A Nice-Guy User’s Manual for Life and Business

Some cranky folkloric baseball manager from decades ago was asked why he was such an SOB. He answered: “Nice people finish last.” In Enchantment, however, Guy Kawasaki tells us how and why nice people finish first.

Don’t misunderstand the word enchantment. It’s not magic. There’s no Pied Piper. Guy’s enchantment is good common sense and logic, not magic. This book is a lot like a how-to guide to applying a Guy-Kawasaki-nice-person strategy to achieve personal and business success.

The first few chapters are about you as an individual — how to be liked and trusted. These chapters — Guy’s advice on handshakes, dressing, and even smiling — read a lot like a good father giving advice to grownup children, or as mentor to protege, except a lot more thorough and much better organized. You can feel him wanting to share, give, and help. This is what has worked for me, he’s saying, let me help you.

Moving on from the mostly personal, Guy goes effortlessly on into small business and products, launches, and marketing. He talks about how to be a boss, and, how to enchant a boss. He talks about long-term corporate culture. His last chapter is about how to resist enchantment turned bad, which is common-sense advice to keep you from being one of the rats in the Pied Piper story.

Given the general topic description, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at well Guy brings out concrete specific advice, useful and relevant stories, and even checklists. This book is very practical.

Here are some of my favorite quotes, taken in random order:

  • In ten years of listening to entrepreneurs’ pitches, I’ve never heard one that was too short.
  • A word to women regarding swearing … My advice is that you heed the rules that I provided above, and let it rip, because the best way to destroy a double standard is to defy it.
  • This is how premortems work. The team assembles during the launch phase. The team leader asks everyone to assume the project failed and to come up with the reasons why the failure occurred.
  • Why do people create messages that are not short, simple, and swallowable? Two reasons: first, a committee got involved and group-groped the result. Second, people got overenthusiastic about the wonderfulness of their cause and lost touch with reality.
  • [on stories as part of a launch strategy] ‘Epic’ is not always necessary. ‘Illustrative’ is enough — for example, personal stories like ‘my father owned a Cadillac, and he drove it 150,000 miles without major problems’ are more effective than ‘this caddy will last a long time.’
  • Enchanters don’t sell products, services, or companies. Enchanters sell their dreams for a better future.
  • Push technology brings your story to people. Pull technology brings people to your story.

I hope you get the idea, with just a few quotes, of how the book goes in and out of detail, and stays practical. It’s organized well, it’s full of stories, it’s got enough logic to headers and flow that it’s hard to put down and you’re done before you know it. I read it cover-to-cover on a one-hour plane trip.

Finally, I have to say, I’ve dealt with Guy Kawasaki off and on for about 25 years now. He’s not someone I know well and I’m not somebody he’d consider close. He’s done me favors — he wrote the forward to my last book — and I’ve done him some (my company bundled his book with our product). But that’s typical Guy Kawasaki; that’s him being the person he suggests we all should be. He’s authentic. By that I mean that I can also tell you he is, just as the book is, just as his secret to success is, impossible not to like. While some of what Guy says might sound phony if taken completely out of context, he is completely authentic and so is his book. Guy is preaching what he practices. And, following his own advice, being a mensch, he wants to help you figure it out. And, since he is a gifted communicator, story teller, and simplifier, the book is one of those that I want people I know to read.


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