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Lee Odden

Book Review: Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

By Lee Odden     Book Reviews, Online Marketing, Social Media

crush itI picked up a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s book “Crush It” to read on my way to DMA in San Diego. Get the book from Amazon (link above) not at the airport unless you’re funding your own stimulus package for airport book stores.

For readers that are not familiar with @garyvee and Wine Library TV, like I wasn’t when first  meeting Gary at Blog World Expo a year ago, Vaynerchuck is a poster boy for a small business that has leveraged passion, product and social media to stimulate incredible business growth and community around his brand.

After BWE, the next time I saw Gary was when he keynoted at Affiliate Summit early in 2009. That was an experience. His “tell it like it is” style isn’t for everyone, but personally, I like it.

That charisma and personality on stage is great for entertainment value, but it was the real-world insights and tips that he gave from his personal experience building a business using social channels that kept him top of mind for me and caused me to buy the book as soon as I saw it.

I don’t know Gary Vaynerchuk personally and he certainly doesn’t know me, but I thought it would be a good book to review for Online Marketing Blog readers.  The book is short, 140 pages or so, but that short form is consistent with his direct approach. It starts by outlining the importance of passion and Gary’s three rules for success in business and life: Love your family, Work super hard, Live your passion.

“Passion is everything.”

From there he shares his “hard working immigrant makes good” story of coming to the U.S. as a child from Belarus and numerous examples of how “hustle” and business savvy have been a part of his DNA from neighborhood lemonade stands to building up his father’s liquor store business from 4 to 50 million to creating another new business of his own, Vayner Media.

“It’s never a bad time to start a business unless you’re starting a mediocre business.”

The essence of this book is to find out what you’re really passionate about. Work your ass off, communicating that passion using whatever media format and channels are the best fit for you and the audience you’re trying to reach. The passion will show through in the content you create, the connections and community you build and the legacy (more important than short term financial gain) you leave from building the business.

“Story telling is by far the most underrated skill in business.”

Along with advice on creating content, choosing the right platform, being authentic, finding like-minded participants on the social web and social media marketing advice, he offers several ideas on monetization (some of which I’ll be implementing now), the value of patience and being adaptable.

“Be patient. In time, if you continue to hustle, you’ll grow your presence and improve your skills to the point where the fish – really, really big fish, will be jumping straight into your hands.”

Vaynerchuck admits his own contradictions, like do what your passion tells you no matter what, but also be adaptable in how you execute on your passion. He also makes a few comments that fly in the face of marketing (social or otherwise) key principles, like don’t pay much attention to analytics, but go with your gut.

“Anything is better than zero.”

Despite contradictions and rare advice that would make most marketers cringe, there’s no mistaking the success Vaynerchuck has achieved following “The Best Marketing Plan Ever” which he shares in the latter part of the book. He even goes so far as to offer a checklist and several business ideas he says he doesn’t have time to go after himself, so go for it.

“Legacy is greater than currency.”

For those looking for step by step instructions on how to develop a social media strategy and the specific tools to execute, this book has some of that, but it’s more about inspiration than “how to”.  To get anything out of a workshop or testing social tools yourself, you need to be inspired first anyway.

“Crush It” is an excellent book offering personal stories that illustrate the importance of passion, patience, hustle and the value of doing what you need to do to be happy. Success takes hard work and this book does a great job of showing anyone the framework for making what really makes them passionate and turn it into an online business.

After reading this book, I can imagine a significant number of people gaining the inspiration to start their own ventures with passion, hustle and a desire to “crush it”.


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