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The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything Hardcover – September 9, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Kawasaki (Rules for Revolutionaries) draws upon his dual background as an evangelist for Apple's Macintosh computer and as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist in this how-to for launching any type of business project. Each chapter begins with "GIST" ("great ideas for starting things"), covering a variety of facets to consider, from identifying your customer base and writing a business plan to establishing partnerships and building brand identity. Minichapters zero in on particular jobs that will need doing, while FAQ sections address the questions readers are most likely to have: Kawasaki covers the basics in an effectively casual tone. Much of the advice, however, consists of generic banalities—start your company's name with a letter that comes early in the alphabet, use big type in presentation slides for older businessmen with declining eyesight, and avoid writing e-mails in all capital letters—that can be found in any mediocre guide. Fortunately, Kawasaki does rise to the occasion here and there. He goes into great detail when it comes to raising capital and offers effective methods for sorting through the nonsense associated with interviewing prospective employees.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“A successful entrepreneur requires three things: a garage, an idea, and this book—Guy’s irrepressible guide to the raw essentials of life in a young company. I wish we could post all this information on Sequoia Capital’s Web site because it would make our jobs much easier.”
—Michael Moritz, Sequoia Capital
“When God made the universe, He took Guy’s advice and started small and put his whole heart into it. Okay, not everything turned out perfect, but as The Art of the Start makes clear, there are no guarantees, only great opportunities. Read this book and then go do something wonderful.”
—Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm
“This is a delightful, complete, and consummately practical entrepreneur’s handbook—quintessential Kawasaki. Every person who wants to start a business should read it. And read the footnote on page eight. There’s more good stuff in here, but this alone is worth the price of the book.”
—Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution
“I have built my business into an internationally famous brand, and yet after reading this book, I have this nearly uncontrollable urge to chuck my whole business and start all over again. Guy’s book revealed so many things I had never even suspected and shattered so many of my illusions, that it read like a novel. I would love to be the bank for the people who read this book.”
—Jay Conrad Levinson, author of the Guerrilla Marketing series of books
“As useful for the next great not-for-profit as for the next great VC-funded startup. Anyone trying to change the world should read The Art of the Start. I wish it had been around when I started Teach for America.”
—Wendy Kopp, president and founder of Teach for America
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Top Customer Reviews
Obviously, it's impossible to create a comprehensive book of business best practices because every business has its own variables. What works great for one may kill another. However, the book doesn't take that approach. Rather, it tells how it is starting a business and the rough road of dealing with VCs (venture capitalists). If you expect a positive spin on stuff that's hard to do. Read a fairy tale instead.
Rather than abrasiveness and a "do this, don't do this" attitude, Kawasaki uses humor to explain the process. Anyone who has a small business including those around for a few years will benefit. When ready to take action, use this book as the manual that doesn't come with starting a business. Thinking about it isn't going to make a business successful.
Every chapter begins with the GIST of it, an overview of what's to come. Each ends with FAQ, frequently AVOIDED questions, to review the chapter's content and drill it in deeper for better understanding and implementation.
Get simple, but important hints on everyday business practices such as how to give a strong presentation. How many times have you sat through a presentation where each slide has over 20 words in size 12 point and the presenter practically reads the words adding little to what is on the slide? Kawasaki smartly covers the 10-20-30 rule. 10 slides, 20 minutes, and size 30 font. Making changes to the small practices can lead to reaching the next milestone.
This book can be likened to a quick reference guide for starting a business and useful strategies: has just what is needed without heavy-duty or dry language. It is, however, larger than most quick guides, but a fast and easy read into the world of startups and dealing with VCs. If a VC isn't involved, the book provides valuable tools and ideas to help with any business. However, technology start ups seeking VCs will benefit most.
Stuck on a business plan? Learn what is needed and not needed. Don't waste valuable time and use the book to do what's necessary without going overboard.
If long hours and challenges aren't in the plans, then read a romanticized business book instead. The Art of the Start shows how it really is and it's hard, but it can be a little easier with this book as a guide.
Get a taste of the book by reading its manifesto ([...] a free PDF download. The 34 page document should give you a clear idea of whether or not the book is for you as it includes the same components found in the book. As a bonus, the manifesto includes Great Ideas for Starting Things, covered in the first chapter. If the material and the table of contents sound enticing, get it.
Because of this I was very disappointed. Additionally, the tables were almost all useless and the exercises were a big waste of time. Exercises such as "Look up the background of these entrepreneurs" or "Go to eBay and look up this item" or "Fill in the blank... (where you fill in your mantra)". Even the quotes, although some were interesting, were a waste of space as the book is literally layered with them all over the place.
Again, I am really going against the grain. If you are looking for venture capital or are currently in the corporate world, this book is for you. Otherwise there is very little to learn from this book.
I've read the first 20 pages of a lot of supposedly similar books and given up on them. Time, after all, is one of the most valuable assets to an entrepreneur, and I won't have mine wasted. But with The Art of the Start I was learning and thinking on every page, and genuinely got excited about my own business by reading this book; it doesn't get much better than that.
Guy Kawasaki has a gift for getting right to the heart of an issue, in a no-nonsense way, which of course every entrpreneur needs; I'm often thinking: make your point already!
And right when you're about to call into question one of the points the author is making (and he does make some bold points that you're tempted to question) he follows it immediately with "for example..." and the examples are so compelling and clear, you immediately accede his point, change your own thinking slightly, and keep reading.
I wrote Guy Kawasaki a long email while I was on an airplane and had been reading this book, to tell him that I loved it. I normally would never do such a thing, but he points out in the book that you should always include your email address and not hide from customers, and you should answer your email, so it occurred to me that it might be okay to write to him. So I did, and he wrote back to thank me.
I've read a lot of "how-to" books on a lot of topics, from woodworking to business development, and this is one of the best ever written. I'm not sure if my review will compell you to check it out, but I thought it's worth a try. I am not one who normally recommends things, so my recommendation carries extra weight.
Get it. Read it.