Be Fearless Book Summary By Jean Case

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Be Fearless (2019) is an inspirational book about how to make meaningful change in the world.

Drawing on her extensive experience in game-changing technology, author Jean Case examines the lives of those she admires who have gone down a similar path—from anthropologist Jane Goodall to investor Warren Buffett.

According to Case, each of these influential and successful people are unified by one core trait: fearlessness.

She deconstructs what it takes to develop this quality so readers can go out and create positive change.

If you’re looking for an inspiring guidebook that will motivate you to break barriers, then Be Fearless is a must-read.

Be Fearless

Book Name: Be Fearless (5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose)

Author(s): Jean Case

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Entrepreneurship

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Author Bio

Jean Case is an accomplished internet pioneer, philanthropist and author.

She was involved in the start-up of America Online which helped many people access the internet for the first in the 1990s.

Since 1997 she has been CEO of the Case Foundation, providing others with financial resources to realize their dreams.

Her influence also reaches outside her organization, as she is the first woman Chairman of the National Geographic Society and a board member for a number of other highly influential institutions like Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation.

Case has now successfully captured her thoughts and experiences in her thought provoking new book - "Be Fearless".

Through this book, she provides readers guidance on how to live fearlessly and pursue opportunities that can make significant positive impact in our world today.

Five Principles For Overcoming Fear And Becoming A Game-Changer

Overcoming Fear

Do you want to make the world a better place? Famed author Jean Case understands that it takes courage and determination – and she has identified five principles for being fearless in order to inspire people to embrace change.

These principles are: making a Big Bet, being a bold risk-taker, making failures matter, reaching beyond your bubble and letting urgency conquer fear.

By understanding how these principles can help change the world, you will also learn how to apply them to your own life.

To give you some examples of how these principles work in practice, Case looks at trailblazing women who have made transformative impacts, the value of failure and the downside of overthinking.

At its core, the five principles for changing the world rely on recognizing the power of personal courage and embracing ambitious leaps into what might be an uncertain future.

With this mind-set, anything is possible!

The Power Of Making A Big Bet: From President Kennedy’S Promise To Reach The Moon To A Ucla Student Taking On College Student Hunger

The author emphasizes the power of a “Big Bet”: an audacious, ambitious plan that can grab people’s attention and work toward monumental change.

John F.

Kennedy is an example of this idea–he made the bold prediction that astronauts would land on the moon within the decade, a bet which eventually paid off in 1969.

Elon Musk isn’t far behind–he’s now betting on revolutionizing transportation with electric car company Tesla and getting us to Mars by 2030 with SpaceX.

Astro Teller also saw success when he developed balloon-powered internet for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

You don’t have to be a billionaire or scientist to make a Big Bet– just look at Rachel Sumekh, who was simply a student at UCLA when she started Swipe Out Hunger to help other students with food insecurity.

After ten years, her efforts have now spread across 30 campuses and delivered over 1.3 million meals!

The message is clear: anyone can take their current circumstances and make a Big Bet that will move mountains – no matter how small they may seem in the grand scheme of things.

Challenging Assumptions And Making Big Bets Lead To Success

Big Bets often start by challenging the conventional wisdom of society.

David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal, for example, defied the assumption that expensive eyewear was the only way to get decent glasses.

With a small investment, they launched Warby Parker, which offered fashion eyeglasses for an affordable price of $95 a pair.

The response was overwhelming, with the entire inventory selling out within the first month and a waiting list over 20,000 people forming soon after.

But big bets don’t just come from defying assumptions–they also involve looking ahead to what might be possible in the future.

Throughout history there have been countless examples of people making moves that prove doubters wrong and reveal possibilities they never imagined.

Just look at the internet: not too long ago it seemed like a far-fetched idea but now it’s hard to think of how we ever lived without it!

The same can be true for any business venture.

Even if today’s ideas seem impossible or outlandish, you can still make that Big Bet by challenging assumptions and getting an early glimpse into what lies ahead.

Be Bold And Take Chances: How Eliza Scidmore Used Discomfort To Change The World

Eliza Scidmore

You can’t achieve greatness without taking risks.

It’s like going outside your comfort zone and doing something that is truly remarkable and unique.

Just look at Eliza Scidmore, who was the first female board member of the National Geographic Society back in 1892.

She was part of Oberlin College’s first graduating class that allowed women and she wrote a popular newspaper column under the androgynous pen name of E.R.

Scidmore – things she did to take strides in her career which made great impacts to the world.

She then went on to board a steamship to Alaska, wrote the first travel guide for this destination and even became the first female writer for National Geographic Magazine!

Eliza Scidmore faced many challenges throughout her life but she accepted them as an opportunity to do something incredible.

Her ambition encouraged her actions, despite taking on high-risk projects, making us realize that greatness doesn’t happen by being comfortable; it’s better to embrace risk if we want real success.

Don’T Play It Safe: Take A Leap And Innovate To Avoid Regrets

The Be Fearless Book Summary encourages us to take advantage of the hard work and successes of others, and enrich our lives by embracing risk-taking.

We see this in the story of Eliza Scidmore, who opened many doors for other women afterward.

Similarly, Thomas Edison referred to himself as a sponge, absorbing knowledge and information from his predecessors to create impressive inventions.

Then there is Justin Knopf–a fifth generation farmer who heard about the no tilling approach to farming and applied it to his own farm with amazing results.

These stories remind us that while changing the world may not be an easy task and requires significant courage, we don’t always have to start from scratch to make progress.

Furthermore, taking risks in life can lead to incredible opportunities — as opposed to living with regrets from playing it safe.

This point is underscored by what happened with Kodak; when presented with digital cameras vs protecting their market share for traditional film cameras, they chose safety which ultimately led them into bankruptcy by 2012!

