Book Review: The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

I recently received a copy of The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith from the publisher. I was a big fan of the authors’ previous work, Trust Agents, and so I was really looking forward to seeing what these two had in store for us next.

One of the reasons I like their writing so much is that it’s all about the human element. I’ve recently been feeling so “over” social media as it relates to “click here,” “do this,” “put this on autopilot.” To me, that’s just mechanics (and not always good ones!). What gets me excited is when people connect and have a conversation, build something, and when that leads to something better for both parties involved.

For example, when I was running our direct sales company that donated 100% of its profits to charity, we had the opportunity to connect with Ron Sconyers, the CEO of Physicians for Peace, a non-profit we supported (we helped them build a medical school in Africa). We found them online but had the opportunity to meet in person several times. And even though our company has since closed, I still value that relationship we built with Ron and his organization. In fact, I got to Skype with Ron just the other day, and the relationship continues. That to me is where the true power of all these tools lies…in forging the introduction that leads to a relationship nurtured in a variety of ways, that helps you build something (in this case, empowering people to provide medical care for themselves.)

And that leads me to The Impact Equation. I have to tell you, this book doesn’t disappoint. I look back through my review copy and it’s dog-eared and highlighted throughout. The basic premise of the book is to provide you with a structure that helps you build a community, get them to notice and embrace your ideas, and then work with that community to build something new. But what I love most about The Impact Equation is that it focuses on the HUMAN element of this work, and not just the technical mechanics.

Sure, there are specific strategies you can use online (and off) throughout this book. The bigger ideas are punctuated with step-by-step processes for putting these ideas to work for you right away. It covers topics such as:

  • goal setting (which is far too often under-emphasized),
  • employing metrics to measure progress towards your goal,
  • evaluating an idea and whether or not it will serve your needs (the book includes a process for this),
  • developing and working with ideas,
  • embracing brevity,
  • how to be brave as a progressive experience (One of my favorite quotes: “Bravery is about giving other ideas air but having your own as well.” My other favorite quote: “Learn to freaking spell.”),
  • building reach and exposure for your idea (Love the section on “How to do a launch”), and
  • the value and importance of creating trust and credibility (“Human beings, when grouped together, intuitively understand how to work in concert.”).

They reference one of my favorite books of all time, Ender’s Game, and use it as a model for rethinking your perspective. (Haven’t read the book? You should. “The enemy’s gate is down.”)

One of the passages that resonated most with me, however, was a story about a yoga retreat that Chris attended, and how he learned about something called “asmita” that is a concept related to the prisons you build for yourself. The example given in The Impact Equation of this was “your belief that you will never get out of debt is a prison you created for yourself. There’s absolutely no real reason why this should be true.” Once you accept this, you can “step outside your perspective and learn more.” I love this image, and it certainly is an idea that can help folks struggling right now. Maybe even you. How are you limiting yourself? It doesn’t have to be, but you have to believe and accept that first.

One of the things I like best about the book is that it is so applicable to the work I do with clients. From breaking down goals, identifying good ideas and articulating them well, and then getting those ideas out there so that they can build and expand within a community, there is a path laid out in this book that you can use as a road map to build the business you’re looking for. But the time to start is now, because you need a community in order to gain traction for the idea.

This book can be pre-ordered at, (Kindle version here). If you’re looking to make a big impact with your business, grow beyond your current limitations, or launch something new, you’ll find great value in this book. I’m glad I got a chance to read The Impact Equation, and I look forward to using the models within to grow my business.

6 Responses to Book Review: The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
  1. Lori Bagley
    October 24, 2012 | 10:03 am

    Thank you for this information. I look forward to reading both books! Have an excellent day!

  2. Charlotte Plott
    October 22, 2012 | 1:10 pm

    Hi Jennifer, I was excited to read your comments re: your review of Chris’ new book. I have pre-ordered it on my Kindle and looking forward to reading it.

    Will you let me know if you are going to be doing any training on the four topics of the book? I always learn so much from you.


    • Jennifer Fong
      October 22, 2012 | 1:19 pm

      Thanks so much Charlotte, and I’d love to hear how you like the book! I’ll certainly keep you posted, although you may also want to subscribe on Chris Brogan’s site as I’m sure there will be further content from the authors as well!

      • Charlotte Plott
        October 22, 2012 | 1:50 pm

        Thanks for your response Jennifer. I do get his daily email, I’ll check the site you posted and see if there is something there also.

  3. Chris Brogan
    October 22, 2012 | 12:52 pm

    I’m so grateful for the review. You’re very kind. I’m ALSO so happy that you also like Ender’s Game. We took a bit of flack from people who aren’t really in the nerd set, but that was a decision. Julien and I decided we were going to push for that.

    Chris Brogan recently posted..Being A Human Business

    • Jennifer Fong
      October 22, 2012 | 1:00 pm

      I really did enjoy the book, and am happy I got a chance to review it. Thanks for that. I was so excited to see the Ender’s Game reference. As a closet nerd, that (and the entire series) have long been some of my favorites. I look forward to recommending The Impact Equation to many of my clients. Great job! (and thanks for commenting!)

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