If you’re enjoying the status quo, don’t even consider reading this book.
If you are content waiting for success to find you, please put this book down and go find something else to read.
Why has Poke the Box become a cult classic?
Because it’s a book that dares readers to do something they’re afraid of.
This is a manifesto about starting
Starting a project, making a ruckus, taking what feels like a risk.
Not just ‘I’m starting to think about it’, or ‘We’re going to meet on this’, or even ‘I filed a patent application…’
Going beyond the point of no return.
Making something happen.
The seventh imperative
- The first imperative is to be aware–aware of the market, of opportunities, of who you are.
- The second imperative is to be educated, so you can understand what’s around you.
- The third imperative is to be connected, so you can be trusted as you engage.
- The fourth imperative is to be consistent, so the system knows what to expect.
- The fifth imperative is to build an asset, so you have something to sell.
- The sixth imperative is to be productive, so you can be well-priced.
But you can do all of these things and still fail. A job is not enough. A factory is not enough. A trade is not enough. It used to be, but no longer.
The world is changing too fast. Without the spark of initiative, you have no choice but to simply react to the world. Without the ability to instigate and experiment, you are stuck, adrift, waiting to be shoved.
The seventh imperative is fightening and thus easy to overlook or ignore. The seventh imperative is to have the guts and the heart and the passion to ship.
The difference of go
The simple thing that separates successful individuals from those who languish is the very thing that separates exciting and growing organizations from those that stagnate and die.
The winners have turned initiative into a passion and a practice. Go ahead, make a list. Make a list of the people and organizations you admire. My guess is the seventh imperative is what sets them apart.
The challenge, it turns out, isn’t in perfecting your ability to know when to start and when to stand by. The challenge is getting into the habit of starting.
Poke the box
How do computer programmers learn their art? Is there a step-by-step process that guarantees you’ll get good?
All great programmers learn the same way. They poke the box. They code something and see what the computer does. They change it and see what the computer does. They repeat the process again and again until they figure out how the box works.
The box might be a computer or it might be a market or it might be a customer or it might be your boss. It’s a puzzle, one that can be solved in only one way–by poking.
When you do this, what happens? When you do that, what happens?
The box reveals itself through your poking, and as you get better at it, you not only get smarter but also gain ownership. Ownership doesn’t have to be equity or even control. Ownership comes from understanding and from having the power to make things happen.