Review: Get Sh*t Done – Startup Vitamins

Get Sh*t Done is a book that I saw in my local library as I was browsing books. It’s a small book and it occurred to me that as a relatively unknown author (for now), creating a book spine that attracts readers can be hugely important. It also did not hurt that this book is smaller than usual (e.g., similar to the size of Austin Kleon’s book Steal like an artist). The book is organized into 8 sections spanning the life of a startup and features quotes from entrepreneurs, artists, makers, creators, founders, leaders and all sorts of other people that I’ve never heard of but sound impressive nonetheless. Here are the quotes that really struck home for me:

Get shit done:

  • Henry Ford – “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do”
  • Michael Dell – “Don’t spend so much time waiting for the perfect opportunity that you miss the right opportunity”

Think

  • Alexis Ohanian – “Lives remaining: zero”
  • Aaron Levie – “Innovation is hard because ‘solving problems people didn’t know they had’ and ‘building something no one needs’ looks identical at first.”
  • Jeff Bezos – “Your margin is my opportunity”
  • Paul Chen – “Passion never fails”
  • Aaron Gotwalt – “Most of entrepreneurship is differentiating between good-sounding dumb ideas and dumb-sounding good ideas.”
  • Paul Graham – “It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.”
  • Dennis Crowley – “People an copy what you’ve done, but they can’t copy what you’re going to do.”
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes – “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

Plan

  • Ernest Hemingway – “The first draw of anything is shit”
  • Steve Blank – “Building a successful business model isn’t about changing your company based on every bit of feedback: it’s about understanding whom to listen to and why”

Build

  • Mike Monteiro – “A good designer finds an elegant way to put everything on a page. A great designer convinces you half that shit is unnecessary”
  • Seth Godin – “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress”
  • David Hieatt – “Be narrow. It’s much better to mean a great deal to a few people than next to nothing to a huge amount.”

Lead

  • Danielle Newnham – “Start your business by doing every job yourself. It’s the only way to learn what you need and who will then be best able to do it for you.”
  • Tim Ferriss – “An entrepreneur isn’t someone who owns a business, it’s someone who makes things happen.”
  • Peter Schutz – “Hire character. Train skill.”
  • Michael Lopp – “Managers tell you where you are. Leaders tell you where you’re going.”

Sell

  • Derek Sivers – “Care about your customers more than about yourself and you’ll do well.”
  • Jason Goldberg – “Sales go up and down. Service stays forever.”

Persevere

  • A Navy Seal – “Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That’s why we train so hard.”
  • Larry Ellison – “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts.”

Evolve

  • Tony Robbins – “Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions.”
  • David Karp – “For every new feature we add, we take an old one out. A lot of big sites don’t do that, and it’s a problem.”

Overall, I like the format of the book – a quote on each page, a quick 20 minute read and something that you can go back to every once in a while to get some inspiration and motivation if you are working on a startup. I even learned a few things for how I want to approach some of the opportunities I face in consulting and in helping others grow and succeed.

Wang

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