LESSON 26Make Failure a Key Part of Success, and Don’t Let Success Blind You to Even Bigger Opportunities

Writing about my mentor David Fromer gave me an insight about entrepreneurship that had never occurred to me before: The best entrepreneurs see opportunities where others don’t—and then seize them. That was David to a T.

I could not have written a job description that covered everything that David brought to our partnership. In fact, if someone had submitted a profile like that to me, I would have rejected it immediately. David’s style and work habits did not square with my picture of what it took to be successful. I believed, for example, that the more successful you were, the harder you must be working. David preferred to spend a lot of time away from the office.

But David walked into my life and offered me the opportunity to work with him, and as young and green as I was—and as different from each other as we were—I was lucky enough to recognize that opportunity and seize it. Many of the stories I’ve told in this book reflect people’s capacity to recognize opportunities. Whether it’s in a real estate lecture, a group of failing restaurants, or an unexpected business proposal, entrepreneurs find potential in unexpected places. In fact, an opportunity to create a successful business can emerge even from a moment of failure, which is what happened to Frank Rodriguez.

In 1992, Frank was three years out of Harvard Law School, working as an associate for a firm in South Florida ...

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