Unlocking Real Value Blog

Book Review: The Start-up Of YOU

The Start-Up Of YOU is a recently released book co-written by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman. It’s well worth reading, not only because it presents an interesting perspective based on the entrepreneurial experiences of the authors, but is also includes a number of practical exercises (called “Invest in Yourself”) which can help you improve your networking and self-improvement skills.

(Of course the book does its share of promoting LinkedIn and other Hoffman ventures (what similar books don’t?), but at the end of the day, after reading the book, LinkedIn will become a more valuable tool to you.)

The book is not a book about looking for a new job, but in essence it recommends that you do things every day that we usually only do when looking for a job.┬áTo quote the cover of the book: “Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career.”

Here are some highlights from the book:

  • We should all think like entrepreneurs and create networks that outlive the initial start-up phase
  • Every person is a small business, and should be constantly planning and adapting as businesses do
  • You can’t be complacent. Always think of yourself as being in “beta” – constantly striving to evolve and make yourself better
  • Your personal asset mix is not fixed – you can and should learn new skills

Frankly, the main value of the book to most people will be its chapters (and follow-up exercises) on networking. The book talks about developing both a small inner circle of 8-10 key people – called professional allies – and an outer and larger circle of contacts – which can reach into the hundreds. As in all things, the more you view your networks from a “we” rather than “I” perspective, so that both parties can benefit from the relationship, the more effective your networking efforts will be.

The book concludes this way: “So start tapping into your network. Start investing in skills. Start taking intelligent risks. Start pursuing breakout opportunities. But most of all, start forging your own differentiated career plans; start adapting these rules to your own adaptive life. For life is a permanent beta, the trick is to never start stopping. The start-up is you.”

Let me know if you end of buying the book and agree with my assessment.

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