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171 of 212 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are you living, or just earning a living?
Are you living, or just earning a living? So asks wine critic, social media star and business consultant Gary Vaynerchuk in his new book, Crush It!

The premise of Crush It! is that technology has disrupted the historical boundaries of business, making it possible for anyone with knowledge and passion to build a business that capitalizes on that expertise...
Published on October 13, 2009 by Jason Baer

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210 of 223 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much fluff and not enough substance
At best, this book serves as a good resource for social media and web tool sites. At worst, it is a braggadocios, poorly conceived sales pitch attempting to inspire its readers to just Crush It (yeah baby!). I usually research books prior to reading them. If you read at the same rate as a 5th grader, you have to choose your reading material wisely. This book was more...
Published on January 5, 2010 by B. Flynn


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210 of 223 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much fluff and not enough substance, January 5, 2010
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B. Flynn (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
At best, this book serves as a good resource for social media and web tool sites. At worst, it is a braggadocios, poorly conceived sales pitch attempting to inspire its readers to just Crush It (yeah baby!). I usually research books prior to reading them. If you read at the same rate as a 5th grader, you have to choose your reading material wisely. This book was more of an impulse buy spurred by a somewhat interesting description of the book. Deviation from a solid game plan is a mistake.

In retrospect, I should have just leafed through the book and wrote down the websites the author noted. This is the books best asset - it is an excellent reference for websites. The author also gives a few interesting successful business cases that utilized social media. But, this was only about 20 pages of material.

Save yourself the time and just leaf through the book and make a note of referenced websites. Also, the appendices at the end summarize the important points.
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2,879 of 3,132 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I Wanted To Like It, But....., October 16, 2009
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This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
Now that I've read the mystifying rave reviews of this book--and seen in one day how 12 people have already marked my review as "not helpful", I wish I could rank this book even lower. I was being kind with 2 stars. (The extra one was a nod for explaining to people who may not have thought of it before, some of the "branding" potential of social media. Oh, and for using a book as a PR piece--even though that is also a major NEGATIVE factor to me).

I looked forward to this book. I share Gary's idea that the internet + its social media has created amazing new opportunities for entrepreneurs with the know-how to fully utilize it. I agree with his vision of relentless and disciplined branding in every way that this new media offers.

The problems? First, as others have mentioned, Vaynerchuk started out in his father's already-successful wine merchant business. Vaynerchuk expanded his father's business innovatively via social media branding (taking it from $4 million to, he says, $50 million), but that does not make his experience easily replicable for the people he's exhorting to "crush it" like he did. Nor does it seem wise for him to urge others, including many who don't have his financial family "safety net", to quit their jobs and "follow your passion". He hasn't "been there" (struggling, like most people do, without a lucrative family business to fall back on). His advice to give it all up to work 24/7 and follow your passion could be very irresponsible, especially in this unforgiving economy.

Sadly, "Crush It" falls into the category of "book written because someone has gotten rich at doing something". It seems based on the premise that real world financial success (especially with a technological flair) = valuable insights and practical knowledge and skills to teach others.

Unfortunately, that isn't always true. Great salesmen (and Gary -does- seem to be a great salesman) do not necessarily make great writers...thinkers...teachers. Mid-way through this small book, the focus is still basically on one subject: Gary Vaynerchuk, and how he got to be the business success that he is today, primarily using social media to its fullest to promote himself and his business--that all-encompassing "brand".

Of course, personal success stories--told briefly--can be very inspirational and motivational. Told at length, accompanied by lots of personal hype....well, it just seems that "writing a book" is being seen as one more extension of "sharing my brand with the world".

I hoped this book would be a focused "how to", not a personal sales pitch. Definitely disappointing. I really don't understand all the raves, unless its a new form of "applied networking".

UPDATE: A week after I reviewed this book, I wanted to make one more observation. Most reviews, including those written before mine (all overwhelmingly positive) have 1 or 2...maybe as many as 7 in a few cases..."helpful/not helpful" comments. My lone "2 star" review, by contrast, has 50 comments. The "1 star" review has 60. It's the kind of spread you get when reviewing a hot-topic political book. With "Crush It", there's something very odd about this pattern of commenting, and imo very wrong...

1.27.10. This thread is so odd that, as someone who writes a fair amount of Amazon reviews, I keep an eye on it. It's pretty weird. First, disclosure: I don't know -any- of the people who have commented on whether my review was helpful to them or not. But for the last week or so responses have kept this 2 star review listed as "most helpful" which must be annoying to the author who also watches this thread--responding to EVERYTHING (although his book remains at 1, 1 and 2 in his Amazon categories).

