trav's Reviews > Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
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Apr 04, 12

bookshelves: business, finished-in-2012
Read in March, 2012

Derek Sivers’ Anything You Want is a quick read. It comes in under an hour if you don’t take notes and don’t stop to think about things. But I am guessing you will want to as there a some pretty inspirational (and easy to implement) ideas for serving your customers.

This is not a how-to business book. It is much more a manifesto on keeping things clear, simple and taking a common sense approach to work. Sivers, founded and sold CDBaby.com. This book is a summation of the lessons he learned with the stories that taught him.

My favorite part is titled Ideas are just a multiplayer of Execution. Basically he says an awful idea gets a -1 rating while a brilliant idea gets a 20. “No execution” is worth $1 while “brilliant execution” is worth $10,000,000. So a brilliant idea with poor execution will only get you $20 while a weak idea (a full 1 rating) brilliantly executed would get you $10,000,000. These are the extremes and there are tiers between them. It gives you an idea of where your so-so idea with a so-so execution plan would land you. I really like the perspective this lends.

Lots of practical advice here. It’s the kind you’d get if you were sitting in the back yard drinking a beer with Sivers. He’s quick to explain, in very plain images, why (to him) legal stuff just doesn’t matter and how business folks don’t stay clear-headed enough. You will not hear these kinds of points being made by any MBA.

Basically he sums it up with keep the customer first. You better be solving a real problem. And the success will naturally happen.

In such a small book, Sivers crams tons of insight on work ethic, customers (very important), business formalities vs. flying by the seat of your pants, etc. all of which is backed with stories of his founding, running and selling CDBaby.com. He even tells the story of when Steve Jobs dissed him.

This book seems to speak to the entrepreneurial spirits out there. But I also think that it serves as a fun quick “gut check” for those looking to tweak their existing business set-ups. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.
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