Patrick Burke couldn’t give a blank about sounding the part. He talks to you – the reader – like a peer, a guy at the local bar, within the pages of his new book, The 10 Biggest Business Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. There’s no messing around. Burke means business, and he’s going to tell it to you straight, and tell it to you like it is. Yet it’s this distinctive prickliness that ironically makes Burke as a narrator not only reliable, but relatable as well. Many public figures capitalizing literarily on their success can come across as unattainable and frozen within a seemingly picture-perfect, ever-so-exclusive narrative at best hard to beat, at worst feeling impossible for the hypothetical reader. But not Burke.
The whole book, as indicated by its title, is completely contrarian to the typical leadership advice read. Rather than telling you what to do, Burke is fixated on telling you what not to do. This leaves a certain amount of generous malleability when you pick up a copy of The 10 Biggest Mistakes, because Burke never comes across as dictating to you that his path to successful entrepreneurship and then some left over is dependent on his specific brand of methodology. It’s the opposite. He learned the hard way what not to do, and in a move that shifts the focus away from the highlights of his present-day success and back onto the school of hard knocks he was forced to attend, it only brings his pragmatic brand of humility full-circle so that the actual success itself he now celebrates feels not only attainable, but something everyone everywhere regardless of their position should attempt to strive for.
On paper Burke is one of the most qualified professionals one could get their advice from. He’s the managing partner of the prestigious, Cincinnati Ohio-based management firm Burke & Schindler PPL, has maintained a decorated, long-term career in law, and has described himself as a prolific and non-stop entrepreneurial force consistently developing and shepherding new enterprises and ideals to the finish line. But it’s the fact he comes across so authentic and so genuine despite all of these credentials that makes you actually want to read and hear what he has to say. It also serves a two-fold purpose. The first in steering you clear of the numerous pitfalls lining the grounds of the corporate jungle. The second, ironic to the humility factor, because it is a testament to Burke’s prowess as a public professional – both in and outside of the office…
In spite of this christened ‘humility factor’, Burke summarizes what can arguably be the book’s spine in its sixth chapter. Titled Think Big, one’s first assumption will be the chapter arguing for a healthy, observance-based expanse of the hypothetical reader’s ego when they reach a certain professional milestone. But not so fast. Yes on the healthy, observance-based expanse part. And yes to a certain degree on the expectational part concerning the bolstering of the hypothetical reader/professional’s ego. But ‘thinking big’ isn’t just about being willing to be brazen, and be willing to take risks writes Burke.
Observational inference is crucial, at all times. It is not enough to be either reactive on the side of caution based on one’s biases, nor to immediately snap up carte-blanche what instinctively feels like opportunities with the maximum gain. Act fast, Burke writes, but have a certain degree of objectivity at all times. Indeed the new, post-modern proverb may be true. Success and thoughtfulness may share a symbiotic relationship…