I read Guy Kawasaki’s blog long before I even knew he wrote a few books. alltop.com is more than worth the cursory or daily look for interesting content. However, this brief article is meant to discuss the first two books of his that I just finished on my trip to Detroit.
Rules for Revolutionaries (1998) is a kind of crash course in guerrilla marketing told in a friendly, happy, and sometimes zany way. The chapters cover creating like a god, commanding like a king and working like a slave. I liked the freshness of the approach. Admittedly, the book took me all of about 90 minutes to read but I was totally pumped afterwards. I liked the warnings about Death Magnets and the Exercises – which seem to be a staple in his book because they are also present in The Art of the Start. What I appreciate most about this is that despite the fact that this book is over 13 years old, it reads as if it was written more recently. The same cannot be said for The Tipping Point which I just started but am already nearly bored with. In fact, the latter seems to probably be a less inspiring mix of the two Kawasaki books in this review. But, I digress. What sets these rules apart are their straightforward nature and practical sense. His best practices in the Creation process are great: date to find fault with existing products and services (a particular specialty of mine), go with your gut (I can also dig this one), design for yourself (interesting), shake and bake (very interesting), get on base and leave home runs to chance (hard for an impatient geek like myself), and ignore naysayers (another difficult but necessary one). Also great is the bibliography at the end of every chapter. Overall, an easy but both important and invigorating read.
The Art of the Start (2004) is another killer crash course but this time in starting stuff. It is clear that Guy took away wheelbarrows of experience and war stories from his stint at Apple and that he has turned that into gold at his current venture, http://www.garages.com – who, incidentally, helps find venture capital for startups in SillyValley. This book is short, witty, readable and an essential “pump you up” for those thinking of starting a business or a venture or a project or whatever. The book is built upon five sections: Causation, Articulation, Activation, Proliferation, and Obligation each of which has one to three chapters on various “Arts” such as the Art of Positioning or the Art of Raising Capital. Like Rules for Revolutionaries, it took all of about two hours to read but once again I was stoked after the last page. I especially appreciated the advice about pitching and recruiting and found them of immediate use. His test of whether you greet or flee a potential employee in a shopping mall is probably one I will use as a bell-weather. I don’t think I am ready yet for a startup but, if I was going in that direction, I’d certainly start here and probably pitch my idea to Guy and garage.com because he (and they) seem to know all the ins and outs. The section about Lowering Barriers to Adoption has immediate meaning for me in my current job. An excellent read, I can definitely recommend this book.
Next up from Guy: Reality Check, The Macintosh Way (now free on his Facebook site!) and Enchantment