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on March 4, 2015
I have read almost every book Guy Kawasaki has written and enjoy his "cut to the chase" style. This new book follows this trend: you will get practical, actionable, specific and above all, up-to-date advice without having to wade through verbiage to find nuggets that you can actually use. Below is a fragment of the many take-aways from the book:

1. Pick a name for your start up that has a "verb potential." Kawasaki provides a way to test this. Imagine, you use this advice and the name of your new start up enters the mainstream vernacular and becomes a verb. Wouldn't you be happy you thought of this before using a name that can't possibly have verb potential?
2. The top ten mistakes entrepreneurs make and more important, how to fix them.
3. So many speakers focus on the "What" and forget about the "So what"? The "So what?" is the significance of what you're saying because you can't assume that it's always self-evident. You need to connect the dots for people. Guy gives the two most powerful words in a pitch to handle the "So what?" question in your audience's mind.
4. If you're thinking about crowdfunding, you will find help in this book including additional resources you can access.
5. Kawasaki provides many examples for the advice he gives. For example, you will find three examples of what leading financial investors look for in financial projections. Also VERY useful is Kawasaki's edit of a 90-second pitch. It shows you a sample pitch he received, and how he edited it, including outlining the lessons to derive from his rewrite.
6. He encourages you to abandon outmoded thinking - for example, why you should focus on your pitch when you first start and not waste time writing a business plan.
7. Each section has "Recommended Reading" which is always useful.
8. Real world advice on bootstrapping a start-up from someone who's been there and done that.
9. On presenting your pitch. Kawasaki says: "You're going to win or lose in the first minute or so" -- This section includes valuable advice on how to hit the ground running and not waste that crucial first impression. Even though this is a book about pitching your new product or service, it's also a great resource for improving your speaking skills for any situation. "Make love to the microphone" how to get a standing ovation is a must-read section in that regard.
10. How to build your team: everything from interview tips, to how to check references, to knowing the top lies told at interviews. This will hopefully save you a lot of expensive hiring mistakes.
11. How to position your product in a more personal way because that's more powerful and makes it easier for potential customers to imagine how a product fills their need. Again, great examples, of "impersonal" and "personal" positioning
12. Each section also has some useful exercises to get you thinking. It's like having a coach at your side.
13. When is the best time to send an email? Research-based answers. Having the empathy not to attach files larger than 5 Mbs unless you have permission and why you can lose if you ignore such a simple, yet important rule that people break all the time.
14. Another thing I love about Kawasaki's books is the proliferation of outside links to useful resources such as SocialBro, for example - a service for Twitter, to get reports on who follows you, to find new people to follow, and to determine how your content is doing.
15. Important persuasion principles that can help you - put in context and with examples.

If there is one sentence that for me sums up Kawasaki's ethos which permeates this book, and all his previous books, it's this: "The genesis of great companies is answering simple questions that change the world, not the desire to become rich." And one of his practical exercises is: "Complete this sentence: If your startup never existed , the world would be worse off because __________."

Buy this book for yourself or give it as a gift. I just finished delivering a workshop to young innovators working on pitching their apps. I wished I had the book at the time. I would have given each person a copy.
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on April 9, 2017
Funny thing about this book is that I stumbled upon it. I was initially convinced to read the Lean Startup. As usual, I thought I'd read a few critical Amazon reviews. All it took was the first review, and thanks to that random guy, I've enjoyed quite a wealth a knowledge. This is not to take away anything from the Lean Startup, in fact, I admit that I'm pretty biased since I haven't read it. But compared to many entrepreneurship books I've read in the past, none of them have had nearly as much content that was ACTIONABLE.

For a guy with a background working in Silicon Valley, I had imagined most of the content wouldn't have been easily transferable. Yet, the author has managed to generalize his content so that it could relate to multiple industries. Granted, some of his recommendations focus more on product than service oriented businesses, but still useful nonethelesHe breaks down the startup journey into four blocks: conception, activation, proliferation and obligation. The topics that really hit home for me include: bootstrapping, positioning, pitching, recruitment, schmoozing, evangelism (without the religious connotations) and successful partnerships.

