Book cover art for Anything You Want
Anything You Want
Derek Sivers

A short, powerful read from one of the world wide web's original entrepreneurs about, quite simply, how to do business. Provides an enormous amount of insight and common sense in a very short volume. Has the most value per page of any book I think I've ever read. I listened to the audiobook version, which the author also recommends.

High level notes

  • If you can do something that is useful to others and makes you happy at the same time, then you're onto a winner.
  • Don't assume you know what people want - start small and build based on what people tell you they enjoy.
  • There is greater power in having many smaller customers than there is in having a handful of big customers. You can fire some of the small ones easily if you need to - but you can't fire the big ones.
  • Never trade your time to make money. Or, put a different way, only build businesses that can function without you needing to be there.
  • Your business does not need to be big. Ask yourself - is your goal to be big? Or to be helpful?
  • Don't try to impress or do what you think needs to be done. It's okay to do things the way you want to do them - it's your business after all, and you have to build it the way you want it to be, otherwise you'll resent it (and probably spend more money, too).

General notes/quotes

  • What makes you happy? What's worth doing?
  • When you make a company you create a utopia, with your own rules for how things should be.
  • For a business to be successful, you need to answer the call of others.
  • You don't know what people want until you start doing it.
  • Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business.
  • Don't wait years fighting uphill battles against locked doors.
  • Either hell yeah or no.
  • If you don't have any money, you don't have any money to waste.
  • Everything you do should be for your customers.
  • Being useful doesn't need funding.
  • You don't need all the corporate bullshit to succeed.
  • The power of many little customers is greater than the power of a few big customers.
  • Your first idea is just one of many obsessions.
  • You don't need a vision. Just focus on helping people today.
  • 'Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn't that enough?'
  • How do you grade yourself?
  • Set up your business like you don't need the money, and it'll come your way
  • Don't try to impress an invisible jury of MBA professors. It's okay to be casual.
  • What would your business be like if demand doubled overnight? What if it halved?
  • Delegate or die trap. Self employed a real problem. You keep work harder until you break.
  • Business owner - can you leave for a year?
  • Not every business needs to be as big as possible
  • Trust but verify - important when delegating

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