Review: Undaunted by Kara Goldin

by Heather Caliendo
Undaunted by Kara Goldin Book Cover Review

Editorial note: I received a copy of Undaunted in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Undaunted by Kara Goldin is an insightful book about self-development and turning a passion into a viable business.

Kara is the founder and CEO of Hint, an unsweetened flavored water. Prior to founding Hint, she built a successful career with brands such as Time and AOL. But she knew she wanted to do some good in the world, she just wasn’t sure how.

It wasn’t until Kara realized that her Diet Coke addiction was hindering her health in so many ways. So she quit cold turkey and started to make her own flavored water. Then the idea was formed—what if she could bottle this and make a business out of unsweetened flavored water? This would give people a much healthier option and potentially break away from the sugar addiction that is consuming much of the country.

Flash forward and Hint is now doing $150+ million in sales.

But it wasn’t an easy journey and many people told Kara that it wouldn’t happen. If you’ve ever seen Shark Tank, you know that the sharks always say how the beverage industry is impossible to break through. However, Kara continued to push forward despite the doubters. That’s no easy task!

The Synopsis

Undaunted will inspire you to move past your fears and defy the doubters. It doesn’t matter whether you feel confident; it matters what you actually do.

Author Kara Goldin turned her unsweetened flavored water into one of the most successful beverage businesses of our time and has been named one of InStyle’s Badass 50, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and EY Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California.

Undaunted is a rare opportunity to gain insights and proven advice unlike anything you’ll find in the conventional business press. Kara combines real honest stories from her life with observations that might just change how you think about your own.

Whether you want to get healthy, start a company, break an addiction, find a new career or just grow in life, Undaunted will inspire you to just go for it and help you find the courage to get there.

As she started to achieve her goals, Kara found herself being called “fearless”, “confident” and even “unstoppable,” but nothing could be further from the truth. In Undaunted she shares real stories about her own fears and doubts, the challenges she encountered and what she did to overcome them to eventually build a great business and a life she loves.

Her secret? Be Undaunted.  Deal with your fears. Move forward despite uncertainty. Turn criticism into motivation. Just go for it!

Setbacks will come, but Kara shows you can learn from failures and frustrations and keep advancing toward your true purpose. What if not having “the right” credentials or vast industry experience was the secret to making things happen?  And what if we didn’t let our fear of failure stop us?

Accept your fears, but decide to be Undaunted.

Life Advice

What’s the worst that can happen? That’s a question that Kara has asked herself many times during her career. I feel like so many people hit road blocks worrying about all the ways things could go wrong and of course, rejection—instead of just going for it. I think that simple question (what’s the worst that can happen) is something many of us can take to heart when trying something new.

I like how Kara wrote the book as part autobiography and part business memoir. She talks about how she was looked down upon early in her career for not having an Ivy League education and how she never took “no” for an answer. I think successful business leaders are much more interesting when they don’t have all the connections and really worked from the bottom up.

Something I thought was intriguing too is when Kara worked at CNN and mentioned how it was a not a kind place, at least at the time. “As I look back, this is when I become aware of how important kindness can be in business, especially on the part of the leader…I realized that I thrived on kindness—I still do—and I didn’t find much of it at CNN,” she wrote.

You don’t really hear too many business leaders talk about the importance of kindness so I thought that was particularly noteworthy.

Hint’s Journey

It all started with a simple idea of wanting to introduce consumers to a healthy beverage option that wasn’t boring. The problem with a lot of flavored water is all the added ingredients. Some have as much sugar as a can of soda!

So Kara was determined to bring a beverage that had it all—taste good and is also healthy for you. But it was a lot of trial and error, and plenty of work—including walking the aisles of Whole Foods trying to make business connections.

Kara doesn’t sugar coat (no pun intended) how difficult it was to get Hint off the ground and many of the setbacks that the company faced. It’s easy now to say Hint was always going to be a success but it was a much different story as she lived the day-to-day struggles.

Still, she never gave up and continued to adapt. And eventually Hint become not just the darlings of Silicon Valley but the beverage of choice for many across the country. The brand even expanded into other product lines such as sunscreen and deodorant.

So what can you learn from reading her book? That once you have an idea and a concept—expect to run into many doubters. But if you believe enough in your vision, you have to keep working on it. But also be flexible and evolve when needed.

Verdict

If you’re interested in leadership books, I highly recommend Undaunted. For book clubs, check out my discussion questions here.

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