It's a Jungle in There Book Reviews

Passion & Ambition

Dear Mr. Steve Schussler,

My name is Dillon Nicely; I am currently 20 years old and am presently living in Newport Beach, California. Lately I've had trouble focusing and getting through classes at school. So I recently stopped going and have been trying to find a different approach or career I can follow through with. I have also been slacking at work as well and not performing to the best of my capabilities. My dream is to be my own boss like yourself and run my own business if possible. As of lately I've been really into Entrepreneur, Inc., and other magazines/books that give knowledgeable information regarding business. I came across your book It's a Jungle in There and read the first few chapters. I got hooked immediately. It has truly given me a bigger motivation and willingness to do more with my ideas. Also I've turned around my performance at work and just got a promotion. I know that you should be driven yourself to get where you want. But there's sometimes where you need some encouragement or insight from another man who made it like yourself. That's what I loved about your book and the way you handled most situations. I personally just wanted to give you my thoughts on the book and what you've inspired me to do. I'm definitely going to recommend this book to others. I hope that you will be able to speak out in California sometime soon so that I could have a chance to hear you in person or even meet you. If not, thank you and hope you succeed in your next creative innovations.

Wish you the best,

Dillon Nicely


How many NO’s would it take before you gave up? Could you with passion, jest, and salesmanship sell your idea to the same investor who has told you NO 26 times before?

What if you had a concept for an amazing themed restaurant that you knew in your heart would be a success? Would you have turned your modest sized home into a literal Rainforest, complete with live birds, waterfalls, and foliage?

Our even more outrageous–would you have dressed up in a Superman outfit, seal yourself in box, and be driven to the other side of town to be delivered to a perspective employer for an interview?

These are just some of the great real life stories from the book It’s a Jungle in There – Inspiring Lessons, Hard-Won Insights, and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring by Steven Schussler.

First I have to admit for this book review I’m a little biased. This last week I got to tour the Schussler Creative, Inc. showroom (or the Laboratories). When you first enter the office and see the impressive wall of shame (lightly titled by Steven Schussler) of framed press mentions, cover stories, etctowering from floor to roof you know you’ve met a true master at his craft.

From there I was then treated to a 2 hour tour of what can only be described as some of the most impressive showrooms (or themes) I have ever seen. The sights, sounds, smells, lighting, and attention to detail in just the mockups of ideas truly shows how visionary Steven and his team really are.

Before I attended this event I had no idea how big Steven Schussler was… yes I know I should have done my homework. To get to know him a little here’s a great answer to a question posed by CJ Peterson (shot with my iPhone so the sound might be a little low):

Leaving with a signed copy of the book that night, I couldn’t wait and dived right in. After finishing the book early in the morning I wanted to learn even more about Steven’s amazing rise to the top. I found a great launching pad for that on the book’s website… okay well now after this long intro let’s talk about the book.

Should read the book. It’s written in very entertaining and story-telling tone but filled with key insights throughout. While these are not always the most earth shattering… such as sweat the little stuff, Mr. Schussler really puts his own experience and spin to add a new dimension.

It’s hard not to read a chapter and have some key insight into your own professional life or an idea how you can improve aspects of yourself or your business. It definitely helped me to look more introspectively about some of the core messages he shares throughout the book.

This book does what books in this genre truly should do. Entertain, inspire, and make you think.

Be a Mutli-tasker… yes I know the latest studies say otherwise but in a few years they will go back and say that you really should multitask. So I tend to agree with Steven on this one. He also shares how working on two things at once actually got him a deal.

  • The Case for Strategic Partnerships. Great case studies throughout the book on why you should consider a strategic partnership and some general advice on why they truly are a smart move.
  • Persistence. This is an overarching theme of the book and a reminder for anybody during those tough times that a little persistence will go a long way.
  • Vision. I’ve seen first hand that Mr. Schussler is a visionary but getting the inside track from stories and life experiences really shows how you can take a vision to reality.
  • Managing Perception. If you have read this blog for any amount of time you know that every now and then I like to dive deep with the psychological aspects of marketing. Steven covers a topic in Chapter 23 that I believe is a hidden gem that every entrepreneur must know.
  • plus a whole lot more…

I could go on and on but truly I don’t want to give too much away. So do I suggest you pick it up? Yes, it’s one of those books that will stay on your desk and not sit on the bookshelf.

