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Ratings and reviews for Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

Ratings and reviews for Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
based on 546 rating(s)
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Price: $22.99 $19.54 (15% off)
Trade In Value: $1.50
Author(s): Gary Vaynerchuk
Release Date: 10/13/2009
Binding: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 142
Studio: Harper Studio
Manufacturer: Harper Studio
Dewey Decimal Number: 650.1
Product Group: Book
Edition: First Edition, 1st Printing
Sales Rank: 5329

Do you have a hobby you wish you could indulge in all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take that passion and make a living doing what you love. In Crush It! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed here, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, readers will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, Crush It! is the ultimate driver’s manual for modern business.

ISBN: 0061914177
UPC: 0061914177

Reviews 1 to 10 of 546
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amazon logo I Wanted To Like It, But.....
Now that I've read the mystifying rave reviews of this book--and seen in one day how 12 people have already marked my review as "not helpful", I wish I could rank this book even lower. I was being kind with 2 stars. (The extra one was a nod for explaining to people who may not have thought of it before, some of the "branding" potential of social media. Oh, and for using a book as a PR piece--even though that is also a major NEGATIVE factor to me).

I looked forward to this book. I share Gary's idea that the internet + its social media has created amazing new opportunities for entrepreneurs with the know-how to fully utilize it. I agree with his vision of relentless and disciplined branding in every way that this new media offers.

The problems? First, as others have mentioned, Vaynerchuk started out in his father's already-successful wine merchant business. Vaynerchuk expanded his father's business innovatively via social media branding (taking it from $4 million to, he says, $50 million), but that does not make his experience easily replicable for the people he's exhorting to "crush it" like he did. Nor does it seem wise for him to urge others, including many who don't have his financial family "safety net", to quit their jobs and "follow your passion". He hasn't "been there" (struggling, like most people do, without a lucrative family business to fall back on). His advice to give it all up to work 24/7 and follow your passion could be very irresponsible, especially in this unforgiving economy.

Sadly, "Crush It" falls into the category of "book written because someone has gotten rich at doing something". It seems based on the premise that real world financial success (especially with a technological flair) = valuable insights and practical knowledge and skills to teach others.

Unfortunately, that isn't always true. Great salesmen (and Gary -does- seem to be a great salesman) do not necessarily make great writers...thinkers...teachers. Mid-way through this small book, the focus is still basically on one subject: Gary Vaynerchuk, and how he got to be the business success that he is today, primarily using social media to its fullest to promote himself and his business--that all-encompassing "brand".

Of course, personal success stories--told briefly--can be very inspirational and motivational. Told at length, accompanied by lots of personal hype....well, it just seems that "writing a book" is being seen as one more extension of "sharing my brand with the world".

I hoped this book would be a focused "how to", not a personal sales pitch. Definitely disappointing. I really don't understand all the raves, unless its a new form of "applied networking".

UPDATE: A week after I reviewed this book, I wanted to make one more observation. Most reviews, including those written before mine (all overwhelmingly positive) have 1 or 2...maybe as many as 7 in a few cases..."helpful/not helpful" comments. My lone "2 star" review, by contrast, has 50 comments. The "1 star" review has 60. It's the kind of spread you get when reviewing a hot-topic political book. With "Crush It", there's something very odd about this pattern of commenting, and imo very wrong...

1.27.10. This thread is so odd that, as someone who writes a fair amount of Amazon reviews, I keep an eye on it. It's pretty weird. First, disclosure: I don't know -any- of the people who have commented on whether my review was helpful to them or not. But for the last week or so responses have kept this 2 star review listed as "most helpful" which must be annoying to the author who also watches this thread--responding to EVERYTHING (although his book remains at 1, 1 and 2 in his Amazon categories).

Today, in one day, a barrage of negatives (70 or so 'not helpful' votes--an unheard of number in one day!) dropped this 2 star review off to oblivion, now replaced by 5 star reviews with 1 or 2 people agreeing they are "helpful". And, too, today alone there are 8 new comments in this thread (posted last October), including 3 today alone from Gary, the author.

Weird, weird pattern here. And, more than ever, I think this is some kind of "promoted" response to a negative review. So, just to add in conclusion....I wouldn't buy a book from anyone who encouraged (directly or indirectly encouraged) his fans to distort an honest response to his book. 70 "not helpful" responses to a 4 month old review? In one day???? Never, ever happen "naturally" at Amazon. Then again, maybe "Crush It!" has different meaning than I originally thought....
2366 of 2592 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Are you living, or just earning a living?
Are you living, or just earning a living? So asks wine critic, social media star and business consultant Gary Vaynerchuk in his new book, Crush It!

