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Think Outside The Cell: An Entrepreneur’s Guide for the Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated, by Joseph Robinson, Resilience Multimedia, 270 pages

Book Review by Gary Hunter

Books about business come and go. Someone is always ready to tell us how to manage our money. But few books break down complex concepts of business into terms we can all understand. Fewer still are specifically oriented to helping prisoners succeed. This is the magic of Think Outside The Cell.

Author Joseph Robinson’s unique approach appeals to the layman because it leaves no doubt that he’s been where we’ve been. He can relate to where we are and he show us how to get ahead.

But don’t let the layman lingo fool you. Robinson parses every detail on successful entrepreneurship. Each chapter contains articulate, easy to read instructions on how to get ahead and stay ahead.

Think Outside The Cell combines all the qualities of a self-help manual and a college business text. But it does so without leaving the reader stranded in a mire of meaningless platitudes or complex jargon.

All success starts with attitude so that’s where Think Outside The Cell begins. Robinson shows us why what we’ve done wrong as well as what we’ve done right are both crucial components to our future success. We learn how our failures can actually make us success oriented.

“All About The Benjamins” has got to be a favorite opening chapter. It’s all about putting money in your pocket, keeping it there and making it grow. Robinson shows us the difference between simple interest and compound interest, why quick turnovers are not always profitable and why interest rates are worth the wait.

Another chapter breaks down different types of insurance, explains what they cover and which ones are vital to your specific business.

Learn the art of successful negotiation, the fundamentals of different contracts and how to successfully network in a competitive business arena.

Think Outside The Cell will show you why protecting your ideas is just as important as protecting your money. What’s in your wallet is directly dependent upon what’s in your head.

Learn why all banks are not created equal, how to choose the best bank to attain your goal and how to establish your presence with the people inside who can help you.

Part of the process of achieving success is understanding what can go wrong. In the chapter “Why Businesses Fail” Robinson covers nine obvious but easily overlooked fundamentals. Poor cash flow, poor planning or just spreading yourself too thin can be the difference between dismal failure and phenomenal success. In each case, Robinson covers not only the fundamental practice but also the crucial lesson to be taken from each one.

Don’t know whether to be the sole proprietor or to incorporate? Think Outside The Cell will show you the pros and cons of various business structures and the specific tax benefits that go with each one.

Think Outside The Cell has another unique quality that makes it a must read for every success-oriented prisoner. Simply said, Robinson keeps it real. In the chapter “Leverage Your Vision” he imparts the sobering truth about our reality in his statement “...when paroled, incarcerated people are likely to end up on one of four tracks: They’ll get a job; they’ll start a business of their own; they’ll wind up on some form of public assistance, or they will resort back to crime.” It is these types of truths, these insights into our reality that forces the reader into meaningful self-evaluation. Because as Robinson points out “’s much easier to simply keep ideas swirling in [our] heads” than to engage in the discipline required to succeed.

Of course all the good advice in the world won’t help if you don’t know where to get started. That’s why Robinson concludes Think Outside The Cell with literally hundreds of references, resources and publications for you to choose from. Need to write a business plan? Think Outside The Cell will teach you. Want to go non-profit? Think Outside The Cell will show you how. Need to know where to write to get a patent or copyright? It’s all there in Think Outside The Cell.

From attitude to assets, from the streets to the stock market; Think Outside The Cell leaves no question unanswered. If you ever had an excuse for not getting started you don’t have it anymore. This book is all you need.

Not everyone is interested in getting ahead. But for those who are, Think Outside The Cell can turn your cell into a classroom, your dayroom into a boardroom. In less than a week you can lay the foundation to your personal and financial independence before you step out of prison.

With Think Outside The Cell you are only 270 pages away from achieving personal and financial success. The book is available for $14.95, plus $3 shipping, from: Resilience Multimedia, 511 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 525, New York, NY 10011-8436.

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