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Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competit ion

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More uncommon common sense from the bestselling author of The Art of the Start .

In Silicon Valley slang, a “bozo explosion” is what causes a lean, mean, fighting machine of a company to slide into mediocrity. As Guy Kawasaki puts it, “If the two most popular words in your company are partner and strategic , and partner has become a verb, and strategic is used to describe decisions and activities that don’t make sense” . . . it’s time for a reality check.

For nearly three decades, Kawasaki has earned a stellar reputation as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and irreverent pundit. His 2004 bestseller, The Art of the Start , has become the most acclaimed bible for small business. And his blog is consistently one of the fifty most popular in the world.

Now, Kawasaki has compiled his best wit, wisdom, and contrarian opinions in handy book form. From competition to customer service, innovation to marketing, he shows readers how to ignore fads and foolishness while sticking to commonsense practices. He explains, for

• How to get a standing ovation
• The art of schmoozing
• How to create a community
• The top ten lies of entrepreneurs
• Everything you wanted to know about getting a job in Silicon Valley but didn’t know who to ask

Provocative, useful, and very funny, this “no bull shiitake” book will show you why readers around the world love Guy Kawasaki.

496 pages, Hardcover

First published October 30, 2008

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About the author

Guy Kawasaki

46 books2,592 followers
I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1954. My family lived in a tough part of Honolulu called Kalihi Valley. We weren’t rich, but I never felt poor-because my mother and father made many sacrifices for my sister and me. My mother was a housewife, and my father was a fireman, real estate broker, state senator, and government official during his long, distinguished career.

I attended Iolani School where I graduated in 1972. Iolani is not as well known as its rival, Punahou because no presidents of the U. S. went there, but I got a fantastic and formative education there. (Punahou is “USC,” and Iolani is “Stanford”—but I digress.) I pay special tribute to Harold Keables, my AP English teacher.He taught me that the key to writing is editing. No one in the universe would be more shocked that I have written ten books (or one book ten times) than Harold Keables.

After Iolani, I matriculated to Stanford; I graduated in 1976 with a major in psychology—which was the easiest major I could find. I loved Stanford. I sometimes wish I could go back in time to my undergraduate days “on the farm.”

After Stanford, I attended the law school at U.C. Davis because, like all Asian-American parents, my folks wanted me to be a “doctor, lawyer, or dentist.” I only lasted one week because I couldn’t deal with the law school teachers telling me that I was crap and that they were going to remake me.

The following year I entered the MBA program at UCLA. I liked this curriculum much better. While there, I worked for a fine-jewelry manufacturer called Nova Stylings; hence, my first real job was literally counting diamonds. From Nova, its CEO Marty Gruber, and my Jewish colleagues in the jewelry business, I learned how to sell, and this skill was vital to my entire career.

I remained at Nova for a few years until the the Apple II removed the scales from my eyes. Then I went to work for an educational software company called EduWare Services. However, Peachtree Software acquired the company and wanted me to move to Atlanta. “I don’t think so.” I can’t live in a city where people call sushi “bait.”

Luckily, my Stanford roommate, Mike Boich, got me a job at Apple; for giving me my chance at Apple, I owe Mike a great debt. When I saw what a Macintosh could do, the clouds parted and the angels started singing. For four years I evangelized Macintosh to software and hardware developers and led the charge against world-wide domination by IBM. I also met my wife Beth at Apple during this timeframe—Apple has been very good to me.

Around 1987, my job at Apple was done. Macintosh had plenty of software by then, so I left to start a Macintosh database company called ACIUS. It published a product called 4th Dimension. To this day, 4th Dimension remains a great database.

I ran ACIUS for two years and then left to pursue my bliss of writing, speaking, and consulting. I’ve written for Macuser, Macworld, and Forbes. I call these the “Wonder Years” as in “I wonder how I came to deserve such a good life.”

In 1989, I started another software company called Fog City Software with three of the best co-founders in the world: Will Mayall, Kathryn Henkens, and Jud Spencer. We created an email product called Emailer which we sold to Claris and then a list server product called LetterRip.

In 1995 I returned to Apple as an Apple fellow. At the time, according to the pundits, Apple was supposed to die. (Apple should have died about ten times in the past twenty years according to the pundits.) My job on this tour of duty was to maintain and rejuvenate the Macintosh cult.

