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Turning Defeats Into Victories: Tarkenton Rallies Entrepreneurs In Latest Book

(Fran Tarkenton “The Power Of Failure: Succeeding In The Age Of Innovation” (Regnery Publishing, Washington, DC, September, 2013, 232 pgs.)

Reviewed by Jack Criss

fran book coverFormer Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, based now for many years out of Atlanta, Georgia, has, arguably, become almost as famous as a businessman/advocate as the legendary scrambling field general who played for 18 years in the NFL.

In fact, Tarkenton is still scrambling in a sense, but with a purpose and a vision just as he had on the football field. His scrambling now, however, has more to do with adaptation in business and turning defeat on its head, learning from mistakes and improving for possible future success.

Tarkenton’s latest book, “The Power Of Failure,” continues with that motif, taking up where his earlier, similar business books left off. His writing style is breezy, personal, and, in many sections, evangelical-like (which is not surprising since Tarkenton’s father was a Methodist minister).

For those of us who have read all of Tarkenton’s previous books on business, there are not many new revelations in his latest work. While noting the changes in the economy due to the advent and subsequent domination of technology and the struggles many are still facing after 2008’s meltdown, this new book nonetheless still relies on many themes Tarkenton has long advocated in his writings and speeches: resiliency, confidence in the fact of uncertainty, learning from errors, etc.

Relying on many examples from his own career, both in business and in football, Tarkenton relates many personal stories to present his case for using “the power of failure” to grow and persevere. To be sure, he is quick to relate his own past mistakes and shortcomings unflinchingly and without excuses. Tarkenton’s frankness is a refreshing editorial stance in a world full of “no fail” Uberman business tomes flooding the market.

Plus, the book can be read in a single sitting and many of the sections will inspire, which is the hallmark of and purpose of any good business title.

Tarkenton does take the time, as he has in previous books, to promote his latest endeavors and sneak in a few plugs here and there but, hey: that’s the trademark of a good entrepreneur and it’s not done so blatantly as to distract or offend.

As an editor, I did note certain changes in tone and style from chapter to chapter which were rather abrupt and indicated to me that a possible ghostwriter stepped in occasionally. This does not detract from the overall positive message of Tarkenton’s book but does, to this reader, present a certain pause in flow which was bothersome. Other readers may not notice, of course, but that is the only criticism I have of this otherwise strong little volume.

Fran Tarkenton writes to encourage the entrepreneur; that can only be a good thing these days. If you’re looking for deep analysis or trending statistics, “The Power Of Failure” is not your book. However, if it’s an accessible, entertaining and highly personal recounting of a business career that has been nothing short of fascinating coupled with common sense advice and uplifting examples, Tarkenton’s latest is a must read.

Jack Criss

Jack Criss

Publisher and Executive Editor at BAMSouth.com
Jack Criss is the Publisher and Executive Editor of BAMSouth.com and owner of Criss Public Relations. He is a 30 year veteran of the business publishing industry as well as a former talk radio host, lecturer and author of "Ready, Aim, Right!" (Quail Ridge Press, 2004) and the forthcoming "The Great Greek Philosopher: Aristotle For Young People" (DagKat Press, 2017) as well as a work of teen fiction, "Book Island" and the non-fiction title "SuperfloUS: When Mediocrity Is Enshrined And Civility Fades." He was born, raised and currently lives in Jackson, MS and is the proud father of Katie and Dagny.
Jack Criss
Jack Criss
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