COOKEVILLE – Entrepreneur, author and executive Ben Casnocha visited Tennessee Tech University recently to speak and participate in breakout sessions with students.
Casnocha is a co-author of TTU’s 2015 common book, “The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career.” He wrote the book with Reid Hoffman, co-founder and chairman of social media website LinkedIn.
Casnocha spoke to students about his background abroad and life philosophy in Derryberry Auditorium. He challenged audience members to perpetually reinvent themselves, comparing life and career to the beta stage businesses use to improve their products before public release.
“Most business plans don’t look the same on day one as they do on day 1,000,” Casnocha said. “Yet we’re challenged to have a successful plan for our lives from the first step. That’s foolish. It’s important to plan, but you can’t be afraid to adapt.”
The author also participated in two breakout sessions that elaborated on themes from his book. The first encouraged networking and change in all aspects of life; the second focused on an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to life.
“I don’t believe students are told to think of their future careers now enough,” said Abigail Collins, a chemical engineering sophomore. “The open discussion from these sessions encouraged students to do that. I’m excited to see that Casnocha’s visit is helping build an innovative and entrepreneurial culture with students and faculty at TTU.”
The book was selected to encourage students, especially freshmen, to think beyond a path to graduation; to consider themselves as entrepreneurs preparing for a life-long career. The incoming freshman class receives a free copy of the chosen book during summer orientation.
“We wanted students, especially our incoming freshmen, to understand the importance of taking control of their career now and embracing interdisciplinary issues,” said Allen Mullis, director of Orientation and Student Success. “A diverse environment fosters innovation and we want to provide our students with the viewpoints that build that.”
All university community members are invited to make suggestions for the common book selection. The book is chosen by a committee of faculty, staff and community members who read a selection of books that have been submitted through an online form. A variety of factors, including cost, readability, length and relatability to student life, are taken into consideration.
Previous selections for common nook are “How Starbucks Saved My Life” by Michael Gates Gill, “Breaking Night” by Liz Murray and “Acts of Faith” by Eboo Patel.