If you’ve spent any time in marketing or business development, you’ve certainly heard of Guy Kawasaki.
You might think of him as the ex-Apple guy, or perhaps the first person you ever knew to hold the title “Chief Evangelist” as a professional job. You might have seen him speak at an event, or heard about his famous 10-20-30 pitch rule: “no more than 10 slides, not using anything smaller than a 30-point font, and keeping presentation time to 20 minutes.”
But do you know anything about his journey to becoming “Guy Kawasaki?”
And why is he always smiling?
The introduction to Wise Guy says it’s not an autobiography, and it’s not. It’s a fantastic ride through Guy’s life and lessons-learned, as only he can write.
In rough chronological order, Wise Guy takes the reader into Guy’s childhood in Hawaii, which laid the groundwork for both his work ethic and his love of surfing. The anecdotes from his life story are followed by one or more tidbits of wisdom, denoted by the “shaka” symbol (you might know it as the Hawaiian hand gesture that roughly means “aloha” or “right on”).
For all of the writers in our Successful Blog community, Guy recommends a great book called, “If You Want to Write,” by Brenda Ueland. Its primary takeaway is…just write! You don’t have to wait for permission, or a book deal, or anything else. If you write, you’re a writer.
The through-threads in Wise Guy are joy, kindness, and humility. That makes for a “business book” that is only tangentially about business, but all about business. I’d recommend reading this book to anyone who’s feeling a bit stuck in their career, a bit unfocused, or a bit depressed about their achievements. It’s a hit of fresh air.
In case you’re thinking it’s just a series of aphorisms and feel-good quotes, that’s not the deal. One very clear aspect of Guy’s life is his no-nonsense approach. He learned to tell the brutal truth at the side of Steve Jobs, and says that “the foundation of evangelism is a great product.” There are plenty of “evangelists” out there who are colorful foils for sub-par products, but they are doomed to fail. Guy’s mantra is all about working hard, proving yourself, and paying your dues.
I’d recommend reading this book through once, and then bookmarking the lessons that you need to hear more than once. It’s the style of book that you can refer back to, if you find yourself in a professional situation that feels daunting.
You’ll be happy having Guy’s shaka at your fingertips.
Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life
by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of Wise Guy for the purposes of writing a review.