A couple years later, I left Apple to start an angel investor matchmaking service called Garage.com with Craig Johnson of Venture Law Group and Rich Karlgaard of Forbes. Version 2.0 of Garage.com was an investment bank for helping entrepreneurs raise money from venture capitalists. Today, version 3.0 of Garage.com is called Garage Technology Ven

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 100 reviews
436 reviews15 followers
March 12, 2009
I was skeptical of this book because the author, Guy Kawasaki, is a member of the Silicon Valley pundit class of which I am always skeptical. He also seems to be a member of the subspecies that has coasted for the last 20 years based on one gig at one high-profile company; the Bay Area tech community is overflowing with people who answered phones for a few years at Microsoft, Sun, etc. and have since parlayed that into a vague executive bio and a string of 80 failed startups. I actually enjoyed this book, though. His straightforward, conversational style is well-suited to the material. He is also one of the only authors in the universe who understands that it's OK to have a two-page chapter when you only have two pages worth of stuff to say on a subject. Overly long chapters in nonfiction are a pet peeve of mine, because it makes it impossible to skip around to parts you care about, so I applaud Kawasaki for giving his book a structure that is USEFUL to the reader. On the content side, it covers the whole spectrum from enlightening to mindnumbing, but, per the previous point, you can easily skip the weak parts (or the parts that don't apply to you) without losing the thread. I think the title of the book is a good summary: most of the insights are commonsensical, but in practice Silicon Valley entrepreneurs all seem to lose their common sense, and this book would make a good refresher on the basics for when you've gone off the reservation.
361 reviews66 followers
November 20, 2012
Guy Kawasaki is an entertaining writer, a curious mind, and most important, a straight shooter.
So much of business, especially the business press, is filled with abstract hype. Cheerleading for a specific style of doing things, or reverse engineering the possible causes of some outcome --- but without including all of the information about people who took the same steps, but did not come up with the outcome described. Basically, much of the business press --- especially the popular stuff, is nice sounding and made to sell, but it's not going to change entrepreneurs or managers for the better.

"Reality Check" on the other hand, is all extremely practical. It's a lot like The Knack but with so much more information about so many more topics.

Most of Kawasaki's advice boils down to:
* Don't run out of cash
* Create Badass Products that customers want to buy
* Put yourself out there and always tell the truth
* Keep releasing more and more badass products

Of course Kawasaki does it in a fun and interesting way. You'll laugh out loud several times during the course of the read. There are so many useful sections that go into detail about how to handle specific circumstances that my copy is now full of sticky note reminders and I'll reference it often. Most of the best sections are available as blog posts on the authors site, blog.guykawasaki.com

My favorite sections included, all of which happen to be available online as blog posts:
* Art of Financial Projections (cut the entrepreneur's sales forecast by 90%, don't get expenses wrong)
* The actual"Redfin" numbers to use as the baseline for your own financial projections
* Guy's process of building a Web2.0 site for $12K
* Stupid Ways to Hinder Market Adoption --- Use this checklist anytime you launch something
* Art of Branding: Take the opposite test and Examine the Bounce-Back
* Frame or Be Framed: Be True to Yourself
* Tam's Art Gallery: DO ONE THING WELL
* Art of Distribution: Obey the law of big numbers
* Art of Evangelism: Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Elegant, Emotive. LEARN TO GIVE A GREAT DEMO
* DIY PR: The Rolodex is already online. See journalists own blogs, LinkedIn and JigSaw. Make time for it!
* Straight from the Press's Mouth --- re-read before talking with the press. Do research on WHO you are talking to
* How to get a standing ovation: Practice and speak all the time. Give the speech 20 times to get good at it. Focus on being entertaining. Overdress. Tell stories. Speak at the start of the event.
* Art of Blogging: Think BOOK not Diary
* What's your EQ (Entrepreneurial Quotient) --- I got 17. Result: " Your score is high, so you can focus on doing, not learning"

