Rare Breed by Sunny Bonnell [Book Summary – Review]


Plenty of business handbooks suggest that conformism is more valuable than creativity. Their instructions are so exact as if just one fixed way could reach accomplishment. Nonetheless, another way is possible.

The main argument of this summary is that the ones who see benefit where everyone sees evil are in the best direction. Do you describe yourself as passionate, strong-minded, and maybe strange? These are the most precious features that you can have, although the others called them imperfections.

Inspired by Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger’s experiences of entrepreneurship, this handbook explains why being limited and stuck on your peculiarities is reaching nowhere. The following chapters guide how to climb to the top while preserving personality.

If this unusual method sounds plausible to you, now check out which evil you have is your main asset via the Rare Breed quiz: rarebreedbook.com/quiz/.


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Chapter 1 – Challenging the existing rules can bring new routes reaching success.


This is fourth down, the last chance of the Pulaski Academy Bruins to gain 10 yards mark, if not, the other team gets the match. Giving up and punting the ball are expected actions that a high school football team would normally do. That’s what everyone describes as a smart move.

However, the Bruins ignored established rules. In 2009, having regard to the game statistics of the previous three years, their coach Kevin Kelley decided something unexpected: The Bruins wouldn’t give up.

And it resulted in success. With this uncommon strategy, the Bruins make other teams confused and win many matches. By 2018, the team had already reached brilliant fame with his several championships.

The society we live in advertises obedience to the existing social rules. It imposes strict norms and praises proper manners. Since our childhood, they’ve urged us to behave accordingly to what established social etiquette requires, or we would face the consequences. Rules govern anywhere, even in a modern office. An examination published by Harvard Business Review indicates that the companies that encourage the employees to be out-of-the-box aren’t more than 10 percent.

However, challenging the rules might be advantageous but on the condition that it’s done cleverly. Think of the TV series Girls that narrates the lives of young women in New York without depicting any typical images. Not the stylish or alluring parts of their lives but their mistakes and embarrassments are in the center of the show. And it became hugely successful! People embraced this unusual style and quirky characters.



Of course, it wouldn’t be wise to step out of line without a motive. Rebelling requires strategic reasoning.  First, you should be sure about your targets and motives: Which rules will you disobey and why? A further step is thinking about what your alternative action will be and what consequences you’ll face. So, you’re setting your own rules, not just breaking carelessly the existing ones.

For example, Matt Scanian wanted to invest in the cruel Mongolian wool industry. The settled model for this industry employed many agents to carry Mongolian wool to the market. But this way was expensive and wasteful.

Scanian found a better strategy and broke the rules. In the news model he developed, investors could pay herdsmen directly. So, the cashmere that’s of the best quality and rather cheap is offered by Naadam, Scanian’s company and Mongolian herdsmen gain 50 percent more.

You need to be bold to break the rules.  In the following pages, we’ll issues how a passionate mind is an important treasure. 


Chapter 2 – Only a brave soul can achieve ambitious plans.


The authors of the book, Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger were at the lowest level in 2007.  Two entrepreneurs register their company, Motto, for a start-up competition: Count Me In.  However, it was going awfully bad.  They got stuck and run off their tracks.

The rational move to do was throwing in the towel, but Bonnell and Ashleigh weren’t thinking logically. They had at that moment bold spirits. So, they spent all night drinking and writing.  As a result, the very next day, they believed in them and made an excellent presentation on stage.

Their daring reappearance brings them success. They came first in the competition and received a remarkable award. Also, this experience taught them an important lesson about determination.

Your skill to think wider often keeps you from accomplishment. Elaborating plans makes us so obsessed with our limitations and obligations, that’s why we restrain our imagination at the beginning of the way. However, by embracing a braver spirit and keeping all conformist solutions out, you can progress more than ever.

The experience of the initiator of Impossible Foods, Patrick Brown exemplified this situation. People didn’t believe him when he planned to produce a vegetarian burger that would be loved even by non-vegetarian. However, Brown didn’t lose hope. He made several attempts to find an ideal recipe for making Impossible Burger with a good combination of odd proteins and pigments. Today, thousands of restaurants offer this vegetarian Burger to their clients all around the world.

Thinking the possibilities is one way to embrace a bold approach. By keeping your limitations out, consider what you would do if there was no obstacle on the way. This consideration provides you with alternative reasoning. And now you manage to see the opportunities rather than your restraints.



It’s impossible to argue that a brave mindset guarantees success. In any case, if you always aimed for secured success, that would mean that your vision was still narrow. So, always keep your “impossibility airbag” with you. Count it as a safety net that would secure you if everything tumbled. You could attach something more to the airbag, like saving or a backing network of advisors or friends to help you until you gather your strength back.  The key point is fearlessly trying again and again, even if you end up in failure. In the following chapter, we’ll dig the importance of determination further.


