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188 of 222 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Guy Kawasaki is a genuinely warm, engaging, intelligent and articulate man. I've had the pleasure of meeting him several times at MacWorld trade shows.

However, Guy Kawasaki is a career self-promoter. He has made a living for many years repackaging standard business advice in an entertaining format and peddling it as new to the legions of people seeking a business success formula.

More power to Guy for making a living at it, but it doesn't alter the nature of what is between the covers here: old advice, with a lot of it being nothing more than commensense.

Two irritating things about Guy's otherwise excellent writing style. He has a real problem with gender pronouns. Even in academic writing that tends to be excruciatingly politically correct, I've never seen anyone go to such extremes in using "she", "her" and other feminine pronouns. It's creepy, weird and utterly unnecessary. Certainly She would understand if Guy backed off a bit. Then there is Guy's cuteness with a couple of euphemisms: for example, he takes the common expletive for bull manure and adds "-takke" to it. Once may cute, especially among your 4th grade classmates. A couple of dozen times and it is truly annoying and leads you to believe the author may be a fourth grader.

As for Guy's advice . . . well, there's a reason why so many self-help and business success books are perennial bestsellers: people want guidance and advice And guy provides it in a witty, entertaining manner.

But virtually all of it has been served up hundreds, if not thousands, of times before by other authors. Some of what Guy offers up is pure nonsense without a shred of evidence to support it: it is just politically correct, like his overuse of the feminine. For example, he directs that companies "diversify" in their hiring, implying that if your workforce isn't statistically proportionate, you are doomed to an early end in a "Bozo Explosion". While it may be politically correct, the proposition is not supported by evidence.

Straining for material, Kawasaki resorts to interviews with other authors and academics, not a few of whom are cranks. One parses a conspiracy theory that would give a tinfoil hat wearer a run for their money.

Finally, Kawasaki tries to cover the waterfront with his advice. And the plains. And the mountains too. And the oceans. Everything. If you're looking for millions to start your company, Kawasaki has advice. If you're looking for a job, Kawasaki has advice. If you're the boss of a successful company, Kawasaki has advice.

The quality of the advice in every area, however, is suspect. First, much of it is common sense. If you have to buy as book to learn common sense, you have a problem. A lot of what Guy writes has been written about a zillion times before.

Take, for example, some of his advice about getting a job in Silicon Valley. Show up early, Guy says. "Get to your interview at least thirty minutes early because (a) you might hit traffic . . ." Actually, I think Guy means to say leave for your interview early because you might hit traffic, if She is not watching over you. Point is, who needs to buy a book to learn this? I love this line: "Answer the first question "How are you?" with a great response. For example, a great response is, "I feel great. I'm really anxious to learn more about this job and tell you about myself, so that we can determine if we're a good match". Very impressive: I'm sure the interviewer will be bowled over by your sincerity.

As one of his later chapters, Guy has one entitled "Are You an Egomaniac?" I think Guy is - and he appears to make a good living from it.

On the whole, 'Reality Check" is no worse than then some advice books and perhaps is valuable to simply reassure people that common sense is still a valuable commodity. But for business success tips, Guy doesn't offer anything you haven't seen before. I'd suggest holding off on this one until it is remaindered or just get it from the library.

Jerry
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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Guy Kawasaki is an evangelist. He can't help himself. Thank God.

I, too, was one of the Twitter people who got a preview of the book in digital form and literally laughed out loud -- at the local coffee shop - yeah, I looked stupid. But it was worth it.

I thought it was going to be a short book. At least it seemed that way because I flew through the digital version fairly quickly. So when I saw how big it was (460 pages, 94 Chapters - each one is just a couple pages long - so don't freak out) I thought I'd never get through it. But can I just tell you that it is BY FAR the most entertaining, informative, true-to-life rant on what's good and bad about the world of entrepreneurship, business, presentations - and more.

All the things everyone of us has wanted to say out loud - but has never had he guts is in there. I have so many favorite chapters I don't know where to begin.

Since I have this rule about NOT working with A-holes, I'll start with that one. (That would be Chapter 87, pg. 401) First he describes an A-hole (so you can test to see if you are one), then he goes on to outline some quick and easy strategies of dealing with A-Holes - and so on.

Other favorite chapters are the one's I've themed as "Lies." Throughout the book Guy outlines the Lies different groups tell each other: Lies CEO's tell, Lies Venture Caps Tell, Lies Entrepreneurs tell. These are rants to be sure - but what makes this book so utterly wonderful is that Kawasaki tells you how to avoid them and how to set yourself up for success -- please, for everyone's sake (I can almost hear him say)

In the preview version (I'm not sure where it is in the big book - perhaps it was edited) he basically says that VC's are sick of people asking for money when they haven't already gotten customers (just promises). The quote went something like "Just once I'd love to have someone ask for money so they can expand and grow because they have too many customers and are out of capacity."

