BOTW # 8 - #AskGaryVee Book Review

I have been a follower of Gary Vaynerchuk's for about half of year now because his free content is amazingly insightful and have adopted his own philosophies into my life. I think I am turning into a bit of a fanboy now. I decided to pick up his book because I wanted to give him some value in return. Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook right Gary. This book is based on his Q&A show on Youtube called The #AskGaryVee Show which has more than 200 episodes now. #AskGaryVee is jam packed with so much value and practical advice I needed to write it down and share with everyone. Here are the top 10 things I learned from this book.

1.       Clouds and the Dirt

The most important chapter in the book in my opinion, talks about his metaphor of the clouds and the dirt. The clouds are the high level philosophy that drives your actions, the north star that guides you through the night. Steve Job’s north star being simplicity, everything he did was based around that and it was what made Apple Apple. The dirt is actually doing the hard work and being good at the craft. Don’t play in the middle because that’s just a waste of time and time is our most limited resource. Always pull from both extremes. If your head is too high in the clouds you lose the skills that got your there and if you are too much in the dirt you may lose your direction.

2.       Self awareness

Find out what you are good at double down. Life is too short to try and become mediocre at your weaknesses. Just outsource what you aren't good at so you can focus on your strengths.

Self awareness is so important in figuring out what you should do for the rest of your life. We spend too much time as a society trying to become average at our weaknesses when we should be doubling down on our strengths.

3.       Reverse engineer the finish line

A lot of people wander through life because they don't know where they want to end up. You need to reverse engineer what you want to achieve, where you want to be in the future and work backwards from that. It’s a lot easier to do that than figuring it out as you go along because you will get lost. If you want to be a film maker follow all the film makers you aspire to be and figure out how they got there. 

4.       Execution determines the failure or success

There is no such thing as a million dollar idea there is only million dollar execution. Everybody says that they came up with the idea of Facebook or Uber before they were even invented but they didn’t do anything to execute. Mark Zuckerburg, Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick did. Now those people will just be making excuses for the rest of their life, which is just sad. Excuses are the barriers to success.

5.       Patience

Patience is probably one the most important aspects of business because nothing happens overnight. We are in a world where we think that you can make millions of dollars overnight if you can create the next great social media platform but that’s just not reality. People forget that there are thousands of hours of grinding and hustling just takes to get something like that off the ground. I blame the Social Network movie, damn you Jesse Eisenberg.

6.       Passion and Expertise

Having the passion and expertise in something are the two things that you need in order to tell a great story around that thing. It could be anything like knitting, there is literally no such thing as a boring product in business. All you need to do is frame it around a story that hopefully provides a bit of entertainment and then you will have created gold. An example I read about is the Chicken Whisperer who talks about raising chickens in your backyard. He has over 200,000 likes on Facebook, a radio show, magazine and a book. You can't get more niche than that. Here is Gary's famous keynote on doing what you love and monetizing it.

7.       Be human in business

Automation is amazing it saves time, which is the most valuable resource we have but when it tries to replace human interaction it just comes off inauthentic. You have to be human in business and try to scale that human aspect as much as possible. There is so much data out there that businesses have about their customers but are not using that to create relationships with them that can turn into higher customer lifetime value. For example, if one of your customers is on Twitter find out what he/she is talking about and use that to create value. If they like the Toronto Raptors send them a jersey thanking them for being a loyal customer. It's that simple. To differentiate your business you have to scale the unscalable and also remember that depth is greater than width.

8.       Context and content. The supply and demand of attention

Content is king but context is god. This is a line from Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook and comes up in this book as well in social media and in presentations. What he does in presentations to bring the most value to the audience is to actually survey the room to get context so he can cater his presentation to what the audience is excited about. 

In terms of content marketing there are two things that you have to take into account before you do anything. It is the end user's attention and the context of the platform. If you have limited resources you have to go to the platform that your audience has the highest amount of attention at the lowest cost. Next, is the context of that platform, which is creating native and quality content on that platform. Keeping these two things in mind will help you to create a better strategy and achieve greater results. 

9.       Be grateful

Being grateful and employing empathy are the key things to drive you to be successful. Nobody talks about gratitude nowadays and even worse everyone thinks us millennials are entitled. Gratitude is what gets you through the tough times and gives you perspective on life. Never take anyone for granted. Take care of all your customers, respect your co-workers and be nice to all of your family members. That's how you win in the long run. 

10.       51/49

51/49 what does this mean? Well it means to always give 51% of the value in any relationship because that gives you leverage and it's just good to give. Especially when you are trying to network with people and get mentors higher than you. Too many people today go to networking events and just talk to as much people as possible asking for stuff without even getting to know the person. Building relationships is a long game and it takes a lot of patience but will pay off in the long run. Give them value like share cool articles, find out what their biggest challenges are and take the initiative and time to solve them.

Everyone has that friend who is constantly asking for stuff all the time and never going out of their way to help you. In the long run, that person becomes a leech and loses their friends so don't be that guy. Be the person who helps out without even being asked.  


Overall, this is a great book and has taught so much about life, business, social media and leadership from his stories and philosophies. I can't recommend this book enough and will be going back to this book for reference whenever I need inspiration or reminder on what I should be focusing on next. It is the ultimate guide for all leaders in the business world.

Get this book here