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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition » User review

Kawasaki provides "hardcore information" for "hardcore people who want to kick ass."

  • Nov 26, 2008
  • by
Having read all and then reviewed most of Guy Kawasaki's eight previously published books, I was especially eager to read this one because it was rumored to provide everything he wishes he had known (but most of which he didn't) when he embarked on his career in business (counting diamonds a fine-jewelry manufacturer called Nova Stylings) while at work on an MBA degree at UCLA. (He had already earned an undergraduate degree at Stanford.) Kawasaki later went to work for an educational software company called EduWare Services. However, Peachtree Software acquired the company and wanted him to move to Atlanta. "I don't think so. I can't live in a city where people call sushi `bait.' Luckily, my Stanford roommate, Mike Boich, got me a job at Apple. When I saw what a Macintosh could do, the clouds parted and the angels started singing. For four years I evangelized Macintosh to software and hardware developers and led the charge against world-wide domination by IBM." By now, presumably, he was accumulating a wealth of real-world experience in leadership and management and well as knowledge about marketing, sales, finance, strategic planning, problem-solving, resource allocation, and customer relations.

I have just read Reality Check and it exceeded my expectations. The twelve (12) "realities" that Kawasaki rigorously examines, in several chapters devoted to each, include Starting Chapters 1-5), Raising Money Raising Money (Chapters 6-15), Planning and Executing (Chapters 16-24), Innovating (Chapters 25-31), Marketing (Chapters 32-37), Selling and Evangelizing (Chapters 38-43), Communicating (Chapters 44-52), Beguiling (Chapters 53-63), Competing (Chapters 64-67), Hiring and Firing (Chapters 68-78), Working (Chapters 79-89 followed by a "Timeout"), and Doing Good (Chapters 90-94 followed by a "Conclusion." Yes, that is correct: This book has 94 chapters plus a "Timeout" and a "Conclusion" provided within (count `em) 461 pages plus (thankfully) a comprehensive Index. As is also true of Kawasaki's eight other books, the tone is informal, conversational, and at times confrontational; also, the pace is frenetic and the writing style has Snap! Crackle! and Pop! Most important to me, the content is more abundant and of a higher quality than in any other of his previously published books.

Readers will welcome the use of bold face to highlight key points. This device will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of those key points later. I especially appreciate the inclusion of several interviews throughout the lively narrative. They include those of Fred Greguras on key legal issues in raising funds (Pages 51-59), Chip and Dan Heath on why only a few innovations "stick" and most don't (Pages 130-138), Kathleen Gasperini on marketing to young people (Pages 168-175), Garr Reynolds on mastering the "Presentation Zen" approach (Pages 209-214), Robert Cialdini on the art and science of effective persuasion (Pages 243-250, Libby Sartain shares her perspectives on the recruiting process (Pages 314-317), Penelope Trunk offers "radically different" advice on career planning and management (Pages 318-325), Philip Zimbardo explains the factors that shape human behavior (e.g. how people adopt and adapt to given roles (Pages 359-365), David Marcum and Steven Smith explain why the ego can be one's greatest asset...or most expensive liability (Pages 393-400), David Bornstein explains what social entrepreneurship is and how it can change the world (Pages 428-435), Richard Stearns provides insights into the transition from the corporate to the non-profit world and shares lessons to be learned from an association that raises billions of dollars every year (Pages 36-441), and Jerry White explains how to overcome a "life crisis" (Pages 442-448). Note the variety of subjects covered during Kawasaki's interviews. They correctly suggest the scope and diversity of his interests.

Opinions will vary as to how to read this book. Some will read it cover-to-cover. Others will select several of the 12 "realities" and then read the chapters in which each is discussed. Still others will check out the Contents (Pages vii-xi) and then read whatever is of greatest interest. What sets this business book apart from almost others I have read in recent years is the extent to which it provides (quoting Kawasaki in the Introduction) "hardcore information to hardcore people who want to kick ass." The focus is almost entirely on how to create and then sustain an organization whose people "make the world a better place because of it." Presumably Kawasaki agrees with Thomas Edison: "Vision without execution is hallucination." If not you, who? If not now, when?

Readers can interact with Kawasaki at http://leadership.alltop.com/.

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review by . April 29, 2009
I normally avoid 496 page business books but I loved this one. The short chapters are packed with great ideas. Guy Kawasaki definitely writes in a distinct voice. If you follow any of his work online, then you need this book because it moves you away from the computer.    You will use your highlighter throughout and want to return to some sections to apply them to your own business situations. I certainly have a marked copy. Get this book today, read it and apply it to your own life.
review by . December 27, 2008
Guy Kawasaki is a genuinely warm, engaging, intelligent and articulate man. I've had the pleasure of meeting him several times at MacWorld trade shows.     However, Guy Kawasaki is a career self-promoter. He has made a living for many years repackaging standard business advice in an entertaining format and peddling it as new to the legions of people seeking a business success formula.     More power to Guy for making a living at it, but it doesn't alter the …
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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #169
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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About this book


More uncommon common sense from the bestselling author ofThe Art of the Start.

In Silicon Valley slang, a “bozo explosion” is what causes a lean, mean, fighting machine of a company to slide into mediocrity. As Guy Kawasaki puts it, “If the two most popular words in your company arepartnerandstrategic, andpartnerhas become a verb, andstrategicis used to describe decisions and activities that don’t make sense” . . . it’s time for a reality check.

For nearly three decades, Kawasaki has earned a stellar reputation as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and irreverent pundit. His 2004 bestseller,The Art of the Start, has become the most acclaimed bible for small business. And his blog is consistently one of the fifty most popular in the world.

Now, Kawasaki has compiled his best wit, wisdom, and contrarian opinions in handy book form. From competition to customer service, innovation to marketing, he shows readers how to ignore fads and foolishness while sticking to commonsense practices. He explains, for instance:

• How to get a standing ovation
• The art of schmoozing
• How to create a community
• The top ten lies of entrepreneurs
• Everything you wanted to know about getting a job in Silicon Valley but didn’t know who to ask

Provocative, useful, and very funny, this “no bull shiitake” book will show you why readers around the world love Guy ...
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ISBN-10: 1591842239
ISBN-13: 978-1591842231
Author: Guy Kawasaki
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover

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