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Showing 1-10 of 41 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 96 reviews
on October 31, 2012
As part of my continuing education in the world of venture capital, I'm reading Guy Kawasaki's various works. His Art of the Start is still widely referenced as a must-read for anyone in a start-up, and in particular anyone considering raising venture capital. I've previously reviewed it here. There is clearly some overlap in the content between Reality Check and Art of the Start.. Reality Check is larger and more fulsome, covering more aspects of starting and growing a business, while continuing to develop and update the topic of meeting, "beguiling" and working with venture capitalists and associated professionals. Some of the content was previously included in his blog. If you were a loyal follower of his blog, you might have already seen some of this material.
Kawasaki writes with a great sense of humor, much of which is self-deprecating. Like his previous book, he frequently uses humor with light touches of sarcasm ("the Top 16 Lies Lawyers Tell") to make his points.
Each chapter is much like a blog post: it is likely to be a brief, a quick read, direct and to the point. Despite some overlap with his previous works, the new content makes this book clearly worth the price. I would argue that the chapter on presentations alone is worth much more than the price of the book. Like a stock that is valued less than the per share value of cash held by the company, this makes the rest of the book free -and there is plenty of valuable content in the rest.
His broad coverage of tech-space start-ups includes chapters on recruiting, interviewing, laying- off, firing, building positive PR (including how to suck-up to bloggers), and how and when to "partner". (if you are considering opening, say, a jewelry store or a dry cleaners, there probably isn't too much here for you - it really is aimed at tech businesses).
There is also some content for the recent grad about getting a job, and a little philosophy of life for all us.
Since Mr. Kawasaki is a sought-after speaker, his point-of-view on public speaking, PowerPoint and story- telling has more credibility than most. In addition to his informed view, he also strives to be a good guy, and encourages the readers to be good guys too. He believes that nice guys do win.
Highly recommended if you are considering starting a tech business.
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on July 20, 2011
Before I do the next software deal, I'll refresh on the points in `Reality Check.' Having been in most roles during negotiations at different times, a refresher on what others at the table are thinking is a good idea. When Kawasaki covers the multiple lies flying during the talks, I got a good smile. Of course the lies are only mis-statements from good intentions unfiltered by experience, which Kawasaki demonstrates.

For the developer community, pay special attention to the discussions about the role of the VC. These folks are not joining the program to give away money. They can provide solid business insight. Sometimes there needs to be an adult role model/mentor on the ways of the market. For VCs, pay attention to the same section. Your role is to provide oversight and guidance, not demand shorter schedules with fewer people. In too many cases clashes between the VC and developer have wrecked a product that another company then copies to make the big bucks.

In the marketing section, partnering agreements get similar skewering, but accurate insight. If the agreement sounds good but the value isn't clear, best reconsider. Several sections in the book have straight-forward translation tables - what's said vs. meant. These little nuggets should be a reality check to the emotional investment that makes a business, product and person succeed.

The final section of the book addresses beguiling. Themes here set up Kawasaki's next book. The points aren't really new, but always need to be in mind. When it comes to presentations, it would be great if the decksperts would follow the 10/20/30 rule. Of course the folks who confuse volume with insight will totally miss the point of these discussions.

`Reality Check' entertained and enlightened to the point I now also have that next book, `Enchantment.' He practiced all the points during a recent half-day seminar I attended. The material did the `show not tell' recommendation to keep the audience engaged, which is the reason for enchanting. Those who see the material as simply entertaining miss the value, judging the book by its cover, not seeing the points in practice.
Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
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VINE VOICEon October 14, 2011
Guy Kawasaki has some keen insights on Silicon Valley and the tech industry that is worth reading. He is funny and entertaining. I enjoy watching his irreverant youtube videos.

What Guy lacks is in-depth analysis of his observations. He doesn't really try hard to answer "why?". Therefore, I can't say his conclusions are based on high caliber analysis.

