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The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics
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The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  380 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The famed political advisor to Uber, FanDuel, Lemonade, Tesla and other startups reveals what really happens at the intersection of politics, tech and business

Most new startups today are in highly regulated industries with strong incumbents - transportation, hotels, drones, energy, gaming, education, health care, cannabis, finance, liquor, insurance. The more startups try
...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Portfolio
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  380 ratings  ·  47 reviews


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Ryan
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Basically four hours of marketing for Tusk (himself, his consulting firm, his venture firm, and his clients), but did include interesting info about how Uber, Fanduel, and some political issues were fought. While I strongly disagree with his pretty generic leftist (and enough inside a bubble or self serving that he doesn't even think about it), but it's more about tactics than issues, except for his (misguided) advocacy of mobile direct voting. ...more
huzeyfe
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
First read of the year!

I bought this book last year to know how to protect our start-up from political battles. Because as Bradley Tusk well said "When you disrupt someone, in industry or politics, they don't thank you for it. They punch you in the face." However, funnily enough, I did not have enough time when we were dealing with internal battles. After a peaceful and relaxing festive season, I thought it is a good idea to continue and finish this book before starting a new one.

Here is the key
...more
Mehrsa
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I guess this is the guy you want to hire if you want to help businesses get around regulation--though he doesn't mention that part where Uber actually and flagrantly broke the law. The insights into the boys club of NY politics is interesting as is the gross sausage-making of politics. It was a pretty honest view of how companies win political battles. ...more
Frank Stein
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
On the very first page of this book, there are two inexcusable cliches: "raining cats and dogs" and "ninth circle of hell" (referring to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport). Those almost made me close the book right away. Yet although the writing may not shine, the book actually offers a wonderful look at modern politics, from someone who worked for some of the biggest names in that business Ed Rendell, Chuck Schumer, Mike Bloomberg, (lamentably) Rod Blagojevich, and others.

Bradley Tusk correctly notes
...more
Lorenzo Barberis Canonico
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Bradley Tusk is the kind of mofo I like!

Very short and to the point, just like the narratives behind his amazingly successful campaigns against cronies, entrenched lobbies, and hypocritical politicians.

Regulatory capture is arguably the single biggest barrier that prevents tech innovation and capitalism from working their magic in improving people's lives, and Tusk does a fantastic job showing how and why it's so important and valuable to take on corrupt regulators.
...more
Shayla Rose-Buie
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Maybe it’s my own fault, but I was hoping for a little more insight into “saving startups” from “politics”. This book is the memoir of a guy who essentially had unlimited funds (millions and millions of dollars) to use to fight the government. There’s no talk of startups until halfway through the book; the first half reads like a gossip magazine, with a bunch of tangential details about the personalities and quirks of the various politicians Tusk worked for prior to starting his company. “Rich g ...more
Tasos Manouras
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice and interesting read.

The book itself feels more like part of the ecosystem of Tusk ventures rather than an actual autobiography.

Still the author does a great job keeping it fast paced, providing enough information without being tiring, describing both his wins and losses and ending it with a nice note of what he believes the future should hold for disrupting industries or systems.

Furthermore, it is a really interesting perspective learning how disruptive companies need politics/politicia
...more
Stuart Miller
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-cpl-copy
A cynical but practical look at how politicians think and act--and how this can be used to a new business' advantage when faced with regulatory or legal hurdles. Tusk describes his experiences both positive and negative; his stint as deputy governor working for Rod Blagojevich is a real eye-opener as his work for Uber and Tesla, among others. A quick read--I got through this in 4-5 hours. ...more
Nicholas
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really liked it. The combo space of start-ups and political strategy is not something I've read a lot about, and this book is tells his story both in politics and as an adviser for start-ups. The most famous examples were running Bloomberg's third campaign, and advising Uber against DeBlasio. ...more
David Levin
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. A non-fiction page turner. When do you get to say that? Interesting, illuminating. Highly recommended.
Elan
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: startups
Entertaining & informative book about Bradley Tusk's Career in Politics & Experience helping startups face political challenges.

Anything is possible with the right team, strategy & execution.
...more
H. P.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
Repetitive at times, and the early political memoir and later half-baked policy proposal sections are meh, but the crunchy middle on startups handling regulation is worth the price of admission.
Michael Huang
This is clearly an ad-posting-as-political-memoir. And it certainly has the suspicion of much self-aggrandizement. But if you ignore those points, it does show a side of politicians not often discussed — how they chicken out.

• Anthony Weiner was considered Bloomberg’s biggest threat to his re-election. The author dug up political dirt (he was doing pay-to-play) and run ads in Weiner’s zip code. This intimated him enough so that he didn’t even run. (again, never mind about the validity of the co
...more
Jordan Schneider
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brutal on De Blasio and Schumer.

Nice little typology of politicians: “rare breed (ie Bloomberg) who actually want to get things done, typical pol (try to validate their insecurities through attention), ideologue (true believer, tea parties etc), ‘I’m just happy to be here’ (backbenchers who don’t do much), ‘corrupt pol’”

Hispanic voters in Bloomberg’s third campaign for mayor don’t like him because he reminds them of dictators back home.

