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Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion Hardcover – October 13, 2009
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Do you have a hobby you wish you could do all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take those passions and make a living doing what you love. In CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed in this book, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, any reader will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, CRUSH IT! is the ultimate driverâ²s manual for modern business.
Gary Vaynerchuk has captured attention with his pioneering, multi-faceted approach to personal branding and business. After primarily utilizing traditional advertising techniques to build his familyâ²s local retail wine business into a national industry leader, Gary rapidly leveraged social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to promote Wine Library TV, http://tv.winelibrary.com, his video blog about wine. Gary has always had an early-to-market approach, launching Wine Libraryâ²s retail website in 1997 and Wine Library TV in February of 2006. His lessons on social media, passion, transparency, and reactionary business are not to be missed!
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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....
As soon as I saw favorable promotions on the cover written by that shallow, self absorbed fool Tim Ferris (author of The Four Hour Work Week), I was immediately glad I didn't pay a cent for this book. Content wise, it is a short summary of the latest internet venues that won't come as a surprise to anyone under 40 who hasn't been living in a cave since high school. Anyone older could use the book as a decent primer on all things beyond Friendster, including of course Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Plaxo (but no Linked In-?) etc. Even so, a primer should either be a freebie on the web or something more substantial than 142 pages of big print hardcover brochure-ware selling for twenty bucks a copy. If you must get one, please avail yourself of a Borders coupon or wait till someone has a sale in a month or so - paying full price would be a genuine slap in the face you don't deserve.
On that note, it seems that more non-fiction books ostensibly offering how-to marketing advice are going away from actual useful content and drifting into ad-ware territory. This book is no exception, and is a loss-leader used as an adverising medium to up-sell the reader on whatever else the author has in store (see also Buyology, and practically everything sold in the real estate section these days, especially by Kiyosaki and Robert G. Allen).
Here, the author is using blog postings posing as a book and selling it to the olestra-eating masses in a slick hardcover format with a very trendy black cover. I can't blame him for this if it turns a profit or leads to more business elsewhere, but for anyone seeking a useful plan of action, it bears remembering you will not be satisfied nor can most people realistically expect to follow his footsteps, as several others pointed out already. T. Ferris's similar book was even more insipid but equally well-received (how many plumbers, cops and firemen can do the 4 hour work week-?). Most readers of these books don't fit that mold, but imagine themselves as such. If you must dream of a more exciting life amongst the trendy independent folk sporting shiny, spiky stuff in their hair while sipping mocha choco-tinis from chilled stemware at uber-trendy LEED certified bars, at least do it with a borrowed copy like I did.
*** PLEASE NOTE ***
THIS IS NOT A HOW TO BOOK BY ANY MEANS. If that is what you are looking for, then look elsewhere. This book is simply about Gary saying, I used social media to grow my business. And really folks, that's it!