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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

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  6,060 ratings  ·  560 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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 22nd 2013 by Ramsey Press (first published April 18th 2013)
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 ·  6,060 ratings  ·  560 reviews

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Oct 25, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: grrrrr
Why did you recommend this book to me Goodreads? What are you trying to tell me by "Escape average"? "Do Work that Matters"... Huh?! I work for you, Goodreads!

Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Just ok. I am kind of over the whole idea that everyone needs to be AWESOME. What about humble servanthood? Doing the unseen?
Yeah, just ok for me.
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
May 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: business
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! ...more
Kevin Goldsmith
May 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Joseph Iliff
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-book-list
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
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
Apr 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
This was really hard to get through. It reads like a great public speaker wrote down their address to a very specific audience, as delivered. To be fair, there is some inspiration and good advice. The gem I valued most was the value of silencing the inner critic. All of the gems could have been delivered much more succinctly. There are many attempts at humorous asides that probably work well on stage but just take space on paper. It would also help if the reader already knows about and admires D ...more
Jessica McCann
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Narciso Romero
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This an amazing book. I felt like instead of reading a book I was actually talking to the author during lunch time. Extremely easy to read with very strong information that you can apply right away. The most important part and the message front the book is in the title, punch fear in the face and START!
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspirational
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
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a birthday gift from my brother. I am a 38-year-old journalist/newspaper-type that has been laid off twice in the past five years (as a copy editor for a large former daily and editor of a small bi-weekly paper, both for financial reasons), so seeking another career has definitely crossed my mind.

Wow. If you need a kick in the pants, this is the book to do it. Other reviewers have commented that only a couple main points have stuck with them from the book, and I would agr
Franc Woods
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership-read
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
Michelle Farrell
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm all about self-help books like this. I'm a big fan of this one because it breaks out of the mold of, "Drop everything and pursue your dreams," and instead takes a more practical approach to setting goals and becoming the kind of person you hope to be. Of the "follow your dreams" quotes, Acuff says, "Those kinds of ideas make for amazing mugs but have a pretty horrible success rate." Ha! One of my favorite concepts in this book is about letting go of your quest for your one purpose, and choos ...more
Oct 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Mary Desive
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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. ...more
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book! It was very inspiring and yet very practical while still allowing a lot of stretch for personal application. And it's a book you can refer to for every stage your life and business might be in. I borrowed the book from the library but I'm definitely going to have to get my own copy. Lots to think about now, but great motivation to actually start and do it! ...more
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Justin Kuhl
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty easy read. I definitely pulled some wisdom from each chapter. I appreciate that Jon included some action steps for each chapter in the back of the book. These will be a handy cheat sheet to refer back to instead of having to read entire chapters again.
Juliann Rager
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kristen Rinaldo
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be inspiring, funny and applicable to my life. I am on my way to find my own awesome! (I also have some fear to punch in the face, LOL)
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Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of six books, including his most recent Wall Street Journal #1 Bestseller, "Finish: Give yourself the gift of done."

Published in more than a dozen languages, his work is both critically acclaimed and adored by readers. After reading "Do Over," marketing legend Seth Godin wrote in his endorsement, "This is the best career book ever written. I'm not

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71 likes · 11 comments
“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.” 28 likes
“People are mistaken when they think chasing your dream is a selfish thing to do. As if perhaps being average is an act of humility. As if perhaps wasting the talents you were given is proof that you're a considerate individual.

It's not.”
More quotes…