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207 pages
Jun 2005
Broadman & Holman

The Grassfire Effect: How One Small Spark Can Change Your World

by Steve Elliott

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt



Can You Picture It?

What do you see when you hear the word grassfire?

Does the word paint a picture in your mind's eye? The most powerful words in any language do just that-they create a meaning you can almost see, taste, touch, and feel. The dictionary definition becomes secondary to where the word takes you.

In my mind's eye, grassfire immediately creates a picture that carries me to the vast expanses of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Colorado. I see a long, thin line of red-hot blades of grass stretching across the horizon, bending forward as if to reach out to the next untouched blade. I see that new blade being ignited in the blink of an eye and then stretching forward to reach yet another blade. And another. And another.

I also feel the wind. It whispers across the plains, bending the burning blades in any direction it chooses and sending the grassfire across the field like a mighty regiment that continually adds to its numbers until millions upon millions of blades have been taken in.

In its path, I see the blackened earth, scorched by the fast-moving grassfire but now cleared and made more fertile than ever before. And even though this grassfire stretches across my field of view, I know that somewhere, somehow, it all started with a simple spark.

Even the sound of the word grassfire carries me back to the American frontier, to the days of Little House on the Prairie, Lewis and Clark, and the Oklahoma Sooners-to the thousands of brave souls who ventured to the gateway cities of Chicago or St. Louis and then went on to seek a plot of land so they could literally own a piece of history's greatest entrepreneurial adventure-the American dream.

Find Your Grassfire and Your Frontier

I imagine that many countries have trouble grasping the poetic power of grassfire. Europe, for example, lacks the vast expanses of frontier that still dominate the American landscape. Plus, in most cultures, an uncontrollable fire would likely be a bad thing. A danger. Something to be avoided at all costs. But here in America, we were birthed in the grassfire. We understand what liberty really looks like-millions of blades driven by an unseen wind.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the word grassfire, and now it's the most important combination of letters in my daily life. I've been privileged to experience a real-life grassfire as the founder and president of of the nation's largest online grassroots citizen-action organizations. The impact of this grassfire has reached the highest levels of government, spread across thousands of cities and towns, and touched more than one hundred countries and continues to chart an uncontrollable course. More than two million people have actively taken part in's efforts to impact our culture and give citizens a voice in the issues of our day.

Charting Your Own Grassfire

In these pages I tell the story of in hopes of inspiring your story and igniting a grassfire to spread across the fields of your life, expanding your influence to tens, then hundreds, then thousands, and even possibly millions of people. In these pages, you'll discover answers to the following questions:

o What is the Grassfire Effect?
o How do I discover my grassfire?
o How do I get my grassfire started?
o What will keep my grassfire going?
o How do grassfires grow exponentially, and will that happen to me?

After reading these pages, you'll look differently at every business, church, and organization you come into contact with. You'll no longer wonder why some businesses succeed while others fail. You'll want to get together with coworkers to “grassfire” a few ideas that can hopefully change your company and impact the world. And you'll discover the incredible power of a principle I call the Grassfire Effect.

In section 1, I take you step-by-step through the idea-to-reality process. It is my firm belief that each person was created to be a steady stream of potentially world-changing ideas. Also, there is a process for sorting through these ideas and seeing them become world-changing reality. In Grassfire terms, section 1 takes you through this entire process of igniting your own grassfire-what causes that initial spark of an idea and how that spark becomes a flame and then a wildfire.

In section 2, we'll explore how in life and business the Grassfire Effect can expand your influence, increase your profits, and infuse even the most ordinary days with meaning and purpose. Get ready: the Grassfire Effect is a revolutionary business concept that can grow your organization exponentially and can change the way you look at your world.

A Book That Works!

This book is unashamedly a motivational work and its goal is to rekindle the spark of creativity within you and encourage you to see your life as an ever-expanding grassfire that can impact generations. I hope you'll find inspiration with the turn of every page and that the principles of The Grassfire Effect will be applied to your life in practical ways. Let me encourage you to consider three areas of your life for application of the ideas in this book.

First, I hope this book will transform your thinking regarding your employment and help you start a grassfire right there at your workplace. Second, the Grassfire Effect can inspire you to launch new ideas and new endeavors and new dreams that could take your life in an entirely new direction. Third, it is my desire that this book will apply to your personal life; that you will see yourself as a spark that is setting ablaze a grassfire that will impact generations.

That's why at the end of each chapter you will find two sections designed to encourage you to apply the principles of the Grassfire Effect to your life. First, I list the “Key Effects” from the chapter-the primary points and principles. Next, I list a few “Fire Starters”-thought and discussion items that will help you practically apply these principles at your job, in the development of your new idea, and in your personal life. Consider The Grassfire Effect not as a workbook but as a book that works! Read this book with a pen in hand to highlight key points and write down the ideas that will literally pop in your mind as you turn the pages.

Read with a Friend As you read this book, you will quickly discover that the success of your dreams and the power of your Grassfire Effect depends greatly on one key ingredient: other people. I contend that your dream will die and your Grassfire Effect will never change your world unless you invite other people into this process.

So read this book with another person. Get two copies and work through this book chapter-by-chapter with your spouse, a coworker, or a good friend. Be sure to find someone with whom you can trust your spark of an idea.

Don't Keep This Book!

Finally, consider a simple way to apply the principles of this book. When you finish reading The Grassfire Effect, give it away. Or get another copy for a friend or two. Passing this book on to a friend or coworker will reinforce the very principles of the book. Giving this book to a friend lets you test the principles of the Grassfire Effect right away. See for yourself what happens when a small spark (in this case, this book) catches fire with those around you. (Remember-I have a special gift for you just for giving this book away. See chap. 9.)

Most important of all, I trust that The Grassfire Effect will help you see with fresh eyes the potential world-changing impact of your life. Right now. Right where you are. Because whether or not you know it, deep within you resides a spark of a grassfire that can change your world.

That spark may be extremely dim right now. In fact, you may think the creative spark of your life has already been snuffed out by past failures. If so, keep reading and . . .

Get ready for that spark to come alive!
Get ready to risk again!
Get ready to explore your dreams!
Get ready to turn your dreams into reality!
Get ready to tap into the power of the Grassfire Effect!