I have a confession to make. I don’t read non-fiction very often. Not to say that I never read it – when I do it is usually biographies or history. But I never read self-help. It bores me to death. This was the exception. Lauren had a copy of this with her when we were travelling earlier this year, and the premise intrigued me. A guy who goes around asking people for random things? With a four-hour drive ahead, what was there to lose?
Jia Jiang came to the U.S. from China as an exchange student with dream of becoming the next Bill Gates. However, his early attempts at inventing were crippled by fear. Fear of rejection. He formulated plans for a Rollerblade shoe two years before Roger Adams patented Heelys, but put away his blueprints after he was scolded by a respected uncle for frivolity.
Throughout college and into his career, Jia continued dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur, even as he drifted gradually away from that very thing. Despite a successful, well-paying job, he was miserable. His wife Tracy finally urged him to try something drastic. He quit his job for the next six months to build a company from scratch. He assembled a team of engineers and they went to work formulating an app. The investor they approached turned them down.
With two months remaining, Jia decided to take a different approach. He had identified his problem, so now he looked for a way to win over his fear of rejection. He came across a method which appealed to him. He was going to look for rejection and face it head on, one hundred times, video-recording each event and sharing it online.
His first attempt was to ask for $100 from a security guard. He frazzled and failed. While looking over the footage afterward, he noticed something which gave him a new perspective, and the next day he tried again, this time asking for a ‘burger refill’ at Five Guys. The answer was ‘no’, but he felt different about it. And from there he began to learn not only the process of rejection, but how to be accepted. In short, he learned how to become Rejection Proof.
This book won me over through the narrative. It was mostly story-telling, which is why I enjoyed it so much. The expository writing in non-fiction bores me, but what Rejection Proof had of it was scattered throughout Jia’s fascinating account of his journey. It kept me reading all the way through the end.
In one chapter, he dives into the science behind rejection and why we humans fear it so greatly. I found his theories interesting, perhaps enlightening, but I could not accept is as truth, as it was written from an Evolutionist’s perspective.
I do not have much to say about it. The book stands very well on its own. As I have not experienced great rejection in my own life, this book was more interesting than groundbreaking. Yet it was an excellent read. As I hope to publish someday, I think that some interesting experiences await me, and I gather from the experiences of other writers that rejection is widespread in the publishing industry. I do expect to be rejected; it seems more than probable. While I did not need Rejection Proof to help me cope, I did put away what I gleaned for future reference on how to deal with rejection, and I highly recommend it.