Follow The Yellow Brick Road by Amy Kennedy


I’m reading a book on what it takes to be an entrepreneur and build a great business:

Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck, by Anthony Tjan, Richard Harrington and Tsun-Yan Hsei.

Here’s the thing, when you work at a public library all kinds of books (you’d never know you wanted) come across your desk, and serendipitously garner your attention. Just like this one!

I judged this book by its cover and ordered it.

I’ve never thought of myself as a businessy kind of non-fiction gal. Yet, lately, some of the business/management books I’ve read have helped me with time management for writing, building the right platform, and how to grow a business of writing. This book is no different. I loved how passion for the project is one of the key ingredients.

When I started reading this book, I was struck by how useful parts of it could be to a writer (even if for just a jolt of positivity) and how it was, clearly, a riff on The Wizard of Oz!

Here’s how the authors defined the traits a person needs for success (yellow brick road):

Heart = Authentic Vision (Tin Man)

  • Purpose
  • Passion
  • Sacrifice
  • Nuance

Smarts = Pattern Recognition (Scarecrow)

Business Smarts = Book Smarts + Street Smarts + People Smarts + Creative Smarts

Guts (Lion)

  • To initiate
  • To endure
  • To evolve

Luck = Attitude (?)

  • Humility
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Optimism
  • Lucky network

If Tin Man was the heart, Scarecrow the smarts, and Cowardly Lion the guts, who, then, was luck? The Wizard himself, lucky to land in Oz, lucky to be in charge and then lucky to know that each character had what they wanted inside themselves all along. Also, he certainly put himself out there with the whole balloon ride.

And what about Dorothy? Why, she corralled them all, didn’t she?

And so can you. Because we’re all Dorothy (suck it up guys–you’re just a different version of Dorothy) on the yellow brick road with our heart, smarts, guts and luck, looking for our own idea of success.

So, remember:

  • Have a passion for your project, love what you do. Heart
  • Edit your work at the right time, and never stop learning. Smarts
  • Be brave enough to sit down and face a blank page, heck, be brave enough to write what you want and continue to write. Guts
  • Be in the right place at the right time. Put yourself out there so you see the serendipitous posts and meet great people. Luck


But what about those witches…

The Wicked Witch of the West is clearly that internal editor, the one you don’t want, the one that comes early in the project: you’re not good enough, you can’t do this, surrender to Facebook.

I like to think of Glinda the Good Witch as ROW80, there’s all kinds of ruby-slippered you-can- do- it magic. Be sure to check in on other ROWers, like on the Facebook page (it’s okay, this time) and visit others from the linky page. We’re in this together.


Amy Kennedy



    1. I think I have a bit of ADD, I started this post on a completely different vein, then I looked at the book again and realized it was The Wizard of Oz! Still wasn’t sure I pulled it off. Thanks!

    1. Hahaha, Andi-Roo, thank you! When my daughter ( my oldest) was 5 she watched The Wizard of Oz every day. Seriously. One day she watched it backward–this is back in the day of VCRs. I watched it with her. Apparently, I see it in everything!

  1. Nicely positive post for mid-week or any time at all. Sometimes the information can be overwhelming about how we writers build a marketing strategy, but your post makes it all part of a process. All I have to do now is find those lovely ruby slippers!

  2. Amy Kennedy, you are amazing! I love this thought, “The Wicked Witch of the West is clearly that internal editor, the one you don’t want, the one that comes early in the project: you’re not good enough, you can’t do this, surrender to Facebook.” So true! But sometimes we can only recognize it when we say it out loud. Thank you so much for your inspiring post! 🙂

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