreneurs and part of me wants pure escapism… I want to enter a world that’s nothing like my own and Pachinko definitely did that! 🙂
Pachinko was recommended by my friend Laura Belgray. I ask Laura for book recommendations because she’s a world-class copywriter and I’ve found that reading really good fiction is one of the best ways to quickly improve your writing… plus it’s fun!
So, what does Pachinko mean? It’s a type of Japanese gambling game… basically Japanese-style slot machines.
And when I started reading the book I was like, “What is this, a Shakespearean tragedy?” Because — I kid you not — 8 people die in the very first chapter!
But I decided to hang in there and I’m so glad I did because Pachinko turned out to be an “un-put-downable” read.
Here are my 3 biggest takeaways from the book.
Takeaway #1: Awaken Your Fear
The first insight or takeaway is related to the fact that, as I mentioned, 8 people die at the very beginning of the book.
Just a few hundred years ago, death was pretty much an everyday occurrence for human beings. Most people faced death at least yearly, if not monthly or weekly.
In some cases, it was daily!
Today, so few of us face the possibility of death on a regular basis. We simply don’t fear it as much.
Yes, that’s a huge improvement from the old days but sometimes I think it’s also to our detriment.
Here’s the thing…
When you’ve got that fear of death in you, it motivates you to take action and make the most of your life.
People talk about insecurity being a huge problem, but I think “oversecurity” can be an even bigger problem…
Because when you feel too secure, you’re no longer moving towards things that make you come alive.
As humans, we feel fully alive when we’re at the edge of our comfort zone and we’re going for something that’s just beyond our grasp…
That’s the place where danger is real and failure is possible.
The trick is to balance that need for security with opportunities that create challenge and growth.
So, here’s a question for you….
What are some things that can awaken or reawaken your fear? Maybe you don’t have a fear of death. Maybe for you, it’s the fear of public speaking (that’s worse than the fear of death for many people!).
I want you to remember that it’s good to find your fear and feel it.
Fear shows you that you’re moving towards something outside of your comfort zone. It’s an indicator of challenge and growth and it means you’re taking action and doing something that you don’t know how to do.
Fear shows that you care and it means you’re alive.
So, I’ve come to realize that I need more fear in my life. It doesn’t have to be fear of death, but I know I need to do things that scare me.
I want to identify my edge and the actions or experiences that are going to push me towards that edge and reawaken my fear.
At our last Message to Money Live event, I asked myself, “Where’s your edge, Marisa?” It was the 7th time I’d facilitated that event and it was the BEST time because I asked that question…
And my answer was this: vulnerability. It was about sharing more of myself, emotionally and showing my audience even more of who I really am.
It was about leaving my blood, sweat and tears on that stage.
So, during the three days of that event, I shared even more of myself than ever before. I shared things that were scary for me to share and in doing that, I stepped into a whole new space of vulnerability and personal power.
I shared so much of myself that it got to the point where I wondered if people would judge me for what I was saying and that’s when I knew I was there — I was at my edge and I was in the zone.
So, how can you reawaken that fear of death, adventure or growth… or whatever fear that’s going to get you to be more of who you are?
Takeaway #2: You Are Ready
Min Jin Lee wrote an award-winning masterpiece and the idea for the book came to her 30 years ago.
She was in college at the time and attended a lecture about Koreans living in Japan and the racism they faced (that’s what Pachinko is basically about — Koreans living in Japan).
Min Jin Lee was fascinated by what she heard in that lecture. It was a side of both Korean and Japanese history that she never even knew existed.
In fact, she was so fascinated and curious that she started to write about the topic. It took decades to really flesh out the story and craft her masterpiece.
And I think a similar thing happens so often in business. We have these amazing ideas that stay with us for years… even decades.
I remember a student of mine trying to complete one of my exercises designed to help people identify their entrepreneurial superpower and she was struggling to figure it out.
Then she found this drawing she did as a five-year-old child.
She realized that she already knew what her superpower was, back when she was five but then she totally forgot about it for the next 40 years of her life!
When she found that sheet of paper, she remembered the deeper meaning behind her work in the world and what her business is supposed to be.
So often, the business that you’re meant to build was planted in you as a child or a teenager and the idea germinates for decades.
Maybe you believe it’s too late for you right now, but think of it this way…
You’re like vintage wine.
You’ve been growing older and accumulating all these delicious elements — experiences, connections and ideas — and all of that’s making the wine so much tastier, so much richer.
No matter how long you’ve been brewing the idea, it’s just gotten better and better over the years…
And so you’re ready… right here, right now.
Takeaway #3: Talk to People
The third takeaway also happens to relate to Min Jin Lee’s journey as an author and her process of writing this book
As a Korean American, she didn’t really understand what it was like to be a Korean living in Japan 200 years ago and she couldn’t write the book, the way the book needed to be written.
So, she got a fellowship and lived in Japan for a while where she interviewed hundreds of people about Pachinko, about the Yakuza and about all kinds of aspects of Japanese culture and cuisine.
It was only after she spent time in Japan that she was finally able to create her masterpiece.
So often, we try to create masterpieces in our business, all by ourselves. We don’t talk to the people who understand the problem we’re trying to solve or the solution we want to provide.
That’s why I tell my students to go talk to their audience, clients and customers — their tribe — and to do it sooner rather than later.
The truth is the vision you have for your business — your 6, 7 or 8-figure business or whatever it happens to be — is NOT going to happen when you’re all by yourself.
It’s going to happen when you take time to talk to people who are impacted by the problem you solve and the solution you offer.
You need to really get to know them because these are the people who are going to bring your business to life. They’re going to bring your products and your services to life.
You need to connect from the heart and you need to hear their challenges and hear their desires through their lens.
You can’t create a masterpiece without having heart-to-heart conversations with people who are impacted by the problem you solve and the solution you offer.
If you tried to do it alone, it would be like Min Jin Lee trying to write her epic novel about Koreans in Japan 200 years ago…
With zero knowledge of what it was like be a Korean in Japan 200 years ago!
So, those are my three life-changing takeaways from Pachinko. It’s a thick book but it’s a very good read. I got so immersed in it while on vacation that I could barely put it down and get out of the house!
Now, I want to make sure you’re following my book review series because it helps me stay accountable. I really want to stay on track reading two books a month because I know it’s going to help me grow, stretch and learn… plus I get to share my learnings with you 🙂
So, here’s something that I hope will encourage you to keep watching and reading these reviews…
Whoever shares the most interesting, insightful comment below will receive a copy of Pachinko. I read it on Kindle but I ordered a physical copy so I can send it to the winner.
So please leave a comment. If you win, I’ll send you a copy of Pachinko AND I’ll write a personal note inside especially for you!
And if there’s a book that you’d love for me to read and review, let me know that too 🙂
I hope you found today’s review insightful and eye-opening and I hope you implement these lessons in your business and in your life.
Now, go out there and Live Your Message!