Reading List: Rejection Proof

When an investor rejected his pitch, fledgling entrepreneur and app developer Jia Jiang had a crisis of self-confidence. To conquer his fear of rejection, Jiang decided that every day for 100 days, he would challenge his fear of “no” by asking a stranger to say “yes” to a spur-of-the-moment request.

He came up with an array of amusing, creative and sometimes silly appeals—asking a random homeowner if he could play soccer in his yard (yes), pleading for a haircut at Petco (no), asking a Krispy Kreme employee to customize doughnuts in the colors and shape of Olympic rings (yes). Posted on YouTube, his doughnut adventure went viral, and the ensuing publicity for his experiment succeeded in helping him overcome his fear and rebuild his self-confidence.

During those 100 days, Jiang gained a new understanding of what rejection means (one person doesn’t like or agree with an idea, or is not willing or able to fulfill a request), and what it doesn’t mean (that all your ideas or requests will be denied). As Jiang points out, it’s easy to forget that one no isn’t the end of the story.

The author describes his thoughts and feelings throughout the process, delves into the psychology of rejection, and shares the feedback he received. He closes each chapter with a summation of the critical takeaways and ends with a Rejection Toolbox, including advice for readers to review when they need courage or inspiration. Thankfully Jiang doesn’t try to aggrandize or oversell what he’s done. He keeps the tone lively and fun. Rejection Proof turns out to be an easy, likable and instructive read.

by Jia Jiang
April; Harmony Books; $25

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