For nearly three decades, Kawasaki has earned a stellar reputation as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and irreverent pundit. His best seller The Art of the Start has become the most acclaimed bible for small business. And his blog is consistently among the 50 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 instance:
Provocative, useful, and very funny, this straightforward book will show you why readers around the world love Guy Kawasaki.
©2008 Guy Kawasaki; (P)2008 Tantor
"Guy Kawasaki shares the lessons behind the scars of his entrepreneurial adventures and the wisdom he's gained in the process." (Dr. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life)
Now that you read the generic description the publisher wrote to get you to buy the book, I will give you an accurate depiction of Reality Check.
The subtitle focuses on the competition, but I felt that that this is misleading. This is really a book about how to launch a startup. So, in that context the title could make sense. Some of the content could apply to an established business, but this is not the focus. The book doesn't intend to be a how-to guide, but instead provides a smattering of frank do's and don'ts that touch on issues ranging from writing a business plan (or not), hiring lawyers, presenting, budgeting, forecasting, and even mingling. It details common pitfalls (if you can avoid even one of the pitfalls mentioned, it would be work the price of the book). I found the section on forecasting the first year's sales to be particularly useful. As a writer, Guy is no Malcom Gladwell, and some of his quips can be irritating (see bullshittake), but I would still recommend this book to anyone who is looking to start a business (especially with VC money).
This book has 94 chapters. I made it through about 65 of them. There aren't many books I really can't finish, but this was one of them.
Listening to "Reality Check" is like having someone read random business blog postings to you. Each chapter is essentially a list of advice in bullet point format. Kawasaki's advice in this book ranges from how to dress, how to send e-mail, how to schmooze, what Jackie Onassis would do, the reasons not to report workplace sexual harrassment, and what he thinks about epidurals during delivery.
He uses "orifice", "bozo", and "bullshiitake" so many times it gets wearisome. Likewise, there is one chapter on "the no A**hole Rule" and one on "Is your boss an A**hole". Not a lot of business value there.
To be fair, there are a handful interesting insights on startups and business strategy, but they are so buried in attempts to be clever and irreverent that it's difficult to find any of them.
I like Guy Kawasaki and really enjoyed "The Art of the Start", but unfortunately this book seems to include the entirely of that book along with a lot of ruminations and advice on random topics like e-mail etiquette, what makes someone an egomaniac, and how to dress for interviews. If you're interested in what he has to say, read "Art of the Start" or watch one of his videos on You Tube. It's hard to tell who is audience might be. If you really, really, really like him and can't get enough of his routine, this would be an enjoyable listen.
This is a great book on a broader range of topics than I imagined. He covers, in at least some detail, a wide range of topics all with an editorial flair and sense of humor. Highly recommend.
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