Book Review: #AskGaryVee
Posted by Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.
I knew about Gary Vaynerchuk because of a number of podcasts that regularly drop his name in conversation. I had not personally read any of his work nor watched any of his YouTube presentations. Reading #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness* was my first earnest look at Gary Vaynerchuk. I am a fan. If you look at the name of his book, you can see a glimpse of his cleverness. #AskGaryVee will automatically show up on all social media channels as a unique hashtag. Wicked smart.
This book is a Q&A with Gary Vaynerchuk over a myriad of topics. These topics primarily focus on leadership, management, family, business, and technology. The language is very conversational in that a question is posed and Vaynerchuk answers it quite frankly. My impression is that the answers are transcripts of what he literally says. I also liked that he rewarded the questioners with a book.
The book weighs in at 362 pages spread across 22 chapters and an index. Chapters vary in size based on the topic. You do not have to read the book linearly. There were a couple of times when I was strapped for time and read a couple of very short chapters. Later, I picked up where I had left off in the book.
What did I learn from the book? Well, I do know that Vaynerchuk really wants to buy the New York Jets. Based on what I have read, I came away with the impression that he is a very caring person. He seems to really care about his family, employees, and customers. This philosophy guides his business philosophy.
When handing out wisdom, Vaynerchuk does not mince words. He seems to believe that success is about outworking your competition smartly. If you are not willing to do this, you deserve what you get. He noted that at some point you have to quit reading and start doing to be successful.
Vaynerchuk’s discussion on education was interesting. First of all, he admits that he was an F student but has made up for it by getting invited to speak at prestige higher ed institutions. He does indicate that education does have a purpose, however, it may not necessarily be about the subjects taught. He noted that a lot of what is taught, especially, in marketing and communication is obsolete even at the moment when it is taught. His key advice is “Don’t be a student, be a practitioner” (Vaynerchuk, 2016, p. 46).
As I noted earlier, Vaynerchuk “talked” on a number of topics. Topics focusing on people included those on family business, parenting, gratitude, leadership, and management. He also focused on business elements including hustle, creating content and context, delivering content, platforms for business, Facebook advertising, and influencer marketing. His personal side came out as he discussed investing, public speaking, music, sports, and wine.
At the end of #AskGaryVee, I felt I had a glimpse of Gary Vaynerchuk’s character and I liked what I saw. While I did not previously consume much of his work, I will now seek out some of his other books, which I have also heard much about. I liberally marked up my copy of the book noting smart ways to do business. I was also very entertained; he interviews well. I am confident many of my readers would like this book.
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