Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters
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Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,853 ratings  ·  269 reviews
Wall Street Journal best-selling author Jon Acuff reveals the steps to getting unstuck and back onto the path of being awesome.

Over the last 100 years, the road to success for most everyone has been divided into predictable stages. But three things have changed the path to success:

Boomers are realizing that a lot of the things they were promised aren't going to materialize...more
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
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Have you ever read something and felt the author's enthusiasm jump off the page? That's what I got from Jon Acuff.

He wants to help people not just start, but succeed. He wants to help them go from average to awesome. I think he does it really well.

When I read the title, I thought, "Oh, oh (hand raised in the air) I want to START." But how?

That's the big question. How?

I think we all know we need to start if we want to get where we want to go. We just don't know how. Or for that matter...more
I find myself going around saying "Jon Acuff says..." He started out as the funny guy who writes the satirical blog "Stuff Christians Like," but now he's a dream-encouraging, hope-making, fear-busting author and speaker. Of course he's still funny too :-)

Outside of close friends, family and God, Acuff has probably been the biggest influence in my life the last two-years. I read "Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Dream Job and Your Day Job" two summers ago right after my book came out and I r...more
The author was a guest on the podcast I listen to, and I loved his exuberant and upbeat attitude. That is something that definitely comes through in this book -- his energy just leaps off the page! Acuff is a great writer with lots of great stories that kept me engaged through the whole book.

The mediocre rating, then, is more of a reflection of me as a reader -- I just had a hard time applying a lot of what he said to my own life. While Acuff claims this advice applies to everyone, most of the e...more
Antoinette Perez
Jon Acuff has a super-casual writing style, which implies that he has a super-casual speaking style. It worked for me, generally. You can feel energy coming off the page at times, which is fun and unexpected. From a content perspective, he makes a reasonable argument for 5 stages of life: Learning, Editing, Mastering, Harvesting, and Guiding. At the end of the book, there is a section on how to earn your spouse's support amidst an abundance of enthusiastic ideas (many of which may never come to...more
Kevin Goldsmith
Let me start by saying Jon Acuff is very well qualified to write this book per his success and accumulated knowledge in the process. Having been said, this book was good. I feel like it could have been a whole lot better. How so? First off, I am a 21 year old undergraduate and while reading this, I felt that his youthful writing style betrays his true talent. I felt like it could have been written more seriously, and this is coming from a 21 year old! I fail to see how this style of writing woul...more
Joseph Iliff
I would put this book into the hands of anyone who is wanting to be more and do more. If their day job isn’t their dream, or if they have a bigger dream with more people to connect to, more awesome to put on canvas.
Far from just being about positive affirmations or pie in the sky thinking, Jon will make you appreciate your stumbles and setbacks, and let you know you are not alone on the road to awesome. It isn’t easy, but if you are game, Jon is inviting you to walk the path with him.
Through his witty but wise words, Acuff challenges readers to make their life awesome. Starting is our choice. We have dreams and ideas. This book will make you want to get them from your head, onto paper, and into your life. At least it did me. It's a practical approach to a topic that is hard to wrap words around.

Jon Acuff tells some his own failures that led to successes and the people who helped him along the way. Of course, not everybody you meet will want to help you, but that's to be exp...more
Benjamin Spurlock
Jon Acuff has an amazing book in Start. Not just a self-help book for those who feel 'stuck' and want to start a new chapter in their lives, this book offers both practical advice and an honest discussion of the barriers that everyone faces when trying to become greater than what they are now.

More than that, however, Jon clearly wants to impart a new vision for the lives of everyone- that of escaping the average and embarking on a journey to awesome. It is his passion for this goal, for the reca...more
Jessica McCann
I won an advance copy of Start from author Robin O'Bryant's blog, and I'm so glad I did. This is a motivational book packed with great insights, presented with a light, easy-to-read writing style. Acuff shares his ideas in an upbeat, modern, often funny way that breathes new life into all the old truths we know to be true and tend to forget in the day-to-day grind (or, maybe, even truths you never knew to be true).

My copy is seriously dog-earred and highlighted, and I plan to buy a handful of ne...more
Really enjoyed this book.