See what I mean? The language is so simple. The message so true and so real, that even I can remember something I glanced over MONTHS ago.

To me, that's the sign of a great book.

And now, a confession. I didn't want to like Guy Kawasaki - or his book. I don't go for all this web and book celebrity stuff. Everything is so automated and fake anymore, I guess I'm getting cynical. But Guy Kawasaki practices what he preaches. He connects, he participates and he is good at what he does - and doesn't see why the rest of us can't be good as well.

Like I said Guy Kawasaki is an evangelist -- and a good one too.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
You'll like this book if:
* You think Guy Kawasaki is awesome and can't get enough of his thoughts and humor
* You like some business insights sprinkled into a light-hearted, meandering, irreverent look at business success
* You like a Dilbert-style treatment of startups

You won't like this book if:
* You're looking for actionable advice
* You get bored of hearing "orifice", "bozo" and "bullshiitake" every couple of pages
* You're expecting to hear things you haven't heard before about startups

I like Guy Kawasaki and really enjoyed "The Art of the Start", but couldn't finish this book because:
* It seems to contain "The Art of The Start" almost in its entirety so the first series of chapters is a nearly a complete rehash of that book.
* The book reads like a collection of blog posts (95 of them!) and I got tired of reading bullet lists of business advice over and over and over again.
* His advice ranges from how to dress for an interview, why you shouldn't report workplace harassment, what Jackie Onassis would do in various situations, how to schmooze, how to write e-mail, and why epidurals are a good thing for women delivering babies (seriously). I just couldn't make it through all the random thoughts like being on time to interviews, how to greet people at meetings, and why egomaniacs are really OK.
* There was a chapter on "the no a**hole rule" and "is your boss is an a**hole" which really didn't do much for me. Likewise, reading about how to "prevent a bozo explosion" didn't provide me with any takeaways.
* Most chapters are "the art of something" or "the zen of something" which really didn't make much sense because the advice is so light that you don't really walk out with anything actionable.

On the positive side:
There are some good chapters on business strategy and innovation, but they are short and basically just lists. You'll get more bang for your buck by reading a more targeted business book on the topic you're interested in.

My advice:
Unless you really, really, really love Guy and don't mind hearing random thoughts, I'd recommend reading "The Art of the Start" and watching some of his You Tube videos.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Rare is the time I pick up a nearly 500 page book on business that's keeps me up reading after everyone in the house has already gone to bed. But, with Reality Check, Guy's hit a home run.

Truth - I've read hundreds of books on entrepreneurship, marketing, careers, yadda, yadda, yadda. Heck, I've even written one of my own (Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love). And, you can pretty much tell within the first 20 pages the difference between books written by people who've "studied" entrepreneurship and those written by people who've "lived" it.

The first offer great advice...that works in a vacuum. The latter reveal what it's really all about. They speak the truth, based on what the writer has lived and breathed. As a lifetime entrepreneur and writer, that's the book I want to read. And, that's the book Guy has delivered.

Wisdom - 461 friggin' pages of it...and it's not 300 pages of juicy stuff and 161 pages of self-serving fluff. It's ALL juice! What do I mean by that? It's not about theory. Reality Check delivers you into the conversations, presentations, strategy sessions, critical decisions and actions that nearly every budding entrepreneur wrestles with.

Then, Guy serves up actionable, specific, aggressive do's, don'ts, tips, tasks, strategies and scripts based on real live experience sitting on both sides of the funding table, the boardroom table, the podium...and the plywood garage table.

I stopped taking notes and dog-earing pages when I realized I was doing it on every page!

Style & Humor - If you're looking for dry, professorial, textbook style writing...go away, that's not Guy's style. And thank God for that. Like all of Guy's books, this one is irreverent, edgy and engaging. And, Guy sense humor really comes through in this one, too. Enough to keep a 500 page tome fresh to the end. In fact, the Foreword 2.0, written by Dan Lyons a/k/a Fake Steve Jobs, had me laughing out loud and e-mailing people to strong-arm them into buying the book just to read the intro.

Look, you can keep reading reviews or you can just buy the darn book now. Which you choose will very likely determine whether you're a real entrepreneur...or you just like reading what people who write about them think.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As I wrote on my blog: "If you love Guy's smarts and irreverent charm, you've got to read this book. If you have never read his blog or books -- or seen him speak -- this is the place to start if you want to understand why Guy has such a huge and loyal army of fans."

The other reviewers are right, this is the best stuff from one of the smartest and most charming business writers on the planet. One of the secrets of his success is that Guy somehow manages to talk about serious ideas, give great advice, while not taking himself very seriously in the process.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Guy Kawasaki's bold and cheeky approach in his book Reality Check takes a unexpected u-turn, splashing a curbside puddle in the face of traditional business advice.

