“I’m all about single-pointed focus, because you can’t do a zillion things at one time,” said Jean Alerte, owner of Brooklyn Swirl, a frozen yogurt shop located at 445 Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bed-Stuy.
The irony of Alerte’s statement is found in that, although he displays laser focus, he really does have “a zillion things” going on all at once!
In addition to running Brooklyn Swirl, the upbeat 30-year-old also is part-owner of Alerte Carter and Associates, a public relations firm based in Williamsburg; he is part-owner of another company called ANS Global Vision that produces comedy shows with Live Nation; he’s also part-owner of Julian Casimir and Co., a wholesale fine jewelry company on 47th Street btw 5th and 6th avenues.
And if that’s not enough, he just published his first book, “Do Right, Do Good,” an inspirational guide toward vision fulfillment outlining eight core principals that lead to personal achievement.
The book’s foreword is written by Dennis Kimbro, Ph.D and best-selling author of “Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice.” Also, Russell Simmons lent his own endorsement to the book, praising Alerte as giving him “great confidence in the younger generation. He is a true leader.”
“It felt very humble to have Russell Simmons endorse me, because he is one of the people who inspires me on a daily basis,” said Alerte. “I listen to Russell Simmons’ audio book, ‘Do You,’ every day; in fact, it’s in my car right now.”
“Do Right, Do Good” is $10 and is available on Amazon.com, dorightdogood.com; jeanalerte.com, Kindle and iTunes as an audio book. In only three weeks since its release, Jean has sold more than 200 books right over the counter at Brooklyn Swirl.
Alerte has achieved more in his short 30 years than most could hope for in two lifetimes. What sets him apart?
“My parents,” said Alerte, who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and moved to Brooklyn at the age of five. “I never saw laziness in my house. No one every procrastinated.”
“My mom raised me and my younger sister while working two jobs and without ever missing a beat,” he said. “She never missed homework time; there was never a day dinner wasn’t on the table; there was never a day she missed a doctor’s appointment, nothing. And she never made excuses, cried or complained. She just did it.
“That– I just love that.”
He said his father also was a workaholic who rose every day at 4:00 a.m., worked until 8:00 p.m., came home, ate, disciplined them, went to sleep and started all over again.
“But he was consistent. Everything was consistent,” said Alert.
“I remember the day when it all clicked for me. I was 15, and I came home and said ‘Mom, I got straight A’s again. Can I please get a video game?’
“And she said, ‘If you think you’re getting A’s for me and are supposed to be rewarded, you’re out of luck, because you’re not doing this for me; you’re doing this for you. I’m all done with school; I’m almost retired. But you haven’t even started your life yet.’
“At that point, I said, ‘That’s it.’ And I started working and never asked her for anything again. I just started going to school, going to work, finding ways to make my own way. I even bought my own car when I was 16, started paying my own insurance…”
…and he hasn’t stopped working since.
He started writing his book a year ago, last August, outlining a roadmap for tackling challenges and achieving goals in the same order Alerte uses in his own life.
“Whether that be opening a business, going to college, maintaining relationships, I believe that if you do right by yourself and other people, work hard, get educated, surround yourself with the right team and have patience, there’s really nothing you cannot achieve.”
“Already, I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback: One cop who comes into the store all the time bought the book, came back and said, ‘Jean I don’t even read, and this book had me reading straight through,” said Alerte, smiling from ear to ear.
Jean Alerte is holding a book-signing for “Do Right Do Good” on Thursday, September 6, from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the House of Art Gallery in its new location at 408 Marcus Garvey Boulevard between Macon and Halsey streets.
“[The book] is good information,” insisted Alerte.
“People see me as a success. But I don’t see myself as a success yet-- not until I have a child,” he said, almost blushing. “But I do believe that what I have to say can be valuable for anyone wanting direction in achieving their dreams.”
You can follow Jean Alerte on Facebook fan page or on Twitter @MrAlert, where he provides daily words of inspiration.