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on June 19, 2014
First, let me qualify myself: I have been an entrepeneur and business person for more than 20 years. I was a reader for and mentioned in Guy Kawasaki's "Art of the Start". My point is, I know a thing or two about launching and bringing a business to fruition, and making a successful go of it.

In my opinion, Jeff Walker's "Launch" is right up there with Kawasaki's "Art of the Start" as a must-have "how to" business book. In fact, for anybody starting or rebooting a business - especially an online business - those two books, together, will give any motivated entrepreneur or businessperson all the information and foundation they need. Launch in particular is *the* book for someone looking to start or grow an online business.

And here's the thing - Walker doesn't just talk the talk - he has clearly walked the walk. And he leads you through how to create a successful launch, step-by-step. And he's not just some man behind the curtain - the book points out that you can find him - and access free resources - at his websites.

Old school marketers and business people often don't get that the Internet is a different beast. There is an entirely separate "Internet economy", and the business dynamics on the Internet are different. In short, how to successfully conduct business on the Internet is different. Walker explains how to do this in Launch.

If you are an Internet business person, or want to to be, then you should get and *read* Launch - now.
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on June 23, 2014
"Launch" is a very informative yet pretty entertaining read aimed at small-business owners or starting-out entrepreneurs.

In this book, Jeff Walker does his best to describe why and how Mr. Everyman should start their online business with speed, creating a conversation in their market and gathering feedback and even pre-sales before your product is even created.

The book describes the "old school" way of starting a business incrementally - coming out with a product after 3 years working in secret in a basement, and expecting it to sell - as "Hope" marketing, and explains why this approach has failed time and time again.

What I liked about this book :
1. First off, the author seems to really know what he's talking about. It seems that every successful business author and trainer has learned from Jeff Walker's launch strategies and he uses a lot of case studies from them, and other students that are not in the "business" niche, to back up each chapter.
I have a strong aversion for untested theories, so I was glad to read page after page of actual step-by-step advice backed up with real-life examples. The author also provides "swipe copy" (tidbits and examples of email and sales scripts that you can use in your own product launch).

2. Speaking of providing additional content, this book also references a lot of additional free resources. From ranking the top software to use for your launch, to sharing case study videos, to extra "how-to" video modules, the author has clearly a goal of making this a complete, thorough course, and not just a book-form advertisement for his services (which is what I was most afraid of when getting my hands on this, because a lot of "Internet experts" tend to write their books as valueless sales letters for their other programs. "Launch" is not one of those and it's refreshing)
However these bonuses are not without a few problems (see below)

3. The structure of the book flows very fluidly, and I've often found myself thinking "yeah, but what if XYZ", only to have that question answered in the very next paragraph, page or chapter. It would almost make me think the author is reading my mind as we go - but the truth of the matter is, the content has been engineered to elicit those questions progressively and then answer them. To me, that's also an interesting thing with the launch process the author describes in Chapters 6 and 7: it is possible to create a conversation with your market, elicit their objections, and answer those objections elegantly, before trying to make the sale.

One other thing that I liked is, this is a very down-to-earth book. You won't feel that the author is talking down at you with a ton of marketing slang. Nor will this be the usual, "only numbers matter, get the sale at all costs" marketing book.
To the contrary, the case the author makes from the first to the last page of the book, is that you can both get a ton of sales, AND contribute a lot of value even to your non-buyers. And in the meanwhile, get a great fulfilling lifestyle. While I did find the tactics and tricks of a Product Launch (Chapters 6 through 10) mind-boggling, for me the actual climax of the book was Chapter 13 - the one about the life you can build from those launches, culminating with the story of the French guy that built his business to allow him to dance around the world with his girlfriend.
(I just googled him until I found the amazing YouTube video of that trip, and played it on loop on my computer for a while)

So that's what I enjoyed: getting down-to-earth how-to information from a qualified expert, and most of all being inspired to use it.

