People who head to the Marcus Jewish Community Center on Sunday morning, Nov. 8, to spend an hour with Atlantan Mike Wien shouldn’t expect a typical Book Festival author talk about his book or his writing process.
Instead, Wien plans to deliver a motivational workshop to help his audience learn how to apply the lessons of his book, “The Specific Edge,” a guide to success in business and life.
Wien, who had a successful corporate career in brand management with Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Citibank and Deloitte, is trying do with his book what he has done as a consultant since 2003 through his Specific Edge Institute: teach people “how to effectively differentiate themselves in the market by being more specific in their targeting.”
Wien said he is honored and delighted at earning a place as one of the hometown authors at the Book Festival. He said his book’s advice applies equally well to a financial planner finding a niche in the market and to a college student seeking that first post-graduation job.
As an adjunct professor at Georgia State University who loves talking to young people and providing guidance for the price of a lunch, Wien should know. He said a lot of job seekers make the fatal flaw of applying for every possible opening instead of “harnessing the power of being specific” to go after the best opportunity.
“The Specific Edge” can help people stand out by figuring out their real strengths — something more important now than ever.
“I didn’t realize when I wrote the book why it’s so right for today,” Wien said. In this world of big data and technology driving marketing, “it’s no longer about outspending the competition; it’s about outthinking the competition. A lot of Davids out there are winning over Goliaths.”
That underdog success includes the competition for talent, where companies are attracting and retaining the top employees by helping them find meaning and purpose, he said.
The book’s emphasis on purpose and meaning in life instead of piling up money and things also fits the mind-set of millennials, Wien said.
“The book focuses on your personal specific edge, something that you’re going to be passionate about,” he said. “Your work should be something that you enjoy doing. Compensation is just the icing on the cake.”
A key concept in the book is achieving balance, something Wien said is the responsibility of each person. “Early in my career, I was notorious for being a workaholic. … As I got older, I realized that while I was being extremely successful, it was unsustainable.”
He has found balance both by moving from the corporate world to consulting and by turning himself into a world-class triathlete, but he knows some Ironman triathletes who have lost all balance in pursuit of their training goals.
He said the people best equipped for long-term success not only have passion for what they are doing, but also aggressively manage their life balance.
His book can help. It is a quick read — Wien calls it “a one-flight book, as long as you’re at least going to Denver” — but requires serious thought and long effort for its lessons to be effective.
“Sustained effort wins. Nothing is a quick fix,” he said. “Success is not about dumb luck. It’s not about being at the right place at the right time. Successful people have overcome failures and obstacles.”