Book Review: The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

book review

I am one of those weird people that still enjoys going into a real bookstore and buying real books.

Don’t get my wrong I still buy Kindle books and ebooks, which I read on my iPad while on my lunch break at work or when I’m traveling. But I still enjoy browsing the shelves and seeing the latest business, career or finances books.

I actually stumbled upon The Start-up of You, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha while I was searching for Michael Hyatt’s new book Platform. But unfortunately it was sold out, so I decided to buy The Start-up of You instead. And I’m so glad I did!

What does the Start-up of You mean?

The book is told from Reid’s point of view who passionately states that everyone should be in permanent beta. What is permanent beta? To always be starting, to be a work in progress.

You need to stay young, and adaptive to constant changes around you. In other words – you need to forever be a start-up. Be sure to check out these 6 inspirational quotes from the book.

About the Authors

“Reid Hoffman is the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with 100+ million members. He is a world-renowned entrepreneur and investor. Previously he was executive vice president and on the founding board of directors of PayPal. He is an early investor in over 100 technology companies, including Facebook and Zynga.

Ben Casnocha is an award-winning entrepreneur and author. He has written for Newsweek and public radio’s Marketplace and appeared on CNN, the CBS Early Show, and CNBC. BusinessWeek has named him one of America’s best young entrepreneurs. He has spoken to more than ten thousand students and businesspeople in countries around the world.” – Source

About the book

The main point in the book is that we all need to manage our careers as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.

Because, start-ups – and the entrepreneurs who run them – invest in themselves. They build professional networks and take intelligent risks. They make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage. And these are the very same skills professionals need to get ahead today.

  • Chapter 1: All Humans are Entrepreneurs
  • Chapter 2: Develop a Competitive Advantage
  • Chapter 3: Plan to Adapt
  • Chapter 4: It Takes a Network
  • Chapter 5: Pursue Breakout Opportunities
  • Chapter 6: Take Intelligent Risks
  • Chapter 7: Who You Know is What You Know

I know I’ve said it before with past books that I’ve read, but this book is definitely going on my favorites list. And I plan to read it again – yes, it’s just that good. I highly recommend this book

My biggest takeaway

Even if you don’t work for yourself as a freelancer or run your own small business, this book shows the importance of having a network outside of your job and creating a separate identity.

For instance: just think if you worked for GM back in it’s heyday and created your identity around being the star GM employee. Since that business tanked, your reputation (and subsequently your career) would have tanked right along with it.

You need to use your experience and skills at certain companies as positives to build your portfolio and professional network. But you should never depend on them to create your professional identity.

Connect with the authors or buy the book

[I did not get paid to write this, and I did personally read the book. As always, the opinions expressed are my own.]
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  1. I think I must be emotional now because that trailer got me teary-eyed. lol! I totally agree! Because even if you are in a a cushy full time job (like I was at one point), it is SO easy to just get comfortable and collect a paycheck. Had a done a lot of networking and skill-building when I was working full time, my sudden and unexpected layoff and being thrown into the freelance world might have been easier. But it’s never too late to turn around a situation. I’m constantly finding new ways to learn, grow, make money, and now learn new skills. I don’t want to just sit around and hope and wait for something better to happen. I have to make it happen! Thanks! 🙂

    • Carrie Smith says:

      Yes, absolutely! I got too comfortable in my job and got used to collecting a paycheck, just like you pointed out. Thankfully, I “saw the handwriting on the wall” and have created a network and identity outside my full time job. It’s never to late, no matter what stage of the game you’re in.

  2. Joe Cassandra says:

    One of the best books out there! People get content with getting whatever “education” they believe is enough and forget that you should always be evolving in skillset, mindset, talent and beyond. It’s all successful people have…succeeded.

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