Review: Wise Guy

A review of Wise Guy by Guy Kawasaki.

You had me at…

“At the end of my career, I want people to remember me as a father ❤️- not an entrepreneur, author speaker, brand ambassador, evangelist or influencer.”

Halfway through the book, 📖 I read this quote, and it immediately became my favorite quote in the book.

I don’t know Guy personally nor have I ever met or seen him in real life. However, through social media, I recently had the honor and privilege of reading a review copy of Guy Kawasaki’s new book Wise Guy releasing on Feb 26, 2019.

Guy Kawasaki - Wise Guy

Source: Guy Kawasaki

Who is Guy Kawasaki 🏄‍♂️?

If you’ve been living under a rock, Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Guy is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. Guy is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA. As well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College

In this book, Guy shares many personal and professional stories. Ranging from his humble beginnings, origins of his name, making a move to California, getting into and succeeding in the business world.

I mean Guy has eaten all over the world, and nothing compares to his mum’s beef stew, guava ice cakes, and tsukemono (pickled vegetable). I feel the same way, (I haven’t eaten all over the world), however, nothing beats my mum’s home cooked Indian curries 😉.

Guy Kawasaki school

Source: Guy Kawasaki

Wise Guy is easily one of the best books I’ve read, a series of vignettes that contain just enough information for the reader to want more. Throughout the book, Guy sprinkles in words of wisdom 🤙. Great nuggets of knowledge that are practical and relatable in the real world.

For Example:

When Guy considered an opening in the 🍏 Macintosh Division as a “software evangelist” guy realized that “evangelizing Macintosh to developers was fundamentally sales.” Because of his background in jewelry, this job was something that Guy could do. Guy talks about not worrying about the “minimum requirements” of a job since they represent wishful thinking. Successful candidates are the ones who made their shortcomings irrelevant. While this seems simple and obvious, many people don’t see it that way.

In short, there are two types of individuals in the world 1) those who can deliver results and 2) those who cannot.

Another example of great wisdom, which took me 37 years to realize is “learn how to sell and Life is sales”. Everything we do is in some form of sales, think about it. You may think you have never done sales, every time you apply for a new job you are the product, you are trying to sell your skills to fill a gap or need for the prospective employer (that’s a form of selling).

Wise Guy has 12 chapters, and a separate section at the end titled “recommended reading” where Guy shares a selection of books he recommends reading. I mean what better way to find your next book to read. I browsed the list, and the next book I plan on reading is going to be Guy’s first recommendation in the recommended reading section (Guy mentions this book several times throughout).

My favorite nuggets

Guy drops a number of nuggets, below are some of my most memorable:
– Five stages in life,
– Going away for college lessons,
– Five lessons Guy learned from his father’s response when dealing with people, ❤️
– Don’t fear the impact of quitting,
– Guy’s commencement speech at Menlo College in 2012, 🔥
– Allow employees to contribute to a higher purpose as a source of motivation and employee retention,
– Top eleven lessons learned while at Apple, 🔥
– Great companies begin with these types of questions,
– Eleven points to explain the silicon valley phenomenon,
– Shopping center test,
– Six lessons from surfing,
– Surfers code by Shaun Tomson,
– List of top 10 pearls of wisdom. 🔥

Something else that stuck with me was “the importance of the second follower,” usually the early adopters are employees, friends, and family. However, getting that one big name to use your product or service adds credibility for others to be at ease. I am not a design person, yet, after seeing Guy talk about Canva, I started using it. By no means am I an expert and the learning curve was very quick. The barrier to entry starting design doesn’t seem as high any more thanks to Canva.

Stay humble

I’m a big fan of Sir Richard Branson ✈, and all I will say about this story is Stay Humble and share the below image (read the book the story is 🔥).

Guy Kawasaki and Richard Branson

Source: Guy Kawasaki

Employment history

Guy lists his jobs from 1971 through to the present day, and the only job he got through an ad was a filing clerk position. “Foster connections and not job applications” is an excellent nugget that many people don’t consider in this one-click application era. While the numbers game may work for some people (I’ve attended a few talks, and the presenters are proud of this numbers strategy), I 💯% agree with Guy, you are more likely to get a job through your relationships.

Side note:

This reminds me of a famous saying:

I know the CEO of [fill in your company here] or I know the president of [fill in your country here], however, it does not mean that the CEO or president knows of me or knows me 🤦‍♂️.

Moving on

I was surprised to read about Guy’s regrets in life; you don’t often hear people discussing anything remotely to do with regret. So this was a breath of fresh air and a definite sign of strength and not a weakness by any means. Thank you Guy for sharing your real personal side 🙌.

Social media can be a funny beast at times; however, as we move forward in a social world, the impact of social media is not understood by all. Guy has worked with many organizations, and some have even turned his services down (I mean can you believe that? I am shocked). It is essential to have a voice, develop an opinion or view, and yes you may lose a few subscribers, but you may pick up more, and the net effect is positive – “Life is short, and you can’t make everyone happy.”

In closing 💯

Reading short stories about Guy from his four children is my favorite part of the book and in my opinion one of Guy’s biggest successes. As a father, my greatest joy has been our son.

In summary, Wise Guy is a fantastic read, one of the few books that I read in one sitting. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it back down.

Hopefully, one day when I’m in California I’ll bump into Guy “by chance” at the Apple store on University Avenue in Palo Alto or see Guy surfing at the 38th Avenue break in Santa Cruz.

If you enjoyed this review, I highly recommend you go and purchase a copy of Wise Guy here.

Ps. I’m also going to buy a copy of The Chicago Manual of style.

PPS. Guy, I think you hit your goal of educating through this book.

Posted by Pradip Khakhar

Hi, I'm Pradip Khakhar. Product Manager and Founder The Product Angle.

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