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Sawit Trisirisatayawong

Book Review - Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

books, business2 min read

Late last year I had the sudden urge to start reading again. Like. Read actual books with actual pages. While, like many, I'm always on my phone reading random stuff from equally random places, I couldn't remember the last time I actually finished a proper book.

And although I subscribe to the idea of reading to satisfy one's intellectual curiosity, an idea I found thanks to AngelList founder Naval Ravikant (his Twitter and ideas are pretty amazing by the way), as opposed to just to have finished them, I still want to prove to myself that I can still sit down and finish one. I don't know. I guess I wanted to know if I still have enough attention span left in an age with so many constant distractions and rapid and short-form information sharing.

So I did. I bought a book. This book. And here's my review and some of my takeaways.

Review and Takeaways

Never forget why you're doing what you're doing. Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn't that enough?

Derek Sivers, in his own words, has been "a musician, producer, circus performer, entrepreneur, TED speaker, and book publisher". He started CDBaby, a company in which he later sold for $22 million. In this book, he details his experience creating the business, running it, as well as all of the associated ups, downs, and lessons that come with it. The book touches on the mindset when it comes to working and running a business, coming up with an idea, things to consider when managing one, and so many more advices.

For me, as someone who’s recently started their career and started to feel the urge to always be working, this book has really helped reconsider and reframe the way I approach what I do and my mindset towards working in general. The way Sivers emphasize on having the correct mindset, to start now and start small, to not cater to everyone and proudly exclude people, and especially the quote above really resonated with me.

His advices on ideas are is equally helpful. Some of the ones I really value are:

  • No business goes as planned, so make ten radically different plans
  • It’s OK to be casual when explaining your idea to someone. What is important is clarity.
  • Consider hiring lightly and fire lightly
  • Delegate, but don’t abdicate. never delegate work to the extent that you involuntarily relinquish power and/or responsibility
  • When you’re onto something great, it won’t feel like a revolution. It’ll feel like uncommon sense

Finally here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

Don't be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams.

If you think revolution needs to feel like a war, you’ll overlook the importance of simply serving people better.

Success comes from persistently improving, not from persistently promoting what’s not working.

The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy

Wrapping Up

Overall, I couldn't pick much of a better book. By conveying his own journey and failures in a short 1-2 hours read, all always candid, his words has left me with things that I will probably think about for much longer into the future.