Guy's intuition on the inner workings of Silicon Valley, entrepeneurs, and start-ups is very different. He can see the big picture and can think outside of the box. So if you want the street-smart guide to the tech industry (especially getting VC funding), then this is the right book to read.

Guy has wonderful advice into getting VC funding, how to be successful in a start-up, marketing, presentation, and the value of engineering talent. He is a strong advocate that the most successful tech entrepeneurs are those who want to make the product they want themselves want to use and also would change the world in the process.

Scholastic breakthrough this book is not. But worthy street-smart guide to tech-startup this book is.
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on August 7, 2010
Reality Check is an excellent guide chocked so full of information that I think you probably need to read it twice to let the content truly sink in. This is the guide that every entrepreneur needs to have on their shelf to read and re-read again, and then in six months, probably pick up again and re-read that chapter you need before you go out and talk to someone about funding! Guy really takes the time to give you the reality behind what goes on in the minds of investors, attorneys, and entrepreneurs and gives you this information so that you can be prepared to really get it right even before you write your business plan. There are so many factors to a company being successful and he's got many of these factors pinpointed and summarized so that his readers benefit from what he has seen in his years in business. All of his suggestions are valuable for an entrepreneur, regardless of the stage of the company.

His writing style is engaging and warm, inviting you to really participate in his past experiences, learn from them and take the short-cuts that he's provided.
He also gives the inside scoop on everything you need to know before you do your pitch, so if you're thinking about raising capital, he's got you covered. I liked the way he really takes the time to show you how to present a compelling and succinct presentation and goes so far as to show readers his 10/20/30 rule of pitching, giving entrepreneurs a chance to really hone down and simplify their messaging. I'm really enjoying the book, and recommend sharing it with a colleague or friend so that you can discuss the concepts together. He's also included a great section in the book called "The Reality of Marketing" which includes market adoption, branding and core business value suggestions. Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool
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on October 20, 2014
I keep reading this and can't say I agree 100% with everything that is talked about in this book...
Having been in business myself for most of my life...
However this is certainly a book that makes a lot of since to me over all....
From the 10-20-30 rule of power point presentations... to the "Marks of Mavericks" list...
lots of advise from a guy who has been there and done that that seems point on...
I think the most important concept in the Book is the Bozo Explosion idea...
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on February 24, 2009
I thought I had left a review on this book before today---my bad.

This is a superb book crammed with business wisdom for small to large businesses. There is a ton of practical advice for the "start up" as well.

I like this book so much I have given many as gifts. My shelf for business books is stuffed with redundant information, advice that doesn't work, silly stories that are supposed to teach deep concepts, and books by people who got lucky once and think they have something to 'share'. 99% of business books are a waste of time in my opinion.

Read this this one until you wear it out and then buy a new copy.

Chris Reich

BTW, I hated "Enchantment" so I'm no pushover! This book really is a keeper.
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on February 26, 2009
If this is the first Guy's book you are reading, it would be a great book. But, if you have read his earlier books, there is quite a bit of rehash. Near the end, he actually republished a speech he gave at a high school graduation that was in an earlier book and followed that with an update. Also, some of the stories seemed pretty tall, like the airline ticketing staff that sent an annoying passenger luggage elsewhere instead of the destination. Overall, the tone of the book is directed at someone who is clueless or is the author clairvoyant?
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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 December 24, 2016
Great, no drivel advice for tech start ups. Very to the point and fairly entertaining to read.
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on February 12, 2009
"Q: How many bosses does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: One. He holds up the lightbulb and expects the universe to revolve around him."

Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition by Guy Kawasaki is arguably one of the most humourous business books around. Despite the fact that most contents in the book are from his blog, How To Change The World, "Reality Check" is full of great business "checklists" (hence, Reality Check). And those checklists cover lots of aspect in business (be warned, this book is huge, 461 pages before an index).


