Wonderhell Book Summary - Wonderhell Book explained in key points
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Wonderhell summary

Laura Gassner Otting

Why Success Doesn't Feel Like It Should... and What to Do about It

3.8 (29 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

Wonderhell by Laura Gassner Otting is a thought-provoking book that challenges conventional ideas of success. It encourages readers to pursue their own definition of success and find fulfillment in their lives.

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    Get ready to accept the depths of your abilities

    Here’s the great thing about Wonderhell: It doesn’t just show you what your next success could be like. It also shows you what you could be like. It offers a sneak peek of an upgraded you. A person you never even knew was there. A you with so much more potential. 

    While that might sound fantastic, it can also be quite scary and uncomfortable. But if you want to cross Wonderhell into your next success, you have to be ready to accept this new level of potential.

    This means learning to be unapologetically ambitious. Allow yourself to dream big, and make that big dream a reality. Take Sallie Krawcheck, for instance. When she realized the flawed state of the retirement savings industry for women, she was struck with the idea of creating a women-first investment business. It was admittedly a tall order. But she knew she could do it, especially after her stint as a research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. and as CEO of Citigroup’s Smith Barney unit. She fully embraced her potential – and founded the now successful investment platform Ellevest.

    Embracing your potential also involves daring to step into the shoes of that upgraded “you.” This can mean fighting against impostor syndrome, which will eat at you the moment you try out your new identity. You’ll question whether you really belong, or if you’re even worthy of being there. But here’s the truth about impostor syndrome: It isn’t a “you” problem. It’s a problem with the system you’re operating in. The system is designed for people who don’t think and behave like you, so it’s only natural to feel like an impostor. 

    But being different isn’t something to be ashamed of. In fact, you should celebrate it! When Lydia Fenet worked as an auctioneer at Christie’s auction house, she acted the way other auctioneers acted – stiff and proper. Deep inside, though, she knew she was different. Once that unique version of herself showed up on stage one auction night, she accepted it fully and let go of the mold she’d desperately conformed to. Embodying that different self proved to be the right choice – it helped her raise no less than half a billion dollars at Christie’s various charitable auctions.

    If you want to accept the upgraded you wholly, you have to be brave enough to choose that version of yourself. It probably won’t meet everyone’s expectations, and that’s OK. Because at the end of the day, it’s you who gets to decide what success looks like – not them. People’s approval of you will always be unattainable, so why even bother trying?

    Instead of listening to others, choose to listen to yourself. Tune into your intuition, that little inner voice that has already gotten you this far. It’s the same voice that will help you navigate Wonderhell to that shiny new success glittering in the distance. 

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    What is Wonderhell about?

    Wonderhell (2023) explores the tactics on how to approach, well, Wonderhell – the uncomfortable place between your past and future success. Drawing on the experiences of numerous achievers, it offers a blueprint on how to understand and navigate your feelings about success.

    Wonderhell Review

    Wonderhell by Laura Gassner Otting (2021) explores the idea of finding fulfillment and purpose in one's career. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a fresh take on how to find meaningful work, providing insightful strategies to navigate career transitions and align one's professional life with personal values.
    • This book takes a no-nonsense approach to career development, presenting practical exercises and actionable advice to help readers make positive changes in their work lives.
    • By sharing compelling stories of individuals who have overcome professional challenges and found joy in their careers, the book inspires readers to take bold steps towards a more fulfilling work life.

    Who should read Wonderhell?

    • Achievers looking for advice on how to handle success-induced stress
    • Successful people seeking their next challenge
    • Self-help and personal development enthusiasts

    About the Author

    Laura Gassner Otting is an executive coach, motivational speaker, and author of the best-selling books Limitless and Mission-Drive. She was a Presidential Appointee during Bill Clinton’s term, spent over two decades in the executive search industry, and founded the search firm NPAG. Her writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and HR magazine. 

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    Wonderhell FAQs 

    What is the main message of Wonderhell?

    Discovering your true purpose and breaking free from societal expectations.

    How long does it take to read Wonderhell?

    The reading time for Wonderhell varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Wonderhell a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Wonderhell is a thought-provoking read, offering valuable insights into finding fulfillment and pushing past your limits.

    Who is the author of Wonderhell?

    The author of Wonderhell is Laura Gassner Otting.

    What to read after Wonderhell?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Wonderhell, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Own Your Armor by Michelle Brody
    • Excellent Advice for Living by Kevin Kelly
    • Learned Excellence by Eric Potterat & Alan Eagle
    • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    • Behave by Robert Sapolsky
    • The Courage Habit by Kate Swoboda
    • Dare to Lead (new version) by Brené Brown
    • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
    • Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    • Less Doing, More Living by Ari Meisel