Crossing The Swamp: My Path to Innovating as a Parrallel Entrepreneur

John Shen

Publisher: Precocity Press Pages: 307 Price: (ebook) $9.99 ISBN: 9798987776612 Reviewed: June, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In Crossing the Swamp, entrepreneur and investor John Shen recounts his path to success in order, he writes, “to support the growing interest in entrepreneurship in the US.”

Shen’s book opens in crisis: During the 2008 crash, as his Orlando-based real estate collapses in slow motion around him, he considers jumping out a hotel window—but is miraculously stopped by the intriguing subject line of a spam email: “Need inspiration?” That email, in fact, provided the motivation that kept him powering through the ups and downs of life as a “parallel entrepreneur” — one who starts and runs several companies at once.

The founder of five companies, Shen was born and raised in Beijing and spoke little English when he arrived in the U.S. to pursue a PhD in sociology at Duke. Now, he’s expansive about his success: “I’m writing this book to share my entrepreneurial journey because I believe anyone can do what I have done.”

To that end, he shares advice on what he believes are the eight top talents critical for entrepreneurial success: resilience, ability to capitalize on opportunities, and so on. Tips also come from colleagues and friends, who he interviews on their own endeavors.

Shen’s drive is evident and his work impressive. The American Lending Center, of which he’s CEO, helps investors qualify for green cards as well as invest wisely. However, the slick, highly-designed presentation and self-promotional tone land oddly. He boasts about being invited to the White House Christmas party, lists his awards as bullet points, and peppers the book with logos of his companies and schools. Once the stock photos and pop-out quotes are considered, what’s left feels more like an extended LinkedIn profile or glossy magazine meant for the reception area of one of his businesses.

Entrepreneur wannabes may find a few takeaways here, but the book is unlikely to attract a large commercial audience.

Author's Current Residence
Irvine, California
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