- The Reality of Starting
Guy starts with the checklist you need in starting a business or intrapreneurship (entrepreneurship inside a company) and how to construct a mantra (forget three paragraphs mission statement)

- The Reality of Raising Money
As a venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki wrote on how to raise fund from annoying and moody venture capitalists.

- The Reality of Planning and Executing
Business plans, financial projections, etc; you've been there and done that but Guy told you how to hit a homerun from them.

- The Reality of Innovating
Before jumping into innovating-everything bandwagon, this chapter tells you the myths, sins, and art of innovation.

- The Reality of Marketing
A brief revision of branding and identity.

- The Reality of Selling and Evangelizing
From the world's top evangelist, he wrote about the art of selling, distribution, evangelism and PR.

- The Reality of Communicating
This main chapter covers lots of ground from e-mailing, presentation, demo, blogging, and moderating a panel.

- The Reality of Beguiling
There are lots of art (checklists and steps) of customer service, schmoozing, sucking up, sucking down (?!), and partnering.

- The Reality of Competing
A short chapter saying about your company's defensibility and patents.

- The Reality of Hiring and Firing
Guy wrote about Silicon Valley hiring, how to hire, how to fire, craiglist, and linkedin, among other things.

- The Reality of Working
How to prevent Bozo explosion? What are mavericks in the workplace? What's your EQ (Entrepreneurial Quotient)? This main chapter portrays the reality you face at work.

- The Reality of Doing Good
It is nice to end the book with philanthropy and how nonprofit organisations are changing the world


I'll humbly compare "Reality Check" to my ideal business book; the book that is "easy to understand, distinct, practical, reliable, insightful, and provides great reading experience."

Ease of Understanding: 9/10: The book is simple, straightforward, jargon-free, and very informal (even slightly rude sometimes). Forget theories and models, you will only find simple checklists, steps, and occasional interviews which are put in the main chapters (The Reality of...). One point taken because they are blog-like which make stringing nearly impossible. Guy must have tried very hard to group them together but it is not perfect.

Distinct: 6/10: From the contents, you will find nothing particularly new and we have seen and read all of them already. However, the distinct and unique characteristic of the book is its informality and straight-forwardness. It's honest and it's amusing. You won't find many authors who could make fun of those business ideas naturally like Guy.

Practicality: 7/10: Despite the short chapters (96 chapters including intro and conclusion, 3-5 pages each), they are not just a bunch of pointless blog posts. The conclusion and call to action are in each chapter. There are three key themes within the book, 1) positive chapters (chapters starting with "The Art of..", and "How To"; there are 51 of them), 2) negative chapters ("Lies of", and chapters on a-holes; there are 14 of them), 3) interview chapters (with interesting authors like Chip and Dan Heath of "Made to Stick" or Garr Reynold of "The Presentation Zen"; there are 18 of them), and there are other 13 miscellaneous chapters.

Reliability: 5/10: There is very little (if at all) supporting data. The book is from Guy's experience and rule of thumb. Complex statistics and formula might help but they will ruin the book. It is a worthy trade-off.

Insight: 6/10: The chapters are extremely short but they are compensated simply by having lots of them which are directed to the similar key points of the book. The credit is also to the interview (Q&A) chapters that Guy interviewed other authors for the different aspects of the stories.

Reading Experience: 10/10: This is, by far, the funniest (yet meaningful) business book I've read. The book make you feel like listening to Guy's rant on the business as usual. You won't get bored. Extra credit to the outrageous use of vocabularies; "bozosity", "bull shiitake" (shiitake is a japanese mushroom), "assholedom", "mediocracy" (mediocre + bureaucracy), and things like "karmic scoreboard".

Overall: 7.2/10: Those who want to read something that "sounds" serious might not like the book. But beyond the casual and informal nature of Guy's writing, what we've learnt from the book is valuable. I highly recommend the book if you want to be "clueful" (as opposed to clueless) in business. And you will have fun reading it and also a good laugh; you can't say that to most business books.
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