What I didn't like:
1. As I said, the book includes lots of reference links to additional content. A few of those links don't work (two of the pages I've visited had a "coming soon" message). Although there's already a lot to get from the book itself, I hope the author will fix these pages soon. I'd prefer seeing no reference links, rather than having the frustration of some of those links working and some not.

2. The book doesn't really explain the dynamics of maximizing customer value when a buyer is in the door. Sure, this "Product Launch" method that the author describes in detail can get you a lot of sales in a rapid fashion. But I believe that it is also important to make sure that each sale is as profitable as can be - and for that you need upsells and downsells, and continuity programs, attached to the selling process. That's the one thing missing from the book content in my opinion.

For those two reasons, I'm giving a 3-star review instead of 5.

Disclaimer: I got my hands on this book from a friend that had a pre-release review copy. It is possible that the missing elements I'm mentioning have been fixed in the final version (it's probably a testament to my overall positive opinion on this book, that I just bought an additional copy for myself.)

Who should buy this book :
If you're an entrepreneur, and you're starting out and looking for a solid, simple marketing plan to get your first customers in a door fast, then this book is for you. I would also believe that for an established company, this book might be the best investment ever since you would already have a list of prospective buyers available to experiment with - and the techniques within this book would help you gather feedback and engage your buyer base before putting your next product on the market.

Who should NOT buy this book :
If you're looking for a "business opportunity" and do not know yet what business you want to be in or what expertise you could package and sell, then I would advise against reading this book right now. It's probably too early for you and it would get you even more confused. In my opinion, "Launch!" is a book written for someone who already knows which market they are in and what result they want to sell to that market. If your business idea isn't very precise yet, I'd rather recommend other books like Chris Guillebeau's "The $100 Startup" - get inspired with those first, and then come back to "Launch" to get the strategies and tactics to get customers in the door.
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on June 24, 2014
I've invested in Jeff's online training program, Product Launch Formula. It's a great resource and inspired me to become an entrepreneur.

I was a little skeptical to buy this book, because most marketers sell their sales letter as a book. You pay for the book and realize it's all a scheme to get you to buy the author's products and services. These types of books are thin on content.

Jeff has taken the opposite approach.

He wrote a dense book that never mentions his higher priced program. He really lays down how to do a launch and provides enough case studies and 'how-to' to make this book a no-brainer if you're a marketer. Within internet marketing circles Jeff is a legend and known for being honest and providing value.

My only complaint with the book is that there's no checklist or links to a checklist for conducting your own launch. The book gives you all the info you'd need to do that, but it would have been cool to have one already done. Maybe in the next edition?
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on June 24, 2014
I have been investigating Internet Marketing approaches for many years. Most of the experts in this area come across as greedy or braggy (here are my new Maseratis and my three new homes). Jeff Walker still lives in the home he first bought years ago and has a genuineness and humility that is rare in this topic area.

But more than that, this approach makes sense. He tells me how to stop living in hope with my marketing and actually get my prospects and customers to let me know what I could do to help and serve them.

And he lays out a formula for creating a powerful sequence of marketing and releasing new products (the Product Launch Formula) that makes so much sense (and works).

Here's the other thing: Jeff doesn't hold anything back. He doesn't give you a small taste of what he has worked out and then tell you "stayed tuned for more and it will cost you." He pulls back the curtain on the whole thing.

Buy this book and, if you use and master this formula, your life and business can change. Mine did. I now have more than enough time and money after implementing this formula. I have been waiting for the book I can give or recommend to my friends and colleagues and here it is. If you only read one book about Internet Marketing (or marketing in general), this is it.
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on January 4, 2015
Jeff Walker has no shame. Zero. None.

It's not hard to imagine him sitting there in his bathrobe smiling and counting money because he actually provides a picture of this in his book.

There is meat on the very repetative bones of this book. Be prepared to hear him wax on about how "unusual" his results are and how no one else was doing this in 2003 as often as 3x in a single paragraph and countless times in this book. If you are the type of reader who can understand a simple concept the first time you hear it be prepared to feel yourself wading through a lot of fluff.

