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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(3 star). See all 97 reviews
on December 20, 2009
If you look through my other reviews, you'll see that I tend to either really love or really hate books. This is one of the very few that I have read where, after 450+ pages, my response is, "meh".

This book is actually a very complete look at a very small niche - technology startups, particularly in Silicon Valley. That wasn't made clear in any of the marketing or book synopsis, and really should have been. I was reading it and actually thought, "Did I miss something? Why am I reading about tech startups?" I went back to double-check and the answer was no, I didn't miss anything. The book is marketed to entrepreneurs, but written for a very specific sub-set of entrepreneurs.

The book was not a total waste of time for those of us who are not concerned with software ship dates and venture capital. The information is exhaustive and I did write down an idea or two from it. That said, at over 450 pages, that's a lot of book to get through for just a couple of ideas!

I think Guy Kawasaki is a genius of self-promotion and really believed this would provide some insight on that area - or at least on more general marketing and business topics. If that's what you're looking for, perhaps another one of Guy's books might be a better bet. This was my first one, and while it was certainly an entertaining read, I probably won't buy another, as I can't trust that the promotion or synopsis will tell me what I'm actually committing my money and time to.
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on January 5, 2009
Guy Kawasaki addresses in a fun and entertaining way several issues that range from how to start and run a company to how to communicate and how to find meaning in life. The style varies a lot from story telling, advice lists, digressions and interviews. The reason I'm only giving it three stars it's because the book is rather long (over 450 pages) and unfocused - at the end of the book you wonder what the book is really about. It provides an interesting reading nevertheless.
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on January 11, 2009
For those who follow Guy Kawasaki, much of this is well worn material. This book is essentially a compilation of his best blog posts. That being said, he's advice is so worthwhile, deep and timely it's enjoyable even while reading again. Before you undertake a startup (meaning a technology-based startup that requires the raising of money), this is mandatory reading.
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on April 30, 2009
I get a lot out of Guy Kawasaki's writing, his books and articles are uplifting and motivating, but at times drift into a graduation speech. But REALITY CHECK??? I don't think so.
I would like his next book to be three parts Guy and one part Harvard University. He asks the reader to trust his information and theories on face value which is great if he wants to have the book labelled an 'enjoyable read', but if he wants the reader to take him seriously and get some business changing lessons he needs to give a measurable fact or two.

Not a profound book but good none the less. Please Mr Kawasaki engage my brain as well as my emotions.
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on November 25, 2008
If you consider "Art of the Start", this book has twice the thickness, and includes (almost) all topics of the fore mentioned book. Reality check is a bit less easy to read and the expectations in Europe have been high, but may not be met this time due to so much similarities.
Still a good read anyway as Guy is highly motivational writer.
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Guy Kawasaki is a genuinely warm, engaging, intelligent and articulate man. I've had the pleasure of meeting him several times at MacWorld trade shows.

However, Guy Kawasaki is a career self-promoter. He has made a living for many years repackaging standard business advice in an entertaining format and peddling it as new to the legions of people seeking a business success formula.

More power to Guy for making a living at it, but it doesn't alter the nature of what is between the covers here: old advice, with a lot of it being nothing more than commensense.

Two irritating things about Guy's otherwise excellent writing style. He has a real problem with gender pronouns. Even in academic writing that tends to be excruciatingly politically correct, I've never seen anyone go to such extremes in using "she", "her" and other feminine pronouns. It's creepy, weird and utterly unnecessary. Certainly She would understand if Guy backed off a bit. Then there is Guy's cuteness with a couple of euphemisms: for example, he takes the common expletive for bull manure and adds "-takke" to it. Once may cute, especially among your 4th grade classmates. A couple of dozen times and it is truly annoying and leads you to believe the author may be a fourth grader.

As for Guy's advice . . . well, there's a reason why so many self-help and business success books are perennial bestsellers: people want guidance and advice And guy provides it in a witty, entertaining manner.

But virtually all of it has been served up hundreds, if not thousands, of times before by other authors. Some of what Guy offers up is pure nonsense without a shred of evidence to support it: it is just politically correct, like his overuse of the feminine. For example, he directs that companies "diversify" in their hiring, implying that if your workforce isn't statistically proportionate, you are doomed to an early end in a "Bozo Explosion". While it may be politically correct, the proposition is not supported by evidence.

Straining for material, Kawasaki resorts to interviews with other authors and academics, not a few of whom are cranks. One parses a conspiracy theory that would give a tinfoil hat wearer a run for their money.

Finally, Kawasaki tries to cover the waterfront with his advice. And the plains. And the mountains too. And the oceans. Everything. If you're looking for millions to start your company, Kawasaki has advice. If you're looking for a job, Kawasaki has advice. If you're the boss of a successful company, Kawasaki has advice.

The quality of the advice in every area, however, is suspect. First, much of it is common sense. If you have to buy as book to learn common sense, you have a problem. A lot of what Guy writes has been written about a zillion times before.

Take, for example, some of his advice about getting a job in Silicon Valley. Show up early, Guy says. "Get to your interview at least thirty minutes early because (a) you might hit traffic . . ." Actually, I think Guy means to say leave for your interview early because you might hit traffic, if She is not watching over you. Point is, who needs to buy a book to learn this? I love this line: "Answer the first question "How are you?" with a great response. For example, a great response is, "I feel great. I'm really anxious to learn more about this job and tell you about myself, so that we can determine if we're a good match". Very impressive: I'm sure the interviewer will be bowled over by your sincerity.

As one of his later chapters, Guy has one entitled "Are You an Egomaniac?" I think Guy is - and he appears to make a good living from it.

On the whole, 'Reality Check" is no worse than then some advice books and perhaps is valuable to simply reassure people that common sense is still a valuable commodity. But for business success tips, Guy doesn't offer anything you haven't seen before. I'd suggest holding off on this one until it is remaindered or just get it from the library.

Jerry
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