Today, in one day, a barrage of negatives (70 or so 'not helpful' votes--an unheard of number in one day!) dropped this 2 star review off to oblivion, now replaced by 5 star reviews with 1 or 2 people agreeing they are "helpful". And, too, today alone there are 8 new comments in this thread (posted last October), including 3 today alone from Gary, the author.

Weird, weird pattern here. And, more than ever, I think this is some kind of "promoted" response to a negative review. So, just to add in conclusion....I wouldn't buy a book from anyone who encouraged (directly or indirectly encouraged) his fans to distort an honest response to his book. 70 "not helpful" responses to a 4 month old review? In one day???? Never, ever happen "naturally" at Amazon. Then again, maybe "Crush It!" has different meaning than I originally thought....
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301 of 328 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Are you kidding?, November 1, 2009
This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
I recently saw this book pumped by Fox and other outlets with everybody talking up the brilliance of the author. On Fox he explained the premise behind the book, his passion for wine, etc., but I still didn't see what the fuss was about. Nevertheless, I borrowed a copy and checked it out like everybody else caught in the whirlwind.

As soon as I saw favorable promotions on the cover written by that shallow, self absorbed fool Tim Ferris (author of The Four Hour Work Week), I was immediately glad I didn't pay a cent for this book. Content wise, it is a short summary of the latest internet venues that won't come as a surprise to anyone under 40 who hasn't been living in a cave since high school. Anyone older could use the book as a decent primer on all things beyond Friendster, including of course Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Plaxo (but no Linked In-?) etc. Even so, a primer should either be a freebie on the web or something more substantial than 142 pages of big print hardcover brochure-ware selling for twenty bucks a copy. If you must get one, please avail yourself of a Borders coupon or wait till someone has a sale in a month or so - paying full price would be a genuine slap in the face you don't deserve.

On that note, it seems that more non-fiction books ostensibly offering how-to marketing advice are going away from actual useful content and drifting into ad-ware territory. This book is no exception, and is a loss-leader used as an adverising medium to up-sell the reader on whatever else the author has in store (see also Buyology, and practically everything sold in the real estate section these days, especially by Kiyosaki and Robert G. Allen).

Here, the author is using blog postings posing as a book and selling it to the olestra-eating masses in a slick hardcover format with a very trendy black cover. I can't blame him for this if it turns a profit or leads to more business elsewhere, but for anyone seeking a useful plan of action, it bears remembering you will not be satisfied nor can most people realistically expect to follow his footsteps, as several others pointed out already. T. Ferris's similar book was even more insipid but equally well-received (how many plumbers, cops and firemen can do the 4 hour work week-?). Most readers of these books don't fit that mold, but imagine themselves as such. If you must dream of a more exciting life amongst the trendy independent folk sporting shiny, spiky stuff in their hair while sipping mocha choco-tinis from chilled stemware at uber-trendy LEED certified bars, at least do it with a borrowed copy like I did.
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97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't WASTE your money!!!, June 22, 2010
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This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
Here's the straight to the point short answer for this book: Use facebook, and other social media sites to promote yourself! There, I just gave you all this book is going to give you. I simply gave it to you in one sentence for FREE instead of the $10 I paid for it on Amazon, and 2-hours of your time wasted reading it. It's really nothing more than a salesman's pitch book. And the pitch here is to buy his book, and read about him telling you THAT he used social media to grow his business, NOT HOW HE USED SOCIAL MEDIA TO GROW HIS BUSINESS.

*** PLEASE NOTE ***
THIS IS NOT A HOW TO BOOK BY ANY MEANS. If that is what you are looking for, then look elsewhere. This book is simply about Gary saying, I used social media to grow my business. And really folks, that's it!
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated as a business book, December 21, 2009
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This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
I reconsidered my 2 star review and gave it 1 star. This book is a LOSER as are all who rate it 5 stars. TWoM. Total waste of money.

I would give this book only 2 star if the content were not so darn current....and trust me for this book that is the only saving grace.

Read it at the gym on my Kindle, otherwise my reading time would have been even more wasted.

Content may be relevant for a 20 somthing or even a 30 something but I am neither and the book offered very little for a standard business that you couldn't gleen with a little social networking knowledge. As a current owner of a business I was offered very little useful information. If I didn't own a business or have any decent ideas it MAY have been more helpful...but I doubt it.

If this were a movie I would say wait to rent or just don't watch it at all.

