Book Review: “Soar!” Build Your Vision from the Ground Up

By T.D. Jakes

Published October 2017; FaithWords; 247 pages

Hardcover $16; softcover $11; e-book $13; audiobook $13

In a nutshell: Nationally acclaimed pastor, author, and innovator T.D Jakes gives an inspirational overview of the steps needed to start and run a successful business.

Who’s it for: Anyone who has considered owning a business; those trying to create more wealth in their lives.

The skills needed to survive in today’s job market are much different than from a generation ago. Long gone are the expectations of holding the same job for 30-40 years at one company with the promise of a gold watch at the end of the rainbow. Instead, American workers today have to be armed with an open mind and flexible skill sets. The book “Soar!” by T.D. Jakes uses this approach to look at entrepreneurship as an attitude with the notion that being self-employed in any form is a means to generate income and live a more fulfilling life.

Many mainstream books centered on the concept of entrepreneurship are heavy on concepts but light on practical advice. Fortunately, Jakes gives ideas that makes self-employment relatable to most everyone.

Jakes is the founder and pastor of The Potter’s House of Dallas, Inc., a 30,000-member church. He likens starting and running a business to building and flying an airplane. Speaking from a position of experience and success, Jakes begins by telling stories of his relatives who experienced business successes and failures. His father ran failed businesses, not understanding that working hard “in the business” didn’t guarantee success unless he took the time to work “on the business.” During his formative years, Jakes keenly observed business situations (good and bad) that were the foundation for his own successful career.

“Soar!” then moves along much like other startup business guides. In this case, Jakes continues the airplane/flight theme, providing well-vetted advice for executing a successful “flight plan.” Jakes is thorough in explaining the details, tempering wild get-rich-quick expectations by stressing the need for hard work, common sense and perseverance.

Jakes also makes it clear that the idea of business ownership can takes many forms. It can be an interest that grows into a full-time job or a part-time side hustle that generates additional income. The idea is that in an age where employment is never promised, each of us has to learn to be entrepreneurial so we make things happen rather than letting them happen.

“Soar!” is a different kind of business book. It quickly rose to the top of The New York Times business best sellers list immediately after its release in 2017. Jakes is an experienced writer with previous bestselling books (“Making Great Decisions,” “Reposition Yourself”) which were aimed at general audiences. In addition to his public speaking and writing work, he is nationally recognized for his appearances on the Dr. Phil and Oprah TV shows.

Jakes’ advice is inspiring while giving equal time to the risks and challenges of self-employment. It’s worth noting that Jakes references biblical quotes throughout, but does a good job of making them relevant to his audience, regardless of religious affiliation. Part biography, part start-up guide, “Soar!” makes for an entertaining book for the aspiring or experienced business owner.

Chris Wendel is a business services consultant with Northern Initiatives, a community development financial institution based in Marquette. Northern Initiatives provides money and know-how to businesses throughout Michigan. Wendel has worked with hundreds of business owners as a lender and in business assistance in the areas of money, marketing and management.