WBG Book Review 28 Sept 2016 – Anything you Want by Derek Sivers
Numbers in square brackets refer to page numbers in the book
At just over 80 pages for almost £9 it seemed overpriced but I liked this book for its lean condensed style. As an autobiography it is not necessarily a recipe for how to make a business rather a retrospective review of what worked for one person, with a few thoughts and insights to invite reflection and stimulate discussion.
The book begins with a dose of humility,  invites readers to email with disagreements. Terry B took up his offer, and received a reply…
There was gentle humour and modesty throughout the book, “what if we get too big and have to employ someone?” And some surprising advice:
- Find and train your replacement when quitting a job!
- Why bother interviewing new employees?
- Don’t bother with T&C and other legal stuff.
- Don’t outsource skills if you can learn how to do it yourself.
Business is why we are here this morning. What does Derek say about business?
-  When you make a business it’s a little universe where you control the laws.
- Make your own rules about what you want your business to be.
- Business is about making dreams come true, money is secondary.
- Doing what makes you happy is more important than quick profit or expansion.
-  A business plan should be simple, hopefully no more than a few minutes to prepare.
- Be flexible; no business plan survives first contact with customers.
-  Improve or invent until you get a huge response. (don’t flog a dead horse).
-  don’t pursue business only answer calls for help.
- Filter new projects. Use ‘Hell Yeah, or No’ to decide whether to proceed with an idea.
- Ideas are worthless without execution.
- Over-deliver at times, be generous, do the right thing.
- You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people, focus on the 1% (get rid of the weeds)
- The best way to grow your business is to focus entirely on existing customers.
- Many little customers better than one big one.
- Stop worrying about what other people say you should be doing.
Some painful lessons on being too trusting:
- A combination of not reading a contract with his father and some bad advice from a staff member at a bank led to him having to buy 90% of the company back from his father for $3.3 million.
- Having to fire an employee who ignored the prime directive. Trust but verify.
- His employees set up a profit sharing scheme. Delegate but don’t abdicate.
- Reality check: are you happy, are you helping people, are you profitable?
- “As my company got bigger my stories about it were less happy”
- Get out before everything gets too stressful.
Other resources: web-site: worth a look for the book reviews alone
Podcast interviews with Tim Ferriss: in two parts
Part 1 https://sivers.org/2015-12-ferriss
Part 2 https://sivers.org/2015-12-ferriss2
Notes by Bill Ferguson, Osteopath www.billferguson.co.uk