When Cameron Johnson was eight years old, he saw the film Home
Alone 2: Lost in New York, and knew he just had to go to New York to visit
Donald Trumps famous Plaza Hotel, where much of the film was shot. His
dad made a deal with him: Get all As, and well take you.
For the rest of third grade, Cameron got all As.
When they arrived at the Plaza, his parents were stunned to find a small mountain of presents waiting for Cameron at the front desk, left by Trump himself. Unknown to them, Cameron had written Trump a letter saying he was coming, that hed never been to New York and sure would love to see the suite where the film was shot.
Mr. Trump has also arranged for a personal shopper to accompany you tomorrow morning to FAO Schwartz, the woman at check-in told them, for a private shopping tour before the store opens and of course, youll want to see the suite where they filmed Home Alone 2. Actually, Mr. Trump has upgraded your roomyoull be staying in that very same suite.
There was no reason my parents and I should have been treated so well, Cameron reflects. So why did we end up in that suite? Because I wrote to him and asked for it. Theres an old expression in sales: You can give the best presentation in the worldbut you still have to ask for the sale.
This is the kind of pairing, of engaging story punctuated with savvy life lesson, that peppers You Call the Shots, from Camerons selling tomatoes door-to-door to his neighbors at age six, all the way to being offered $10 million in venture capital at age nineteen for his latest launchand turning the offer down because it had too many strings and compromises attached.
That latter story is the centerpiece of chapter 14, entitled Stick to Your Guns. The Trump/Plaza story is the heart of chapter 1, Put Yourself Out There. In fact, each of the books nineteen chapters corresponds to what the books cover calls, The 19 Essentials Secrets of Entrepreneurship.
No matter what your age, if youre an entrepreneur (and if youre in the networking business, then thats what you are!), the book is brimming with insights, life lessons and immensely practical principles for how to create and live a life where you indeed call your own shots. A substantial and detailed appendix offering reams of detailed practical how-tos and resources rounds out the book nicely, and is worth the cover price all on its own.
Here at Networking Times, we feel a bit like the books godparents. Cameron first met coauthor John David Mann through a feature story John wrote on Cameron in our July 04 issue (Youth in Networking). The two hit it off, stayed in touch, and eventually decided to collaborate on a project that became this book.
Hardcover, 272 pages; $24.00; Simon & Schuster.