* In 2011, 20% of new entrepreneurs were between the ages of 55 and 64.

* You have to be: a realist and a dreamer; practical and impractical; logical and illogical.
You have to be brutally realistic about your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future circumstances.

* General Stockdale: You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end -- which you can never afford to lose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your...more
May 08, 2013 Jeremy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: life
What do you fear?

Do you fear commitment? How about spiders? Perhaps it’s failure? I can tell you what I fear, I fear starting.

If you have ever had a dream, some unfulfilled vision, then my friends, Jon Acuff’s book START might be up your alley. If you have ever wanted to do something exceptional, but find that sometimes life is either too demanding or your dream scares the heck out of you, then you should consider picking this book up.

START is written by the incredibly funny Jon Acuff. Not onl...more
Even if you’ve never read any of Jon’s writings before, if you have—or ever had—a dream or purpose (and if you’re reading this, you’re alive and you have a purpose), you’ll be interested in reading Start.

Start is a bit like a travel guide on the best adventure you’ve ever taken (you know, life) through the lands of learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding. Everyone travels through these lands, though each of our journeys looks different than the next person’s. We also can be in mult...more
Franc Woods
What can I say; this book is “Awesome”! It made me think, gave me a sense of encouragement and most of all pointed me to those areas in my own journey that may need a few more hours of attention. Maybe even another 10,000 hours!

Jon does a great job of bringing home real examples of how to escape “average” and become “awesome” and the stages each must go through on this journey. No shortcuts, no magic bullets, just a lot of hard work, sacrifice and paying your dues to achieve your life purpose an...more
I like Acuff. He's hecka funny and a great speaker. This book, however, felt like a light snack and not a serious meal. Too many cliches or hallmarky-type phrases that would be more at home on a coffee cup than in a life changing book. I would have preferred more reference to facts and proven trends than Acuff's personal experience. He's lived a remarkable upswing and uses his fortune as the foundational approach we should all follow. Not all of us can be selected by a national radio host to hel...more
My friend got this book for me and normally I do not care to read motivational writing but I gave it a try. Acuff is a good writer and I have no complaints with that part. A bit of it did seem to run on in parts and couple times it felt like it was nagging at me. However it did give me some valuable ideas on how to find direction in my life.

I got the most out of the very end of the book with the 10 steps you should be doing. I feel I could have read just that part and been content.
Paige Gordon
This book is awesome! Jon gives tons of practical insights and encouragement to get you started pursuing whatever your dream is. By far my favorite part is how much deals with the fears that we all face and how to combat those. His writing is witty, straightforward and easy to understand. I can't say enough good things about it. Get this book and read it over and over. You will won't reget it.
I like how Jon Acuff writes from firsthand experience continually in this book. Also, he is not afraid to admit that, despite all the hard work he has put into his dream, sometimes a huge break comes along (i.e. joining Dave Ramsey's team) that he felt like he hadn't earned. The important thing was that he was hustling to become who he needed to be for that job. The rest, we can't force.

Some other bright spots in this book are his views on "finding your purpose" and "addressing the voice of Fea...more
Mary Desive
This is one of those books where I wanted to highlight everything and hand the book to everybody I know. I had to restrain myself from endlessly posting quotes on Twitter & Facebook, though my family was not spared my randomly reading bits to them - to me, that's a sign of an especially good book. There was a lot of stuff I needed to hear in here.
I really didn't like this book. I feel like he took Dave Ramsey's work and just put it into his own words and experiences. I felt like he talked a lot about himself….(i did this, and I did that) there were a lot of "I's" IT DROVE ME CRAZY, I don't know why I kept going and finished it! WAY OVER RATED! IMO!
I loved this book! Jon outlines the steps or "lands" you need to pass through to become awesome at something -anything- that your heart desires. It's applicable to marriage, jobs, hobbies, or anything you are passionate about.
He is also hilarious, so it was easily a non-fiction page turner.
Jennifer Elliott
Great book. Explains the stages in life on the road to being awesome. Makes you realize/remember you can Start anywhere in life, it's never too late, to work on your dream and escape average. Also has action steps for each stage that I am going to Start on. Another great book by Jon Acuff!
Hannah Kartagener
Always play to the size of your heart, not the size of your audience.