Now for the warning. Two actually.

1. This entire book is one long sales letter to get you to buy his other program. This is okay because he's explaining how he's selling to you as he is selling to you. If you read this book from that perspective you stand to receive the most benefit from the information available. Don't just aim to do what he's telling you to do. Look at what he's actually doing and find the best way to adapt that to your business.

2. Be careful. If you're smart you don't need to buy his advanced training because you can find a structure to hype and sell your ideas right here. If you're not smart, the advanced material won't help you. Jeff points out the importance of using psychological triggers and he uses them on you to buy his advanced training even if you can't afford it. He starts with a story about a guy who borrowed money to buy his course. He tries to cover himself by saying "I don't suggest that." but goes on to mention it again towards the end of the book when trying to close his next sale. He mentions how one of his students intended to "make enough money to pay for tuition before the credit card bill came in" (and before her husband saw the bill) three times in just two pages and four times total in the book. And this was a person with no product and no mailing list. Yes, it did work out and this person made some money but only because she had a very successful business that she had already been running (and most importantly, clients) that she was able to create her info product around. This is not the case for a large number of people reading this book and "triggering" the idea for them to buy his advanced course on credit in hopes of making it back before the bill is even due is horrible thing to do. At one point in the book he shares the little secret that yes, this information can be used for evil and I can see no better example to prove that point that this. He knows exactly what he's doing here and it paints the picture of someone who absolutely does not have your best interest in mind. (I see you Jeff Walker, you can't deny this) If this type of bait looks appetizing to you then I encourage you to try this instead: Take what you learn from this book and IF you make enough money to buy the advanced training and you still want to, then do it.

This is a book/confession where Jeff admits he got rich telling (selling) other people how to get rich. I really wanted to like this book but my personal ethics conflict with a lot of the ways Jeff Walker presents his information and a solid 40-50 percent of this is repetitive fluff. It could be half the word count and be better for it. Lastly, whatever you do, make sure you have a good product that people actually want otherwise this book is a manual on how to royally embarrass yourself. There are some good ideas you can put to use here but this filet of fish has a lot of sharp bones so eat carefully.
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on September 11, 2014
Well... I liked it, but... Let me start by saying that I don't review much, but I felt compelled to write on this one due to all of the five stars out there for Jeff Walker. I think there are a) either a lot of Jeff Walker zealots out there or b) there was some type of incentive to give Launch a 5-star review. A little background - I own a successful software company. We delve into all types of ventures -- I like the space and I'm intrigued by new ways to market our business. Everything from Pay Per Click (PPC) to Organic Search (SEO) to Email campaigns to Webinars to Blogs. We've done them all and continue to do so with success; however, we're learning every day. Jeff makes web marketing seem easy. You just connect the dots when it's time to make some money. Oh, btw, if it doesn't seem that easy to you sign up for Jeff's Product Launch Formula. This book is a soft sell for that product. If you finish this book and look back it's actually a step-by-step process of his outline for building authority, trust, suspense, etc. At the end I felt like I got played and just laughed to myself.

Having said that, Jeff has ideas that may work. I'm not sure I'd use them, but they may work. His general premise is to compile a good list and give the users good content. Some of it for free before you hit them with your offer. Get some feedback and tweak it. To do this there are some general steps to follow. I believe I read this in a prior review: Jeff glances over the part about creating a good list. What if you don't have a good list? Well, that's easy! Just start calling on your social media friends to subscribe to your offering! Way back in my day when I started selling we called this 'The Friends and Family Plan'. Did you ever have a friend come to you because they just started selling insurance? Yeah, it's like that. The thing is, I like my friends, or at least most of them. So, unless you have a good list you're starting in the hole. There is another option: Jeff does give you some ideas on creating your lists. I'm not sure this is the method I would follow, but it's there. Build your lists and come back to this book when you've built up a solid base.