Chapter 3 – If you want to truly achieve, be obsessive about what you aim for.


Think, how many hours should be sacrificed for practice to end up as a master.10.000? This is what well-known researcher Malcolm Gladwell made, however, he also stated that this takes much more than this number.

Take 25,000 for example, which is the hours of practice a top classical musician normally devoted to their expertise. That means about three hours of arduous practice per day for 20 years.

Undisputedly, qualities can’t be gained easily. You should pay great attention to your work and shoulder whatever it takes.

So, what we should understand from being obsessed? In this context, obsession signifies the state of mind which makes you preoccupied with a certain goal, and that encourages you to push the limits until achievement comes. Prince checking the sound for three-hours- long before each performance embodied obsession. So does Kobe Bryant practicing even before the sunrise, or Marie Curie who pursued her studies by ignoring the detrimental radiation in her lab.



You can set a goal that makes you genuinely excited to nurture an obsessive viewpoint. Regardless of what you’re aiming for, either a bright career as a writer or mastering a musical instrument, you have to trust in your undertaking enough to give something for it. Unless you value your mission more than you value your sleeping routine, you’ll certainly not make enough sacrifice to reach your goal.

Take the 93 years old chief Jiro Ono as an example, he appeared in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. He’s devoted his days and nights to gastronomic craft, and he expects his apprentices to be as passionate as him. A traineeship with Jiro takes 12 years so his apprentices must polish all necessary paces of Suchi preparing process. So, they have to bear doing the same task for weeks, even if it’s annoying.

However, obsession needs some limitations too. You should keep your passion under control so it can’t destroy everything else in your life. Be careful about your health, don’t make a mess in your office, and continue to spend time with your loved ones. Finally, you need a tidy workplace and a strong backing network that facilitate your progress.


Chapter 4 – You’ll do with ease if you love what you’re doing.


In June 2018, Brasserie Les Halles, a restaurant located in Lower Manhattan, is filled with numerous souvenirs, such as flowers, wine bottles, and letters delivering emotional messages. All of those are left for the chef and journalist Anthony Bourdain’s honor, who’s passed away recently.

How did someone’s death create so much emotional reaction? Because he made significant sacrifices for his lifegoal. Bourdain pursued his ambition for cuisine and travel for many years. His story has inspired entertainment programs and successful books; also, his passion for food has encouraged many followers to pursue their cuisine ventures.

Strong enthusiasm is the key point to accomplish the goals in life.  So, if you don’t want to invest in a tasteless life, you should discover your passion.

In today’s world, many of us pursue their lives by doing things that are not their callings.  We tend to choose safe and stable careers instead of taking risks for the works that ease our souls. As a result, our insupportably boring lives are passing by waiting for the weekends and complaining about Mondays. How miserable!

Fortunately, you don’t have to bear with it. You can leave being cautious and embark upon a passionate life, as Sarah Marquis did. Marquis loved adventures since her childhood. She never ignored this bold part of her, on the contrary, she adopted it and give her existence to long-distance walking. In 2010, she completed a route between Siberia and Australia. 

Thanks to this 12, 500-mile walking, she was announced as National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year. Also, she began a new career which was writing her travel memoirs.



It’s not always possible to find out what your passion is at the earlier ages. But it requires to seize every occasion. Be courageous to taste new things, even if they don’t seem attractive in the first place.

Let’s think Danny Bonnell. When he was a young army-member, he was asked for singing in a USO show. He wasn’t defeated by his hesitancies and bravely sang on stage. He sang from his heart and this brought him a new brilliant career as a singer.

In all conditions, don’t give up following your passions, and let the feelings that flourish in your soul feed your fire. There won’t always be happiness on the way, sometimes you’ll face struggles, annoyances, and anger.  But if you can set the fire back inside of you and let it lead you, you’ll be proceeding well.


Chapter 5 – Be unusual and enjoy what reveals true yourself.


Steve Pateman’s family business had produced old-style men’s shoes in Northamptonshire, England throughout four generations. But when low-priced imported productions began to enter the market at the end of the 1990s, Pateman didn’t manage to compete in that new market conditions. Eventually, who would buy the same shoes at a higher price?

After a while, Pateman found a solution: Why would he have to continue producing this kind of shoes? He stopped making old-style shoes and made a new start to fabricate fashionable boots in every size. Especially the kinky boots became a highly successful product that was preferred by entertainers, drag queens, and transgender people.

By 2000, the company has reached a record number of sales. All in all, Pateman’s success proves that you must be so bold to take risky actions if you want to win the game.



While conformism is related to being appropriate, your weird side could be a true benefit.  It’s not uncommon to see a strange personality that has a significant impact on people. Remember Tim Burton, David Bowie or Andy Warhol, and Salvador Dali.