The premise of Crush It! is that technology has disrupted the historical boundaries of business, making it possible for anyone with knowledge and passion to build a business that capitalizes on that expertise.

Generally, he's right. I've built a community and a business at [...] by adhering to many of the principles in this book. However, I've started five companies previously, and prefer working for myself. Your results may vary.

Certainly, like Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Crush It! is targeted at entrepreneurs and would-be solo acts that are itching to strike out on their own, and need the nudge to do so. This is not a book for corporate marketers.

The success path painted by Vaynerchuk is paved with content. Audio, video, written. It doesn't matter, so long as you make a lot of it. And that really strikes at the core of the Gary Vee vision, which is that the future of business is in hyper-targeting. Finding the cracks and crevices and building content-driven enterprises that can fill the needs of those small but passionate audiences. In many ways, this notion dovetails with Chris Anderson's The Long Tail.

To some degree, however, this advice is self-limiting. Most often, hyper-targeted niches can be capitalized upon, but by definition the size of that opportunity is narrow. That doesn't mean it isn't viable, and to his credit Gary frequently balances millionaire dreams with "make a living" reality in the book.

Expertise combined with differentiation. Although he doesn't describe it that way, that's the Vaynerchuk content success equation.
I certainly agree with the differentiation component. It's one of the things I struggle with personally. How do I stand apart from the other social media consultants? It's important, and the book provides a few interesting examples.

The expertise side, however, is trickier. The book presumes that anyone can Crush It! Of course, anyone can start a blog, and market it well. But, do they have the expertise to transform a category? To me, it seems like you need to have a very solid knowledge base before heading down this road. Perfect for prosumers. For others without existing expertise, it will be tough to break through.

There are many parallels between Crush It! and Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Workweek book. Similar size, approach, and subject matter, especially the concept of monetizing your passion. Ferriss even blurbs the cover of Crush It!.

I find it extremely interesting that Vaynerchuk unabashedly describes the extremely long hours required to successfully implement his methods, at one point encouraging parents to work from 9pm to 3am daily. Alternatively, Ferriss' premise is to work less, not more, using automated business and shortcuts to save time and enjoy life.

(I would love to see a Vaynerchuk vs. Ferriss debate on this issue, as they propose contradictory ways to achieve the same outcome)

Although a bit repetitive at times, and not particularly detailed, Crush It! is a motivating, entertaining book that I believe you'll find yourself returning to over and over for a shot in the arm.

Everyone self-employed, or desiring to be self-employed, should pick up a copy of the book.

It reads like a 90-minute conversation with Gary, and that's time well-spent.
171 of 209 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Are you kidding?
I recently saw this book pumped by Fox and other outlets with everybody talking up the brilliance of the author. On Fox he explained the premise behind the book, his passion for wine, etc., but I still didn't see what the fuss was about. Nevertheless, I borrowed a copy and checked it out like everybody else caught in the whirlwind.

As soon as I saw favorable promotions on the cover written by that shallow, self absorbed fool Tim Ferris (author of The Four Hour Work Week), I was immediately glad I didn't pay a cent for this book. Content wise, it is a short summary of the latest internet venues that won't come as a surprise to anyone under 40 who hasn't been living in a cave since high school. Anyone older could use the book as a decent primer on all things beyond Friendster, including of course Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Plaxo (but no Linked In-?) etc. Even so, a primer should either be a freebie on the web or something more substantial than 142 pages of big print hardcover brochure-ware selling for twenty bucks a copy. If you must get one, please avail yourself of a Borders coupon or wait till someone has a sale in a month or so - paying full price would be a genuine slap in the face you don't deserve.

On that note, it seems that more non-fiction books ostensibly offering how-to marketing advice are going away from actual useful content and drifting into ad-ware territory. This book is no exception, and is a loss-leader used as an adverising medium to up-sell the reader on whatever else the author has in store (see also Buyology, and practically everything sold in the real estate section these days, especially by Kiyosaki and Robert G. Allen).

Here, the author is using blog postings posing as a book and selling it to the olestra-eating masses in a slick hardcover format with a very trendy black cover. I can't blame him for this if it turns a profit or leads to more business elsewhere, but for anyone seeking a useful plan of action, it bears remembering you will not be satisfied nor can most people realistically expect to follow his footsteps, as several others pointed out already. T. Ferris's similar book was even more insipid but equally well-received (how many plumbers, cops and firemen can do the 4 hour work week-?). Most readers of these books don't fit that mold, but imagine themselves as such. If you must dream of a more exciting life amongst the trendy independent folk sporting shiny, spiky stuff in their hair while sipping mocha choco-tinis from chilled stemware at uber-trendy LEED certified bars, at least do it with a borrowed copy like I did.
172 of 188 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo A Shot of Adrenaline for Your Brain
If you've ever watched Gary speak, then you are aware of the intensity, energy, and passion that this man has. Gary is a machine, and as evidenced by his rise to the top of our blogging world and soon the mainstream media world, it is obvious that he has what it takes to not only create a successful business, but to inspire others to do the same.

