You may not recognize the name, but you may certainly recognize him as one of the investor “dragon’s” from the popular CBC television show Dragon’s Den. Brett Wilson is a Canadian entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, public figure and new author. In his first book, Redefining Success, Brett engages his readers with his life lessons and business insight in such a way that they are relevant, useful, and interesting to anyone in any field or discipline.
Brett Wilson will be in Edmonton on January 23, 2013 to sign copies of Redefining Success at Costco North (12450-149 St.) from 5-6 pm and Indigo South Common (1837-99 St.) from 7-8 pm. Where Edmonton had the opportunity to chat with him about the book and some of the core topics that it engages:
Wilson said the idea of writing a book occurred to him after giving a talk three years ago when someone approached him and said that his message about ethics and morals in the business world would resonate with a larger, universal audience. Wilson wrote most of the book himself – less than one chapter was produced by a ghost writer – and says it’s “a story about things that Brett does and did and the lessons that come out of that.” Part of the book details Wilson’s entrepreneurial success with his first business, an investment bank he started from scratch that rose to national prominence and made him very, very wealthy. It also gives an overview of his extensive philanthropic work (“philanthropy is good business; I made money giving money away” Wilson claims), updates from his investments on Dragon’s Dragon, and insights and lessons from his personal life.
According to Wilson, “entrepreneurship is a way of thinking. Whether you’re working as the Prime Minister or at a hospital or opening a small business, the spirit of entrepreneurship is all the same. Being an entrepreneur is about being passionate about what you do and what you pursue, and about being innovative, smart, and forward-thinking in your field. The opposite of passion is delusion; being closed-minded and inflexible. Experience and context will help make this distinction, no matter what field you’re in.”
The title of the book reflects the concept that drives the book, which is Wilson’s call for people to reconsider their definition of “success”. Success, Wilson speculates, is often attributed to measures of wealth and professional accomplishments, but he proposes that everyone needs to view success as an all-encompassing notion that includes achievements in personal relationships, happiness, health, and professional goals. “The cost of an hour at work is an hour at home,” Wilson claims, “so while you’re working towards success in one area of your life, you’re actually missing out on opportunities and achievements in other areas. You have to determine what your priorities for success are: where do you want to focus and spend your time?”
In Redefining Success, Wilson attributes the dissolution of his twenty-year marriage — and his once-tense relationship with his three children — to his work-a-holic lifestyle, where he was working intently six-and-a-half days a week. His divorce, tepid remarks from his children, and the discovery that he had cancer caused him to reassess his priorities and he now focuses his time on health, family, and friends. “So many young people don’t think about their health. If you’re 20 [years old] and healthy you think you’ll be healthy forever, but that’s not necessarily true. Good health is something you have to work on and and contribute to; health is an area of life in which you can try to be successful, and people forget that.”
Wilson’s redefinition of success is evident in his plans for the upcoming year, where his focus will be on cultivating his personal happiness and relationships rather than his professional ones: “2013 is going to be my year,” he indicated. “In the past five years I’ve been busy. I’ve filmed over 60 episodes for television, donated millions of dollars to dozens of charities, given hundreds of interviews and dozens of talks and appearances, and continued to work on my investments.This year, my focus will be on things I want to do for me, especially travelling. I’ll be spending a lot of time travelling with my children.”