A Book Review: The Leap Year Project

One of the first people I met last week at MisfitConf was Victor Saad. One of the first things I noticed about Victor is that he’s one of those people that really listen to you when you’re talking with him. It was pretty neat to start hearing his story at the event the evening before the conference started.

Victor spent 2012 on the “Leap Year Project” — instead of studying in an MBA program at a university, he spent the year at multiple companies serving as an apprentice and learning by doing. As part of the project, he devoted part of the year to writing a book about his experiences.

I don’t normally comment on the aesthetics of a book — mostly because I tend to do most my reading these days on my Kindle app — but this book is really beautiful and would be an awesome addition to any bookcase or coffee table. Filled with photos of both Victor’s adventures and those who joined him by taking their own leap year adventures, the book is one that you can read cover-to-cover or just sit and read a page about one person’s experience.

My favorite quote from the book is:

“… I was starting to understand that when you share your hurdle with someone, it gives them an opportunity to contribute — to open their home, prepare a meal, write a note — and therefore be part of something bigger.”

Victor’s Leap Year Project started out with an idea, but it never would have happened if other people hadn’t stepped up — people offering him a place to sleep, companies taking a risk and allowing him to work on special projects, a friend donating airline flights to get to various locations, and many other small things people gave to Victor along the way.

This is also true of all the smaller leap year experiences described in the book.

I’m super grateful to have met Victor in Fargo and to learn more about the work that he’s done. Victor’s latest project is The Experience Institute, where he wants to expand experiential education to others. I’m looking forward to helping him on his next journey as much as I can.

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