Customer Review

2,885 of 3,138 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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Comments

Tracked by 19 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 162 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 17, 2009 9:39:27 AM PDT
Darn! I hate you feel that way, pls email me gary@vaynermedia.com and I would love to yap a little more on this :( as for the daddys money, i was using these thoughts and dna when I was 12 making $1000 a weekend selling ball cards... also I used $300 and a lot of heart and hustle and thoughts to build WLTV! Would love to yap!

Posted on Oct 18, 2009 12:41:47 PM PDT
Sean Dawes says:
Julie,

As far as the "falling back onto daddys money" goes, if you look closer than is why he does not say everyone should quit their jobs. He states how you can have your full time job and start something on the side. That is not new news as thats how many small businesses start. People save up money and then start something on the side and build it and when the time comes, branches out on their own. He is just expressing that now the cost of entry to do so is far less expensive as it was back in the day. You dont need a $10,000 budget for website design like back in the day plus billboards to get people to it. If you truely work you a$$ off and care it does follow.

Just not many people want to do that. It doesnt happen overnight and that is why we do not see millions of success stories. Dedication to working day in and day out for a long period of time until something pays off is not an easy task.

@SeanDawes

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2009 3:27:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 18, 2009 3:38:45 PM PDT
Elisa 20 says:
Hi Gary (whom I must be the only person in the world not to know personally) and to Sean below as well. Thank you both for your comments.

I must have walked into a hornet's nest of your fans, Gary, with my 2 star review. I have no axe to grind, just disagree with some of the premises of the book. Really surprised by the response (and all the 5 star/4 star raves). I've never received 12 negative comments on a review before (in 24 hours, no less). Is this how cults start? :)

I think you're a great salesman and have a gift for exploiting all the new tools to do it (including this book as part of the "brand". Yes, really, I get it.) Just call me old school, though, because I think a helpful BOOK should be a little more than a PR piece. How many of your fans (and you've apparently got a passel of them) have actually succeeded with your methods, I wonder? That's something I'd really like to know. (And hey! Look! An idea for a sequel! :) ). I wish you continued success--I just disagree with some of the approach--

Regards,
Julie SCY

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2009 8:27:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2009 8:33:48 AM PDT
David Roy says:
meh...

There is a difference between those with a "have" background and those with a "have not" background.
Even though my "have" friends may be using their own money, just knowing they come from a family of some means gives them a kind of psychic boost to taking risk. They seem to be fine with activities that would otherwise be risky: living close to the financial edge while studying for a higher degree, quitting a job to start a businesses, etc.
Like I said, even when they're using their own savings for such adventures, they know down deep that (since mom and dad have money) there is an acceptable fall back position.
Maybe it's just my own excuse, but I come from a family with NO fall back. And I find being around (or worse yet, working for) such people really annoying. They're always swaggering and telling people how hard they worked to "achieve" what they have.
While most people are worried that each next step could be on thin ice, these guys are telling us to get it together and "follow our bliss".
Of course there were friends of mine who were even worse off. Maybe they too should get it together and start "branding" their trailer park life lifestyle...
Night shift at Popeyes, no problem... CRUSH IT, baby!!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2009 11:30:59 AM PDT
Sean Dawes says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2009 5:25:37 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 11:07:44 AM PDT
Rachel says:
Hi Julie,

Thank you for your thoughtful and honest review. I saw a very positive review come across a blog I subscribe to and when I came to Amazon and saw that this book had 50+ positive reviews out in its first week and only 2 critical reviews, I felt very suspicious about the amount of hype around the book. Your review helped me make an educated choice. Thank you.

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 1:11:18 PM PDT
Yes, thank you Julie for reviewing the book without the rose-colored glasses. Personally, I believe Gary is responsible for pushing me and giving me the hope that anything is possible with some hard work. I believe the book should be looked at like his GaryV.com videos, his keynote addresses and his live chats...more of a motivator as opposed to a how-to. Gary has a metric ton of rabid fans...I could even be considered as one of them, but no book is perfect and I'm glad it's being challenged.

In the end, there is obviously a whole lot more to having a successful business than simply "crushing it", but this book at least brings a glimmer of hope to those who needed that extra push to start making the sacrifices required to being successful.

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 7:27:25 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 21, 2009 7:43:01 PM PDT]

Posted on Oct 23, 2009 4:30:47 PM PDT
Yes, indeedy--all of these "rave reviews" smell funny.

Especially when I see you getting jumped on for disagreeing with the hype.

Clearly an organized effort to promotes this book, and as a consequence--I won't even consider buying it.
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