Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Creative Economics

He was raised in the inner city of Chicago. At age six, he carried homemade business cards in his "briefcase" (a plastic lunch box). At eight, he started a business club. At ten, he suffered his first major setback. At eleven, he was co-hosting a national television-radio simulcast. At fourteen, he was a millionaire-the kind that wears a suit, addresses his elders with respect, but still hangs out at the mall. At sixteen, Farrah Gray was a reallionaire-a businessman dedicated not just to money, but to giving back and inspiring others.

Just 20 years old, Gray is a self-made millionaire, having founded ventures and made media appearances beginning at ages six and nine respectively. He chronicles and draws lessons from his successes and failures, from his first job selling handmade body lotion to his Los Angeles neighbors to his founding of Farr-Out Foods at 13, his sale of it two years later for over a million dollars and his current philanthropic and developmental projects like running INNERCITY magazine. With the help of freelance writer Harris, Gray presents a persona that is straightforward and confident, if somewhat generic ("Now, I want you to take a real 'lemon' from your life and make lemonade with it"), but the tale of his ascent is compelling. Fueled by his desire to help his family, especially his single, workaholic mother, Gray is virtually unstoppable; faced with rejection, he tries something else. It's that resilience that comes through most clearly, reinforced with chapter-ending "Real Points" and "Reallionaire Exercises." Despite the familiar gimmicks, the real parts of Gray's experience come through, making this a sound book for anyone seriously interested in getting ahead on his or her own terms.



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