Gary V (author) is an interesting case study in business growth (and looks to be an extremely dynamic entreprenuer on his web blogs) but my gut feel is that "personal branding" that Gary touts is already being squeezed because of its very viral nature to allow only a few dynamic personalities to rise to the top and create sizable incomes.

Gary says to work til 3:00AM and wake refreshed at 6:00AM ready to build your brand...I guess Gary aint lived in a 40 year old body yet, or heard the phrase "work smarter, not harder". My understanting is that Warren Buffet didn't amass his fortune keeping those kind of hours and my guess is that Warren's business model is not dead yet.

Unless your only goal is "personal branding" I would recommend "Duct Tape Marketing" (John Jantsch) which is a book with real relevance to the real world.

I agree with the reviews that say that something is up with the reviews of this book. 5 star reviews for this book should be the vast minority and not the other way around:(
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hardly new or convincing, November 26, 2009
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This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
With all the hype surrounding this book, I had high hopes that it would reveal key insights that I hadn't heard before. But to anyone who has been paying attention to the Internet at all, this book has very little to offer. It is just a re-hash of information that has been talked about over an over. Obviously, you should use social media to build your business. Obviously, these methods are replacing the old methods. But, contrary to what Gary would have you believe, this isn't that different from the pre-Internet era. Back then you still had to work hard and be passionate to start a successful business.

There are a few useful tips and motivating ideas, but I think they could easily fit in a couple of online articles rather than $14 book.
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126 of 149 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Social Media Guru Gary Vaynerchuk Cashes In On His Passion - At Your Expense, January 3, 2010
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This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
While Gary Vaynerchuck would definitely be my pick if Ben Affleck was unavailable to give his famous Boiler Room speeches, Vaynerchuck is a zero as author.

Crush It is appalling. Yes, the clichés are overwhelming. Yes, the triteness is underwhelming. Yes, the repetition is mind-numbing. But it's the lack of substance in Crush It that really turns me off.

This book screams "be passionate" so loudly, so frequently, and so sweetly that it becomes a siren song focused on luring the audience from their jobs into the role of fulltime blogger. Lost in Gary's shouting is the unquestionable truth that success has as much to do with the strategy, the team, and preparation as it does the desire to "crush it."

Gary preaches a "shoot first, aim later" strategy (consistent with many of the so-called social media experts in emerging media). This gospel is actually a dangerous blend of motivational speaking and business ignorance based solely upon an extrapolation of Gary's own personal experience.

Gary is one of the most talented self-promoters in the United States. Unfortunately, he missed a golden opportunity to tell his story and share some broad principles. This is the classic trap of the narcissist. By turning his own experience into a "How To" guide that promises a path to replicating his own success, he grossly disserves the reader.

As a result, instead of learning from a genius marketer's experience, we listen to an over-the-top tirade against the typical business world ("traditional resumes are... irrelevant"; "Social Media = Business. Period"; "If you want it badly enough, the money is there"). And we hear him tout his own formula for crushing it. It's something to the effect of: quit your job, blog all day until 3am, start taking steps to get on the lecture circuit, and then P&G will offer you a job as their spokesperson.

I emailed Gary to push him on some elements of his logic:

On Dec 1, 2009, at 9:52 PM, Zach wrote:

Love the book, but surprised at how much you mention your email address. You can't scale talking to everyone. I mean Oprah cannot physically talk to all her fans. So what's your plan?

On Dec 1, 2009, at 10:30 PM, Gary wrote:

to TRY!

On Dec 1, 2009, at 8:55 AM, Zach wrote:

I could read 1000 short AP [Associated Press] articles on business every day, but if I never read a book by Peter Drucker, I would lack a certain depth about business. So do you think having so many superficial relationships makes it difficult to be thoughtful about understanding the customers' needs?

On Dec 1, 2009, at 8:55 AM, Gary wrote:

[Auto response] My book Crush It! just came out and I am getting pounded with email while I'm on tour. To try and help you better I taped this new video:

[...] [Video tells me to "Crush It"]

Gary as a marketer is candid, intense, and funny. I could watch him talk about wine all day long. But Gary as a social media consultant is too raw, too haphazard, and too scattered. The uninitiated should stay away from Crush It.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth It, Don't Believe the Reviews, March 29, 2010
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This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
Don't be fooled by the glowing reviews the author and his buddies have given themselves, there is very little actual business advice in this book. For example, the chapter on content is less than 7 pages (of large font) long ! Suffice it to say that it brings nothing new to the table. The author repeats the generic wisdom of the e-world without specific advice or detailed examples. The book is extremely short and completely lacking in practical value. He repeatedly preaches about quality of information and being an expert in your subject of choice, yet the book itself offers only unspecific, overly broad advice such as "build your own brand" (with zero details on how to do it).