Crush It is no different than hearing Gary speak, as the energy moves straight from the voice recorder to the page. Although the book is shorter than most, I appreciate that there isn't any fluff and that there is something worth reading in every single chapter. Although I'm familiar with most of the topics in the book, I couldn't help but to stop reading and take notes every 5-10 minutes...there's that much to take in.

Crush It will inspire you to do amazing things in your own life as long as you are strong enough to take the steps necessary to pull them off. There is also loads of step by step and "how-to" info in this book, which is something that many in the category lack. If there's one shortfall of this book, it's that Gary's energy can be difficult to keep up with, and you might feel like you can't follow in his steps without having the same inner fireball. Although I believe anyone can follow the steps in this book, only you can make it happen.

I finished the book at 10pm on a Tuesday, and I was up until 4AM writing down ideas. You can't go wrong with Crush It.
117 of 142 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Social Media Guru Gary Vaynerchuk Cashes In On His Passion - At Your Expense
While Gary Vaynerchuck would definitely be my pick if Ben Affleck was unavailable to give his famous Boiler Room speeches, Vaynerchuck is a zero as author.

Crush It is appalling. Yes, the clichés are overwhelming. Yes, the triteness is underwhelming. Yes, the repetition is mind-numbing. But it's the lack of substance in Crush It that really turns me off.

This book screams "be passionate" so loudly, so frequently, and so sweetly that it becomes a siren song focused on luring the audience from their jobs into the role of fulltime blogger. Lost in Gary's shouting is the unquestionable truth that success has as much to do with the strategy, the team, and preparation as it does the desire to "crush it."

Gary preaches a "shoot first, aim later" strategy (consistent with many of the so-called social media experts in emerging media). This gospel is actually a dangerous blend of motivational speaking and business ignorance based solely upon an extrapolation of Gary's own personal experience.

Gary is one of the most talented self-promoters in the United States. Unfortunately, he missed a golden opportunity to tell his story and share some broad principles. This is the classic trap of the narcissist. By turning his own experience into a "How To" guide that promises a path to replicating his own success, he grossly disserves the reader.

As a result, instead of learning from a genius marketer's experience, we listen to an over-the-top tirade against the typical business world ("traditional resumes are... irrelevant"; "Social Media = Business. Period"; "If you want it badly enough, the money is there"). And we hear him tout his own formula for crushing it. It's something to the effect of: quit your job, blog all day until 3am, start taking steps to get on the lecture circuit, and then P&G will offer you a job as their spokesperson.

I emailed Gary to push him on some elements of his logic:

On Dec 1, 2009, at 9:52 PM, Zach wrote:

Love the book, but surprised at how much you mention your email address. You can't scale talking to everyone. I mean Oprah cannot physically talk to all her fans. So what's your plan?

On Dec 1, 2009, at 10:30 PM, Gary wrote:

to TRY!

On Dec 1, 2009, at 8:55 AM, Zach wrote:

I could read 1000 short AP [Associated Press] articles on business every day, but if I never read a book by Peter Drucker, I would lack a certain depth about business. So do you think having so many superficial relationships makes it difficult to be thoughtful about understanding the customers' needs?

On Dec 1, 2009, at 8:55 AM, Gary wrote:

[Auto response] My book Crush It! just came out and I am getting pounded with email while I'm on tour. To try and help you better I taped this new video:

[...] [Video tells me to "Crush It"]

Gary as a marketer is candid, intense, and funny. I could watch him talk about wine all day long. But Gary as a social media consultant is too raw, too haphazard, and too scattered. The uninitiated should stay away from Crush It.
103 of 125 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo A spammer makes good
Mr. Vaynerchuk's book offers the newbie internet entrepreneur the same advice the mortgage industry provided unqualified homeowners: No money down. No credit history required. Income? None needed. The 'buy-in' is free. And who doesn't like free money? The truth is that Mr. Vaynerchuk assumed a high-profile position within an already successful family-owned company. He has become a brand enabled by dozens of anonymous employees and equally anonymous viewers of his celebrated WLTV.

The business model celebrated in Crush It teaches entrepreneurs how to cash in on the millions of dollars still miraculously left in the pockets of middle-class consumers. This is not a book for those concerned with marketing transparency or with social responsibility. It is all about how we, too, might yet make a quick buck while all around us honest people drown.
62 of 124 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Too much fluff and not enough substance
At best, this book serves as a good resource for social media and web tool sites. At worst, it is a braggadocios, poorly conceived sales pitch attempting to inspire its readers to just Crush It (yeah baby!). I usually research books prior to reading them. If you read at the same rate as a 5th grader, you have to choose your reading material wisely. This book was more of an impulse buy spurred by a somewhat interesting description of the book. Deviation from a solid game plan is a mistake.

