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Book Review: Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

I picked up a copy of Guy Kawaski’s “Reality Check” the other day. I was surprised by how big it was at nearly 500 pages. It reads almost like a bible for small businesses, entrepreneurs, salesmen and anyone that needs to benefit from marketing.

I expected it to take forever to get through, but I actually got through it in about a week. The line height in the text is pretty high, so the number of words per page was pretty small.

I’m glad it was, too, because it allowed for easy skimming in parts. I don’t sell tangible products, so I wasn’t so interested in messing with that. Nor do I hire employees or have to fire them and other administrative stuff, so I skipped a few of those chapters.

The text was remarkably well written and it read almost like a blog post. It was easy to pickup, read a little and come back to later to read some more. I can’t say I picked up a lot from the book that I didn’t already know from reading other books, which is why I call it something of a bible. Take this advice:

If you’ve never read another marketing / sales / startup book before, don’t bother. Just read Reality Check and it’ll cover and say everything every other book has said (or tried to say).

One part that did stick out to me that I bookmarked was chapter 82, “Ten or so things to learn at school”. The advice was spot on and it stuck out to me because no school teaches this stuff:

  1. How to talk to your boss
  2. How to survive a meeting
  3. How to run a meeting
  4. How to figure out anything on your own
  5. How to negotiate
  6. How to make small talk
  7. How to explain something in 30 seconds
  8. How to write a one page report
  9. How to write a five sentence email
  10. How to get along with co-workers
  11. How to use PowerPoint (or Keynote)
  12. How to leave a voicemail

Personally, I think the more people knew about numbers 9 and 11, the better off the world would be. I’ve designed PowerPoint presentations for people before, I actually kinda like doing it, too. You get to frame someone else’s talk and ensure they don’t bore people with a bunch of bullets in dozens and dozens of slides.

A great book, well worth the time to read it either by skimming or from cover to cover. It has interviews, experiences and a directness that’s well worth it. Plus, it’s only $10 for Kindles.

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Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

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