Here’s something you don’t often hear when you ask people about their aspirations: “I want to spend my life doing something really boring.” Nope. Ask anyone what they want to do with their life and they’ll probably say, “I want to do some cool sh*t” (or perhaps a less expletive-centered version of the same sentiment).
This is especially true for all the college students and recent grads out there—you know you have the potential to do some really cool sh*t, but sometimes feel like you lack the know-how and ability to make things happen.
This is why Miki Agrawal’s book, Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After, makes it to the AfterCollege recommended reading list. Miki started out following an established path. She went to Cornell and got an investment banking job at Deutsche Bank, which is pretty much as established as you can get. But somewhere along the way, she realized that this wasn’t how she wanted to be spending her life.
After this realization, Miki decided she wanted to play soccer professionally, which she achieved by assembling a crew of supporters (including the security guards in her office building), hustling to make it to practice and tryouts for several months in a row, and eventually scoring a spot on the New York Magic for two seasons.
Her next step was to start her own pizza restaurant in New York City—an especially bold move since she had no restaurant experience at that stage, and pizza? In New York City? Come on! That has to be one of the most saturated markets out there… right?
Each chapter in Do Cool Sh*t begins with an anecdote from Miki’s life—and she’s had a pretty kick-ass life so far. She shares how she approached Tony Hsieh (of Zappos fame) to ask him to be a business partner (spoiler alert: it worked!), how she assembled a group of mentors and advisors to help develop and critique her business plan, how she hatched her guerilla techniques for getting press and customers when her restaurant first opened, and much more.
Miki’s bold approaches might not work for everyone in every situation, but they’ll definitely give you some creative ideas about how to get started and different ways you can think outside the box.
In addition to sharing examples from her life, Miki offers advice on how you can apply these techniques to your own project/business in the “Do Cool Sh*t Takeaway” sections, and she gives you homework to experiment with some tasks and see what happens.
The second half of the book is less about business and more about overall lifestyle, with sections on travel, fitness, and relationships (to name a few). I’m not sure that everyone will agree with Miki’s advice here (I personally don’t recommend bringing a sleeping bag and pillow with you every time you travel), but it’s interesting to learn a bit more about how Miki approaches all aspects of her life.
Miki has a lot of cool friends and mentors, like Marie Forleo and Elliott Bisnow, and luckily she got them involved in Do Cool Sh*t, too. There’s a section where she asks each of them the same set of questions (much like we often do here on the AfterCollege Blog!) and it’s really cool to see how varied everyone’s answers are to things like “What does ‘doing cool sh*t mean to you?” and “What cool sh*t are you currently doing?”
If you want to do some cool stuff but are struggling to figure out the next steps, Do Cool Sh*t is a fun and informative book that’ll get you off the path to mediocrity and well on your way to doing something that matters.