*Guy Kawaski nailed it in his 2004 classic book, “The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything,” where he said, “Entrepreneur is the state of mind of people who want to alter the future, to create a service or product that makes the world a better place.”
“This book,” Guy writes, “is for people in a wise range of startup endeavors:
1. Guys and gals in garages creating the next great company
2. Brave souls in established companies bringing new products and services to market
3. Saints starting schools, churches and not-for-profits
because when it comes to the fundamentals of starting up they are more alike than different. The hardest thing about getting started is getting started.”
But don’t think this book is a collection of platitudes. It is one of the most hands-on, no nonsense guides on the market. It contains fresh insights, practical tips, case studies, exercises, and mini-chapters tailored to meet specific needs, in addition to the no-holds-barred strategy chapters. If you want a “feel good” read, this is not for you. If you want a honest book that makes you think, this is for you.
This book is not just one long note from Guy. It is filled with quotes and anecdotes from those who have thrived and those who have not. It even has footnotes you will want to read, as well as additional recommended resources at the end of each chapter.
One of my favorite sections is Guy’s FAQs – not “Frequently Asked Questions” – but even more importantly “Frequently Avoided Questions.” These are the questions which any entrepreneur must answer if he or she stands a chance of succeeding.
Perhaps my favorite chapter in this gem of a book is the final chapter: “The Art of Being a Mensch.” “Mensch” is the Yiddish term for someone who is ethical, decent and admirable. Guy says, “the three foundations of menschhood are helping lots of people, doing what’s right, and paying back society – simple concepts that are hard to implement.”
Guy and his book are the manifestation of menschhood! This is a must read for anyone thinking about making their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
PS – If possible try to secure a hardcover copy of this book. The jacket art was created by Adam Tucker, winner of a design contest sponsored by Guy Kawasaki. It’s a great jacket, but what is truly original is that other entries are printed on the reverse side of the jacket. It’s a fascinating snapshot of conceptual design.