Additionally, Kawasaki provided several good book references and summaries:
- The Sticking Point: Creating a message that people remember (See: Made to Stick
--- Simple: a single, clear mission
--- Unexpected: a man on the moon, sounds like sci-fi
--- Concrete: success was defined so clearly. a man on the moon this decade
--- Credible: it was the president of the USA speaking
--- Emotional: appealed to the aspirations of the citizens
--- Story: astronaut overcomes great obstacles, becomes classic hero story
- The relationship between Evangelism and Stickiness: See MacIntosh Way
- The purest form of Engineering: See iWoz
- Are you an Egomanic? See: Egonomics
- The No Asshole Rule: See No Asshole Rule
Profile Image for C.
1,101 reviews1,046 followers
October 9, 2011
Another of Guy Kawasaki’s excellent handbooks for startups. He dispels many myths and provides practical steps to starting and growing a business. The chapters are short but thought-provoking, and will enhance your “entrepreneurial quotient” whether you sell products or services.

Kawasaki expands on the lessons of The Art of the Start, which I found very worthwhile (read my review). In addition to his ample firsthand experience, Kawasaki includes interviews with experts, research from recent studies, and wisdom from popular books. I liked the advice on starting, executing, innovating, marketing, and selling. I skimmed the chapters that aren’t yet applicable to me: fund raising, hiring and firing, and managing.

Raising money
“Venture capital is something to do at the end of your career, not the beginning. It should be your last job, not your first.” You need real-world experience, ideally in engineering or sales.

Planning & executing
A business plan should take less than 1 week to write and be less than 20 pages. Write deliberate, act emergent: write as if you know what you’re going to do, but execute flexibly to react to new information and opportunities.

The primary goal of a startup: don’t run out of money.

• Cash flow is more important than profitability.
• Ship when the product/service is good enough, then improve it.
• Focus on function over form.

• Build something that you want to use.
• Make meaning. Enable people to do old things better, do things they always wanted to do, and do things they never knew they wanted to do.
• Don’t worry, be crappy. Don’t wait for perfection; the first version can be crappy.
• Don’t stay crappy. Improve every version.
• Don’t be afraid to polarize. Create great products that make segments of people very happy, even if it makes other segments unhappy.

• The purpose of innovation is not cool products but happy people.
• To be successful, be the sole provider of something people really want.

The most powerful ideas in business are the ones that set forth an agenda for reform and renewal - the ones that turn a company into a cause: strategy as advocacy. Reshape the sense of what’s possible for customers.

• The most important lesson of marketing/branding: do one thing well.
• The foundation of successful branding is to create an excellent product/service.

Selling & evangelizing
• Sales fix everything. Sales means cash, and cash means you can fix your team, technology, and marketing.
• People don’t buy revolutions. They buy aspirins to fix the pain or vitamins to supplement their lives.

• Give people value and they’ll want to return the favor.
• Every time someone thanks you, immediately ask for a testimonial or referral.

• Reciprocation. Take care of your customer, and they’ll take care of you.
• Scarcity. It’s easier to sell your product if people perceive it as popular and in short supply.
• Authority. The customer will believe in you if you’re knowledgeable.
• Liking. Customers will only buy from you if they like you.
• Consensus. Customers are more likely to buy when everyone around them is buying your product.
• Don’t point fingers, just fix the problem.

• It’s not what you know or who you know, but who knows you.
• Ask good questions and listen.
• Unveil your passions.
• Follow up.
• Give favors, return favors, and ask for favors.
• Make small talk to discover common interests and experiences.

Sucking up
• Appeal to empathy. Take advantage of people’s desire to help an underdog.
• Provide present or future value.
• Thank for what you’ve already received.
• Give favors.
Profile Image for Tom.
28 reviews34 followers
December 25, 2012
Kawasaki, Guy (2008) Reality Check, Portfolio, The Penguin Group, New York, NY. This book is a bible for Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs. Read it, enjoy it, and put its advice into practice in your startup. Guy Kawasaki tells it like it is and is a great source of insight into what goes on behind the scenes in Silicon Valley.
Profile Image for Lucy.
132 reviews1 follower
September 14, 2017
Škoda papíru! Je to kompilát všech knih, které kdy Kawasaki napsal. Pokud jste už nějkou knížku od něj četli, tahle bude jen nudné opakování. Pokud jste od něj nic nečtli doporučuji spíš The Art of the Start.
Profile Image for Aaron.
2 reviews1 follower
February 1, 2013
This book is like a bible for entrepreneurs. The first and only read is never sufficient as the book has too many takeaways. When relevant situation permits, you will flip through this book again and again just to grasp your reality.

