Review: The Art of the Start

As I read more and more, I have begun to notice a few key trends in what I would deem good, actionable books. Firstly, they are very open about referencing where they got some of their big ideas from (hopefully not all their big ideas). This is good for two reasons, one, it gives authenticity to the writer, and two, like a good business relationship, in leads in to multiple new relationships (or in this case, multiple new good books). In a way, you get to sample the reading of more focused books, then decide if it’s an area you want to take a better look at, depending on your own personal interests and needs. Secondly, the chapters are broken down into bullets, exercises, action items, and ideas. This isn’t a fiction book, why should it read like one?

In the case of The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki, the book has both. Each chapter is broken down into a functional area, these include: starting, positioning, pitching, writing, bootstrapping, recruiting, fundraising, partnering, branding and rainmaking.

Each section contains relevant information, details, models as well as advice. Additionally, within each section the author always ties the current content back to the overarching goal – how to get started, funded, and going.

We are continually presented with not only information, but disruptive advice. Personally, I found one of the most interesting sections to be on applying new business models to old businesses. How often does one sit back and say “are we using the right business model in our business?” It is taken as granted, the old “of course we are.”

Secondly, I think in the interest of keeping things simple, developing a mantra (a key phrase that underlines what your business stands for) is most likely one of the most overlooked steps in developing your business. For example, Nike’s mantra is “authentic athletic performance”. That’s it, and that’s all it needs to be.

The books strength is in its structure. Each section is part of a fluid book, yet isolated at the same time. In the future, one could easily re-read one chapter on an as needed basis, without feeling lost of disjointed. Each chapter finishes with a FAQ and recommended reading, so that readers can take an area of weakness, get an overview, and then continue to deepen their studies with recommended books.

This book is a must read for anyone starting at a new company, or starting a new company. Even for the member of a larger organization, this book will breathe an entrepreneurial spirit into the reader, with new ideas and insights, to help bring life back into an ailing organization.

This is one of the better books that I have read in a long time, and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking to get a solid understanding of the entrepreneurial path.

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