What’s the secret lying behind the attraction of weirdness? First of all, if you adopt your idiosyncrasy identity, this means you have something special to give. Also, that’ll prove that you’re brave enough to back up your inquisitive part.  A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2013 conceptualized it as the “Red Sneakers Effect.”  The same study argues that people dressing in their styles are often considered more capable.

So, weirdness works in business. Producing unique products is critical to be successful in the flooded consumer market. For example, Prohibition Bakery, a small store in New York, gave the direction to the city’s confectionery market by offering strange cupcake flavors accompanied by a special cocktail. After all, who would choose vanilla when Scotch and Cigar was available?  

So, how can your weird part serve you? Firstly, you should tactically think about which domain you’re good at, and in which regards you have your styles. Does your sense of humor is unusual? Or are your interests a bit niche? If you frankly confront with your weirdness, you can establish a connection with others.

You can try using your peculiar features on different occasions. You might invent a new product. In such a case, all you have to do persuade people to give it a chance. That’s what we’ll discuss in the following pages.


Chapter 6 – Appeal to an audience by addressing their imagination.


Statue of Liberty is there, just above the Hudson Bay. Next, a sudden movement of the lights caused something extraordinary: Lady Liberty has disappeared. Illusionist David Copperfield has wiped out the famous statue. That trick made the audience very pleased. 

Of course, the statue stands tall where exactly it used to be.  This performance dated to 1983 was using technical magic. The view of the audience was changed not Lady Liberty.  Because when the lights went out, the guests’ seating rotated. But Copperfield successfully convinced them to believe in something impossible.

Well, a mesmeric charm works. You can beat people’s doubts by convincing them to have the right outlook.

Lonely genius is an appraised phenomenon in our society, but in reality, everyone needs to be supported by others, on the way to reaching success. Regardless of your occupation which is either marketing a new product, or entrepreneurship or making illusions, you have to take supports from the audience.



Although the ability to convince isn’t magical, when combined with some tricks it’ll transform into a powerful charm. A study made by the psychologists from Claremont McKenna College indicated three fundamental features of charismatic individuals. Firstly, they have vivid emotions. Secondly, they value the others’ feelings and wishes, and finally, they could switch their tone to the one corresponding with their audience’s.

This shows that persuasion is something mutual. Think of Barack Obama’s successful speeches. He managed it because he didn’t preach to the people, instead, he made each person feel membership of something great. In a similar vein, when Steve Jobs promoted a new product, he presented it as a notable attempt for changing the world, so the audience got impressed and tended to buy it for the sake of doing something important.

To be an attractive speaker, you need to work on it. Improve your convincing skills by seizing each opportunity that provides you with testing your charm on other people.  For example, be an interviewee, make presentations at meetings, or perform on an open mic night.

That’s okay to be nervous. Don’t forget, you aim for bonding with your audience. Instead of delivering just a text, tell them anecdotes. First, you’re sure that you appeal to everyone’s attention, now you can continue in a way that sets your emotions and characteristics free.


Chapter 7 – Emotions, empathy, and sincerity strengthen you.


It’s May 1969, when the US Senate witnesses a stressful budgeting discussion. Some senators claim that strict economic measures including the cuts to PBS, a public TV channel, should be applied. There is only one person that can set things right. It’s Mr. Rogers, unexpectedly not one of the gifted accountants.

Mr. Roger, the host of a children’s show called Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood testified before the senate. But he didn’t mention anything related to the money. He talked about the heart, stated that public TV can deliver happiness to people of various ages.

Mr. Roger was able to persuade the Senate with this sentimental attitude to continue funding the station. Even the most tenacious Senator John Pastore changed his opinion. Also, he admitted that he found Roger’s speech touching.

They always suggest us thinking with our brains, not with our sentiments, especially in our professional lives. But we’re human beings, not mechanical things. We all have emotions, and if we know how to manage them they might become precious assets.

Psychologist Elaine Aron found out something incredible by making a study on “highly sensitive people”, or another saying, “individuals whose feelings are stronger than others’ ” Those people have the potential to become highly influential leaders. Besides the fact that they’re more innovative and sentient, they’re also better at noticing what the others want.



Empathy is one of the most notable features of successful leaders. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks is known for considering his co-workers as his family. His emails ending with “Onward with love” usually deliver sincere messages. This attitude makes people feel special, so make them bear with you.

There’s no concern to keep up your routines at the office. Be candid and straightforward. Surely, you’ll realize that considering the people, whether the clients and the colleagues, as real human beings with emotions, is liberating.


Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different by Sunny Bonnell, Ashleigh Hansberger Book Review


The society we live in consider our weird characteristics as detrimental. However, these features might be our advantages. Niche interests, tough personalities, bold adventures, they all have a function.  If you know how to apply your weirdness properly, then it can help you to shine, build your way, and touch other people. And none of them can be realized with conformism.


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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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