Straight to the point and plenty of tough needed love. 5 stars for the comprehensive information.
11 reviews
October 2, 2011
While the focus is on Apple, Silicon Valley, tech firms, and start ups, Guy Kawasaki shares many gems of wisdom for those out to change the world or help a nonprofit succeed.
Profile Image for Fachry Bafadal.
20 reviews15 followers
April 13, 2012
This book slaps your face and wake you up to check the reality! Really worth to read!
Profile Image for Eskay Theaters & Smart Homes.
431 reviews22 followers
April 2, 2022
Focused on the Silicon Valley/VC world and their unique vernacular, it offers little to regular 'main street' businesses. But an entertaining read nonetheless!
110 reviews12 followers
June 30, 2018
tl;dr - It's easier to monetize a book than a blog

Caveat: I read this as an audiobook, so what I gleaned is different than if I'd read it.

The first forward was enough to tell me this is a brogrammer's roadmap for the brogrammer's daydream: be rich and feel smart. Not an auspicious beginning.

The middle and the end didn't get much better. Clocking in at a hundred chapters, it was clearly 20+ months of weekly blog posts printed out and bound together with a staple. The chapters written by the author himself sound like the 'Mark Beaks' character in the rebooted Duck Tales. (That's not a compliment.)

The chapters that are actually Q&A with other people the author knows, are much better. I didn't always agree with their assessment of the topic, but they were clear and focused and deserved to be heard as an expert on that topic. If you couldn't just search out and read those blog posts online, I might bump the book to 3/5 for those contributions to the book. But they're out there so I'm not.

Ultimately, the book presents entrepreneurship as the "jan ken pon" problem. Money is easy to come by, but ideas are hard. But Ideas are easy, it's implementation that's hard. But Implementation is easy, except getting money is hard. Which is why the trick, such as it is, is not to find the magic bullet but to admit the paradox and just start working.

nota bene: It's not fair, but being a 10 year old book about how to make it in Silicon Valley means you get to listen to the author wax eloquently about MySpace and Yahoo! and never about Amazon and Facebook. This delivers irony and warning in equal measure.
Profile Image for Sarah.
256 reviews4 followers
October 19, 2020
I'm glad it said "irreverent" on the cover, so I knew what to expect! Kawasaki's compendium of tidbits is best digested a slice at a time, which is well, since that's how it's structured. His humor is palpable, his openness genuine. His diverse interviewees reflect attention to lifelong learning, and anyone may take something of value away from this book, for entrepreneurship, for business in general, or for life. Kawasaki covers a breadth of topics from pitching an idea, to raising capital, to group psychology (the famed Philip Zimbardo, creator of the iconic Stanford Prisoner Experiment, makes an appearance), to finding meaning in one's work and life (Nobel Peace Prize winner Jerry White also makes an appearance). The work has a significant bend toward tech, and toward entrepreneurship, but, as mentioned, many of its lessons are much bigger than that.
Profile Image for Blake.
19 reviews
December 10, 2017
At the end of the book, Guy shares a commencement speech he gave 10 years prior to writing the book. I think he should have opened with this, as most of the advice seemed geared towards newly graduated young professionals. While there were a few good takeaways, if a business owner, a manager, or an employee over 30 doesn’t grasp 99% of these concepts intuitively, the book is most likely to go in one ear and out their other.

3 Stars due to the lack of mind-altering concepts and the incessant lists made it very difficult to stay engaged.

This book would have been better were it half the length.
Profile Image for Adam.
854 reviews20 followers
March 28, 2018
If I wanted to be a serious entrepreneur (think s-corp or c-corp level, not LLC) this is a fabulous, fabulous book to get the right strategy and expectations. It really is a mini-MBA in a book. It's comprehensive and thorough, while also being succinct. I'd say this is the better book to read than Art of the Start, but you should probably go to both for reference.
6 reviews
October 5, 2020

This bloke is on the board of Canva : thieves & liars. They stole a years subscription from me & refuse to respond to ANY support requests.

