Book Reviews: Guy Kawasaki’s Reality Check and Enchantment

Reality Check

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…


In Enchantment (2011), Guy breaks some new ground. He goes after an entire mindset aimed at making us happier and more “enchanting”. OK, so once again he leans heavily on his Apple experiences and pimps Virgin Airlines a bit but still, overall it is as inspiring a read as Art of the Start. The personal stories at the end of each chapter were refreshing even if often they were out of the context of the chapter content. If I were to resume, this is a Dale Carnegie upgrade to our decade of the 10’s with loads of advice and encouragement. The examples are all state of the art which is appreciable. What I appreciated most was Chapter 4: How to Prepare and Chapter 9: How to Use Pull Technology. The book is highly practical and all told in a funny, cheeky, infectious tone which is typical of Guy’s style. I was enchanted and am looking forward to trying to be enchanting myself.

Looking back over the four books, I’d probably start with Art of the Start and or Enchantment if I wanted to read only one book. If I were to read two, I’d read Reality Check and Enchantment. In any case, there is no way that some part of your creativity will not be awakened and challenged in Guy’s books and most likely, you will keep them close for reference regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur or, as he puts it, an intrepreneur. As a hopeful intrepreneur myself, I’ll be putting the principles to the test over the coming months.


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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