Book Review: “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers

Anything You Want

I recently finished reading the book “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers.

Anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur, is leaning towards being one, or is just feeling stuck should consider reading this.

Very few books leave me asking, “Why didn’t I read this sooner?”

This is one of them.

You can also refer to Amazon for reviews.

❓ What is it

Derek dives deep into his business, how he came up with the idea CD Baby, how he operates his business, and why he eventually decided to sell it.

🔑 Key message

When you launch a business, it’s only objective is to satisfy and make its customers happy. That’s it.

📚 Why you should read it

Some books are fluffy. This isn’t one of them.

If you’re looking for key insights behind how a Founder thinks and their motivations, Derek’s got you covered here.

In fact, the entire book can be read in one hour.

💬 Memorable quotes

They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy.

When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia.

And that’s it! Six years and $10 million later, those same two numbers were the sole source of income for the company: a $35 setup fee per album and a $4 cut per CD sold.

If you think your life’s purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt, you’ll overlook the little day-to-day things that fascinate you.

Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.

Don’t waste years fighting uphill battles against locked doors.

Improve or invent until you get that huge response.

We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.

Any time you think you know what your new business will be doing, remember this quote from Steve Blank: No plan survives first contact with customers.

Since I couldn’t afford a programmer, I went to the bookstore and got a $25 book on PHP and MySQL programming. Then I sat down and learned it, with no programming experience. Necessity is a great teacher.

It’s counterintuitive, but the way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone.

It’s a big world. You can loudly leave out 99 percent of it.

So please don’t think you need a huge vision. Just stay focused on helping people today.

Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

For some people, it’s how many people’s lives they can influence for the better.

Your company should be willing to die for your customers.

That’s the Tao of business: Care about your customers more than about yourself, and you’ll do well.

When someone’s doing something for love, being generous instead of stingy, trusting instead of fearful, it triggers this law: We want to give to those who give.

One unclear sentence? Immediate $5000 penalty. Ouch.

I wanted to say yes but let him know that this was really hard to do, so I made a policy that made us both smile: “We’ll do anything for a pizza.” If you needed a big special favor, we’d give you the number of our local pizza delivery place. If you bought us a pizza, we’d do any favor you wanted.

Over ten years, it seemed like every time someone raved about how much he loved CD Baby, it was because of one of these little fun human touches.

But no matter what business you’re in, it’s good to prepare for what would happen if business doubled.

But the whole point of doing anything is because it makes you happy! That’s it!

Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be.

Kurt said, “Wow! Look at this place! This guy has everything!” Joseph said, “Yes, but I have something he’ll never have…. Enough.”

It’s not that I’m altruistic. I’m sacrificing nothing. I’ve just learned what makes me happy. And doing it this way made me the happiest.

But most of all, I get the constant priceless reminder that I have enough.

Business is as creative as the fine arts. You can be as unconventional, unique, and quirky as you want. A business is a reflection of the creator.

No matter which goal you choose, there will be lots of people telling you you’re wrong.

Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury.

Even if what you’re doing is slowing the growth of your business—if it makes you happy, that’s OK. It’s your choice to remain small.

Whatever you make, it’s your creation, so make it your personal dream come true.

When D. Sharon Pruitt snapped this photo of a boy in the sand, she momentarily isolated what it is to be an entrepreneur. Stuck in a sand pit of your own devising, held immobile by tiny rocks, and enjoying every moment of it.

For some, it’s a trap. For others, it’s the only way, a passion and a mission, not a job