OWL Magazine Korea

Lee Young-seok’s “Don’t Make Excuses in Life”


At one time, the “Bachelor’s” vegetable store, which could be found in the neighborhood, gained popularity, and CEO Lee Young-seok’s success story came as a great lesson.

Forging his academic transcript led him to attend a vocational college because he had no chance of going to a regular university. Eventually, he opened a vegetable store based on this experience and became famous for his success story. However, criticism of his passion-driven pay and controversies such as exploitation in the education process led to a decline in popularity. Nevertheless, his success story once attracted attention again, even being revived as a musical and a drama.

“Bachelor’s: Lee Young-seok CEO’s Book, Don’t Make Excuses in Life”

The book was released in the 2010s, amidst a social atmosphere that promoted “healing,” similar to Professor Kim Nan-do’s book “It’s Youth Because It Hurts.” If “It’s Youth Because It Hurts” is considered a comforting book, then “Don’t Make Excuses in Life” is closer to a book that instills “passion.”

Author Lee Young-seok is the CEO of “Bachelor’s” vegetable store, starting with a truck and now running a large-scale agricultural produce sales company with over 40 stores nationwide (as of the book’s publication in the 2010s).

In the book, CEO Lee Young-seok unfolds the process of starting from scratch and ultimately succeeding. This is the main content of the book.

“Accept Reality and Change”

If asked to pinpoint the key message of the book, it would be to “accept reality, change, maintain a positive mindset, and strive to differentiate yourself in your field, giving your best.” Sincerity is essential, but the author also emphasizes the need for urgency. Ultimately, it’s about the mindset.

Even in the same situation, some people approach it with short-term vision, while others have a long-term perspective. Those who survive are the ones with a long-term vision and a positive mindset.

Usually, when someone succeeds, people tend to only see the result without considering the hardships endured to achieve success. However, the author says, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

“Set Concrete Goals and Visualize Them”

However, working hard alone is not enough to succeed. “Setting concrete goals and visualizing them is necessary.” The author suggests writing down specific goals and keeping them in a visible place. Examples of specific goals include:

  • “My goal is to buy a 30-square-meter apartment in Bundang by 2015.”
  • ”My goal is to marry a beautiful wife weighing around 50kg at 165cm.”

“Take Action to Achieve Goals”

Once goals are set, it’s time to approach them. Taking action without looking back is important, as most people only think about it without actually taking action.

If you want to buy a Mercedes-Benz, for example, and you don’t have one or something similar, the author suggests renting one or even financing it immediately. However, the author notes that such methods are only useful for those who can handle the aftermath, so caution is needed.

To achieve goals, it’s important to pursue them without distinguishing means and methods. Learning new things and differentiating oneself are also necessary. For this differentiation, “brilliant ideas” are needed. Seeking help from someone knowledgeable in the field or learning from them is also a good method, as the book suggests.

“A Monkey on a Truck Selling Bananas”

One impressive part of the book is the story of bringing a “monkey” to sell bananas to promote sales. While it may no longer be possible to proceed with such methods due to wildlife management laws, bringing a monkey that enjoys bananas to sell bananas and attract attention is quite impressive. Furthermore, it’s not just about thinking up such ideas, but also putting them into action.

“How to Learn Something”

The book also introduces methods for learning something, especially in the industrial field:

  • Understand the industry trends and make a list of the top 10 companies.
  • Select the toughest person among them and learn from them.

It may not be easy at first, but it requires perseverance and determination.

“Judging Your Level”

As for judging your own level, the author suggests that it’s not up to you but to those around you to evaluate whether you are a professional or an amateur.

Ultimately, it’s not about what you think but about how others perceive you.

Reading the book, I felt that having the confidence that you can overcome any difficult situation with such a mindset is important for living each day.

Now, as mentioned earlier, “Bachelor’s” vegetable store also has a negative image due to “passion-driven pay” and “exploitation controversies.” It would be great if CEO Lee Young-seok, who created “Bachelor’s” vegetable store from scratch and achieved a success story, could overcome these crises and continue to grow.

Of course, as the author suggests, I also feel the need to embrace his passion conveyed through the book and live each day doing my best.

“Don’t Make Excuses in Life: Lee Young-seok’s Success Class for You Without Money, Backing, or Specs”