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Anything You Want

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  18,775 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews
Best known for creating CD Baby, the most popular music site for independent artists, founder Derek Sivers chronicles his “accidental” success and failures into this concise and inspiring book on how to create a multi-million dollar company by following your passion. In Anything You Want, Sivers details his journey and the lessons learned along the way of creating CD Baby ...more
Kindle Edition, 90 pages
Published (first published June 21st 2011)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  18,775 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews

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Aaron Goldfarb
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The first time I ever spoke to Derek Sivers, I accused him of ripping me off.

I had seen his great TEDx video called "Why You Need to Fail" and I wrote him to complain. (Jokingly of course.)

I told him "I wrote THE book on failing."

Derek gives his e-mail address on his website and he couldn't have responded quicker or have been nicer (or have used a more amusing adverb to explain why he hadn't heard of my book) :

"Holy crap! That's awesome. Wow. I'm sorry I didn't know about this. Oh, I see it's on
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

This is a very short review because the book was short. The book has 40 lessons on entrepreneurship and these were unusual, out of the box lessons which I really enjoyed. Personally, I do enjoy reading non-fiction but I usually find the advice given in these books to be very logical. The beautiful thing about this book is that it was really unconventional. The lessons and the way the author speaks just captured my attention.

The author tells his story wi
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
A couple of Derek Sivers stories:

My first CD Baby order was #17697, for 8 discs, in 2000. When I got the now-famous colorful shipment notice I thought I’d actually been the first brand new customer to order as many as 8 albums. I thought the email had been crafted for me, in particular. I felt special.

A little later, I placed an even bigger order, and it happened to be while CD Baby was moving across the country. It was delayed long enough that I eventually contacted support, and I promptly got
Keshav Bhatt
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome little book, I will keep re-reading. I love the opening pages - "10 years of experience in 1 hour".

This book is written by Derek Sivers, who started a business called CDbaby that he later sold for $22 million. One of my favourite parts of the book was the graph at the beginning showing the monthly sales over 10 years of his business. In analysing it one thing I really appreciated was the steady but slow growth in the first 5 years of his business in particular. Reiterating once again th
Josh Davis
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I like Derek Sivers a lot. He has fantastic stories and has great advice. I love to read his stuff.

However, reading this book made me realize that he is more of a product of survivorship bias.

This book was filled with two types of lessons: good business advice and then advice that happened to work for Derek Sivers.

I couldn’t tell the two apart.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so I read this because apparently everyone in web development has been raving about it and I am not really that blown away.

I don't know why I had such a different experience from others, but most of the things said in this book just seemed common sense to me. I didn't feel like it is a very special wisdom he is sharing, he is just stating the obvious (at least for me). It might be to with the fact that I am currently listening to the Simon Sinek's book and a lot of ideas are really the same
Niran Pravithana
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Seth Godin recommended this book for every entrepreneur. I just bought it in kindle format.

It's introduction tells that you could learn an author's entire experience of creating business within one hour or two... which, unbelievably, I managed to finish it within exactly one hour because it's short, direct-to-point and really fun to go through.
The story in the book is about author's bibliography, entrepreneur tips and tactics, wow ideas of's owner Derek Sivers. He built his business w
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Amazing little book of mostly unconventional entrepreneurship wisdom. Highly recommended!
N.K. Salem
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is what all the other entrepreneurial books try to be
Daniel Clausen
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2020
Sometimes something can be short and impactful. The long essay by Seneca “On the Shortness of Life” is one such short impactful essay. I feel this is another one. This book is less than a 2-hour read.

The book is a very casual take on business creation. If you’re happy and your customers are happy and there is a bit of money in the bank, then you’re fine. Better than fine.

The book is about business success without trying too hard. I mean “without trying too hard” in both senses– the book doesn’
Rob Warner
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Quick read but insightful. The basic premise, as I understood it, is to spend your life doing things that bring you happiness, which is not as straightforward as it seems. Too often, we spend our time doing what we think will make us happy, or what we think others expect from us, or what society dictates that we do. This book isn't a formula for building a multi-million dollar company, although that's what CDBaby turned out to be. Instead, it helps you see what criteria to consider when making d ...more
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have loved reading Derek Sivers' essays for the longest time. And even though I've read some of the ones mentioned in the book before, they were still as fresh and thought provoking as ever.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Mr. Sivers himself, it added another layer of personal connection to the stories. It narrates a story with an unusual approach to business. Yet it's about much more than that.

It's a very short book, and I would recommend it to everyone.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting read, more like you've sat down over a couple of drinks, and he's spilled his story out on the table. ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I fucking love this guy
Greg Stoll
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have a secret desire to found a technology startup, which probably comes from reading too much Hacker News. I'm pretty happy with my current job, and I don't think I'd actually handle the stress of doing a startup very well, so I doubt it will ever happen. But reading books like this push me towards it. It makes running a startup sound so exciting! (and skips over the long discouraging parts)

This is a collection of anecdotes about founding, running, and eventually selling CDBaby. It's a very q
Jon Stephens
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I was first introduced to Derek Sivers while watching a TED Talk. I thought his three minute speech was brilliant, so when I saw that he had written a book I was very excited to read it.

