Book Review – Reality Check: The Best of Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is a best selling author, successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist, popular blogger and public speaker on start-ups and small business.  Guy’s new book just came out and I was fortunate enough to get an early copy and have the opportunity to speak to him about it.

Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing your Competition is a synthesized compilation of the best of everything Guy has observed, done and written about entrepreneurship, start-ups and management.

Reality Check is a great book title for these turbulent economic times.  I asked Guy about this and he said it was just luck that many months ago he picked this title.  But it is much more than luck.  Guy has always focused on the fundamentals of starting and running a business and creating value.

Because of this, the book is full of concise and actionable advice on starting and operating a business in any economic climate.  The chapters on bootstrapping and financial projections are particularly relevant for the current down turn, as are the sections on marketing, selling and staying close to customers.

The book covers much more than just Guy’s view on tech start-ups and investing in Silicon Valley.

The information is relevant to any organization regardless of size or industry.  Reality Check also contains useful and pragmatic advice on a wide range of work and career issues such as speaking in front a group, hiring and firing people, getting along with your boss and working with lawyers.

Reality Check has several must read chapters for people starting their careers or looking for jobs.  I wish I’d read “Nine Questions to Ask a Start-up” before I joined my first tech start-up.  I asked none of the nine questions and learned the hard way that I’d joined a struggling firm.

I’ve already ordered a copy for my son, who is in college.  The combination of career advice and practical “how-to” information on working will nicely augment his academic studies.  I even agree with (but hope my son will miss) Guy’s suggestions that college students should “live off your parents as long as possible” and “extend college for at least 6 years.”

Written in Guy’s entertaining and straight forward “no bull shiitake” style, Reality Check provides candid advice on starting and running organizations.  It is also an excellent reference source on a wide range of topics related to entrepreneurship.  My copy is already marked up and dog-eared and it is clearly a book I will refer to often.

Image: Amazon


Steve King Steve King is a partner at Emergent Research and a research affiliate at the Institute for the Future. He is a co-author of the Intuit Future of Small Business report series, and a Senior Fellow at the. Society for New Communications Research. Steve's blog is Small Business Labs

8 Reactions
  1. Marie is Starting a Business

    I wish I knew what the 9 questions were for my start up! guess I have to buy the book…

  2. Nice review Steve. I like books that offer practical ‘how to’ advice. It sounds like anyone could benefit from reading this book.

  3. I’m a big fan of “how to” books and writings as well. Lots of people like to speak of things in a conceptual manner, but honestly, there’s nothing like some good old nuts and bolts, step-by-step instruction. Sounds like an interesting read – I’ll have to look for it the next time I’m at the book store.

    Great idea to provide your son with a copy, too!

  4. Hi Steve, I really enjoyed “The Art of the Start” by Guy, He just has a way of writing that is to the point and no-nonsense. I can’t wait to read this one.


  5. Sounds like a book filled with practical advice!

  6. Even hearing to YouTube videos on Guy’s speech no wonder this book will be an excellent read.

  7. Looking forward to have a copy of this book.

  8. Guy is a very smart man. I will be buying this book.