Author: Gary Fong
ISBN: 978-1-933771-91-5
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc

Gary Fong, author of The Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life Without Really Trying was blessed with an innate business savvy, particularly in the area of marketing. When you incorporate this with his humorous and fascinating autobiography, magic happens. That is precisely how I would describe this book that reads more like a novel than a narrative non-fiction.

Fong is an internationally renowned photographer, inventor, lecturer, and entrepreneur who created Montage software, co-founded Pictage and invented Lightsphere®. He is also widely known for being the father of storybooking, which is now the industry standard in wedding photography. He has kept a journal for as far back as he can remember and that is where all of his stories come from.

Fong informs us that when he was ten years old, he wrote an entry in the journal called “My Declaration of Independence.” As we read about his many business and personal successes and failures, we notice how this declaration became his modus operandi and philosophy to life. In addition, what has been his driving force for much of his life is not so much the desire to be rich as the desire to distance himself from poverty as much as possible-something he did experience during his youth. And even if you are not a business or photography buff, you are still going to enjoy reading about this innovative businessman, who frequently flew by the seat of his pants taking on some unbelievable risks. As he reiterates, he enjoyed not so much the outcome of his actions, but rather the process itself.

Fong was born to first generation Asian immigrants who were determined that, from the day their son was born, he would become a medical doctor. In fact, he states that his destiny was determined by them, even before he was born, and he had absolutely no say in it. You can well imagine how they reacted, when after receiving a degree in pharmacology, he informed them that he wanted to become a wedding photographer. His mother didn't want to hear about this, and she disowned him. Nonetheless, they did give him one year to prove himself, and he was permitted to live in their home with free room and board. If he was not successful after the year was up, he was to be kicked out.

One of the turning points in making the decision to become a photographer was when he was flipping through the June 1982 issue of Life magazine where he read about Rocky Gunn, at the time a very famous wedding photographer. This led to his meeting with Gunn, participating in his workshops and eventually working with him and learning the ropes of wedding photography. He also came away with some great words of wisdom from Gunn: “never turn down help from others-thank them and take the help as far as you can go with it, and nobody wants a salesman knocking on their door, but everyone could use a friend.”

Fong's recounting of his storybook or storyboarding concept and its eventual popularity should probably be included as a case study in a MBA curriculum. As he recounts, this idea was inspired from watching a movie set, and it clicked that it could easily be applicable to wedding photography. In other words, with all the wedding pictures, go backwards and create a storybook or work of art of the various events of the wedding, eg. cutting of the cake, etc.. Today, he still uses this approach, which has become very lucrative, particularly with the free form digital pages.

Fong has succeeded in narrating a gripping success story that offers insight after business insight. It is more than a tale about a shrewd businessman, but rather a story about a visionary that will inspire readers to think creatively and individually, and not be prevented from taking action by limited resources.

Author's Bio: 

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