Shake The World

James Marshall Reilly set out to capture the insights of today’s brightest business and nonprofit leaders. He conducted in-depth interviews with Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), Shawn Fanning (Napster, Rupture, Path), and Jessica Jackley (Kiva, ProFounder), among many others. And he learned that despite their different fields, they’re all using similar tools to seize opportunities and redefine success. Embracing a shift in generational values, these young people share a passion for driving powerful global change while creating sustainable organizations that often blur the old boundaries between business and philanthropy.

To really “make it” these days, according to Reilly, you need to break the old corporate mold, ignore the “rules,” and create your own opportunities. The true game changers are the men and women starting their own businesses, inventing jobs that didn’t previously exist, and committing themselves fully to attaining astonishing success, however individually defined.

Shake the World reveals the meteoric rise (and the occasional stumbles) of a new generation of business leaders. Reilly brings their stories to life and, along the way, offers clear lessons that you can apply to your own pursuits. For example, you’ll learn firsthand how:

  • Doug Ulman followed his passions to become CEO of LIVESTRONG.
  • Blake Mycoskie of TOMS responded to ordinary events in an extraordinary way and created a sustainable organization that changed the face of giving and the lives of millions.
  • Bobby Chang used counter-intuitive thinking to build the global brand Incase and applies the same techniques to problem solving in everyday life.
  • Jessica Jackley of Kiva and Pro-founder harnessed technology in unprecedented ways to build a powerful network and enact palpable, transformational change.
  • Elizabeth Gore took a small risk during college that altered the trajectory of her life and ultimately led her to become the executive director of global partnerships at the UN Foundation.
    The role models in Shake the World define themselves not by money and title but by fulfillment and happiness. 
  • Unemployment and underemployment, especially for those under 35, are at almost record numbers.  This being said, Reilly makes the argument that it isn’t that there aren’t any jobs available, it’s simply that the jobs have moved.  A combination of variables that include advances in technology, a generational shift in values and sense of purpose, and the changing landscape of business that is shifting away from massive corporations and back toward the small to mid-sized business are all having a massive effect on the workforce.
  • And the problem is simply that most people aren’t aware that there are alternatives to the traditional path.
  • Based on extensive interviews and experience with some of the top ideators in the world, Reilly explores new business models, questions the metrics used to qualify people for unemployment (99 weeks of unemployment benefits for single twenty-somethings isn’t exactly motivation to go out and get a job), and demonstrates that opportunities for success, however defined, can often be found in the last place we’d ever expect to find them – right in front of our face.

In today’s shaky environment and limited job markets, this book is crucial for not only the young people seeking to find a purpose, career and a life, but also for their parents who will be there to guide them.

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“A new generation wants work to be about far more than making money – they want their jobs to make a positive difference to the world. James Marshall Reilly has written a compelling and optimistic first-hand account of what it means to put this excellent goal into practice.”

Matthew Bishop, New York Bureau Chief of The Economist

“Charity: water was founded out of a desire to inspire a new generation of givers to solve the water crisis. In this book, Reilly introduces you to many of our friends who had the fearlessness to break the mold, and think incredibly big. Prepare to be inspired, and then to act!”

Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of charity: water

“At Zappos, one of our core values is to ‘Embrace and Drive Change.’ This book is for anyone interested in inspiring their own life to change for the better, both personally and professionally!”

Tony Hsieh, CEO of, Inc.

“James is able to bring people together who can solve real problems and has an energy that inspires others to do the same.”

Stefan Weitz, Director of Bing (Microsoft)

“A powerful blend of inspiration and action, Shake the World offers a life and career plan hand crafted for the new millennium. Read this book, then head out to set the world on fire.”

Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty

“Forget triple bottom line companies, James Marshall Reilly documents triple-bottom line individuals a cadre of brilliant business adventurers devoted to building a better world and just as importantly finding a better way to live in that world. With great storytelling and penetrating insight, Shake the World adds an entrepreneurial twist to the quest for the meaning of life.”

Steven Kotler, author of Abundance, A Small, Furry Prayer and West of Jesus

“In this ever complex, dynamic and demanding world everyone needs to design their lives and James Marshall Reilly shows how. If you want a principled, consequential and successful life, read this book.”

Don Tapscott, author of Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World

“This book shifts the mindset for anyone who reads it. Define your own success and then do what the best have already done to achieve it. Reilly has uncovered the secrets of the most hyper successful people of this generation. If you internalize their lessons you will accelerate the rate at which you achieve the success goals you have for yourself.”

Cameron Herold, author of Double Double and former COO of  1-800-GOT-JUNK?

“…Studded with inspirational gems.”…..Kirkus

About James Marshall Reilly

James Marshall Reilly is an entrepreneur and journalist who set out on a mission to find out exactly how the most successful of this generation–top business leaders, ideators, humanitarians and social entrepreneurs–have defined and achieved success. And what he discovered is that we have landed in a new place not only in terms of generational expectations and new technology, but in terms of education, perceived limitations, and the job market as well. Now he’s teaching other people–whether they are running a company or looking for their dream job–how they can achieve a higher level of success in this new marketplace.

How is it that some people are able to convert small, seemingly ordinary life experiences into power, money, happiness and global change of unprecedented magnitude? What does microlending in Tanzania have to do with the Industrial Revolution? What can Napster and Netflix teach us about getting a job? How does acting as a disruptive force within industry relate to riding a bike or our own career trajectories? How can taking a series of small, mitigated risks result in a world-changing initiative that saves the lives of millions? How can approaching problems and challenges from unique angles lead to the development of a multimillion-dollar company? And, most importantly, how do these stories relate to us? What can we do to create the lives, careers, and opportunities that will leave us feeling well balanced and happy?

Taking the practical advice given by each of his interview subjects, and falling back on a decade of experience in branding and marketing while working with some of the most celebrated individuals in the world, Reilly hopes to outline a new, actionable blueprint from which we can all craft extraordinary success on our own terms.

“Reilly is a part of a cohort of young entrepreneurial leaders     that will change this country over the next few years.”

Peter Sims, author of Little Bets


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Shake The World
. It’s Not About Finding a Job, It’s About Creating a Life

By: James Marshall Reilly
Publication Date: December 29, 2011
Published by: Penguin/Portfolio

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