Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk is for sure written by a motivational speaker; however, it was also written by a phenomenally-successful self-made businessman and social media maven. Rare is the motivational business book with an actual flight plan and pre-flight check list.
The book was written by dictation, is very spoken-word and accessible, and ends up mixing cocksuredness with earnestness in such a way that is very appealing.
What makes this potentially hubristic book work is that Gary throws open all the windows, doors, closets, and cabinets in his life and his business, revealing his entire coming up, his relationship with business, his passion for sports and for finding unfulfilled markets and fulfilling them.
What is revealed is that there is no overnight superstars and you cannot make money fast and that the real world doesn’t goIPO 18-months after launch. He reveals that you need to roll up your sleeves and go for the long haul and in reward you’ll probably be able to make fifty-grand for all your hard work — but, doing what you love and what pops you up first light and puts you to bed just before dawn.
Even though this book will motivate you to ignite your passion, here’s some insight into some of topics based on chapter titles: 1: Passion is Everything, 2: Success is in Your DNA, 3: Build Your Personal Brand, 4: A Whole New World, 5: Create Great Content, 6: Choose Your Platform, 7: Keep it Real … Very Real, 8: Create Community: Digging Your Internet Trench, 9: The Best Marketing Strategy Ever, 10: Make the World Listen, 11: Start Monetizing, 12: Roll with It, 13: Legacy is Greater Than Currency, Conclusion: The Time is Now, the Message is Forever, Appendix A: Did You Forget Anything?, Appendix B: Five Business Ideas I Won’t Get to — They’re Yours.
The book starts with three rules that set the tone and are echoed again and again throughout the book: Love you family, work superhard (sic), and live your passion.
What Gary offers in very casual, spoken, everyman prose is the answers to how to channel your passion, what real hustle looks like, how to attract advertisers, why building a personal brand through social media is crucial, why your business should be build on your personal brand, how social networking can find your next financial opportunity, how companies should use social networks to share their story and brand, how to build legacy — worth more than money — to build a successful brand.
One thing I found interesting — and unique — in a motivational business book is that Vaynerchuk spent the entire book insisting on a long-game. He tends to offer the sort of advice my grandfather might offer: take care of your family and make sure your family and you are happy, through hard work and through devoting your life to your career and your business — build it up and keep working your entire life, if that’s what it takes.
Do not buy the house in order to flip it, buy the house to live in it, restore it, and give it to your children.
This is sobering advice from someone who often sounds like he’s trying to get us rich quick. In other words, I am amazed and impressed by this moral motivational treatise that is actually antithetical to most modern passion-fueled motivational business books.
The book is almost entirely self-centered. The brands of Gary Vaynerchuk, WineLibraryTV, Wine Library NJ, VaynerMedia and the Vaynerchuk family are the source of all of the narratives, which is fine because that’s what Gary knows and what Mark Twain recommends, “write what you know.” I know that while I couldn’t help but see this self-made man and think about that hackneyed NYC joke,
Q: How do you make 50-million dollars?
A: Start with 5-million dollars
When Gary tells of how he turned his father’s $5M liquor store into a $50M wine super-store, but even these contradictions don’t work against the narrative and good advice because theVaynerchuks are a very tight clan and Gary was there all the way from the beginning and the beginning includes emigrating from Belarus in 1979 as a family, immigrating to Queens with nothing, his dad take a job as a stock boy in a liquor store, and then buying the store, buying another store, building a business, and passing his DNA of work and family to his son, Gary.
This really is an American rags-to-riches story and Gary is a rare bird for exposing himself so completely and sharing his successes and challenges with a great deal of earnestness.
I must admit that I am not a wine connoisseur so I never cottoned to watching Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) every week on his WineLibraryTV video blog. Shame on me because I really never got to know “Gary Vee” until I heard him speak at the end of August at the Gravity Summit in Boston at Harvard. It was then when I asked him for a preview of his upcoming book, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion.
I was inspired by his talk (watch it on YouTube, part 1 , part 2). Gary motivated and delighted me with his passion and old-world advice: love your family, work hard, and follow your passion. If you like his keynote and you feel his passion and if you feel your heart race a little just thinking about dumping your current job and crushing it through passion, blood, and sweat, this book’s for you.
If you don’t end up falling in love with Gary, though, this might not be the book for you.
This is a very personal book that will help break everything down for you. He doesn’t just tell you that you can do it, Gary actually breaks down his entire brand, all the successes he has had, and all of the processes and habits and hard work he does — yes, he even gets to all of his email via [email protected] (try it) — and tell the reader which social networks to use, which video-sharing sites (he likes Viddler because the signal to noise ration is better), and the kind of detail people will find rewarding such as how to monetize, how to find sponsors and advertising dollars, and how it is essential not to obsess about traditional media metrics, analytics, and web site hits — to think longer-term — not how many people visit but who.
Gary saves a gift for the end Crush It! Appendix A offers what I like to call a “pre-flight check-list” wherein he creates a list (a wine-reduction, if you will) of all the steps that you should go through and check off — 21 steps you really should take on your way towards building your own personal brand.
Hell, the book is wee — only 137 pages — and I read it in one-hour at the gym on the machines. Was it worth my hour? Well, for $13.49 on Amazon it’s a no-brainer. Even for the $19.99 listed on the dust jacket and what you’ll pay at your local bookstore, it still will get your juices going and I am told that these days anything that can get your juices going in this economy is priceless.Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.