In this day and age of micro-blogging on Twitter and LinkedIn, Facebook updates, instant eBook downloads, and 3-minute instructional video snippets on YouTube, Kawasaki's nearly 500 page opus on how to outsmart, out-manage and out-market your competition may seem daunting at first glance. However, the insights revealed throughout are well worth the initial investment of time.

From advice on how long your pitches should be and how many PowerPoint slides the average audience can manage before losing interest (Kawasaki suggests 10 by the way, so keep your presentations limited to 20 minutes with no more than 10 slides); the top lies that venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and lawyers tell; how to suck up to a blogger; to how to tell if your manager is a butt-hole (and what you can do about it) Kawasaki fills this book with incredibly useful insights on navigating the world of business.

Oftentimes, a book will drone on ad nauseam about a particular topic and after you have invested numerous hours, you realize that there were only two or three true gems that you can clearly, directly and swiftly implement in your business. They often read in a textbook style that is better suited for bedtime reading and chamomile tea. That is not the case for Reality Check. Here you will find commonsense advice told in a clever, witty, conversational tone that is attributed more to British humor than American.

The only drawback to Kawasaki's, Reality Check is his overuse of interview transcripts with various experts so heavily sprinkled throughout the book that it begins to feel like force-feeding brusselsprouts to a baby. Eechh! It would have been better to use less interviews and rather than transcribe the conversations word for word, Kawasaki could have rewritten them in his own words while still offering his witty insights along the way. The transcribed format and academic nature of the written responses makes for a jarring shift in the conversational tone that Kawasaki uses in the rest of the book and makes it seem like he got a little lazy at these points, perhaps using it as relief to extend the length of the book.

However, one of the best interviews was his discussion with Glenn Kelman of Redfin, in the chapter entitled `Financial Models for Underachievers.' In this chapter Kelman candidly shares his company's financials so that other entrepreneurs can get a "reality check" on what the real costs of starting a business entails (business plans be damned). This, alone, was priceless.

One thing is for certain, from reading Reality Check, it becomes crystal clear how much Kawasaki loved his tenure at Apple Computers and how being an "evangelist" for your product or service is key to making any sort of lasting impact in the marketplace.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Although the book had a couple of insightful tips, which is greatly appreciated, this book should be called "Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition in the Computer and/or Software Industry." I am starting a non-profit organization, and I thought this book would help. I got a couple of tips from this book, but the literature is geared toward the computer industry. I found myself skipping some chapters outright because they weren't applicable.

This book also seems like stuff Mr. Kawasaki wanted to tell his children. More or less, it's quick tips that he has learned in his business career all thrown together into a really huge book.

The book also isn't all that organized. He rapidly ends topics and rushes you into the next without much warning. A lot of the chapter could be condensed or excluded all together; some of the stuff that he wrote was redundant.

If you took out all of the chapters written by guest authors, the book would be at least a third of the size. I took a little more from his interviews and other authors that I took from Mr. Kawasaki. He sprinkles some of his knowledge on these chapters. I applaud him on the people that he chose to elaborate on subjects that he did not know that much about.

The references to other books, however, is great. I have picked up 4 other books that will allow me to expand on certain subjects that Mr. Kawasaki did not.

All in all, a good read for the metro, but not a book that I would implement in my everyday life.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Guy Kawasaki's latest foray into explaining the world according to Guy appears to be another blatant attempt by this marketing genius to over promise and under deliver; of course, it's working. However, his babble is never ending and uninspiring; his rhetoric paints him as a self-absorbed individual with little to offer his readers other than more tired platitudes that we've heard thousands of times before. Irreverent? Hardly. Boring? Yes indeed.

The genius with Kawasaki is he knows marketing like nobody's business; but the marketing knowledge he possesses only helps him sell lots of books. Very little original thought is offered here to really be of much help to a beleagured business person trying to gain any sort of competitive edge. Folks, if you don't already know this stuff by now, there's no hope for you. Reading this long and tired diatribe will do no good. After the first couple hundred pages, you'll realize this is just a marketing scam; and the reader has been had.

Don't waste your time or money.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Guy does it again, with his famous talent for evangelizing entrepreneurship at its very best, and the straight-talk on those things and those people you need to watch out for. I've read his other books, his blog, his Tweets and heard him speak "live" -- this book brings Guy's wit and humor to life. If you're an entrepreneur (especially at this time in our economy) this is a must read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read the book prior to it's release. It's a really interesting and informative read. I'm not one who has a big idea to shop around sadly, but I feel that I could push it now if I got a sudden brainstorm. From Pitching your concept to Evangelizing it, Guy walks you through all the steps necessary to be a success. A brilliantly written book, easy to get into and fun, something that is pretty rare in business books.
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