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Review: Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passionis the new book by Gary Vaynerchuck,wine Crush It!seller, host of Wine Library TV, and public speaker.  Crush It! is a chronicle of Gary’s ascent to successful businessman and a how-to manual to be successful in the same vein as him based on his experiences.

Gary opens the book by giving his three rules of his success:

  • Love your family.
  • Work superhard.
  • Live your passion.

To Gary, it doesn’t matter what your medium is, what your brand is, what your product is or what what you want to do, these three things are the guiding principles to his success, and seem quite simple from the outset.  “Love your family” is quite simple, since they are your support no matter what and family should always be there for one another.  “Work superhard” means you need to be willing to put in those long hours to live your dream because there are no shortcuts to getting success, and as Gary says in the book, it isn’t people who are already rich who are playing the lottery.  “Live your passion” refers to doing something you love; if you’re going to be spending all this time with your work, you need to love what are you doing.

Once Gary has laid down his basic principles, he walks you through his early days as an entrepreneur, from selling baseball cards and collectibles growing up to working in his father’s liquor store.  Once he saw how wine consumers could be far more flexible and more open to suggestion than liquor customers, he grew out that aspect of his father’s liquor store and eventually brought it online.  He parleyed this is his own little web show called WineLibraryTV to promote both wine awareness and his personal brand.  He also began doing more off topic videos on his personal website about business and promotion to increase his personal brand in addition to his wine video blog brand.  He believes all he created was possible because he had the drive to create all of this because it was “in his DNA,” where the desire to be successful was ingrained into him from birth, and he believes that most successful people have that as well.

After you know Gary’s story, he not only says how easy it is to be successful in this internet age, but he walks you through all the tools necessary to do it as well.  He breaks it down into create a website with a blog (like WordPress or Tumblr), create great content, distribute it to as many places as you can (using tools like Ping.fm and TubeMogul, depending on content type),  join communities and promote as  much as possible, then repeat.  It seems simple, but you have to be willing to commit the long hours required to follow all those steps and be passionate about your content the entire time.  If you aren’t willing to put in the work, then Gary says this is not for you.  Not everyone is going to have the passion required to commit themselves to the real work involved, and that’s alright, but the only path to real success is to put everything into it.

There were two aspects of the book I found unique.  The first was in the section where Gary was talking about playing to your strengths and Gary admitted that writing was not his strong suit, so he dictated the book and had a writer assist him and put his thoughts to paper for him.  Many books attached to a “name” are ghost written, but very few have the transparency Gary does when it comes to his work.  The other was Gary’s interest in connecting with his readers.  In almost every chapter, Gary puts his email address and invites readers to give him feedback, ask him questions and get more information on topics that there just wasn’t enough room in the book to cover.  Part of Gary’s personal brand is his accessibility to his viewers of his video blogs, and he admits that it takes him longer now to get through all the e-mails people send him, he does read and try to respond to each and every email he receives at gary@vaynermedia.com.

I found the message in Crush It! to be very inspirational.  Growing up, my own parents always tried to encourage me to follow my passions and explore the world around me, and now that I’ve grown up, I try to do the same to others.  I try to help and encourage friends who are trying their own startups, podcasts and other ventures because I want to see people I know follow their passions.  I would definitely recommend Crush It! to everyone I know who are trying to venture out with their own ideas because it’ll help them set a path that’ll hopefully lead to their own success.

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