Monday, January 7, 2013

Book review: The $100 startup

The $100 Startup
There is no rehab program for being addicted to freedom. Once you've seen what it's like on the other side, good luck trying to follow someone else's rules ever again.
Chris Guilleabeau

One quality I can't adore enough in people is "no-nonsense talking" and Chris scores high on this scale. I reaffirm that reading is the best thing to learn and grow. As my friend puts it "reading is people providing their best learnt lessons on a silver platter covered with a silk veil." If it were not for Chris I wouldn't have had the chance to take a candid look into many entre(solo)preneurs' success stories. Chris himself is one of those lucky guys who get to earn their living by doing things they absolutely love. A guy who makes money by roaming all over the world is definitely a worthy candidate for anyone's attention.

The book is a consolidated result of interviewing over 1500 entrepreneurs in as diverse fields as possible and making a sense of their success pattern. The lucky stories which got into Chris' narration have a median investment of $125 and average annual income of $100,000. And if you are thinking these are the hand picked successful businessmen then you are wrong. All of them hail from a very normal lifestyle but distinguished only by their craziness to do something which would ensure freedom to them and value to others. There are people from all walks of life - school dropouts, artists, web designers, techno geeks, parents, fashion designers, value investors, online marketers, consultants, writers, teachers, musicians, home makers, successful corporate executives, salesmen, teenagers, school goers, culinary coaches, adventure enthusiasts, food and beverage folks, public relation experts and retired men; all making a successful livelihood out of their passion.

What would take me perhaps a lot of excruciating learning through research, courses and experiences took me only one book to gulp it all. For a person with a slight technical aversion such as me the exposure to tools of internet marketing and e-commerce proved invaluable. The simple presentation of often complicated ideas such as fund raising, work force expansion, printing and outsourcing is compelling. Chris' claim that a successful business can strive entirely on value creation and passion is proven by real life examples. One cannot help but be madly motivated to follow dreams after reading this rather easy and sleazy way to success. All the case studies portray high business ethics and insatiable hunger for freedom+value.

While the cases presented are mostly of businesses successful in the first world countries it kindled an apprehension of the book's authenticity in a country like mine, a country still deemed "developing nation". But the story of how a man running tuk-tuk made himself more profitable than others in his field reinforced my belief that anything is possible if you have the fire in your belly. Rashmi Bansal's such books as Connect The Dots are there to remind us of this conviction. Moreover, Chris' book is a general guide to any budding entrepreneur who wants proof that simple ideas and high passion can succeed in big ways. The book is not a fast read since one has to take aid of Google to browse the fascinating stories of it's subjects. Chris being the blogger that he is, slowed down my reading in the initial few pages but the subjects later managed to sky rocket my curiosity.

The book gave me valuable insight into lives of spirited souls. Browsing through the successful people's websites, blogs and books has enriched my thought process like never before. I recommend this book to teenagers, college students, early life enthusiasts and transition facing professionals. This book is an assurance that everything will fall into place after the first step. So if you are apprehensive about your capabilities in taking that first step go grab this book.

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