This book is a romance novel. The love story is about the relationship between a paralyzed man named Will Traynor and a 26 year old girl named Loiusa Clark. Debbie May’s Favorite Quote from this Book:“You make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful.”
Will is a successful business man living a life of wealth and achievement. He dates successful women and has the world at his feet. Then in an instant he has an accident and becomes paralyzed. He finds the situation dreadful and he is unable to accept his future. He repeatedly but unsuccessfully tries to commit suicide. He begs his mother to help him get to a clinic for assisted death. Finally his mother agrees but under one condition – he wait six months. Her plan is to use those six months to give him a reason to live.
Louisa is a recently unemployed working-class girl that lacks ambition. Her family struggles to make ends meet and she lives in the shadow of her more successful sister. After being fired from her job Louisa is hired by Will’s mother to be his caregiver. Louisa learns of the mother's secret plan to help Will find a reason for living and she puts into motion her own supporting plan to help Will find happiness. She is successful in helping Will improve his outlook in life but in the end it is not enough. While Will clearly loves Louisa, he goes on and carries out his suicide. Louisa is heartbroken with the loss of this man she deeply loves. She learns that his final wishes include leaving her a considerable fortune with instructions to go back to school and see the world outside of her hometown.
Implications for Business
This is a wonderful, charming and thought provoking book. I would imagine readers of this column are asking themselves, “How in the world will Debbie relate this romance novel to business.” That is a fair question and I agree it is a unique read but I also feel strongly that business is much like a love story.
A successful business entrepreneur falls in love with their business. When you start a business it is much like the chemistry of falling in love, you are infatuated and obsessed. You love the way it looks, all shiny and new. Everyday is an adventure and you can't wait to wake up and find what the new day brings. It takes hard work but you are willing to do the work because you see potential for a bright future. The world is viewed through rose colored glasses. You think about your love every day and fantasize about the future.
Just as the relationship with your soul mate grows so does that of your maturing business. One day you realize that your infatuation has developed into a comfortable and predictable love that you can depend upon. The business might not be quite as charming as when you first met but it is now part of your heart & soul. You cannot imagine life without it. You care deeply and worry about the future.
Just like Will in this romance novel, a growing business can have unplanned challenges that require hard answers. You may find one day that the market has changed and your business needs to morph and grow into something you had not planned. You may even find that there comes a time to call it a day and close your doors. Either way you are a better person for the love that came into your life.
I try to read a romance novel every now and again. During the harder times of business novels such as this help remind me why I fell in love in the first place. I hope you too are now inspired to think of your business a bit differently!