Engineers don’t have the interest/background/mindset to unde
...more
Brian
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Fixer is a fun and fascinating look at the life of Bradley Tusk who grew up in the political arena working for people like Bloomberg and Blagojevic (nothing like diametrically opposed leadership styles and administrations) before starting his own business helping start ups navigate the tricky waters of local government. His biggest and most famous client was Uber as it battled the taxis to try and survive as a startup. Tusk takes the reader through many other startups and his time in various ...more
Alex
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sorting through regulations

Nothing happens unless you make it happen

Lobbying & Life:
-If it happens in NYC, then everyone will see it and it will set an example
—don’t let regulatory actions come into being in NYC or it’ll happen elsewhere too
-Tusk Ventures: good place to go for moving through regulatory industry
-Control the flow of attention to control politics
-Press can’t make it to your event? Go to them.
-Ask for as much as you can
-Radical transparency: show progress including failure towards e
...more
Kevin Collett
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It’s very well written and easy to read.

It also provides an interesting perspective on business from a political / regulatory angle too. I’d like to hope that most people in government are not quite as self-serving / self-interested as Bradley makes out but, as Bradley has had far more exposure to these characters than me, he is far better-placed to make this assessment.

I do agree with Bradley that we need higher voter turnout to move politics back towards the centre ground
...more
Scott Wozniak
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's 2/3 personal memoir and 1/3 advice on dealing with the politics of business. I'd give it 3 stars for usefulness. Most businesses don't run into regulation and legal barriers, and for those that do he gives general advice, not tactical how to advice. I'm not surprised, his company does the how to for clients, so he wants you to hire him to do that part. But it was good to know the overall strategy. What bumped it to four stars was his colorful storytelling. He dramatizes everything and has a ...more
Vasco
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The bad: Nothing in particular.

The good: Very different from the "usual" startup book. Tusk and his firm provide a unique approach to venture investing, with a clear value proposition to their ventures. The book is well-written and Tusk's background and expertise is well established, and which serves as a segue to his work with startups. Although there are only four startup examples, they cover very different areas and illustrate the possibilities of pushing regulatory/legislative boundaries as
...more
Karen
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes I sit back and wonder how some startups managed to challenge the biggest cities in the world and win against all odds - this book gives you a pretty clear sense of how. As a Canadian, understanding the nuances in American politics (elected senior bureaucratic roles vs appointed) was a real aha moment. All in all a fascinating book and funny to hear from someone who was in the trenches in pivotal moments of history (9/11, Uber battles, corruption scandals, etc). I also really loved the ...more
Cindy
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
This author tells it like it is...and if how he sees it is true its a pretty depressing reality of our political system.... but he sure knows how to get stuff done. Lots of lessons in this book whether or not you need to work with politicians but if you lead a company that intersects with any political factions or you are trying to disrupt almost any traditional industry you need to read this one. And, as a side benefit it is also rather entertaining.
Tom Nastas
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting read, how politics (gov't) impacts startups' scaling efforts. Bradley gives details on how to solve issues impacting companies as they work to deploy their business model to the market.

At the same time, this book is a sad tale to how politicians/gov't and entrenched companies use laws and regulations to halt progress––and a sad tale to the huge amounts of $$ spent to overcome.
...more
Travis Scher
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.”

The most important message in Brad Tusk’s The Fixer is: Startups that don’t play the political game will get whipped by powerful incumbents. This book teaches you the basics of the game. It’s entertaining, concise, and educational. Highly recommended for all startup execs and founders.
Evan
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal. I’m in sales, and my favorite practice — which proves to be a white whale — is strategic relationship & decision making influentials, such as applying game theory to win a decision in a more controlled manner than just “selling.” Tusk has built a multi-millon dollar business out of that strategic approach, niche of politics. A top 2018 business read.
Maksym Markov
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
It is pretty nice memoir style book - easy to read and covers fresh events. As it is common for memoir, the major flaw is that everything is too smooth, too politically correct and too nice (after all all people mentioned are alive and can be very powerful). So if you are interested about real details of Uber or Fantasy Sport legislation fight, search for something else.
Ashutosh SHUKLA
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
An account of Bradley Tusk's idea of a new uncharted territory of doing business i.e. a Blue Ocean of taking cash/equity from upcoming start-ups to help them glide over political hurdles...The most popular adventure being from Uber. Overall a quick n interesting read...most information is good to know..and serves the purpose of reading to an extent of 3/5 ...more
Jac
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was not at all what I was expecting, but it was quite entertaining if at times infuriating - "and then I got a phone call asking me to be Deputy Governor!" I think the NY City Hall parts were my favorite, more insight into how to achieve useful things. Fascinating to see the small descriptions of Bloomberg in 2016 in the light of his 2020 run, as well. ...more
Dalan Mendonca
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Loved the first 3 sections. Last two sections are skippable (they're one big collection of case studies of his firm).

Total page turner and a breezy read. Really enjoyed the stories with fun/nasty details of what happens in the world of politics. Seeing some of the laws by which that world operates was revelatory to me
as a rationality/logic-oriented person.
...more
Simon Semelin
Jul 09, 2021 rated it liked it
In order to move a political status quo, sometimes you have to take new ways. Tusk serves as an example of unconventional ways to make things happen and can serve as a reference book for companies operating in complex setups.
Connor Anovick
Aug 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I am not sure how I would look at it in light of Tusk’s failure with the Andrew Yang Mayoral race. But when I read this I found this to be a fascinating and compelling exploration of how to persuade and mobilize people at scale.
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