138 Dates by Rebekah Campbell, Review: Hard-earned happiness

Rebekah Campbell’s 138 Dates offers readers candid lessons from one woman’s journey of personal growth and self-acceptance in business, love and life. Read my review.

138 Dates Book Synopsis

The true story of one woman’s search for everything

Gripping, authentic and inspiring, Rebekah Campbell’s quest to find love and happiness is packed with hilarious mistakes and insights that can help us all become better at relationships.

‘This book will change lives. I couldn’t put it down.’ – Fleur Brown, Founding Team TEDxSydney. 

‘I laughed, I cried and I was aghast. I could not put this book down.’ – Naomi Simson, Shark Tank, RedBalloon

What will it take to follow your dream?

On the outside, Rebekah Campbell has an enviable life. She is founder of hot Sydney startup Posse.com, writes a popular blog and gives inspirational talks at conferences for female entrepreneurs.

But when she turns off the light each night, she is alone and terrified of the future. She knows that what’s important to her isn’t money or startup glory or social media followers. She wants love. She wants a family. 

And she is stuck. She hasn’t been on a date in ten years. She’s too embarrassed to list herself on the internet and can’t bear the risk of getting rejected.

She decides to act. She’ll take the tactics she’s learnt building companies and apply them to finding a man. Her epic journey will take her on dates with 138 different men in Sydney, New York and San Francisco, while at the same time confronting the immense challenges of launching a business. 

She’ll face exhaustion, humiliation and heartbreak; she’ll meet some strange and dangerous characters. And she will strip herself of the ego and expectations that have been holding her back. She will not stop.

138 Dates proves that the end is always worth the effort.

(Allen and Unwin, July 2021)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Drama, Romance

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Book Review

I am very organised and love challenging myself when opportunities arise. But, I have never been someone that has an x-year plan, let alone a person that writes it down and then laminates it. But the Rebekah Campbell readers meet at the beginning of this memoir is. So, the relationship between this memoir’s narrator and me the reader was always going to be an ‘interesting’ one. However, since life taught me from a very young age that narrow-minded judgement robs the judger of far more than the judged, I went into this memoir with a diligently open-mind.

Firstly, if the title “138 Dates” alone makes you feel mentally exhausted, fear not. Campbell does not torture readers with the awkward moments of every numbered first-date. Though I am sure she could have, because she did keep a detailed spreadsheet. Instead, she briefly summarises several, and for many just mentions ‘Name Occupation’. But we do ride shotgun on enough dates to get a feel for the people she was selecting, how well (or not) her selection criteria was working out for her, and how her measure of success develops and matures over time. You can think what you like about her process, but you have to respect her persistence.

An entrepreneurial story

However, this memoir is just as much about Campbell’s entrepreneurial endeavours as it is about her quest for love and a father for her future children. And, since readers know from the outset that she finds the one after ‘138 Dates’, it is actually the business plot line that often provides the tension and suspense. The strategy and her early friendships with other tech startup founders such as Mel and Cliff (Canva) before they became big were what interested me most. I also found it mind-boggling that people seemed willing to invest money with little to no clarity on future revenue streams. But, back to the book…

There are certainly amusing moments in 138 Dates but it is far from a romantic comedy. Principally, it affords readers a ringside seat to the wracking bouts of insecurity the author suffered along her journey to self-acceptance and redefining what success meant for her. At times, the self-sabotage (yes, my pet hate!) reached levels that I found almost painful to read.

However, I deeply admire and respect Rebekah Campbell’s courage in sharing her inner dialogue so candidly. I am sure 138 Dates will be a gift to countless others who are yet to genuinely absorb one of life’s most important lessons… “Only when you love yourself can you expect others to do the same.”

BOOK RATING: The Story 3.5 / 5 ; The Writing 3 / 5 – Overall 3.25

Get your copy of 138 Dates from:

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About the Author, Rebekah Campbell

Rebekah Campbell is the co-founder of Hey You, a mobile app used by more than one million Australians to order and pay at cafes. She has kept a blog about her experiences as an entrepreneur which was named ‘Best Business Blog’ by Smart Company and became a New York Times column in 2012. Rebekah writes a monthly opinion piece for AFR BOSS Magazine and has contributed to MammaMiaWomen’s Agenda and Stuff. She is a high-profile public speaker who spoke at TEDx Sydney and numerous events for Business Chicks. Rebekah was named a Woman of Influence in 2015 and APEC Young Woman Innovator. She is currently the host and curator of the City of Sydney’s virtual event series ‘Reboot’, supporting 18,000 Sydney business owners to recover from the impact of COVID 19.

Rebekah’s personal passion is her everything which she finds at the end of this book. Check out her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

This review counts toward my participation in the 2022 Aussie Author Challenge.

* My receipt of a review copy from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.