Guy Kawasaki - The Art of the Start 2.0 Book Review

Wendy Kelly
Mar 04, 2015

Guy Kawasaki's Updated Art of the Start 2.0 - Must Read

Art Of The Start

Guy Kawasaki wrote the original Art of the Start in 2004. A lot has changed in the ten years since the book was first published.

Social media 

One of the major changes is the advent of a little something called social media, which Guy excels at. Witness his recent book, written with Peg Fitzpatrick, called The Art of Social Media

new marketing new strategy

And in the newest version of the book, social media replaces PR, writing business plans are a waste of time (get a product and sell it!) and there are 64 new pages of information updated for a new age in business.

Read The Art of the Start - Don't Skim

This book is ideal for someone seriously thinking about starting "the next big thing". If I have any criticism of the book, it is simply that it sells itself as being about starting anything...and technically that's true. Much of what is in this book is applicable to many applications, from non-profit to simply starting a new project at home. 

However, much of the book details helpful, relevant advice and is chock full of practical applications and exercises, and many of these are geared to starting a new venture that's bigger than a little sole proprietorship.  In fact, here: Take the 21 question quiz on the book's website and see if you don't agree with me. There's a bit of a slant toward, well, toward what Guy Kawasaki knows most about. Questions about finance, capital, ownership of the corporation prevail. 

And that is a good thing. Too many business books rely on what boils down to little more than cheerleading and a "you can do this!" attitude, and lack the depth and practical advice that the Art of the Start 2.0 has plenty of.

Guy Kawasaki

Leadership is Learnable

That's the good news. The more important news is that it's difficult and truly important stuff. Guy treats this aspect of the start up with the depth it deserves: This section could have been so much theoretical bull pucky, but instead, again, I found that the Art of Leadership was full of actionable stuff that rang true but was often something I may not have wanted to have heard. 

"Exude Optimism" for example. Easy enough to say, and definitely an essential quality in a leader, but also something that isn't easy to actually pull off. 

How to Get Things Done

There is a glossy shiny layer to this book that says a few things that most people know: you should hire people better than you are, you should praise people and be humble, you should bootstrap. There are a lot of things you can get for free: open source software, etc.

But interestingly, and I can't seem to recall reading another book like this before, following each of these fairly obvious platitudes is a wealth of highly practical, step-by-step "insideresque" advice that, in my opinion, is worth its weight in gold (okay, that's a fairly stupid analogy, since I can't quite figure out how to weigh advice, but I hope you'll forgive me.) 

It is this stuff, and there is a lot of it, that I think makes The Art of the Start 2.0 a book that you should not just borrow from a friend, but you should buy. You should buy the digital edition, too, so that you can access all the resources included.

Of Course, Don't Just Take My Word for it...

Reviews of this latest version are beginning to stream in, and the likes of Adriana Huffington and Mark Cuban have weighed in. This book is worth your time and hard-earned money. Buy it.

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