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How Did I Get Here?: The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO Hardcover – October 5, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The most famous skateboarder ever shares the business secrets to his success!  He's the man who put skateboarding on the map. He's the first to land a 900 (two and a half full rotations). He's also among the richest pitchmen in any sport. And, in a sport that's especially youth-oriented, Tony Hawk, a 40-something father of four, still connects with his audience by staying true to who he is.

Moving easily between the ramp and the boardroom, Tony currently runs one of the most acclaimed action sports companies, a clothing line, and video game series bearing his name that has sold over $1 billion worldwide, making it the biggest selling action sports game franchise in game history. He has secured endorsement deals with major brands such as McDonalds, Intel, T-Mobile and Kohl's; started the Boom Boom HuckJam action sports tour; and achieved worldwide acclaim from the ESPN X Games.

Filled with Tony's typical modesty and humor, How Did I Get Here? tells the amazing story behind Tony Hawk's unprecedented success from skateboarder to CEO, and the secrets behind his lasting appeal. You'll find out how authenticity has served him well in all his achievements. You'll also understand how his story has shaped many of his fundamental values, including his huge desire to win and his strong sense of realism.

Get the inside story of Tony Hawk beyond the skateboard as he answers the question: How Did I Get Here?

Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Author Tony Hawk

What inspired you to write this book, and what do you want readers to get out of it?
I have had a very strange and unlikely path to success, but learned valuable (and entertaining) lessons along the way. This book is my way to share the experience and possibly help others navigate unique business opportunities.

Where did the title, How Did I Get Here? come from?
From the Talking Heads song "Once In A Lifetime." I have "how did I get here" moments almost every day of my life, so it was an easy choice.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as CEO of Tony Hawk, Inc.?
Staying relevant and helping to bring skateboarding to the masses.

What does the future hold for Tony Hawk and Tony Hawk, Inc.?
More skateboards/skateboarding, more videos, more videogames, more public skateparks and plenty more surprises.

Photos of Tony Hawk

Cutting the ceremonial ribbon to open the Compton Skatepark, a special project funded in part by the Tony Hawk Foundation.

These are some of the kids who directly benefit from the work of The Tony Hawk Foundation.

Jesse Fritsch and Tony hosting Demolition Radio from his in-house studio.

Tony getting first crack at a new skatepark opened in Nederlander, CO.


‘…entertaining review of his entrepreneurial endeavours.' (Business Life, December 2010). This is no sham celebrity business book…packed with lessons for entrepreneurs.' (Director, December 2010).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047063149X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470631492
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
About the Book:

This is not only a business book, but a story, actually a drama of sorts, that provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life of a most unique man. One who has been able to somehow bridge the gap between a very structured corporate world and a very anarchistic and sometimes rebellious youth market with great accuracy and success.

In many ways, you've seen this story before - you know, the typical rare planetary alignment that brings about a kid with ridiculously supportive parents, the right amount of obsessiveness... the hyper overachieving computer nerd with an abundance of natural athletic talent and endless energy. Add to that a little self-made luck, and you have a true success story in the making. I use "in the making," as it is obvious that Mr. Tony Hawk is far from finished with the story.

There is a certain freshness to this book, I think primarily due to it actually being written by Tony and his family, no professional "hired hand" writers involved. You can immediately feel and sense the nights that Tony, his sister Pat, and brother Steve must have spent together either in each others presence or in emails and drafts, organizing, reorganizing, writing, re-writing, checking grammar, reviewing punctuation and everything else that goes into creating a book of top form.

This book might best be described as a "business autobiography," one filled with fun and very interesting experiences that drive along a good narrative, while providing a reasonable amount of insight into the strategies of marketing a bigger-than-life image and the vast array of product attached to it.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm too old to use a skate board, but not too old to learn from anyone about how they created a brand. I enjoyed this book enormously. It is written in Hawk's voice, no question about it. I had one specific reason for reading the book, and that was to learn about the elements necessary for Tony Hawk to create a major brand in the world. The book itself has very little to do with skateboarding, and everything to do with business.

Hawk employs very interesting chapter titles. Chapter 2 is called The Birth and Death of Our First Business, while chapter 3 is about Risking Our Home to Make T S-Shirts and Hats. He is already telling you something about how he did it. It's about failure and risk taking. It's about a mother who had the willingness to allow him to pursue his passion, no matter how unreasonable that passion may be - SKATE BOARDING.

Without ever going to business school, he picked up on what it takes to run a successful business. It came down to this:

* Determination

* Countless hours of hard work

* The sacrifice of family time

* In Tony's specific case the physical sacrifice of countless hours of training

* An absolute love of what you do

There are some things you must learn the hard way. In 1998, when he needed the money he was paid $50,000 by the Fruit Loops Company to appear at Chelsea Piers in New York City. The whole program was orchestrated for him ahead of time. He didn't like what happened, and it taught him about relinquishing control.

For Tony, success in life was based on the following observations. They are sprinkled throughout the stories that he gives the readers.

A) Find out what your passion is, and then you must run with it.
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Format: Hardcover
Trust famous professional skateboarder Tony Hawk to take you on a zooming journey in this autobiographical spin that whirls from his first wheels to his chief executive desk. He discusses his background through colorful personal experiences and offers business advice on "how to sell celebrity...without selling out." Hawk peppers his book with amusing short stories and email snippets from both ardent enthusiasts and ranting critics. His casual, honest, good-humored personality spills onto the page, but expect to be inspired rather than educated. Although some of his career advice seems far off or irrelevant for the typical entrepreneur, his book certainly contains useful marketing advice. getAbstract applauds Hawk's energized spirit and recommends his saga to advertising managers, marketing directors, individuals with avant-garde dreams of reaching the top, and, of course, adrenaline junkies - because it's not just a read, it's a ride.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is not a bad book. It was written with a modern tone to target the younger generation. The book was well designed and the graphics convincing. Tony put a lot of effort to produce the book.

However it lacks in depth lessons for young entrepreneurs. The book proved that Tony may be a great entrepreneur but not a good at teaching and mentoring, or he got there by just luck. Hence the book is just a biography of his life with little things to apply to your business.

When I got the book I was excited with the design, layout and presentation but I got to the last chapter still wondering what I have really learnt.

Another issue that was hidden from the book is his personal life. You cannot write a biography and exclude your personal life from it. It is possible there are issues that were not in order in Tony’s life and had not dealt with them.
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