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My new book, Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition is now available. The cover price is $29.95. It is approximately 500 pages long–twice the length of The Art of the Start. This book is the “superset” of all my books, articles, and blogs. I wrote it to provide answers to the questions that I’ve been asked about entrepreneuring, innovating, managing, marketing, speaking, pitching, schmoozing, and hiring. I explain the book and my philosophy in this BNET video and USA Today article.

Reality Check Checklist

Here’s a quick checklist to decide how badly you need to read the book:

  1. Are you making meaning?

  2. Does your product jump to the next curve?

  3. Is your product Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Elegant, and Emotive?

  4. Do you have a mantra for what you do?

  5. Do you have a 10-slide pitch with no font smaller than 30 points that you can give in 20 minutes?

  6. Have you figured out a way to take your product to market with no budget?

  7. Are you helping people who cannot help you?

  8. Can you blow away an audience with a demonstration of your product?

  9. Would you hire “imperfect” job candidates who love what you do as well as candidates who are better than you are?

  10. Are you only asking people to do things that you would do too?


Number of “Yes” responses:

1-4: You not only need it, you should pay full retail and have it shipped overnight.

5-7: For $30, you can fix everything you missed. Isn’t preventing mediocrity worth $30?

8-10: You may not need to read the book, but you should buy it as a gift for people who don’t know as much as you do.

Reality Distortion

I worked for Steve Jobs, what can I tell you? Here’s some reality distortion to convince you to buy the book:

From the Seth Godin, whose current book is Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

“Buy two copies of this book. One to rip pages out of, mark up, copy, and tack on the wall. And one to give away to your clueless colleague. Oh, better make that three copies. Four?”

From Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery.

“It deserves to sell a million!”

From Reality Check: Guy Kawasaki’s Magical New Book” by Bob Sutton (Stanford professor and author of The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Woorkplace and Surviving One That Isn’t).

“I started glancing through it, and instantly, I was hooked and–even though I was supposed to be doing other things–I read it from start to finish…And even if you are rabid reader of the blog, you will want to own a copy of this book.”

From Emanuel Rosen, author of the upcoming The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited: Real-life lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

“The key word in describing this book is useful. Like a good travel guide, it’s packed with smart and current advice that you can actually apply. Easy to navigate and fun to read, this is the perfect manual for business today!”

From “Jack Covert Selects Reality Check” (Jack is the CEO of 800 CEO Read).

“If you’re starting a business and looking to understand the world you’re walking into, you won’t find a better, more honest and enjoyable guide than Guy Kawasaki.”

From Published and Profitable by Roger C. Parker.

The more time I spend with Reality Check, the more I like it, learn from it, and am entertained by it; ( i.e., his description of venture capitalists acting as though they don’t need entrepreneurs: ‘This dance is akin to acting prudish in a brothel…'”

From marketing coach Shirley de Rose.

“It was all I could do not to shout, “OMG! His book is a handbook for a real life! I can think of 10 people for this chapter alone.” But I couldn’t shout – my partner was asleep. So I kept reading, thinking about how I could comment on all this. But my analysis was the same for each chapter – it’s quick, instructional reading, bullet-pointed to be memorable and above all, useful. None of which is bed-time reading because it gets the motors revving and the brain whirling.”

If you’d like to see what “random” readers are saying about the book, click here.

The Best Foreword In the History of Man

The last thing that Dan Lyons (Newsweek columnist and author of Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs) wrote as Fake Steve Jobs is Reality Check’s foreword. It is, in my opinion, the best foreword in the history of man.

You know what I think about whenever I hear the name Guy Kawasaki? Motorcycles. It’s true. It’s the first thing I think about when I hear his name, even though I’ve been told again and again that Guy actually has nothing to do with motorcycles. So then I try not to think about motorcycles, but come on, the dude’s name is Kawasaki. What else are you going to think about? And don’t say Vietnam because that is not cool, people. Not cool at all. Guy was just a friggin kid when all that shit was going down. Anyway, since Guy is not a motorcycle designer, and also no longer a member of the Viet Cong, I try to think about something else, and usually what I think about is the fact that he worked for me at Apple back in the Eighties. To be honest he didn’t make much of an impression on me back in those days, and I didn’t really remember anything about him, but I asked HR to pull his records and apparently the only notes we have on him are that he had a habit of cutting the line in the cafeteria and that a lot of people did not like him.

Anyway, Guy worked here for about fifteen minutes but he’s been dining out on that for the past twenty years, and whatever, more power to him. His big claim to fame was that he created this notion of technology evangelism and he created this huge community of weirdo Apple fanboys who would camp out overnight to get our products and who would attack anyone who dared to criticize Apple. To this day these freako Apple kooks still worship me like a god and never let me have a moment of peace or privacy. They steal license plates from my car. Some even show up outside my house hoping to catch a glimpse of me as I drive through the gate. Basically, they’ve made my life a living hell.

So, um, thanks, Guy Kawasaki. Thanks a friggin million for that. Great job. I mean it. You dick.

So what is Guy’s new book about? To be honest, I have no idea. I didn’t read it. I didn’t even pretend to read it. I told Guy, “Dude, look, I don’t read books, okay? Books are a technology of the last century. If you want to make your book into a movie, or a podcast, and if you want to download that video or audio content onto a totally sweet iPod or iPhone, then maybe you will have created some modern content that I will consume, although, to be honest, probably not even then because I don’t need to hear your frigtarded ideas about startups or marketing or raising money or whatever because I am already the greatest businessperson in the entire history of the planet and I’ve forgotten more about marketing than you’ll ever know. Besides that I’m super, super busy and important, and I’ve got so much money that I could wipe my ass with hundred dollar bills every day for the rest of my life and I’d still have more money than almost everyone on the planet, including you, since the last time I checked you haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire as a venture capitalist.”

But I digress.

Anyway, Guy is craven enough that he doesn’t really care whether I read his book or not. As he put it to me, all he wants is a famous name to put on the cover, and pretty much everyone else turned him down and so he had to resort to calling me, and so fine, I let him beg a little bit and then I made him do some humiliating things like stand on one leg for half an hour and jump up and down and make strange noises, and then I said, Okay, okay, enough already, you total freak, I’ll write you something.

So this is it–my official endorsement. Reality Bites is by far the best book ever written about the Valley. It’s an important and necessary work, one that should be required reading in every business school in the country. I wish this book had been around when I was starting Apple in my garage back in 1976. I’m sure I wouldn’t have read it, but still it would have been nice if it had been around back then to help out all those other people who wanted to start companies but couldn’t figure out some of the more subtle aspects of business, like the fact that you need to charge more money for your products than it costs you to make them. That’s a really super important lesson, yet one that so many people overlook, especially here in the Valley. Anyway, if these incredibly super-obvious things aren’t already super-obvious to you, then you probably need to read a book like this and have someone like Guy Kawasaki teach you how to start a business, in terms that a child could understand.

And now I’m thinking about motorcycles again. Dammit! Namaste, poorly informed wannabe business people. I honor the place where your imbecilic gaze and my incredibly wise words become one. Much love. Peace out.

Fake Steve Jobs

July, 2008

How to Buy

Isn’t the foreword reason enough to buy Reality Check? Here are links to do so:

800 CEO Read


Barnes & Noble