- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 41 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: February 14, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0078XQW3Q
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career Audible – Unabridged
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Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
If this all sounds familiar, then you'll be as disappointed as I was by The Start-Up of You, a generic career advice book churned out by two tech elites who could have done better. Rather than drawing directly on their experiences as founders and venture capitalists, Hoffman and Casnocha make a rote journey through modern Silicon Valley-themed business book territory. When they tell the stories of successes like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, PayPal, and Zappos, it feels like they're going through a checklist. There's far less original substance than in Casnocha's My Start-Up Life, which benefited enormously from his being a teenager who knew little beyond his own experiences. He could tell it like it is, rather than drawing on played-out archetypes. The older Casnocha has tailored his book to the broadest possible audience, with all the mediocrity that entails.
Simply put, I'm tired of hearing "They told him he was crazy..." stories. You know the type:
1. They [potential investors] told him [the entrepreneur] he was crazy.
2. He kept going. For years, he poured his heart and soul into his dream.
3. Today, [company he started] is valued at $x billion.
The problem with these stories is that there's only so much you can learn from them. The moral isn't "If they tell you that you're crazy, you're probably on to something"--to the contrary, if they tell you that you're crazy, you're probably crazy. "They" are often smart people like Hoffman and Casnocha. The moral is in the second part of the story: You're not going to succeed unless you put your time and effort where your mouth is. Hopefully, you already knew that.
Still, "The Start-Up of You" gets the essentials right: The US economy is no longer adapted to reward loyalty with job security. There are no more risk-free, high-reward options on the table. You can't just work your way up within a static hierarchy. You have to be constantly prepared for change. In short, every worker is now an independent contractor to some degree. You have to make sure that you're always supplying something that's in demand--just as startups do. That's a lesson worth learning. You just don't need this book to do it.
The book begins with a reality check and reminder that the former paradigms we may have had of the "American Dream" and "traditional career" assumptions have been gradually shattered over the past several decades. The old adage about "ready, aim, fire" has been supplanted with "aim, fire, aim, fire, aim, fire, ..." to survive and sustain our professional careers. The authors state their case that we should define our "assets", "aspirations and values", and the "market realities" of the world we live in to identify your specific competitive advantage as you formulate your professional career.
Reid and Ben also provide dozens of illustrations throughout the book on why so many entrepreneurial businesses launched in the Silicon Valley in California have been success. The professional networking that occurs in that region is likely unsurpassed in any business community throughout the world.
I would recommend "The Start-up of You" to anyone who is at a crossroads in their professional career or any professional who is looking to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit that has been squelched and smothered inside you for far too long.
Disclosure: I was an early adopter and continue to be a fan of the professional networking site, LinkedIn. I found this platform to be an essential professional networking tool in the various businesses I have run over the past decade.
What follows is a guide not for what to <do> to chart a career path, but rather for how to <think> about what you do. For those of us who assumed the "old" rules, this re-thinking of professional assumptions helps make sense of sensible growth and risk management in the world of "new" work rules.
Implicit in the suggested strategies is the self-serving idea that you need to be on LinkedIn. The case for that position is presented very, very well, however.
I usually find that business books can be nearly skimmed to capture the essence of their arguments, and I don't have any interest in returning to them again. This is the exception: I actually bookmarked multiple pages, penciled notes in the margins, and will deliberately re-read it again as I think through the ideas suggested. For me, that's the best endorsement I can give!