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Lawyer Michael Wilder pens ‘Playbook’; teaches millennials about money, goals

Photo Credit: Kai Brown

Michael Wilder reading excerpts of  The Playbook for a Dollar and a Dream. Photo credit: Kai Brown

Michael Wilder wrote The Playbook for a Dollar and a Dream. We took some time to learn more about Wilder, his background and The Playbook.

Tell our readers who you are and what you do.
My name is Michael Wilder. I was born and raised in Detroit. After graduating from Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit, I went to Michigan State University. I graduated with a BA in social relations and policy from MSU’s small liberal arts college, then James Madison College, in 2003. I then moved to Chicago for law school. I graduated in 2006 with a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law with a certificate in labor and employment. Upon graduating, I started as an associate at Littler Mendelson, P.C., which is the world’s largest management-side labor and employment law firm with over 1,100 lawyers. In 2014, I became a partner at Littler and was also promoted to hiring partner for the Chicago office. The following year, in 2015, I received the high distinction of being named one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 in Illinois.

Why did you feel it was important to write this book?
As a first-generation college graduate, I struggled mentally, academically, financially, professionally, and in my personal relationships. Had I had a roadmap, such as my book, to assist me in these important areas of life, things would have been much easier. What I realized when speaking to junior high school students in Chicago and Detroit Public Schools was that my struggle was not limited to me, but that most young folks struggle tremendously in these areas because there is only so much your parents and school can teach you. My book bridges the gap.

What is it about the way you were raised and your environment that led you down this path?
My parents raised me to see the greatest in myself and to be the best at whatever I pursued. As a teenager I half-listened to this advice and pursued “goodness” as opposed to “greatness.” I thought that getting a “B” in classes was sufficient because it kept my parents off of my back; however, they knew I could do far greater in school. With maturity I learned that being great at all things in life, not just in school, makes you a better person. I wrote this book because I think young adults – and people in general of all ages – can be great and can achieve greatness with some direction.

You cover everything from finances to relationships in this book. How would you say they are related?
If you have your finances in order but you choose to spend the rest of your life with someone that does not care about finances, such as paying bills on time, then you have a problem. On a related note, if you find yourself being financially and professionally successful, but you commit yourself to someone that does not treat you right or keep you happy, then everything you have worked so hard for can come crashing down because people spend more with their hearts than with their wallets.

What would you say was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?
My greatest challenge was incorporating myself into the book. I do not naturally like talking about myself.  However, I had to get over this challenge quickly to complete this book. My first editor read my draft manuscript and said, “I love half of the book; I hate the other half.” What we learned was that the second half of the draft did not include me and my personal struggles financially, professionally, and in relationships. Once I corrected this, the second editor said, “I love this entire book.”

The Playbook speaks to a series of steps one must take to reach an end goal. What is it about your book that will affect many lives?
The Playbook will help readers: (1) obtain or sharpen having the right mentality; (2) understand the importance of education; (3) get a better understanding of how to pay for and pay back student loan debt; (4) how to get their finances in order and save a ton of money to retire early; (5) se the difference between a career versus a job; and (6) find the right person to date and spend the rest of your life with.

Talk a little about the algorithm you created.
In the chapter titled, “Find Your Franchise Player,” I set forth different levels for where to rate the person(s) you are dating: FranchisePlayer, Starter, Bench Player, Development League/Needs to be Traded. Each ranking has several boxes that you check to determine two things. First, where you rank the person(s) you are dating. Second, where the person(s) you are dating rank you.  The examples are based on, among other things, days of the week you see the person, access to personal information, social media interactions, meeting people significant in your life, and travel.

What is next for you?
I am currently working on the follow-up to “The Playbook.” Now that the first book has set the foundation for achieving success, the second installment will delve into determining the right career path, vital interview/resume tips, achieving success in your career, switching career lanes, developing wealth not just a savings, dealing with financial challenges and mistakes, and managing personal and professional relationships. I consider this book the “next level thinking” of success.

What words do you have for anyone who’s looking to achieve their goals?
The only thing standing between you and your dreams and goals is, well, you. You are meant for greatness. Once you realize, appreciate, and accept that, then you are unstoppable.

See pictures from the signing in the gallery.