Whether you are a current business owner, a prospective business owner, a non-profit organizational leader who wants to grow, or someone who is tasked with a new initiative to lead inside a large company; Guy Kawasaki has compiled a no-nonsense guide for you called: The Art of the Start.
The stated goal of the book is to: “Help us use our knowledge, love, and determination to create something great WITHOUT getting bogged down in theory and unnecessary details. “
Speaking to this goal, one of the best things about the book is how it is organized. Almost each chapter could stand on its own, this means that you can pick any spot in the book, start reading and gain valuable insight and knowledge. If you don’t have a lot of time or you go long stretches of time between chances to read it, the book is still very usable. I like books that are not just descriptive of something but prescriptive as well and this book is both.
There are 10 chapters in the book titled as follows:
The Art of Starting
The Art of Positioning
The Art of Pitching
The Art of Writing a Business Plan
The Art of Bootstrapping
The Art of Recruiting
The Art of Raising Capital
The Art of Partnering
The Art of Branding
The Art of Rainmaking
The Art of Being a Mensch (Bonus Chapter, Read it First)
As someone who has recently closed a failed business, I can more clearly see how some of the insights and lessons from this book would have been helpful. Would I have listened or heeded them upon starting? I am not sure, I was pretty confident at the time. However as I contemplate my next venture, I am more open to external knowledge and insight that can increase my chance for success and this book has been valuable in that regard.
I think the author has a great style of writing in this book. There is a continuous undercurrent of humor in much of the writing, not laugh out loud humor but more of the “stating the obvious out loud” type of humor that is absent in most business books. There is no doubt about the credentials of Mr. Kawasaki when it comes to starting something.
In conclusion, just buy the book. It is still going to be up to you to execute your start-up dreams but it can really help if you have a good recipe for doing so. If you are past start-up and maybe struggling in your endeavors, this book might help you self-diagnose and make some corrections. Either way the investment is minimal.