16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A timely book with a solid message but with few practical suggestions,
This review is from: The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career (Paperback)Short Review:
Recommended if you're the sort of person who thinks that you, and you alone, are responsible for your personal success. A strong and inspiring message of self-reliance throughout but with weak practical suggestions.
Written by the co-founder of LinkedIn (Reid Hoffman) and Ben Casnocha - a young American entrepreneur - 'The Startup of You' is one of those 'kick in the pants' type of books that American authors seem to write so well (and so frequently).
As I understand it, the message of the book is that your success is down to you and you alone. Plain and simple. Always has been and always will be. A message that's even more important in the current economic climate when many have been turfed out of their jobs and are practically, if not literally, on their own.
Yet your version of career success, or the end Goal (the Vision as it's often called) should be something you're constantly evaluating, reflecting upon and, if needs be, changing. This flexible, adaptive mental state is what the authors label as 'permanent Beta'. It's a recognition that life is complex and it's not until you put your idea(s) out there, into the real world, that you'll discover whether it works and whether people are interested or not.
Your idea, or product or service, can literally be something you create, promote and sell as a business. Or, indeed, it can be 'Brand You' - your personal, Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or Value that you bring as an employee.
Once you've adopted this attitude that you're always experimenting, looking for the next opportunity and remaining flexible, the authors stress the importance of building and maintaining your network. And this is where the book counterbalances the one-dimensional notion that you can do it all alone. Thus, to achieve your individual success you need others. This is described as 'I to the Power of We' in the book.
What again makes this book so relevant, is that it stresses the importance of your social media presence. Unsurprisingly, the social network the book describes in detail is, of course, LinkedIn! Although there are much better books (and online guides) on how to get the most from LinkedIn, 'The Startup of You' has given me new ideas on how to make more of the site.
My niggles with the book are...
1.None of this stuff is especially original and earth-shattering. Nevertheless, it's put together in a readable and accessible 200+pages.
2. Each chapter ends with a couple of 'Invest in Yourself' pages. This is where the authors provide practical tips and suggestions.
Whilst I appreciate why they've done this, many of the suggestions are simplistic and banal. Unnecessary even. I wonder if it was the publishers (Random House) who asked for these ideas be included? Because if you're even half-familiar with this type of material, and LinkedIn itself, you won't find much of value in these sections.
I'm a sucker for this type of book. I know I am. My book shelves - both physical and electronic - are stuffed full of this stuff. This is probably because I sometimes need this sort of mental 'kick in the pants' when I'm feeling that 'success' - whatever that is - seems as distant as it used to be (which is not actually the case when I reflect upon it!)
Yet I also think that this book, and others like it, contain a vital and inspiring message that we should teach to our children. Which, ultimately, given the current economic doom and gloom, is why I think this book is so timely.