The vast majority of the book is Gary pumping up his own ego, telling you how great he is and sometimes giving reasons why you probably won't be as great as him. I laughed out loud several times at how insecure this guy is... for someone who claims to be so happy, he can't make it two pages without making a not-so-subtle reference to his own perfection. It bothers me that this book has such great reviews when it's not worth the sticker price.
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171 of 212 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are you living, or just earning a living?, October 13, 2009
This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
Are you living, or just earning a living? So asks wine critic, social media star and business consultant Gary Vaynerchuk in his new book, Crush It!

The premise of Crush It! is that technology has disrupted the historical boundaries of business, making it possible for anyone with knowledge and passion to build a business that capitalizes on that expertise.

Generally, he's right. I've built a community and a business at [...] by adhering to many of the principles in this book. However, I've started five companies previously, and prefer working for myself. Your results may vary.

Certainly, like Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Crush It! is targeted at entrepreneurs and would-be solo acts that are itching to strike out on their own, and need the nudge to do so. This is not a book for corporate marketers.

The success path painted by Vaynerchuk is paved with content. Audio, video, written. It doesn't matter, so long as you make a lot of it. And that really strikes at the core of the Gary Vee vision, which is that the future of business is in hyper-targeting. Finding the cracks and crevices and building content-driven enterprises that can fill the needs of those small but passionate audiences. In many ways, this notion dovetails with Chris Anderson's The Long Tail.

To some degree, however, this advice is self-limiting. Most often, hyper-targeted niches can be capitalized upon, but by definition the size of that opportunity is narrow. That doesn't mean it isn't viable, and to his credit Gary frequently balances millionaire dreams with "make a living" reality in the book.

Expertise combined with differentiation. Although he doesn't describe it that way, that's the Vaynerchuk content success equation.
I certainly agree with the differentiation component. It's one of the things I struggle with personally. How do I stand apart from the other social media consultants? It's important, and the book provides a few interesting examples.

The expertise side, however, is trickier. The book presumes that anyone can Crush It! Of course, anyone can start a blog, and market it well. But, do they have the expertise to transform a category? To me, it seems like you need to have a very solid knowledge base before heading down this road. Perfect for prosumers. For others without existing expertise, it will be tough to break through.

There are many parallels between Crush It! and Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Workweek book. Similar size, approach, and subject matter, especially the concept of monetizing your passion. Ferriss even blurbs the cover of Crush It!.

I find it extremely interesting that Vaynerchuk unabashedly describes the extremely long hours required to successfully implement his methods, at one point encouraging parents to work from 9pm to 3am daily. Alternatively, Ferriss' premise is to work less, not more, using automated business and shortcuts to save time and enjoy life.

(I would love to see a Vaynerchuk vs. Ferriss debate on this issue, as they propose contradictory ways to achieve the same outcome)

Although a bit repetitive at times, and not particularly detailed, Crush It! is a motivating, entertaining book that I believe you'll find yourself returning to over and over for a shot in the arm.

Everyone self-employed, or desiring to be self-employed, should pick up a copy of the book.

It reads like a 90-minute conversation with Gary, and that's time well-spent.
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120 of 148 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Shot of Adrenaline for Your Brain, October 13, 2009
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This review is from: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Hardcover)
If you've ever watched Gary speak, then you are aware of the intensity, energy, and passion that this man has. Gary is a machine, and as evidenced by his rise to the top of our blogging world and soon the mainstream media world, it is obvious that he has what it takes to not only create a successful business, but to inspire others to do the same.

Crush It is no different than hearing Gary speak, as the energy moves straight from the voice recorder to the page. Although the book is shorter than most, I appreciate that there isn't any fluff and that there is something worth reading in every single chapter. Although I'm familiar with most of the topics in the book, I couldn't help but to stop reading and take notes every 5-10 minutes...there's that much to take in.

Crush It will inspire you to do amazing things in your own life as long as you are strong enough to take the steps necessary to pull them off. There is also loads of step by step and "how-to" info in this book, which is something that many in the category lack. If there's one shortfall of this book, it's that Gary's energy can be difficult to keep up with, and you might feel like you can't follow in his steps without having the same inner fireball. Although I believe anyone can follow the steps in this book, only you can make it happen.

I finished the book at 10pm on a Tuesday, and I was up until 4AM writing down ideas. You can't go wrong with Crush It.
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Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk (Hardcover - October 13, 2009)
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