Therefore, it is crucial that we remember that embracing change and bravely stretching ourselves outside our comfort zone is important if we want a successful future.

Taking advantage of other people’s successes can help us move forward more quickly while also avoiding regrets down the line.

In summary: Don’t be afraid – seize risk-taking as an exciting opportunity today!

The Third Principle Of Fearlessness Is To Make Your Failures Matter

When it comes to achieving great things, learning from your failures and maintaining the bigger picture are both invaluable tools.

Just look at any successful person–behind every success story is a list of failures, and those can be used to propel you forward.

At the Case Foundation, for instance, failure is seen as an inevitable part of pushing boundaries.

Similarly, at X lab scientist Astro Teller’s workplace they actively seek out weaknesses in projects by proving its central conceit wrong: if they can’t do this then it means there’s a good chance that their concept has legs.

Warren Buffett is an excellent example of making his failures matter instead of shying away from them.

This influential investor looks for businesses with long-term potential rather than letting himself be swayed by trends or fads.

Although most of his fortune was built after his 50th birthday, Buffett also amassed vast wealth between the ages of 83 and 87—something he wouldn’t have been able to do if he wasn’t willing to learn from his past mistakes.

As Albert Einstein said: “Failure is success in progress”—we should all remember that in order to make our setbacks meaningful, we must always keep our eyes on the bigger picture.

Step Outside Your Bubble To Find Unusual Solutions And Partnerships


If you want to achieve big goals and be successful, then it’s critical that you make sure to look beyond your bubble – eliminate blind spots and biases, and forge unlikely partnerships.

This was one of the major takeaways from the book “Be Fearless” by author John Papanek, who explains that in order to really understand what’s going on in the world and get out of our comfort zone, we have to expand our horizons.

This is something the author has put into practice while travelling around the US with his spouse each year in an RV.

The principle of looking beyond her bubble is, quite clearly, alive and well with these excursions.

For example, take cities such as Pittsburgh or Detroit which some people would traditionally avoid – if they did visit these locations themselves however, they would find out about a wealth of exciting projects taking place there.

Take for instance Ford and Uber who are currently investing heavily in Pittsburgh as a result of its work on automated driving; biomedicine, robotics and alternative energy businesses in Pittsburgh are thriving too!

Equally remarkable progress has been made in Detroit too – Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans) relocated his entire business to the city with around 17,000 employees deeply investing in real estate and start-ups.

This goes to show how looking at a different perspective can yield remarkable partnerships – just consider the incredible connection made between NASA and Lego back in 2010!

And when Ebola hit West Africa during 2014? It was an unexpected seamstress specialising in wedding dresses being turned to come up with improved hazmat suits that addressed flaws found previously!

It is definitely true then that learning can be found outside our respective bubbles – if we’re open minded enough to go look for it!

Fearless Living Means Letting Urgency Overpower Your Fear

Being fearless means recognizing when to act in times of crisis and using urgency as a way to overpower fear.

While fear serves an important role in protecting us from danger, it can also keep us from taking risks and achieving big results.

Instead of getting caught up in feeling scared, let the sense of urgency take over and respond quickly and effectively to whatever situation you find yourself in.

Examples of people seizing the moment include José Andrés and David Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal.

José is a world-renowned chef who started his own disaster relief organization after seeing the impact of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti in 2010, quickly ramping up efforts to provide 3.5 million meals to the recovering island community after Hurricane Maria caused food shortages there.

Meanwhile, David & Neil leveraged their business model for Warby Parker by instituting the “buy a pair, give a pair” program which has distributed four million pairs of glasses to people in developing countries so far.

These two stories demonstrate how powerful it can be to channel our passions into action during times of emergency or crisis; instead of just feeling helpless or scared, we should seize opportunities that these moments create for us.

No matter your field or area that you want to contribute your time and energy towards, do not miss out on the chance to make amazing things happen!

Don’T Hesitate To Take Action And Follow Your Dreams


When it comes to taking action, an overthinker can get too wrapped up in analyzing a problem and end up doing nothing.

Don’t fall prey to inaction – trust your heart and take action!

Bertha and Harry Holt are a great example.

When they heard about the homeless children in Korea fathered by American soldiers, they set out to help without a moment’s hesitation.

Despite knowing that adopting these children was against the law, they took action anyway – and even managed to pass a new law so that the adoptions could be legally recognized.

That’s why it’s important not to wait for “perfect conditions” before seizing an opportunity.

The Holts didn’t do that, and as a result of their boldness, they have left an everlasting legacy – from setting up the adoption agency with Salvation Army to build the residential facility (which is still operational today!), all simply because of their drive to take action.

If you have something you’re passionate about and want to make it happen – whether it’s starting a business or creating a social movement – don’t waste your time waiting for the perfect conditions; just do it!

Break down your goals into smaller achievable steps, enlist help from others if needed, and most importantly never fear taking that first step because you never know what kind of impact you can make on yourself and those around you.

So don’t overthink it – become fearless, step out of your comfort zone and embark on something extraordinary today!

Wrap Up

Be Fearless is a book that emphasizes the importance of fearlessness in achieving meaningful, transformative change.

The key message throughout this book is that it takes courage and a willingness to take risks in order to make real, life-changing advancements.

The author provides actionable advice on how to embrace and invest in diversity to get out of your own bubble and create meaningful change.

A 2018 McKinsey study has shown that businesses with greater gender and ethnic diversity performed better than those without, while female-led businesses outperformed those run by men.

Despite these results, only 10 percent of investment capital went to businesses founded by women or minorities.

In conclusion, Be Fearless encourages us to be fearless and focus on embracing diversity as we strive for greatness.

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Arturo Miller

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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