In retrospect, I should have just leafed through the book and wrote down the websites the author noted. This is the books best asset - it is an excellent reference for websites. The author also gives a few interesting successful business cases that utilized social media. But, this was only about 20 pages of material.

Save yourself the time and just leaf through the book and make a note of referenced websites. Also, the appendices at the end summarize the important points.
96 of 102 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Inspired! This book proves that anyone can write a book.
When I saw the author's interview on CNN, I couldn't wait to get and read the book. After I got the book,I was amazed. How did this thing ever get published? All of these positive reviews, more amazing still. One reviewer, Tracy H. Sells, sees the book for what it is: rambling platitudes, pointless personal experience and stuff about putting your family first. I wanted to specifically know how he did it. The exact techniques, not that anyone can make it in America and that social networking is a game changer. That's old news, appropriate to the late 90s, not at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. His website is impressive, so is his success, but as a book author; no. However, this did lead me to think that the experiences that I am having with social networking, trying to revolutionize the antique industry would be enough material to put out of a book slightly better than Crush It!
77 of 100 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Start living your passion
Gary Vaynerhuk is one of the most inspiring people anyone will ever cross. Definitely attend a signing if you can, and make sure you read this entire book. This book helps anyone who might find themselves even 1% unhappy with their work life. They are sure to be inspired to jump into, and be a part of the Web 2.0 movement. Learn how to harness the power of the internet with this book, and realize how to work based off of your passion from Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the most successful entrepreneurs ever.
67 of 84 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Was this really necessary?
Gary Vaynerchuk is obviously a very talented guy. He has fantastic taste in wine, and provides his perspective on it and a fresh, contrarian, honest, and entertaining way. His wine store has an excellent and thoughtful selection of wine from all over the world at very competitive prices. And he has managed to use a video blog very effectively to drive lots of online traffic to his wine store while making himself an Internet celebrity in the process.

But why in God's name does he feel a need, nay- a compulsion- to inflict his half-baked, tiresome, vague, platitudinal, and occasionally creepily profane (the speeches, not the book) feelings about business, marketing, and technology on the world? Why does he think that because he himself has succeeded, he can bottle a watered-down abstracted version of his formula and make you, the downtrodden gastro-enterology receptionist who just happens to have an after-hours passion for artisanally handcrafted dustpans rich, famous, and successful? The charitable side of me thinks he's naive. The cynical side of me says he knows there's credulous audience out there that will swallow this formula regardless of its validity and make him more famous.

Guess what? It's another business and marketing self-help motivational advice book, folks! Another example of that uniquely American phenomenon--a book written by a charismatic successful guy that claims to have the One True System for Everything. Throw all of your other marketing books away--my simple formula will bring you fame, riches, and happiness! And based on many of the reviews, another uniquely American phenomenon is repeating itself here: a bunch of less successful people hoping that by blindly and sycophantically swallowing this new formula, they can have their own success via the proximity effect. I've got a blog about a food product too! Gary validates my false hope that one day this will give me more than a 1 in 750,000 chance to ever be something more than a minor local celebrity and enough money to pay the DSL bill!

Gary, how can you have such worthwhile things to say about wine, and such worthless things to say about anything else? Stay in your wine box, little man- you're bumming my trip with your whole broader world view. Did I hear you had a 10-book deal? Egad.

Sure, I could critique the macro-economic or societal aspects of this business idea. The fact that it ultimately leads to a world where all we spend half our time spewing frenetic fragments into cyberspace and the other half filtering the alternatively, turgid, brilliant, mundane, and toxic brain-farts of others. The image of an economy where instead of just selling each other hamburgers, we sell each other advertising space on blogs where we review each others' hamburgers. The inescapable prevalence of the winner-take-all society, where many strive to achieve celebrity and success, and a tiny select few are rewarded at levels too lucrative to comprehend while the rest labor in poverty, obscurity and/or frustration. The amusing idea that the world has room for more than a handful of true Internet celebrities that sell us niche products in this way. About 1 per retail category, to be specific.

But I digress. For $12, you could buy a surprisingly good bottle of wine based on an excellent recommendation from Gary's video wine blog. Do yourself a favor and spend your money that way, people. Uncork it. Pound a glass or two. And then laugh at how silly you would have been to think that a breathlessly written 160-page book with a rhyming title and an exclamation point on the cover could really transform your life and make you wildly successful.
57 of 74 people found this review helpful.

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