Beyond that I think it will inspire and motivate you to achieve your visions or dreams.

Plus 100% of Steven’s profits from all book sales will be dedicated to Smile Network International.

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From the moment he burst out of a wooden crate in a Superman costume, greeting a stunned manager of a Miami radio station, "I'm your new super salesman," Steve Schussler announced to the business world that he was a character who demanded attention.

Now the creator of the Rainforest Cafe has written a book for budding entrepreneurs. But you don't have to know anything about business to find Schussler's escapades entertaining. The man who placed a Good Humor truck in the lot of his Galaxie Drive-In in St. Louis Park and wallpapered a bathroom at the old Juke Box Saturday Night in downtown Minneapolis with Tootsie Roll wrappers likes to have fun.

The Twin Cities native is also a savvy businessman, as noted by his many admirers -- from Donald Trump and Lee Iacocca to the Twin Cities' Harvey Mackay. And he's more than a little crazy. Who else would convert his Golden Valley home into a jungle for two years, with exotic birds flying around and oversized turtles crawling about, in attempt to lure investors to his Rainforest Cafe chain?

Schussler will sign books at 4 p.m. Oct. 12 at the University of Minnesota Bookstore, 300 SE Washington Av., Mpls., and at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at Barnes and Noble, Galleria



10.05.10 Schussler shares successes-Scott Carlson-Review - Finance-Commerce

BY Scott Carlson

In the world of business, plenty of entrepreneur wannabes have found it’s a jungle out there.

There can be numerous obstacles to reaching business success, from lack of money to plain old envious naysayers conspiring to torpedo a promising product or service,

So it’s not surprising that Steve Schussler, the irrepressible creator of Rainforest Cafe and other notable restaurant concepts, is weighing in with his perspective on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Schussler, head of Golden Valley-based Schussler Creative Inc., has just released his first book, “It’s a Jungle In There: Inspiring Lessons, Hard Won Insights and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring.” He plans to hold two inaugural book signings Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis: The first from noon to 1 p.m. at the IDS Crystal Court; the second from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Although the book is an intriguing, fast read of Schussler’s entrepreneurial escapades served up with business lessons learned from his successes and failures, the semi-autobiographical tome was anything but a snap for him to write.

With the help of Marvin Karlins, a Florida business professor; Schussler spent weekends and nights the last three-and-a-half years working on the book. Karlins interviewed more than 150 of Schussler’s business associates and friends for the book.

“I never realized how difficult or hard it would be,” Schussler told me Monday. ”I never thought it (the book) would take this long.”

That Schussler, the author, would be a stickler for details as author isn’t surprising given his reputation for paying attention to the myriad small things that can make or break a restaurant.


Kirkus Review It's a Jungle in ThereA guide to entrepreneurial success from the founder of the Rainforest Café. In short, snappy chapters, Schussler, CEO of Schussler Creative, Inc., offers advice culled from his career developing some of the country’s leading theme-based restaurants. Readers of motivational books have heard much of it before: Be a risk-taker. Be creative. Pay attention to detail. Thank people. Be passionate. “I’m talking about PASSION,” he writes. Keep trying, and “never give up—no matter what!” However familiar, the homilies are grounded in real life, as demonstrated by his many instructive and entertaining stories. A go-getter from an early age—he held more than a dozen jobs before turning 16—Schussler was in his 20s, selling TV advertising in Chicago, when he decided to go to work for himself. He began restoring old juke boxes, opened a store selling nostalgia items, went bankrupt and then used his unsold inventory to create a successful 1950s retro dance club. That’s when he realized that with a good idea, anything was possible. To attract investors to his plans for a themed restaurant based on the tropical rainforest, he turned his suburban home into a misty jungle that included 40 tropical birds, two tortoises, a baboon, countless fish, waterfalls, rock outcroppings, rivers and a full-sized replica of an elephant. After urging the author to seek psychiatric help, a visiting venture capitalist toured the house, returned with his kids and eventually provided start-up money for the Rainforest Café chain. Another time, Schussler was in the Dakota Badlands, realized dinosaurs had roamed there and came up with the idea for his T-Rex family adventure restaurants. The author writes that he learned the importance of publicity when, as a young man, he donned a Superman costume, got into a wooden barrel and had two policeman friends deliver him to an interview for a sales job. “Son, you are the sickest person we’ve ever met,” he was told. “You’re hired.” A bright pep talk for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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