See their trustpilot rating - https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/canv...

So, basing my rating on his actions rather than his BS.

Avoid anything related to this chump. Liar & Hypocrite.
Profile Image for Martin Phelan.
2 reviews1 follower
May 16, 2018
Guy is very honest and provides in-depth experiences and interviews for insights into the lessons he teaches. It’s a must-read for those interested in entrepreneurship or facing challenges in following the entrepreneurial path.
Profile Image for Whitney.
36 reviews
June 5, 2017
Great advice, not wild about the format. Give it a bit and you'll surely find relatable and necessary business advice.
Profile Image for J. King.
Author 3 books4 followers
March 24, 2019
This book has a lot of good advise but is too big and now feels dated. Not worth reading IMO
Profile Image for Brad Duncan.
24 reviews
July 12, 2019
Great read for business leaders and entrepreneurs...and aspiring professionals.
Profile Image for Marius CEO.
101 reviews6 followers
June 14, 2021
Reality check: not great! not that irreverent! not that much better than any other book on start-ups and fast moving companies.
Profile Image for J.D. Lasica.
Author 7 books43 followers
August 12, 2009
I've long followed the writings of Guy Kawasaki, the heralded Apple evangelist-emeritus-for-life. When we finally met at the recent Web 2.0 Summit, he surprised me by handing me a copy of his fresh-off-the-presses book, Reality Check: The irreverent guide to outsmarting, outmanaging and outmarketing your competition. So disclosure: I have a soft spot for authors who know how to leverage the blogosphere.

A reality check is exactly what the tech industry needs at this time of economic turmoil, and Kawasaki provides it in droves, spinning out bits of wisdom gleaned from 20 years as an industry insider and venture capitalist. Indeed, this is a book filled with bits, from the multitude of snappy 3-page chapters to the torrent of bullet points that rain down upon the Short Attention Span Generation.

Reality Check is geared chiefly toward newbie entrepreneurs who want to know the rules of the road in the Valley: the rules of how to put together a PowerPoint presentation, the rules of what to say (and not say) at a job interview or a VC meeting, the art of bootstrapping your startup, the art of creating a community or influencing people. Kawasaki has seen and heard it all, and while the book could have benefited from more anecdotes attached to real names, he offers enough advice in these 474 pages that even wizened tech veterans could glean some pointers.

The book is sprinkled with Q&As conducted with tech executives and thought leaders, and one wonders if some choices would have been different if the opportunity arose (for instance, I read the interview with the head of Yahoo!'s global human resource team on the day Yahoo! laid off 1,500 workers). But for every near-miss there are more than a few gems.

The author taps into the Zeitgeist of the Valley by reminding us that the founders behind many of the seminal companies of our time, like Google, started out by trying to solve a problem, not trying to launch a multinational corporation. Start small, stay simple, underhire, be conservative in your projections. It's at once Zenlike, lyrical and practical. Kawasaki is also a funny guy, lacing the book with wit and a liberal dose of the word "asshole."

While people running small companies, department heads, team managers and coders seem the most likely audience for Reality Check, big brands could take away a few lessons as well. Kathleen Gasperini, co-founder of Label Networks, observes smartly in one passage:

>Millions of dollars are wasted only to result in brand backlash, which takes millions more to undo. Many large brands or agencies can't see beyoind the thirty-second TV pitch. "But how do I reach them?" they ask. There are so many ways. You can walk right past a big idea if you have your cultural blinders on.

>These top-down companies are running with blinders on into a future that has a huge cliff. Grass roots and bottom-up is the most authentic way to go, and you can do this much faster than in the past, given the speed of communication and viral marketing. But you can't try to be cool and grassroots if it's not true and real. Grass roots takes being out in the marketplace—being there, in their lives, and relevant.

One bit of advice that I strongly disagree with appears in the chapter on blogging. "Think of your blog as a product," Kawasaki writes. Don't express "your spontaneous thoughts and feelings." Perhaps someone as high profile as Kawasaki needs to guard his public image, but for the rest of us in the blogosphere, honest and spontaneous is far superior to regimented and productized.