You decide rock or diamond.

If you want to get better at something you have to do the reps.

Mastering equals working hard while no one is watching.

Build your Central Park. Respite in the busyness.

Add hustle to your talents.

We all have the chance to "post" everyday in a million different ways.

Creative work is not a selfish act.

Do not let attention be the exit that leads you right back to average.

The starting line is the only line...more
Juliann Rager
Jon Acuff shares wisdom beyond his years with an honest voice and simple no-nonsense action plans. I was able to read this book quickly and will reference it frequently.
Sam Palani
My initial thoughts looking at this book was that perhaps the world does not need another self help startup book. I have nothing against self help books and there are some really great ones out there, I am just not a huge fan of them. So honestly, I did start off on a skeptical note. To the authors credit however, the book is well written. It’s one of those subject areas that can easily turn out a bit on the boring side, but the author, Jon Acuff has a done a good job keeping the topics both int...more
Andrea James
This is was a surprisingly good book. I picked up the audiobook having never heard for the author and being skeptical that it would offer me "anything new". Why then did I get the book? Well, I figured there would be days when I needed a pep talk whilst running. And damn have I been right about that. A few days ago I was tired and my knee was creaking and so I switched from a book about Walt Disney to "Start".

And I found myself smiling at the author's candid and plain-speaking ways. He seems to...more
Andrew Mutch
Stuck in a rut? Have goals or dreams that you don't feel like you're ever going to achieve? Looking to move in a new direction but unsure or afraid of how to get there? If so, "Start" may be the place to get started. Acuff's conversational style makes for a quick read. Yet Acuff manages to make his points sticky so that you'll recall them after you finish. Acuff avoids a complicated system that some books rely on to get you from Point A to Point B. This may be a negative for some readers. Some m...more
Mary-anne Gillespie
I started off really loving this book. The motivating energy like "The starting line is the only line you are in control of" really works for me. The 3 phases to being great "Learning, Editing, Mastering" was a great reminder of the process needed to go through. I especially loved the section that deal with Typical fears. About midway I felt the book became very vague. Almost lacking solid content and more very generalized personal examples. The momentum of the book didn't keep up in my opinion....more
Clay Winters
Being a huge fan of his earlier work, I immediately jumped on the pre-order list before the book came out.
"Start" certainly did not disappoint either. His previous book "Quitter" talked about finding out what job or work you're passionate about and following those dreams to make them a reality. "Start" picks up right where Acuff left off and plunges ahead full steam with no holds barred. The amount of topics and angles he uses to get to the point really surprised me and had me thinking, "how th...more
If I could rate a book higher than five, I would.

I know my friend Becca says this book changed her life but I was a bit afraid of "change" so I put off reading it, even if I did pre-order it. But my word for 2014 is Change so I figured I should read Start. I wish I had read it when I first received it.

Amazingly simple breakdown of living a life you love, with purpose, and why. I throughly enjoyed it, I need to put much of it in practice (in truth, much of it is simple advice. It's just laid out...more
Brenten Gilbert
START echoes a lot common concepts of cultivating a vision and drills down to a granular level, focusing more on individual goals and less on leadership specifically. And, you could easily argue that it focuses solely on writing, but I think it only seems that way because that is the path Acuff chose for himself and he’s speaking from personal experience.

If nothing else, readers will enjoy turning the pages and experiencing the witty and sarcastic voice that shines through the writing. As you re...more
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Jon Acuff has authored three books, including the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Quitter,which has helped thousands of people bridge the gap between their day job and their dream job. Jon’s wildly popular blog,, has more than 4.5 million readers worldwide. Follow Jon on Twitter @jonacuff and online at
More about Jon Acuff...
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“You don't need to go back in time to be awesome; you just have to start right now. Regretting that you didn't start earlier is a great distraction from moving on your dream today, and the reality is that today is earlier than tomorrow.” 16 likes
“Regardless of what you want to do or who you are, fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.” 8 likes
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