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Book Review: Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

There is one marketing person’s name that you can’t stop hearing everywhere. Gary Vaynerchuk. And for most people, you either a love him or hate him.

Crush It is Gary’s first book, published in the internet stone age of 2009.

It was my second time around reading it and I couldn’t really tell the age since it was on my Kindle. Surprisingly, this book has aged well despite being about digital marketing which can easily become dated.

In Crush It, Gary aims to show you how you can turn your passion into a personal brand and business. He doesn’t say that every passion can become a blockbuster earner, but he does suggest that you can probably turn your passion in to 40k to 70k business.

There is practical information in this book.

The best of it is where he lays out a 13 point, step by step process for doing this (which becomes 21 steps when it is repeated in the appendix, just to be sure). He explains the process using the analogy of an escapist-minded CPA, which makes the advice even easier to understand. It is solid, practical, gold if you are looking specific advice on building your personal brand.

For the rest of the book, do not expect polished prose and sharp concise points though. Gary’s book reads like, well, Gary speaking.

Bold and fast paced. Many explanations are longer than required and not necessarily on point. Some stories are a little disjointed in the overall flow of the message. He also uses a lot of analogies which is helpful though they’re not very consistent.

These things are a little distracting which can make you forget where you are on his conceptual journey but none of them are a particularly a deal breaker for me.

One main takeaway I got from this book ways Gary’s view on social media at the time.

A lot of attention is placed onto describing how social media provides an inspiring new opportunity for people to leverage new mediums of content not previously open to the everyday person. Gary describes in this book how the power has shifted away from established media providers to new social media content producers.

However, Gary sees social media platforms more than a way of distributing content. He suggests listening out for mentions of your topic and engaging with people who may be, for example, looking for wine recommendations or tax advice. This is so you can tastefully, or not so tastefully, segway yourself into your target’s minds and build your audience.

Interestingly, at this point Gary is not discussing the idea of ‘day-trading’ attention. A concept he now mentions often in his more recent speeches.

Overall, Crush It is an uplifting and practical book about modern day personal brands around passions.