Legacy In The Making (Book Review)

Please note: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

“Be the author of your own modern legacy.”

Mark Miller and Lucas Conley both invest their time and energy into a research and consulting practice known as The Legacy Lab. Together, they have produced a powerful manifesto around the key themes and research that make up their work. This beautiful, graphically-rich treatise has been bound into a book titled Legacy In The Making.

The premise of the book is structured around a classic then vs now approach. Their focal point is the ability of companies (guided by the personal ambition of its leader) to produce a brand of lasting value. The structures, priorities and staying power of traditional brand building are no longer relevant in today’s world. They are advocating for a new story and a deeper meaning to the way brands are formed, as well as what they represent.

The key comparison is between what the authors deem as short-term thinkers (nearsighted brands) and their proposal of a modern brand legacy. In order to make this transition, the authors organize their work around five far-reaching transformations:

  1. From following institutional practices to leading with personal ambitions.
  2. From attitudinal posturing to behaving your beliefs.
  3. From commanding and controlling customers to influencing social movements.
  4. From obeying orthodox boundaries to pioneering unconventional solutions.
  5. From episodic innovation to perpetual adaptation.

Each of these transformations is described in detail through a series of real-life case studies and practical application. The authors work hard to provide stories that serve as inspiration rather than a copy-and-paste model. Along the way, they offer key insights and summaries to help the reader find meaningful connections to their own contexts.

One of the most useful takeaways for me was The Legacy Builder’s Balance Sheets that were scattered throughout. These graphical representations of important concepts provide ways to measure, graph and reflect on one’s progress in the transition from a nearsighted brand to a modern brand legacy. I found these tools to be most helpful in explaining the concepts to others who hadn’t had a chance to read through the book.

While I loved each of the stories and their roots within the five transformations that were being described, I sometimes found it hard to connect my personal journey to the grand examples that were used. Examples that many would recognize as having gained national and even, international recognition.

Yet, in the end, the book challenged me to recognize the value and meaning found within my own personal ambition, and to develop a long-term view that can connect to a greater audience. This is what the modern legacy mindset proposes. This is what will guide and grow the type of brand that makes a difference in the world today.

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