Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership – Michael Kurland Book Summary

Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership – Michael Kurland | Free Book Summary

Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership – Michael Kurland

Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. It takes a firm resolve, the ability to persevere and pivot during challenging times, the humility to admit mistakes, and empathy for the people around you. Understanding who you are is critical to that journey.

In Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership, CEO of Branded Group Michael Kurland candidly shares every step of his own entrepreneurial odyssey—selling everything he owned, driving across the country to launch his new business, and ultimately building a purpose-driven culture that aligns purpose with profit.

Subscribe to Miniwise Newsletter (Free!)

Miniwise newsletter brings you one great bite-sized idea every day, curated from world's best non-fiction books, articles, podcasts..and more. An entire new world in just 5 minutes!


Along the way, Kurland distills a lifetime of experience down to its purest essence. From key principles of organizational strength to the secrets of profitability and growth, Broken to Better offers up all his triumphs and mistakes in the same spirit of perseverance, fearlessness, empathy, and gratitude.

5. Be Future-Driven

Your business needs to be future-focused, even before you have your entire team in place. There will come a time when your business grows enough that you will need to separate your employees into functional areas or teams.Free book, podcast summaries

6. Be Purposeful

You have to ensure your team feels valued, that they know their contributions are making a difference and that you care. You will be able to attract and retain people if you have a thriving company culture. The keys to engagement and retention are inclusion, appreciation, flexibility, and trust.

This chapter walks you through the practical tips you need to Be Purposeful and create brand champions. You’ll learn how to define core values, make a culture that’s more than words on a wall, and create a positive change.

7. Be Engaging

New habits start with a decision to make a change. Perseverance and commitment make habits stick. Bad habits arise when we lose that commitment or simply quit.

There’s really only one way to reverse the trend: make a decision to change and put a plan in place, being mindful of distractions or naysayers that try to derail your success.

8. Be Profitable

If you think about it, you’re selling something to someone every single day. You sell yourself at a job interview. You sell an idea to your boss. You sell a project to your team. At its foundation, sales is about people.

If you don’t like people, you’re not going to be a successful salesperson. Solid social skills are a must-have in building lasting relationships with your clients. Likeability, passion for your product or service, and relationships are key to selling successfully.

9. Be Service-Oriented

Ensuring that your customers or clients have a memorable, personalized, and enjoyable experience is an important differentiator, whether you are an e-commerce or traditional brick-and-mortar business.

This chapter provides practical tips on how to Be Service-Oriented and create a memorable client experience. It explores topics like taking care of your employees first, building trusting relationships, identifying your ideal client, improving your customer service, being honest, and integrating operational processes and technology.

10. Be Efficient

You may be able to piecemeal processes in the early days of your business, making it up as you go along. However, in order to scale for future growth, you need to be efficient.

You need a comprehensive operations function that is continuously evaluated, so you are delivering top-notch service to your clients, as well as enabling your team to work seamlessly and avoid duplication of efforts.

11. Be Generous

A lot of research explores the “high” that you get when you volunteer. It makes you feel as good as the person you are helping.

Maybe it’s a little selfish to get something out of volunteering, but it’s a good selfish, I think. Being generous is about doing something to make someone’s life better.

12. Be Inspiring

Everyone reacts to challenges differently. Some crumble, but for others, it’s an invitation to dig in. A crisis, whether personal or professional, leads you to reevaluate your situation. At least it should. If your organization is hit with a sudden challenge, you take steps to improve your operations so you can stay in business.

If you’re not continuously evolving as a leader, you become stagnant, and your team will be disengaged. Strong leaders should always be pushing their teams to avoid complacency at all costs. Being an inspiring leader starts with the willingness to change.

13. Be Better

Before you decide to step out and share your expertise, whether it’s by writing LinkedIn posts or launching a podcast, you need to identify your message. It takes time and patience to build a following and rise above the noise.

Otherwise, you’re just another voice in the crowd, and people will eventually tune you out, hurting both you and your company’s brand. You need to provide valuable content that you believe in and can speak to expertly, on whatever platform is best for you.

Building your personal brand is a process, and you have to be prepared to ramp up slowly. It doesn’t happen immediately, and you may need a team of people to help you.

It’s important for any business owner to identify their “why” for launching a business. What you do impacts your team, your clients, and your reputation. The decisions you make are hinged on what you deem is important, the vision for your business, and the vision for yourself.


Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Be gentle when you’re delivering hard messages. Be kind. Be willing to do the same jobs you’re asking your team to do. Learn from your mistakes, and don’t be afraid to make hard decisions.

You must always strive to be a better version of yourself every day.

Get the book!

Sign Up for nextbigwhat newsletter

The smartest newsletter, partly written by AI.

Download, the short news app for busy professionals