Book Review: Guy Kawasaki’s “Art of the Start”

Guy Kawasaki's "Art of the StartGuy’s book, “The Art of the Start” (amazon affiliate link) was released back in 2004. Some might consider this dated reading; however, as a fan of his, I couldn’t resist picking up the book when I found a good deal on it recently. What I discovered was that Guy was on to many of today’s business trends long before anyone else.

As the title indicates, the book is geared for entrepreneurs that are looking to seeking out venture capital and angel investments. But don’t let this fool you. The book is as much about how to build amazing businesses, build great teams, and launch disruptive products and services as it is about being an entrepreneur.

Guy begins the book with an great overview of how to quickly build and launch new businesses. One of the keys he talks about was incredible – you must start with purpose. Guy talks about the importance of finding a purpose and then embracing it with all your might. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Not only is this a key when building great teams, your customers will be much more likely to buy into what you are selling.

This is actually one of the trends that Guy seemed to be ahead of the curve on. Over the last year, we have seen a number of radically new business models being launched by ivy league, MBA toting entrepreneurs that focus as much on improving the world as profitability. We have also seen the rise of businesses like Zappos, Apple and Trader Joe’s that have flourished during one of the most difficult economic times since the Great Depression. Guy knows his stuff.

Another section of the book that is useful for almost any business person is Guy’s art of pitching. We’re not talking about baseball. We are talking about taking your ideas and selling them to others. His advice is sound and it can be used for more than just pitching venture capitalists. Guy touches on everything from developing your pitch to slide design. He also includes a few tips that definitely contradict conventional presentation teachings.

I’ll be using Guy’s book in a couple ways. I’ve been working on a few side projects and Guy’s advice is more than appreciated. I will also be taking a lot of what I learned and will use it in my day job. Guy’s wisdom and insight is powerful and every bit as applicable today as it was when the book was first released. Don’t miss out.

If you have read “Art of the Start” what were your impressions? What other Kawasaki books would you recommend?

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