This assertion opens “The Start-Up of You” and sets the tone for the rest of the book. Co-authors Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha argue that all humans were born with the will to create encoded in our DNA. Although we are born entrepreneurs, this doesn’t mean that we should all try to start a company…or even that we all have the ability to do so. The philosophy at the heart of “The Start-Up of You” is that in order to succeed and to achieve the career you want in the long run, you must approach it and invest in it like a startup venture. By applying lessons learned and observed from startup corporations and entrepreneurs, you will give your career the attention and care it needs in order to best benefit you. These lessons make up the heart of Hoffman and Casnocha’s book.
One of the most important principles in “The Start-Up of You” is the ‘permanent beta’ mindset. By adopting the ‘permanent beta’ mindset, you acknowledge the fact that you, like everyone else, are a work in progress. Yes, you will always be in a state where you will make mistakes and err, but you will always have the opportunity to work out the bugs and fine-tune those things that need improvement. There will never be a time when you’re not adapting and evolving, and by acknowledging and embracing this, you will be able to develop the confidence needed to take intelligent risks and pursue breakout opportunities.
Although many of the concepts the book introduces focus on the individual, Hoffman and Casnocha also stress the importance of a professional network – something that Hoffman, as chairman of LinkedIn, knows very well. The formula IWe sums up the authors’ point-of-view beautifully: The power of the individual (I) is increased exponentially by the power of a network (We). Without a solid network, the burden is on the individual to seek out opportunities, gather information and resources and formulate plans of action. Without a network, the individual is severely limited by his personal and professional strengths and his weaknesses.
The Startup of Me?
One of the greatest attributes of the book is that it doesn’t read like a dry, dull textbook that’s based on theory. It’s easy, even enjoyable, to read, and Hoffman and Casnocha are living examples of the attitude and approach that the book champions (Hoffman is the co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn, Casnocha has been named one of “America’s best young entrepreneurs” by BusinessWeek). In addition to bringing in personal experience, they also look to well-known businesses that embody the qualities a successful career-minded person must adopt, like Netflix, PayPal and Flickr.
Of course, it’s not enough if a book simply lays out principles and then expects the reader to adopt and implement them right away without guidance. “The Start-Up of You” lays out the core principles and then challenges the reader by giving them goals to aim to accomplish in the next week and the next month, and then gives them strategies to help them accomplish those goals.
Although the title may give the impression that the book’s target audience consists of entrepreneurs and startup founders, “The Start-Up of You” can help anyone who is looking to improve and shape their career in the long run. It will help mold your mindset into that of a successful entrepreneur, giving you the edge you need in order to succeed. Invest in yourself and “The Start-Up of You.”
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You can order the book directly from the official “Start-Up of You” website.