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Be Fearless

5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose

By Jean Case
15-minute read
Audio available
Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose by Jean Case

Be Fearless (2019) offers an inspirational look at what it takes to change the world. Author Jean Case looks to her own experience with game-changing technology as well as those she admires in areas such as business, exploration and philanthropy. Whether it’s anthropologist Jane Goodall or investor Warren Buffett, Case shows that all of the most influential people are characterized by one significant quality: fearlessness.

  • Those who feel that fear is holding them back
  • Entrepreneurs and philanthropists
  • People eager to make a difference in the world

Jean Case was among the internet pioneers involved in the start-up that became America Online, the service that brought many people online for the first time in the 1990s. Since 1997 she has been CEO of the Case Foundation, which helps others find the funding to realize their breakthrough ideas. She is also the first woman to serve as Chairman of the National Geographic Society and is also a board member for a number of other philanthropic institutions, including Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation.

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Be Fearless

5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose

By Jean Case
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose by Jean Case
Synopsis

Be Fearless (2019) offers an inspirational look at what it takes to change the world. Author Jean Case looks to her own experience with game-changing technology as well as those she admires in areas such as business, exploration and philanthropy. Whether it’s anthropologist Jane Goodall or investor Warren Buffett, Case shows that all of the most influential people are characterized by one significant quality: fearlessness.

Key idea 1 of 9

Behind big change there is usually a Big Bet, which can be audacious and come from wherever you are now.

Back at the start of the 1960s, no one knew exactly how the first human was going to set foot on the moon. But even though there were a lot of hurdles in the way, including the small fact that the technology had yet to be invented, US president John F. Kennedy made a bold promise on national TV, announcing to the world that the astronomical feat would be completed within the decade.    

The author refers to this kind of idea as making a Big Bet, and it’s the first principle behind being the kind of fearless person who makes a difference in the world.

A Big Bet is the kind of audacious plan that defies common assumptions and grabs people’s attention. Much like JFK did in 1961, the audacious entrepreneur Elon Musk has made the Big Bet of getting us to Mars by 2030. And while he’s at it, as CEO of the electric car company Tesla, he’s betting on revolutionizing the way people travel here on Earth.

Elon Musk has had his fair share of detractors, but in January of 2018 his SpaceX program silenced some of those critics when it successfully launched its own rocket.

Now, space travel is one thing, but how does balloon-powered internet browsing sound? According to Astro Teller, the innovator who oversees X, a development lab founded by Google, creating a balloon-powered internet was the craziest project of the lab so far. And it was a success, helping Puerto Rico get back online after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

But you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to make a Big Bet. In fact, you can make one wherever you may be in life at this moment.

Take Rachel Sumekh, for instance, who was just a normal student at UCLA when, in 2010, she found herself to be the only person who showed up for a food drive to help fellow students who couldn’t afford decent meals. It was just one sign of how underappreciated the issue of student hunger is, despite the fact that in some states one out of every four college students has had to visit a food bank or was not always able to buy groceries.

Sumekh made the Big Bet that this long-standing problem could change, and she started Swipe Out Hunger, an organization that lets other students donate their unused food card money. Eventually, her efforts caught the attention of Barack Obama and has now spread to over 30 campuses while delivering over 1.3 million meals.

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