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Issue 9.4


Book: Reality Check

Issue: 9.4 (May/June 2011)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,431
Starting Page Number: 15
Article Number: 9403
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I've been a huge fan of Guy Kawasaki since he wrote his classic oeuvre, The Macintosh Way, but I was concerned when his comments at the beginning of this book implied that this was a collection of material from his blog. Was I just getting recycled material? It turned out I didn't need to worry, because even if some of this material has been published elsewhere, this is an excellent collection of business and life tips.

Whether you're starting your own company or working for one, this book has you covered. Guy talks about everything from raising investment capital to hiring and firing employees. There are sections on executing, innovating, marketing, selling, evangelizing, communicating, competing, and much more.

While the topics covered are surprisingly broad, don't expect too much detail. This isn't a how-to book; it's a collection of tips and wisdom. For instance, Guy doesn't explain how to find a venture capitalist or how to write a business plan. Instead, he focuses on things like the top ten lies a venture capitalist will tell you.

The result is a light, breezy read, full of useful and practical nuggets of common sense, often boiled down into typical "Guyisms." For instance, regarding speeches and presentations, Guy comes up with the 10-20-30 rule: ten slides, twenty minutes, and no font smaller than 30 points. Granted, that's not appropriate in every situation (many presentations would be better with no slides at all), but it's a good guideline.

There's nothing too revolutionary in this book. Some things he's mentioned in other books, but it's all good material that does no harm in the refresher course. There are stories and anecdotes, quizzes, and best of all, interviews with the authors of other books, so you get a glimpse into other topics (there's even one chapter written by a lawyer who disagrees with some of Guy's advice on patents).

I especially liked the ending, which featured several chapters on non-profits with some personal stories and interviews that were inspiring. And I loved Guy's Baccalaureate speech on hindsights, a speech Guy has regularly given over the years. (If nothing else, just read that speech and you'll get most of what you need from the book.)

There were a few things I didn't like: the main one was the use of a certain profane word for orifice that's repeated like 100 times in one chapter on that topic, and I also didn't like that some of the material is repetitive and feels stretched or padded to reach a certain book length. A condensed version of the book might be more appropriate for most people. But I still enjoyed this and appreciated Guy's common sense approach to business and I learned a few things. I just hope I can remember them!

End of article.