So, in summary: Planning to start a new venture or trying to reinvent a hidebound corporate culture? Read Reality Check to kick-start your sensibilities and heed Kawasaki's lifetime of business lessons distilled in these fast-paced pages.
Profile Image for Loy Machedo.
233 reviews193 followers
September 23, 2013
There are rare moments when you come across a book that has so much of content, logic & wisdom squeezed into its pages, you do not feel you have done justice to the book by reading it just once. Books like The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, The Element by Sir Ken Robinson and Influence by Robert Cialdini. To my biggest surprise, I would be adding Guy Kawasaki to this list - at least for now.

Who is Guy Kawasaki
No, he is not the founder of Kawasaki Speed Bikes or the Owner of the Brand Kawasaki.
Guy Kawasaki born August 30, 1954 is a Silicon Valley author, speaker, investor and business advisor. He was one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984. He was also a co-founder of Garage Technology Ventures and a news aggregation site called Alltop. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Among the 12 books he has authored, on Amazon.com the top 5 most reviewed are:
1. APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to publish a book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch,
2. Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions,
3. The Art of Start
4. What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us
5. Rules For Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services by Guy Kawasaki and Michele Moreno

Reality Check - The Review
This book is a Must have Bible for anyone who wants to move into the Shark Infested Seas of Entrepreneurship. The book has 95 chapters - each one containing not one but many nuggets of valuable advice that if I were to start a detailed analysis, I will end up making this review itself into a book. However, I will just touch upon the overview of what stood out in my mind.

Kawasaki, includes in the book
1. How to raise money from Venture Capitalists
2. What to say and what not to say when in a business meeting with Potential Investors
3. Bullshit given by CEO's Partners, Investors, Lawyers & Entrepreneurs
4. Financial Plans, Predictions and Pitfalls of such exercises
5. How to cut down expenses
6. Tips on Branding, Social Media, Presentations, Networking, Blogging and Making Ideas Stick
7. Tips on Evangelizing, Selling, Handling PR, Sending Email Communication and Career Guidance
8. The Art of Schmoozing, Sucking Down, Sucking Up, Hiring, Firing, Defensibility and Dealing with Mavericks
9. Silicon Valley - Stuff you didn't know, how to get a job, Hiring, Firing,
10. Humorous yet profound bits on Bozo Explosion, The No-Asshole Rule, Being an Egomaniac and Why Smart People & Smart Companies do Dumb Things


I know. That in itself is quite a lot. So imagine what would you say after you had read this book?

So moment of truth
You must buy this book even if you are not planning to start your own business. Why?
Because this book really makes you think and gives you the street smart and the wisdom you wish someone had shared with you at some point of your life.

Overall Rating - 9 out of 10

Loy Machedo
loy machedo dot com | whoisloymachedo dot com
Profile Image for Filip Kis.
55 reviews9 followers
August 4, 2016
I would recommend everybody that is into entrepreneurship (and not only, but it's hard to speak for others as I'm biased) to read this book - twice. First right away to get the initial understanding of how things really (thus the name) work and then few months/years later to see how much of advice you've ignored :-/

I read it only as the second case, having been entrepreneur-ing for more than 4 years. And I wished I read it back than, 4 years ago, when I bought the book. Oh damn laziness.

The main takeaway points for me was:

1) Build a great product/service that brings value to people and everything else will be easier. OK, this might seem obvious, but the point is, focus on actually doing it - don't get cought up in glamour of fund-rasing as it's not really as glamorous as it seems. Having an idea is of course not enough, but neither is having money, experience or the best team. It's a complex system, but if you follow the principles of doing it lean, trying to learn the basics of marketing and sales + build the first version, you increase the chances of success.

2) Build a good network, but use it smartly. Cold calls rarely work, thus the key of getting from others what you want or need is good connections. And this is very normal in business world (though we in Balkan have a strange view towards it, as it's overshadowed by nepotism). However, don't expect just because you met a business start that they'll be immediately interested to help (even if they say so). Instead, the law of reciprocity works best - find a way to help others and they will want to help you.

3) Under promise and over deliver.

4) Do things that bring you joy, not happiness. In other words, find something that you like and do that. If you open your mind to (constantly) learning, allow yourself to be creative and be a little bit humble, you can at minimum make a living by doing what you like and at most change the world.