I've read a ton of books on these types of subjects. Believe it or not, if you're into this type of marketing your may want to read the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. It's the same idea, but I liked it better. Here's the other thing that I've learned along the way: You don't have to do all of this yourself. It literally took me years to figure this out. There are plenty of freelance sites out there that you can source literally every step of this process for real cheap, and you take on a management role saving yourself a ton of time with better results.

In short, I'm not saying I hated it. I'm merely saying that I most likely won't be using Jeff's ideas, nor will I be signing up for his Product Launch Formula.

Update -- It looks like anything but 5-star reviews are getting pushed down by quick one or two sentence reviews that add nothing. Something is definitely going on here... Buyer beware
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on July 1, 2014
The books does a good job of explaining the WHY and WHAT of Product Launch Formula (PLF). He gives good example from his past and some case studies. It gives you hope that you too can do it.

BUT it is lacking on the specifics of HOW to do it. If I were to be a skeptic, this is a LONG sales letter or a long business card for the product offers on the website.

I really do think Jeff Walker believes that he is giving value from the book. It does give inspiring stories to hook you in, but if you were thinking you are getting a step-by-step guide it's not worth your time to read.
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on October 23, 2014
This is the first anything I've bought from Mr. Jeff Walker. I was very excited to read this book, as it was highly recommended from one of my favorite bloggers, Michael Hyatt. While it was an incredible price and came with 'freebies', it quickly turned sour for me as it read more and more like an ad to go to Jeff's website and eventually take his pricey (but I'm sure awesome) seminars, and be launched into his own products. While it opened an entire new world with the first few chapters, it continued in the same fashion over and over with each chapter: high energy excitement and motivation, but never really giving any 'how to'. It's still a secret formula. I'm not often disappointed in non-fiction books as I choose them carefully, but I felt a little deceived in buying this. The freebies were fun and very clever, and one of them even shared a 'how to with The Seed Launch, yay! How I wish that was written out in the book! Disappointed.

It will be a great read if buying only to just get your toes wet in the world of creating and using a personal e-mail list to launch your products. You'll find you need to be a writer -- or at least creative, haha -- to use the launch marketing (as it's about utilizing a personal e-mail list) It's very exciting and motivating, and I would buy a future book if it included a secret formula or two. (I'd want to skim through the book first, though, as I'm a little unsure how I feel about the author at this point.) Overall, I liked it but wanted more out of the book than he was willing to share.
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on June 19, 2014
As an entrepreneur, I am always looking for ways to enhance my customer's experience. When we share our passion and expertise with our clients, they do more business with us and they recommend us to their friends. That is ideal.

Jeff Walker is known as the internet marketing genius ... and through this book, I got to know him and I was able to learn why he is so successful. In his transparency, I learned it was not always easy.

He highlights insights and learning lessons that are useful for me when building internet campaigns. In addition, he shares resources that will help me implement. Now, I am inspired to launch my ideas into action so I can connect with my customers and add more value to our relationship. I think this book is an interesting read and it is valuable to any entrepreneur who wants to have a formula to a successful launch.
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on July 5, 2014
Can't believe all the raving, positive 5-star reviews? There's a reason. You're being conned. There are no secrets here; it's all been published in previous PLF stuff. If you have any idea at all about internet marketing, you know the number one asset you must have is a good email list of prospects and customers. You know the list members must be invited and 'opt in'. What you may not know is how to build one of these lists. Sorry. You won't find that in this book. And without that, you've got nothing.

Actually, there are a couple of clues. You can go with a 'JV (joint venture) launch whereby you persuade someone with the desired list to send something to this list on your behalf, directing these people to your signup page. Wondering how you find such partners? Sorry. You won't find help in this book. You've still got nothing.

Or you can try a 'Seed Launch', where the list presumably builds itself. How, you ask? I dunno. No help in the book.

Call me crazy, but knowing what all the components are and how to deploy them effectively isn't much good if your contact book is just shy of 100 family and friends. (Who won't stay that way if you try to sell them on your big idea.) Of course, Jeff will be only too happy to sell you a course on how to build a list.

This is unicorns farting rainbows. Nothing more.
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