Sivers is the creator of CD Baby, a very successful online business that helps independent musicians sell their music. The book is essentially his retelling of the birth and journey of growing that business. It is described as "40 Lessons For A New Kind of Entrepreneur". The book is put out by The Domino Project
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Actually I knew the author, Derek Sivers from his TED speeches: "How to start a movement," "Keep your goals to yourself," and "Weired, or just different?," not from this book. At glance of my thought about him is that he is interested in a big range of topics, but he points out the core things of human psychology and phenomenon very well. Most of all, I feel strongly he enjoys being what he is doing. He seems very happy. I mean he is doing what makes him happy. From his book "Anything You Want," ...more
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Simple message told simply by an author and an business owner who admits to liking simplicity: Do what you like is the best strategy for better business management. Don't get driven into the usual way of doing and managing your business. Your business is YOUR business. Do what you like and know, very well, why are you doing it.
Interesting read of an unusual story. Not exactly a story that will fit every business out there but still nice to read.
Frode Bjerke
Derek Sivers is not your everyday person or entrepreneur. He has a solid philosophy of life which he executes in a way few dares to do, as it breaks with many cultural norms.

In many ways, CD Baby, the backdrop story of this book was the time he discovered his philosophy and got aware of it.

Though some of his advice might not hold water in every situation, or for any person, I believe there are many small tidbits of wisdom both philosophical and practical for anyone who reads this book.
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Quick, easy, very inspirational read -- particularly for entrepreneurs. Love Derek's story and fierce commitment to happiness, simplicity and doing what's best for his customers. ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This short book is full of valuable advice to start and maintain a (small) truly customer-focused business. Highly recommended.
Nathan Rose
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This little book packs a lot in, even though it can be read in just a few hours.

Backstory: the author founded a company called "CD Baby" and eventually achieved a multi-million-dollar exit. He did this while using business strategies which run counter to the prevailing corporate / MBA-style advice. This book is what he did, what happened, and what readers may learn from his experience.

As the subtitle says, there are 40 lessons. However, I felt the overall theme throughout is to put *happiness* a
Roni Laukkarinen
Wow. Amazing book that is compact enough to read in one hour in one sitting yet informative enough to cause your brain to explode with new ideas and inspiration. I needed this, badly. This book gave me the wake up call after five years of being an entrepreneur.

I love every single page of this book, from all the realizations to the encountering with Steve Jobs. Even though I know and breathe about half of the attitude presented (some unknowingly) there are many take-aways I will cherish most prob
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short brief of a successful story from Derek Sivers.

I enjoyed it a lot, it was story without pretending how awesome, how gifted, how visionary you have to be to build something that will help people. Indeed, all you need is good intention, the aim to solve their issues and to find the feeling of having enough.

Somewhere deep inside the story left a desire within me, that people will find the way to progress and still to discover the feeling to have enough. I know it is a diffucult one..
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shortest read I have enjoyed the most recently. The book has a lot of advice contrary to what I believe in and it’s good to know the other side.
Ian Ferguson
May 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
First of all, Anything You Want is an excellent book because of its length. Derek Sivers is able to state all forty of his lessons and include informative anecdotes from his experience in one to two pages per lesson. All business, self-improvement, and social science writers should learn from Sivers that unnecessary embellishment detracts from their credibility and obscures their theses. Sivers’s main message is to make yourself (the business owner) and the customer happy, then allow profits to ...more
Nathan Wheeler
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

It’s not what you think. The title causes someone to think of some sort of name it and claim it gospel or a how to guide to accumulate mass amounts of whatever you want. Derek Sivers is behind one of the most important lessons on leadership on the web. Derek was also the brains behind a company called CD baby. These are lessons that he learned from that experience. This comes a business background so some of this is not applicable to church leadership but lots of
Adam Zerner
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
- The goal is happiness, not money.
- Be persistent in iterating, not in doing what doesn't work.
- Just focus on making customers happy. Go above and beyond for them. If they're not begging you to let them pay you for the service, keep iterating until they are.
- Don't worry about the business-y stuff - it's not that important.
- Be real. Be genuine. Be a person.
- Optimizing for lots of trivial metrics has bad unintended consequences. There's value in simplicity and genuineness.
- You do hav
Brad Revell
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: how-tos, wealth
I added this to my list of books to read after it being recommended by Shawn Blanc's monthly book club. Although new books go to the bottom of my list, this one looked like a quick read and given Easter Monday I was able to consume within the hour. What I liked about this book was Siver's open and honest approach to running a business. To him, it is about having fun, being happy and ultimately about the customer; money didn't play a role. It is certainty a healthy approach to have in a business ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read the audio version of this, read by the author himself.

The book reads as a manifesto mixed with a retrospective. Derek SIvers founded CD Baby before iTunes, before even ecommerce was popular in order to help a few of his musician friends sell their own CDs online. The business exploded and he sold it for $20+M. The book is both his philosophy on what it means to start a business (summed up as "you have a chance to build your own utopia in which the world works as you want it to work"), les
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I’ve been a musician, producer, circus performer, entrepreneur, TED speaker, and book publisher.

I started CDBaby and HostBaby long ago. My short audio/book, Anything You Want, tells you everything I learned while starting, growing, and selling the business.

Monomaniac, introvert, slow thinker, and love finding a different point of view.

California native, I now live in Oxford, England.

I love heari

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