Throughout his narrative, he meshed a sense of humor which made the flow quite smooth. He also managed to apply great and relevant quotes throughout his chapters. He ends the book with a bang, with an awesome afterword.

My takeaway quotes: 

"The first follower is the one who transforms the lone nut into a leader."

"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." - John Steinbeck

"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." - Henry Ford

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people are so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell
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on November 1, 2017
This book covered a wide range of topics that's perfect for entrepreneurs that are just starting out. He puts content in the books that may be relevant to "intrapreneurs" as well, and overall I felt that the book contained a wealth of information. I highly recommend giving it a read if you're at all interested in being an entrepreneur and don't know where to start (like I was).

One of the other things that I really liked was that Guy went "a mile wide and an inch deep" as the saying goes, giving you a big-picture overview of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I really love his referrals to other content and suggestions for other books, as they allow you to delve deeper into individual topics if you so choose.

Also, I wrote Guy an e-mail with a question and he responded promptly with a well-framed response and some suggestions for next steps. I appreciate it when authors are open like this and will chat with you about topics related to their books.

All in all, I was highly impressed and would recommend it to anyone looking for a guide on where to get started as an entrepreneur.
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on November 13, 2015
The advice is excellent, the writing is friendly and informal without being cutesy, and the format of forecasting what you're about to read, then telling, then summing up again is really helpful if you are trying to read through distractions and interruptions, but it would have been nice if someone had gone through and replaced the original hyperlinks with actual web site addresses or at least added them in footnotes. There isn't even a notes section with web site addresses at the back.
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on March 30, 2015
Kawasaki is an incredibly intelligent guy who's learned from his own practices - that includes successes AND failures, which is really the best way to learn. Entrepreneurs will learn how to get their ducks in a row before simply diving into their new business, which is the most important way to do it right. I can't wait to reread my bookmarked pages as I create my own small business. His straightforward approach avoids technical jargon, instead taking us right into the practical logistics of creating a new business and product. I really appreciated not needing a dictionary or MBA to follow along! I'll be picking up a few more of his works before the week's up for sure.
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on August 27, 2017
This book is five stars if you are building the next Twitter or Facebook. Four stars if you are building something to do with programming software, apps, websites and such. It's only 3 stars for any other kind of business.
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on April 24, 2015
Lots of books have been written about entrepreneurship and start-ups, many by players in Silicon Valley. What distinguishes Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start is that he gives would-be entrepreneurs not just a common-sense road map on how to launch a new company but also pushes them to identify why they want to do so. More than that, he advises entrepreneurs to get into the game for the right reasons: To make a better world, not just a boatload of money. Indeed, in his view, the two go together. Kawasaki, the author of 13 books, now has updated his early classic. He describes new trends in the technology and venture capital worlds, discusses and generously credits the work of fellow entrepreneurial scribes - giving them a thumbs-up or down as he sees fit. Professors, students, or entrepreneurs looking for the one book on how to launch a new company need look no further than The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything. It’s a must read for my Stanford students: funny, wise, and full of heart!
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on October 20, 2017
When I started reading this book I thought it was a book about how to get started on anything and the psychology behind it (probably because Steven Pressfileds The War of Art was in mind when I was considering reading this book) however I did persist with the book (even though it wasn’t necessarily about the topic I thought it was about) and I’m glad I did as I’ve learnt a lot from the book!
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on May 3, 2015
The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki is a work of art. At a time when books by and for entrepreneurs are flooding the market place, Guy's revision of his classic book stands above the crowd. If has lots of new content, great pragmatic advice, and Guy's distinctive candor and sense of humor. I have bought multiple copies of the book, and have also assigned it as the required reading for one of my courses. The Art of the Start 2.0 is worth buying, reading, and sharing with your co-founders, business partners, investors, and employees.
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on April 30, 2015
Version 2.0 is better for me than the original book. This is a lot more comprehensive about how to manage and grow your business in the days of social media and social commerce. To me it is written for 2015 because of the tools Guy suggested we use and how to keep the presentations and powerpoints short, effective, and sweet. Its a good and easy read for me because I always like to learn from the people that have been there..
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