No bull shiitake! It’s time for a Reality Check – A Book Review

Penguin Books recently sent me a review copy of Guy Kawasaki’s new book,  “Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging and Outmarketing Your Competition”

Interestingly, the book contains two forewords. The first forward is penned by Dan Lyons and the second by Dan’s alter ego, the fake Steve Jobs. Lyons presents a touching piece only to be balanced out by the cynical, “Fake Steve”. Nevertheless, it left me laughing as I ventured on to the Reality Check journey. 

For long-time readers of Guy’s blog, the book is essentially a collection of a series of ongoing blog posts. As Guy himself writes:

I wanted to provide hardcore information to hardcore people who want to kick ass, and I wanted this information in something you can hold in your hands – aka, a book. Why? Because a book boots up faster than a blog and a book has better copy editing and fact checking than a blog….”

However, the book adds significant value in that it is portable “just about” – You can take the book anywhere and everywhere. Though, I must exercise caution. I found myself completely engrossed in the book. I had trouble putting it down, seriously. 

It is the reader’s prerogative to have at least some criticisms and I share mine with you below. The book is big, I mean 94 chapters and 461 pages of content. Now, before you start to get put off, the content is superb. Guy, offers a book brimmed full of two words, “practical advice.” Chapters are short, some range from 2-3 pages. Others range 6-7. However, I wish the book had been split into 2 books, Volumes 1 and 2, just for portability. 

Despite the size, the book appeals to me on so many levels. Firstly, the book is written in the style of a conversation with the reader left wanting to talk to someone to discuss the content. Secondly, the book is organised  by topic and presents a logical natural  flow, from beginning to end. Though, personally, I jumped around from chapter to chapter. You can distil Guy’s wisdom quickly, as each chapter should take no more than 1-2 minutes to read.

The book contains sections on Marketing, PR, Customer Service, Innovation, Planning, Schmoozing and Hiring and Firing. There is a slant towards lessons that Guy has learned from Silicon Valley. However, the advice is prevalent no matter where you are in the world.

Section outlines:

The Reality of Starting

The Reality of Raising Money

The Reality of Planning and Executing

The Reality of Innovating

The Reality of Marketing

The Reality of Competing

The Reality of Hiring and Firing

The Reality of Working

The Reality of Doing Good.

Guy’s famous 10/20/30 rule of presenting,  is well emphasised. So, it is 10 slides + 1 that contains your contact information, 20 minutes of presentation and 30-point font.

I also checked my EQ (Entrepreneurial Quotient) within the book and scored 15 out of 22 (not too bad).

You know just enough to know what you don’t know. If you’ve got the passion for
entrepreneurship,  you’ve ready to roll

"The Reality of Doing Good"

The final section of this book explains the reality of doing good. As Guy states:

It’s included because I believe that at the end of one’s life, you are measured
not by how much money you made, how many houses you own, or even how many books you wrote. Instead, you are measured by how much you’ve made the world a better place”

If you subscribe to the mantra of “Changing The World” by doing good things. Whether through business or dealings with people around you. you will surely appreciate the final section of the book. 

Overall, I found the book highly inspiring and entertaining. The great thing is that you don’t need to be and entrepreneur or a start-up founder to enjoy it. Whether, you are a manager, an employee, a CEO, or a university student. There is something in this book for everyone.  In fact, Reality Check should be handed to every college student in the land who completes a degree or drops out.  Guy successfully takes his experiences from the 20th Century and presents them in a compelling way for the 21st.

To conclude,  if you are left wondering whether you buy Reality Check? Let me answer this question for you. Pre-order it from Amazon for yourself. Then, buy additional copies for people in your life. They will thank you for it.


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