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The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career Audible – Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

A blueprint for thriving in your job and career in today's challenging world of work by applying the lessons of Silicon Valley's most innovative entrepreneurs.

The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are sky-high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over, and traditional job security is a thing of the past.

Here, LinkedIn cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today's competitive world. The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.

Why? Start-ups - and the entrepreneurs who run them - are nimble. They invest in themselves. They build their professional networks. They take intelligent risks. They make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage. These are the very same skills professionals need to get ahead today.

This book isn't about cover letters or resumes. Instead, you will learn the best practices of Silicon Valley start-ups, and how to apply these entrepreneurial strategies to your career. Whether you work for a giant multinational corporation, a small local business, or are launching your own venture, you need to know how to:

  • Adapt your career plans as you change, the people around you change, and industries change
  • Develop a competitive advantage to win the best jobs and opportunities
  • Strengthen your professional network by building powerful alliances and maintaining a diverse mix of relationships
  • Find the unique breakout opportunities that massively accelerate career growth
  • Take proactive risks to become more resilient to industry tsunamis
  • Tap your network for information and intelligence that help you make smarter decisions

A revolutionary new guide to thriving in today's fractured world of work, the strategies in this book will help you survive and thrive and achieve your boldest professional ambitions. The Start-Up of You empowers you to become the CEO of your career and take control of your future.

©2012 Reid Hoffman (P)2012 Random House

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

474 of 497 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Burnham VINE VOICE on February 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
No matter what you do, think of yourself as an entrepreneur. Be willing to take risks. Accept failure and learn from it. Keep trying, and you'll succeed.

If this all sounds familiar, then you'll be as disappointed as I was by The Start-Up of You, a generic career advice book churned out by two tech elites who could have done better. Rather than drawing directly on their experiences as founders and venture capitalists, Hoffman and Casnocha make a rote journey through modern Silicon Valley-themed business book territory. When they tell the stories of successes like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, PayPal, and Zappos, it feels like they're going through a checklist. There's far less original substance than in Casnocha's My Start-Up Life, which benefited enormously from his being a teenager who knew little beyond his own experiences. He could tell it like it is, rather than drawing on played-out archetypes. The older Casnocha has tailored his book to the broadest possible audience, with all the mediocrity that entails.

Simply put, I'm tired of hearing "They told him he was crazy..." stories. You know the type:

1. They [potential investors] told him [the entrepreneur] he was crazy.
2. He kept going. For years, he poured his heart and soul into his dream.
3. Today, [company he started] is valued at $x billion.

The problem with these stories is that there's only so much you can learn from them. The moral isn't "If they tell you that you're crazy, you're probably on to something"--to the contrary, if they tell you that you're crazy, you're probably crazy. "They" are often smart people like Hoffman and Casnocha.
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218 of 232 people found the following review helpful By Jack Spain on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Start-up of You" by Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) and Ben Casnocha is an excellent book to motivate and inspire you to take charge and accountability of your professional career. The authors intertwine interesting historical references and extensive personal experiences to provide a roadmap to transforming your career.

The book begins with a reality check and reminder that the former paradigms we may have had of the "American Dream" and "traditional career" assumptions have been gradually shattered over the past several decades. The old adage about "ready, aim, fire" has been supplanted with "aim, fire, aim, fire, aim, fire, ..." to survive and sustain our professional careers. The authors state their case that we should define our "assets", "aspirations and values", and the "market realities" of the world we live in to identify your specific competitive advantage as you formulate your professional career.

Reid and Ben also provide dozens of illustrations throughout the book on why so many entrepreneurial businesses launched in the Silicon Valley in California have been success. The professional networking that occurs in that region is likely unsurpassed in any business community throughout the world.

I would recommend "The Start-up of You" to anyone who is at a crossroads in their professional career or any professional who is looking to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit that has been squelched and smothered inside you for far too long.

Disclosure: I was an early adopter and continue to be a fan of the professional networking site, LinkedIn. I found this platform to be an essential professional networking tool in the various businesses I have run over the past decade.
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107 of 116 people found the following review helpful By G70 VINE VOICE on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let me gush a bit: "The Start-Up of You" is the best business book I have read in a long time. The premise is relatively simple on the one hand, and given that Mr. Hoffman is the chair of LinkedIn, the thesis is easy enough to guess. While generations of workers had a life-long career in a single company with a progressive path upward inside the company (as in Detroit automakers), the reality is that most of us do not have that option today, and that path is no longer even viable (as in Detroit automakers).

What follows is a guide not for what to <do> to chart a career path, but rather for how to <think> about what you do. For those of us who assumed the "old" rules, this re-thinking of professional assumptions helps make sense of sensible growth and risk management in the world of "new" work rules.

Implicit in the suggested strategies is the self-serving idea that you need to be on LinkedIn. The case for that position is presented very, very well, however.

I usually find that business books can be nearly skimmed to capture the essence of their arguments, and I don't have any interest in returning to them again. This is the exception: I actually bookmarked multiple pages, penciled notes in the margins, and will deliberately re-read it again as I think through the ideas suggested. For me, that's the best endorsement I can give!
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hoffman is the cofounder of LinkedIn, the online community of professionals and in this book there is some excellent advice for the modern professional. Some of it, such as the reality that there is no such thing as lifetime employment anymore, is well-known but still bears repeating. The best item of advice and one that I have never heard elsewhere, is the value of the weak link.
The authors split the connections that a person has into strong and weak links. A strong link is a person that you know very well and they know you and your skill set very well. People in this category also tend to have a skill set similar to yours. A weak link is someone that fits into the category of acquaintance, a person that knows of you and something about what you can do, but they do not have detailed knowledge and generally have skill sets distinct from yours.
Weak links are considered extremely valuable because they dramatically extend your reach into unfamiliar areas, which is essential in the modern world where your employable skill sets must be changed or improved on a regular basis. Furthermore, many new job descriptions are a synthesis of categories formerly considered distinct. They can provide the powerful peek into an area that you otherwise would not consider.
It is natural that there are many references to the LinkedIn model but they are well-embedded in the sense that they do not detract or overshadow the advice. The authors also are very positive in their discussions of the free-lance or itinerant worker. As a member of that category of workers that has encountered skepticism from people unfamiliar with such a work pattern, I appreciated the defense of that group of workers.
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