Customer Review

2,942 of 3,201 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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Tracked by 19 customers

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Showing 91-100 of 166 posts in this discussion
Posted on Jul 19, 2010 6:46:27 PM PDT
Thanks for the honest review Julie. It was very helpful, and I'm not going to purchase the book - I'll look for other books in this field.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2010 7:55:23 PM PDT
Knapp I am really sorry u feel this way, I put a lot of heart into this book and I hate that a review would make u feel there was hype behind this :( I wish u well

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2010 7:56:20 PM PDT
Michael I am so sorry u feel a review like this trumps all the other reviews :( I an say this, if u get the book and feel it was not worth it, please email me gary @ vaynermedia dot com and I will do right by u :)


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2010 7:57:42 PM PDT
Fo rsure Tulio and if you look there are many greta reviews and the book has been a huge hit and has sold over 100K copies so many do like it, a bad review and 900 agreements is hurtful but I respect it and also know it means a VERY small %

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 23, 2010 1:57:09 PM PDT
JLPettibone says:
Gary, dude! Seriously, I read the book . . . LOVE IT! You do not have to please everyone, and I am sure you know not everyone is going to love you, your style, your writing, your story. They dont have to. It seems the vast majority do appreciate all of those things. I found your story not only inspiring, but the book to be extremely detailed and insightful! You owe no one an apology, and I am sure your parents could not be more proud. Rightfully so. You have proved that the ideas of entreprenaurship and the American dream are still a reality. Serously, thank you for this book. I read this book and Delivering Happiness in the past week, and my outlook on life is better; I have more hope, and I feel like I have a place to start. What else can someone hope for from a book? Great work, and if you are going to improve upon it . . . get writing! And stop worrying about those few people who cant appreciate value, and crush it, again!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2010 9:09:28 AM PDT
D. Figueroa says:
I found the review to be fair and balanced. The author is a top 1000 reviewer and not a competitor with an axe to grind. I found it susipcious in the extreme that the first two people to respond where Gary and then Sean, who has written only one review, a 5 star review of this book.


Stop answering the posts and stop sending people over to try to bury it. Too many 5 star reviews by people who have never reviewed anything is exactly what kept me from buying the book. I came here looking for this book after seeing it on I'm not going to buy it.

Too defensive, too much PR, too much attacking an honest reviewer. Now I guess all my reviews are going to be marked unhelpful. C'est la vie, at least I'll know from whence it came.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2010 6:08:55 PM PDT
D. Fig Ididnt send anyone to bury and I responded out of respect for Julies review, I am not sure about Sean, he is probably just a guy who wanted to help me I guess... I am so sorry u would ever think I am trying bad tactics, so not who I am as a person


Posted on Aug 5, 2010 3:00:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 5, 2010 3:15:45 PM PDT
Sean W says:
I appreciate your points and perspective. You mention that you were expecting a "how to" book and got a motivational book. I realize that would be a let down. I'm someone who gives less encouraging reviews if I don't get what I expect. It's why I hate it when people tell me how awesome a movie is. I almost always wonder why they raved so much. But if I hear a negative review I watch the movie with less expectation and more easily find redeeming features.

It is true that people who need motivation more than a "how to" will LOVE a motivational book and may be disappointed by "how to" and vice-versa. I have a ton of "how to" stuff but lately find myself short on motivational drive. Perhaps this book will help. I don't know. I have not read it.

As for rich people not being qualified to teach because they were born into success I disagree. Teaching is a skill that can be learned or not learned. I think people can either teach or they cannot because they have acquired the skill. A second (or third +) generation success generally means that the previous generation had the ability to teach. I was born into success but my father was never good at teaching and his businesses were shut down at his retirement. Statistically the success rate of multi-generation businesses is low because it requires more than just success to pass on a business.

I earned my money by being in business as a child in school. I learned to teach various sports (mostly extreme) and also became a very successful business coach. Teaching is a skill that can be learned and some are rather gifted at it. Motivating people is a form of teaching and so is teaching "how to" or "what to". Many teachers are only good at one of them but the best teachers are good at all kinds.

My guess is that this book is more motivational and inspirational. It is a valid human need or requirement for success even if it's not what you're looking for. Being disappointed in what it offers may be only a difference between your expectation and that of the other readers. Unfortunately I won't know whether it has something I can use until I read it.

But I'm grateful for your negative review so that I don't expect too much when I read it. That way I'm less likely to be disappointed in it and that is valuable to me. Other than yours -- I have read only the most recent review which gives the book five stars but they are not reflected so much in the review.

Enthusiasm is contagious and the most successful people, great leaders, are full of enthusiasm and when it rubs off on people it creates fans. No need to be surprised by that. Fans don't necessarily take action but they love the inspiration and entertainment. Let them enjoy it if they want to pay for it. It's cheaper than a concert and lasts longer.

Statistically multi-generation success is harder to sustain than single generation success. I'd rather learn from a multi-generation success than a single generation success because it is a testament to the dna (metaphorical) that produced the success. I'm the progeny of multi-generation success in spite of my father's relative inability to teach -- I absorbed success dna that replicates and have subsequently helped a lot of people become uncommonly successful even when it did not run from their previous generations. Success passes on in more ways that just teaching people what to do.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2010 12:11:25 AM PDT
Marshall says:
Do you think Harry Potter isn't an organized effort? Those books have every media outlet in the world talking about them. That's as coordinated as it gets. Every best selling book is coordinated. It seems as though you'll only consider buying books from people who stumble upon having a best seller without trying.

Posted on Aug 25, 2010 7:14:57 PM PDT
Nyle Queene says:
Thank you for your interview and look at your review sometime later.

I can appreciate the fact that the author of the book started off with a successful father in business (a $4M wine business isn't bad). A good wine sells itself. I haven't read the book, but know that this is coming highly recommended for those of us who are independent contractors and those of us that are refining (not necessarily defining) our niches.

I, personally, don't need to buy a book to cheer me on in a general kind of way while others who work in corporate jobs may need just that. I understand after being a freelancer for about 8 years and an artistic business-woman that I should write a book after my financial success kicks in... but it will be clear and comprehensive.

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