These are the things I can remember without having the book in front of me.

What I also liked was that the book was joy to read - not an over repetitive American style, but rather concise, to the point (though it's a big book, but it has 80 chapters, on average 5-6 pages long). Also, there are many interviews from authors of related literature and this gives another (sometimes even competing) point of view which makes the book more credible and Guy more humble in my eyes.
Profile Image for Robert.
187 reviews67 followers
December 10, 2008
Readers will welcome the use of bold face to highlight key points. This device will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of those key points later. I especially appreciate the inclusion of several interviews throughout the lively narrative. They include those of Fred Greguras on key legal issues in raising funds (Pages 51-59), Chip and Dan Heath on why only a few innovations "stick" and most don't (Pages 130-138), Kathleen Gasperini on marketing to young people (Pages 168-175), Garr Reynolds on mastering the "Presentation Zen" approach (Pages 209-214), Robert Cialdini on the art and science of effective persuasion (Pages 243-250, Libby Sartain shares her perspectives on the recruiting process (Pages 314-317), Penelope Trunk offers "radically different" advice on career planning and management (Pages 318-325), Philip Zimbardo explains the factors that shape human behavior (e.g. how people adopt and adapt to given roles (Pages 359-365), David Marcum and Steven Smith explain why the ego can be one's greatest asset...or most expensive liability (Pages 393-400), David Bornstein explains what social entrepreneurship is and how it can change the world (Pages 428-435), Richard Stearns provides insights into the transition from the corporate to the non-profit world and shares lessons to be learned from an association that raises billions of dollars every year (Pages 36-441), and Jerry White explains how to overcome a "life crisis" (Pages 442-448). Note the variety of subjects covered during Kawasaki's interviews. They correctly suggest the scope and diversity of his interests.
November 25, 2009
FANTASTIC! Really irreverent, but soooooo true! In my experience starting companies, selling companies, living through a poor acquisition and subsequent failure of a company, turning around a suddenly failing company, as an employee, sales person, cash manager for a newly public company, marketing publication author, being personal friends with big VC guys, as well as what I now term "angel investor" (thanks Guy!)and consulting for other small businesses, I am laughing and agreeing with Guy on every page!

I am also learning a lot. Much of the VC world is unknown to me as we did not attempt to solicit investors, but started companies the old fashioned way: with very little money, with no salary, with very little tangible resources, determined to get quickly to self-sustainable, and then on to a steady salary and profitability. However, it's not that much of a mystery, according to the author.

Very practical advice is freely and liberally given. I love the direct way the author writes. So many highly educated people make business uber complicated, as if technical theories and strategies are the way to gain extreme success. In my opionion, we sometimes forget that all marketing and sales are directed towards people, and people buy because of certain reasons, especially emotions.

But waaaaay too much about me and my thoughts. READ THIS BOOK if you want to gain a better understanding of our culture here in Silicon Valley.

Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,546 followers
October 17, 2016
As promised earlier this week, here are my reviews of two more Kawasaki books.
Reality Check (2008) starts off as an updated mash-up of Rules for Revolutionaries and The Art of the Start – there are entire chapters from each republished here. To be honest, this put me off a bit because I was expecting all new material and wasn’t warned of this recycling on the cover or in the introduction. Not that the advice isn’t sound, it was just annoying to re-read the chapters almost word for word. If you haven’t read anything from Guy, I’d hesitate between recommending The Art of the Start or Reality Check. The former is a really fast, extremely motivating read. The latter is longer and probably less of a kick in the ass to be honest. Actually, I thought that the first half of Reality leaned rather too heavily on Rules and Art but that the second half became more original and enticing. I did really like the Reality of Selling and Evangelizing, Communicating, Beguiling, Competing and Working. The chapters that really stood out for me: Chapter 48 Speaking as a Performing Art, Chapter 71 Career Guidance for This Century and Chapter 81 Mavericks in the Workplace. There are loads of lists in here, some of which should be committed to memory. But, I have to admit that I preferred the more dynamic style and more homogenous format of Art of the Start with the assessments and exercises and chapter bibliographies…some of the old and some of the new…
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