Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

This weekend, I went to the library and accidentally stumbled upon a small pocket sized book with a title "Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a new kind of Entrepreneur" by Derek Sivers.

Since I knew about Derek's work (CDBaby.com) and had read and liked some of his writings in the past, I decided to borrow the book. 

The book is essentially a list of carefully selected, probably in chronological order, articles he'd published on his site: https://sivers.org/blog. While you can read them all there, I'm old-school, book is still my preference.

The book attempts to share Derek's life experience shrunk and condensed into one hour (84 pages) and I thought it delivers. The articles are short ranging from 1 page or at most 2 pages; no aggressive mindset nor world-changing life experience. Simple, easy to read, and full of useful oft-repeated-yet-ignored lessons such as:
  • Don't do it for the money
  • Success comes from persistently improving and inventing
  • Start now (entrepreneur, listen!)
  • Ideas are just a multiplier of execution (I like this one a lot!)
  • Trust but verify (great Management advise by the way...)
  • You can't please everyone (and don't have to), and so on...
Through the book, I observed that Derek is always focused on one thing at a time and he persistently tried his best to finish the task. These are important traits for an entrepreneur: focus and persistent.

His business, CDBaby.com, was born out of accident because he's trying to help other musicians to sell their albums. He explained how he runs the company and the values that guide his business decisions. He also balanced the positive with the negative experiences by describing a few mistakes he stumbled along the way. 

One particular segment of the book that I enjoyed was his story about CDBaby and Apple. How Apple pretty much being a typical cruel mega-corporation by toying CDBaby. It's business after all and it's... well.. Apple and Steve Jobs.   

Near the end of the book, he described the thought process of selling his business, CDBaby, and giving away the money that could be his. This part of the book felt like an end of an era (or at least a phase in Derek's life).

I definitely recommend to read this book as a counter balance to those big-ideas, world-changing books. This book feels down to earth and humane instead of depicting a bravado type of life. 

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