Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

Author: Derek Sivers

Rating: 10/10

This is a very short book, but it’s the one that can easily change your entire perspective on how you do business and live your life (it has certainly changed mine).

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“Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself. Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself. When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world. Never do anything just for the money. Don’t pursue business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help. Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working. Your business plan is moot. You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it. Starting with no money is an advantage. You don’t need money to start helping people. You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people. Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business. The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy.”

“When you’re onto something great, it won’t feel like revolution. It’ll feel like uncommon sense.”

“Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.”

“When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” then say no. When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say, ‘Hell yeah!'”

“Anytime you think you know what your new business will be doing, remember this quote from serial entrepreneur Steve Blank: ‘No business plan survives first contact with customers.'”

“Necessity is a great teacher.”

“Starting small puts 100 percent of your energy into actually solving real problems for real people.”

“Ideas are worth nothing unless they are executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.
Awful idea = -1
Weak idea = 1
So-so idea = 5
Good idea = 10
Great idea = 15
Brilliant idea = 20
No execution = $1
Weak execution = $1,000
So-so execution = $10,000
Good execution = $100,000
Great execution = $1,000,000
Brilliant execution = $10,000,000”

“When someone’s doing something for love, being generous instead of stingy, trusting instead of fearful, it triggers this law: We want to give to those who give.”

“It’s another Tao of business: Set up your business like you don’t need the money, and it’ll likely come your way.”

“Even if you want to be big someday, remember that you never need to act like a big boring company. Over ten years, it seemed like every time someone raved about how much he loved CD Baby, it was because of one of these little fun human touches.”

“In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have.”

“To have something (a finished recording, a business, or millions of dollars) is the means, not the end. To be something (a good singer, a skilled entrepreneur, or just plain happy) is the real point.”

“There’s a big difference between being self-employed and being a business owner. Being self-employed feels like freedom until you realize that if you take time off, your business crumbles. To be a true business owner, make it so that you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left.”

“Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves. So find that person and let her do it.”

“Doesn’t every business want to be as big as possible? No. Make sure you know what makes you happy, and don’t forget it.”

“Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller were at a party at a billionaire’s extravagant estate. Kurt said, ‘Wow! Look at this place! This guy has everything!’ Joseph said, ‘Yes, but I have something he’ll never have. . . . Enough.'”

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