News Column

Bookshelf: Uplifting Literature

November 2006, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

Mike Traphagen


Lionel Sosa was a 23-year-old, minimum-wage worker when he was inspired by Napoleon Hill's best-selling motivational book. Now the author and founder of the largest Hispanic advertising agency in the country seeks to improve the lives of others in his community with Think & Grow Rich: A Latino Choice, a special version of the literature that transformed his life.

Mr. Sosa, the author of The Americano Dream: How Latinos Can Achieve Success in Business and Life, digs into his past and pulls from an inspirational piece he read before jumpstarting his career, which led to media consultant positions in six presidential campaigns since 1980. He cites Mr. Hill's "17 Principles of Success" from Think & Grow Rich, and shows how other prominent Hispanics have applied the methods along their paths to achievement.

Mr. Hill's Think & Grow Rich has inspired people to achieve the American Dream since it was published in 1937. The Napoleon Hill Foundation says the book has sold "in excess of 25 million copies."

"Some have asked, 'Why do Latinos need a special version of the book?'" Mr. Sosa says. "It is because there is a cultural difference in the way we were taught and the country we came from. It adds to our richness, but it also detracts from our ability to get ahead.

"I've found in my research that Latinos tend to have lower expectations. Unconsciously, Latinos just feel happy to be here and lucky to just do 'blank.' But their intelligence and their talent are greater than the goal they've set for themselves. This book can get Latinos thinking a different way, showing them, 'I can do a lot more than I'm doing now.'"

Mr. Sosa designed the book to cover each of the 17 principles and show how they apply to members of the Hispanic community.

But he said the methods are based on the belief that "you can achieve whatever your mind believes you can achieve."

"This book gets you to believe that you can achieve higher than you thought you could," Mr. Sosa says.
The author founded Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates, which is now Bromley Communications, the largest Hispanic advertising agency in the nation. Mr. Sosa has also served as a media consultant in six presidential elections since 1980.

Understanding the power of diversity and using key methods to maintain a harmonious workforce are the subjects of a new book from the "Inside Out Empowering Series."

Authors Kim Olver and Sylvester Baugh boast that Leveraging Diversity at Work can show companies, "How to hire, retain and inspire a diverse workforce for peak performance and profit." The book details the kind of value a diverse workforce brings to a company, and offers instruction for creating a comfortable environment through methods that go beyond the common one-day diversity-training session.

"And this is more than management implementing training and expecting people to follow it," Ms. Olver says. "It's about giving people a reason for why they should care. We want to try to develop an understanding for the majority about what it might be like to be the minority, and help the minority understand what it's like to be the majority."

The first portion of the book is designed to help members of the workforce empathize with those from minority cultures. It covers topics such as culture, beliefs, myths, stereotypes, and discrimination.

As claimed in the book's introduction, Ms. Olver and Mr. Baugh believe that the solution to the diversity divide lies with members of the majority and minority alike. Later chapters encourage people to step outside their comfort zone, become less resistant to change, connect through similarities, and celebrate differences.

"It's not a one-sided process," Ms. Olver explains. "It takes the majority and minority both sides to understand each other. It's up to the majority to take the first step, but we also want to empower (minorities) to improve their situations."

The authors pull from their experiences in multicultural situations to provide background on each topic in the book. The final chapters offer tips on hiring, retaining, and inspiring a diverse workforce.

Ms. Olver is the founder and director of Coaching for Excellence, LLC, a Chicago-based professional training, coaching, and consulting company. Mr. Baugh is director of Baugh Training & Consulting. He served as the diversity management trainer for United Airlines and has been a professional trainer for employability issues and career development since 1982.

MINORITY RULES: Turning your Ethnicity Into a Competitive Edge
Kenneth Arroyo Roldan has watched many talented minorities leave corporate life disillusioned and burned out after only a few years. The CEO of the nation's leading recruiting firm that specializes in placing minorities believes minorities are not prepared, culturally or psychologically, for corporate America, so he and writer Gary M. Stern offer Minority Rules: Turn Your Ethnicity into a Competitive Edge.

Instead of feeling dejected, Mr. Roldan says minorities should think strategically about their career. He advises readers on how to navigate the complex landscape of a multinational corporation and make it to the top. He also stresses the importance of finding a mentor and learning the art of networking.

"Success at a corporation doesn't happen by itself," says Mr. Roldan, CEO of the recruiting firm Wesley, Brown & Bartle. "It's not created by spontaneous combustion. It's planned, focused, and targeted."
Mr. Roldan also explains why engaging in corporate politics is necessary to any executive's ascent and why performance is the key factor to succeeding.

"For minority employees, who face stiff competition from their majority counterparts who may be better connected and hail from the right schools, it means overcoming all of the hurdles that come with growing up 'different' in the United States," he says.

Minority Rules covers such topics as "Turning your ethnicity into a competitive edge" and "What HR can do to level the playing field." Mr. Roldan also gives tips on how to avoid being "pigeon-holed" into specialty practice areas, such as ethnic marketing.

Al Zollar, an African-American manager of a business in affiliation with IBM, offers the story of his rise through the ranks of a corporation, bolstering Mr. Roldan's claim that anything is possible for the employee who is willing to work hard, have gumption, and be strategic.

The main thrust of Mr. Roldan's Minority Rules is to show minorities how to climb to the top jobs and keep them.

Source: HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine and, Copyright (c) 2006 All Rights Reserved.

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