Redefining Success: A Dragon’s Tale of Making Mistakes

w_brett_wilson_book_cover_jason_stangFans of CBC’s hit TV show Dragon’s Den may remember Brett Wilson from his three-season stint in the far right chair but I want to discuss his new book, Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes.

Although Brett had a reputation for being one of the more genuine Dragons, this book gives you a good look at the real business mastermind, not the theatrical co-star that was painted on the show. He readily admits that his financial success has come at a very high cost but hopes this book will be both a cautionary tale and an inspiration to those that want to follow in his footsteps.

Brett has no shame in discussing the mistakes he has made along the way, hence the title of the book. Most entrepreneurs and successful people in general will agree that it’s the combination of the good, the bad and the ugly that have made them who they are and Brett echoes these sentiments throughout the book.

Philanthropic Marketing At Its Finest

The book starts off discussing FirstEnergy, an investment company Brett co-founded in 1993 that is focused on the energy sector. It was very interesting to hear how Brett Wilson spends a lot of time discussing better methods for using your marketing budget to create and leverage philanthropic opportunities.

This basically equated to a strategy based on creating events that cater to very successful businesses and business owners that encourage them to contribute for a worthy cause. The payoff comes at the end when FirstEnergy’s name was put next to a substantially larger dollar amount then if they simply donated to the cause directly on their own. I thought that was a really impressive and solid approach to getting the most mileage out of marketing dollars while creating an end result in which everyone is much better off..Quote15_enlarged

Tales From The Dead

Anyone who watches Dragon’s Den has wondered what happens after the production is complete. How many deals actually go through?

Brett goes through quite a few deals that he’s done on the show and discusses the reasons why they were or weren’t able to go through. Understanding the rationale for each deal/no deal was a really great learning experience for me and is why I believe that it is critical that entrepreneurs interested in growing their business read these kinds of books.

Learning from somebody else who’s in the driver seat on the financing side becomes very helpful to listen to what helped them make a deal. Interestingly enough, Brett’s deals on Dragon’s Den almost always go through in real life because he is a man of his word and a man of his handshake; two things that I personally have a lot of respect for. If he says something is going to be done, he doesn’t look for way to get out of the deal, he looks for a way to make the deal work.

Keep in mind that there is no deal that will be exactly as it is presented in the pitch, whether you’re buying real estate or a business!

Are You Ready To Make The Deal Work?

If you go in with the attitude that you want to make the deal work then there will always be ways that you can make it happen. If you go into the deal fixated on the problems and ways to break it, then there will always be a way to break every deal. That’s the other part of the book that I felt really good about reading because it’s so nice to read about a businessman who’s been so successful that he can take that type of position when he’s going in deals.

Brett Wilson talks about the approaches of fellow Dragons and how he really feels about their approach, for better or worse. He does make a point of explaining that the show is exactly that…a show. What we see for a few minutes on TV could be the result of hours of negotiation inside that room. He pulls no punches when admitting that what you see on the show about those individuals is not necessarily true to who they are.

The Bottom Line: A Great Read For Anyone In Business

W. Brett Wilson Motto

People who want to be successful in business have everything to gain from reading books like this one as it will help them … as long as it’s read with an open mind. Don’t discard Brett Wilson’s advice because he is a billionaire and can do whatever he wants. Instead, ask yourself why this person has been so successful and read the book with the intention of learning from Brett’s successes and failures.

Listen to what this guy has to say and analyze the way that he makes decisions in certain situations because that is the best thing that you can get from a book like this. Pay attention to how he reacted when he came to a crossroads and which path he chose in the end.

As the title admits, Brett has made some mistakes during his career and there are some that he regrets but don’t forget that everybody’s situation is different. It never makes sense to fully compare somebody else to yourself and say you’re going to do exactly what they did to succeed.

Everybody has their own set of values, experiences and circumstances that ultimately create their reality. The most important thing when reading a book like this is to take little piece here and there to learn from and apply it in your own business.

If you’re serious about being in business, I highly recommend you read Brett Wilson’s book.

Buy Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes by Brett Wilson available at Mosaic Books (

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