I finished reading The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha last weekend.
It's a special book that will have a lasting influence on how I manage and approach my professional career AND personal choices FOREVER.
You Were Born an Entrepreneur. This is the book's stated mantra and working hypothesis. But, the book seeks to fulfill a higher mission (more on that later).
I think I've been relatively savvy in managing my professional career. But, the book identified multple gaps in my approach I must address NOW.
The book does reinforce and validates the activities driving my personal reinvention process (which started around three years ago):
1. Immersing myself in all things relevant to digital and social media
2. Participating actively and building relationships via digital and social technologies
3. Starting, writing, and sticking with this personal blog
4. Re-discovering a love for reading and building knowledge
5. Remembering how "giving is better than receiving"
And, the book points out the importance of constantly iterating and improving ourselves by being in "permanent beta" (e.g., adopting a continuous innovation attitude to adapt to a dynamicly changing workplace).
An Inspiring Message of Opportunity in Today's Ambiguous and Uncertain Economy
Invest In Yourself, Invest in Your Network, and Invest in Society. There are many important Start-Up of You concepts which I'll share in this post. In my next post, I will explore in greater detail specific ideas from the book.
This book is special because it delivers more than pragmatic career management advice.
"What that something special is" can be found in these inspiring direct quotes from the book's Conclusion:
"For Ben and me, this book is one our gifts back to society. We think the tools in this book can improve both your life and society. Sometimes giving back can be simply spreading ideas that matter."
"Invest in yourself, invest in your network, and invest in society. When you invest in all three, you have the best shot at reaching your highest professional potential. As important, you also have the best shot at changing the world."
Critics Say Those Statements are Presumptuous, Arrogant, and Idealistic
A Quick Note To Critics of The Start-Up of You. The book's critics believe that. In addition, they dismiss this book as nothing more than "mass-targeted content supplying fluff we've all heard before." Or, "it's nothing more than a 250+ page LinkedIn advertisement."
Those critics are flat-out wrong.
The book's mission, principles, and message to "invest in all three" are timely and important.
Timing Is Everything. Or paraphrasing Reid and Ben: "there's a way to court serendipity and good randomness." When I read the following articles from reputable and credible sources, it strengthens my resolve that The Start-Up of You's principles and values matter:
- The New York Times: Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs
- Bloomberg: Yes, Mr. Smith Goldman Sachs is All About Making Money: View
- Harvard Business Review Blog Network: The Anti-Goldman Culture
- Microsoft's MSDN Blog: Why I Left Google
A Four-Post Blog Series on The Start-Up of You Book and The LinkedIn Start-Up of You Community
This book's mission, pragmatic career management content, and thriving LinkedIn community are why I've decided to publish this review as a multiple-post series. This book and its growing movement are that important.
Here are the working themes:
- Part 1, Invest in Yourself, Invest in Your Network, AND Invest in Society
- Part 2, Five Game Changers in Career Competitive Advantage
- Part 3, Theme: The Start-Up of You LinkedIn Community (The People and Ideas They Share)
- Part 4, My Response to Critics of The Start-Up of You
Want To Start Learning About The Book's Principles and Begin Participating in The Community NOW?
The Book's Executive Summary. This link allows you to download a free Executive Summary PDF of The Start-Up of You. If you have difficulty receiving it, please notify me in the comments. I'll email you the PDF.
The LinkedIn Start-Up of You LinkedIn Community. This is a SPECIAL LinkedIn Group. What differentiates it?
* People Genuinely Do and Want to Help Each Other. This group epitomizes how "giving is better than receiving."
* No Blog Pimping. This unwritten code is enforced by the group and its managers. How? Those who've tried posting links to their posts without giving something to the group INSTANTLY LOSE CREDIBLITY. Their submitted discussion posts are ignored and buried in the stream.
Start-Up of You Community Members are smart and discerning. They know and identify self-serving BS quickly.
* The Group Practices the IWe (I to the We) Principle (direct quotes):
"The nuanced version of the story of success is that both the individual and team matter. "I" vs. "We" is a false choice. It's both. Your career success depends on both your individual capabilities and your network's ability to magnify them."
"Think of it as IWe. An individual's power is raised exponentially with the help of a team (a network). But just as zero to the one hundredth power is still zero, there's no team without the individual."
"This book is titled The Start-Up of You. Really, the "you" is at once singular and plural."
Thank you for reading this far! I hope you'll stick with me for a little longer ...
Have You Read The Start-Up of You? What did you think of it? How will this book influence your career management approach? Please let me know with your comments.
I'd love to hear from you.