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When I first began the interview process, my intention was simply to explore the possibilities of entrepreneurship to see if it was the path for me.  I wanted to take a look at what being in business for myself really meant before I took the leap.  I must give credit where credit is due.  It was my wise and wonderful wife, Debi, who suggested I interview 50 entrepreneurs.  She secretly hoped that by the time I interviewed 50 people, I would forget about this crazy idea and stick to my daily grind.  Truthfully, we were both pretty fearful of giving up the security of a steady paycheck to start a business.

I took my wife’s advice and began reaching out to schedule interviews with entrepreneurs from a variety of industries and backgrounds.  What began as a career exploration exercise turned into something much bigger than I ever imagined.  In the process of doing those first 50 interviews, I had a personal awakening.  I was enlightened, not only about all things entrepreneurial, but also about the power of the interview process itself.  I am a voracious reader of non-fiction. I have always enjoyed learning from the experiences of others.  As I completed each interview, I was struck by the potency of the information that was being offered through the oral exchange of ideas.

When information is shared orally and in the first person, the truth, in all its glory, comes out.  When we write, we can’t help but make little corrections.  As we strive to conform grammatically, socially or culturally to prescribed conventions, the essence of our story is often diluted.  Bits of truth remain but important aspects of the message get lost in the translation as we put our thoughts and oral musings into written form.

By taking the time to ask questions of people who are living some reality and then really listening to the answers, I discovered the unwritten rules, the unspoken truths and particular insights of the entrepreneurial experience. I was given the opportunity to stand, for a moment, in fifty different pairs of shoes of people actually in the trenches of the experience. The interviews are unedited and unadulterated by the filters of well-meaning writers and editors or even by the entrepreneurs themselves.  This gives readers the opportunity to discern the information in its purest form and to ultimately draw their own conclusions.

As a result of doing 50 interviews, I did make the leap from employee to entrepreneur.  My career exploration ultimately became the catalyst for a vibrant business enterprise involving hundreds of authors and publishers. Since 2009, more than twenty 50 Interviews titles have been published.  Exploring 50 different perspectives on a single topic is transformative and it is exciting to see the concept applied to so many different life experiences.

In the interviews, you will discover some unexpected truths. I invite you to open your mind, set any preconceived notions aside and step into someone else’s shoes.  The hope is that through the process of learning from the experiences of others, you will be inspired to take action and move forward on your own journey.

Acknowledgements

An amazing group of truly extraordinary givers, for without their contribution, this project would have never evolved to the point it has; Andy Piszkin, Carrie Pinsky, Maryann Swartz, Braun Mincher, Rob McNealy,  Bob McDonnell, Chad Cameron, Deb Frey, Nick Zelinger, Kerrie Flanagan, Peter Olins, Patrick Gill, Doug Johnson, and David Cunningham.

To the other writers who graciously contributed valuable content to the first book; Tom Frey, Dave Block, Larry Nelson, Erin Duckhorn, Ken Munsch, and Bob Parsons.

An amazing group of truly extraordinary givers, for without their contribution, this project would have never evolved to the point it has; Andy Piszkin, Carrie Pinsky, Maryann Swartz, Braun Mincher, Rob McNealy,  Bob McDonnell, Chad Cameron and Isaac Allen (The Leap! Guys),  Deb Frey, Nick Zelinger, Kerrie Flanagan, Peter Olins, Patrick Gill, Doug Johnson, and David Cunningham. To the other writers who graciously contributed valuable content for the appendices listed at the end of the book; Tom Frey, Dave Block, Larry Nelson, Erin Duckhorn, Ken Munsch, and Bob Parsons.

Jack Canfield was the original catalyst of this project through reading his book The Success Principles where I discovered Landmark Education.  Landmark created a framework for me that led to uncovering a new passion.  And I owe an incredible debt of gratitude to Landmark Education and all the committed volunteers and staff members, especially Pam Valvano and Dani Zerbib, in the Denver and Utah offices. They are making a remarkable impact in the world.

The first 50 Interviews title is the result of bringing what was once only a possibility to reality!  I want to also express appreciation in advance to all the other contributing authors who will be fulfilling the mission of 50 Interviews to create new futures for themselves and others by pursuing their passion.

All the best,

Brian Schwartz