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A Brief Introduction

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These entries are from a diary I started six months after quitting my day job as a business-book publisher on July 31, 1997, to go solo. The first six months I spent in a state of shell shock, worrying over money, missing the need for my chic pantyhose, wondering if I'd ever have lunch in any town ever again. (Who would want to dine with someone who was asking for help, not giving it as I had done for 20 years in my corporate role?) By Christmas, I'd sold a proposal for a new book and had given a few speeches. Though I still had no consulting clients, money was coming in at last. But my deepest anxieties just changed focus.

It seems clear that as a soloist I am engaging in a one-woman battle of the minds, where I want the freedom but I'm terrified of it too. I am trying hard in these pages (and in real life) to strike a balance between trying it all & really living as if I were a soloist on the order of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday - and keeping a shelter somewhere in the storm. I guess I don't feel that if you're going to get the real solo experience, you can still believe in Security. Although maybe that's wrong.

The first part of the diary is about exploring the limits of the solo life. Once I relaxed a little over cash flow, I could see other tests of adulthood poking up on the horizon. The second part of the diary takes me to a gathering of the greatest world leaders, the World Economic Forum, at Davos. That was a rite of passage: I entered into the wilds of untamed egos without my corporate identity papers to give me immunity. The third part describes how I've begun to live the Davos lessons, and find out how far a soloist can fearlessly go.

- Harriet Rubin




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