Hollywood is known for buying the rights to a book, then making a movie that is either not as good as the book or does not tell the same story. In this instance, however, the order is reversed, with much better results.
If you have seen the 2015 movie “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, you have a good idea of some of the struggles and successes Joy Mangano has experienced in her life and career. The movie is only half-accurate in telling a Hollywood story of inspiration.
The new book “Inventing Joy” is like sitting down and enjoying a coffee with the entrepreneur. Writing in the first person, Joy tells her story in her words and in her way. The book is part autobiography, part self-help book and part business success book. The story is fascinating.
As a self-described insecure, studious young girl, she didn’t have many outlets other than skiing. Joy was a very good snow skier. Being able to rocket down mountains at 60 mph on skis helps make any other life task less scary, and she has used that fact to her advantage.
Courage is not a lack of fear. Courage is acknowledging your fear, then doing something in spite of it. Joy has had many fearful moments and conquered them all.
She was creative and inventive from a young age. As a 9-year-old, she designed a treehouse with seven levels. In high school she invented a glow-in-the-dark flea collar for dogs, only to see Hartz beat her to market with the same product.
As a married young woman, she began selling wreaths for doors. Such experiences helped her when her next big product was to be launched.
From the time her Miracle Mop premiered on QVC, Joy had the ability to take control of her future. She changed the way QVC sold products by being herself.
Throughout the book, Joy points out different light-bulb moments in her life. She takes time to tell you her life’s guiding principles and how they shaped her success.
The most important of the 25 principles is that when you get an answer of no, it doesn’t really mean no.
The Miracle Mop flopped on its first airing on QVC. Executives told her it was over, and she was done. They were going to return 4,500 of the 5,000 mops ordered from her. That would have ruined her.
Instead of accepting that fate, Joy was relentless in getting one more shot. The rest of the story is about Joy’s stick-to-itiveness and her determination to be a success no matter what obstacles lay ahead of her.
Joy Mangano, who will appear at the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center on Nov. 13, has sold over $3 billion worth of products over her lifetime. The most interesting story in the entire book, however, is how a studious, play-by-the-rules, not-popular girl (Joy) skipped a college exam to go to a bar with someone she just met. Joy credits that one spur-of-the-moment decision with changing the direction of her life forever.
If you want to have an interesting conversation with this incredibly successful, self-made woman, pick up her book and start reading. She talks directly to you. Enjoy your time with her, and don’t forget the coffee.