My Honest Review of #AskGaryVee, the New Book by Gary Vaynerchuk.
I wanted to take a few minutes to give my thoughts about Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book, #AskGaryVee. Here’s a video I shared on Facebook this weekend.
Hey guys, it’s Jay Baer. I promise it is me. That’s me right there. I hope you are having a fantastic weekend.
I want to take a couple of minutes here on a Saturday — I’m on the road in Orlando — to give you an honest video review of the new book, “#AskGaryVee,” by Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s called “#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media & Self-Awareness” and then a bunch of other words.
I’ve got to tell you, as a content creator, I am peanut butter and jealous about this book, just as a content atomization execution. Man, if I knew you could squeeze an entire book out of a video series, I would have kept doing my Jay Today video series that I stopped a year ago. I think it’s a remarkable example of repackaging content from one format to another and just a terrific example that’s going to go down as a case study for a lot of people.
Speaking of packaging or repackaging, I think this book wins the award unofficially for most words on the front cover of a book. It is a lot of subtitle, but I think it’s hilarious.
The other thing I think is really interesting is that even though obviously this is now a book, it’s not afraid, in fact celebrates its original premise as a video series. You can see right here on the cover, you see the YouTube kind of insert. Even here on the inside, on the back cover, you know it shows different pieces from the video series. I think that’s really neat. Even here you see the Subscribed thing here by Gary’s picture. I think it’s cool that it really continues to point out the fact that this started as and still is a video series.
Look, this book is like Gary on paper of course. It is very easy to read. It is full of sound bites. It’s pretty cool because it’s all questions that were actually asked on the #AskGaryVee program and then are answered in Gary’s own way. Most of these are transcripts from the video show.
So what’s nice about this book is that you don’t have to, in fact I wouldn’t recommend opening it and just reading it all the way through. It’s sort of like drinking from the Gary fire hose. I think the best approach is to read one chapter at a time. This chapter is on parenting. This chapter is on content. This chapter is on jabs and right hooks, platforms, etc., gratitude.
Read one chapter at a time. Let it sink in. Let it sit for a minute and then come back and read the next chapter. It’s a great way to experience the advice in this book. I’ve got to tell you, this book is the real deal. It is full of tremendous advice and tremendous counsel.
Now look, there’s a couple things that are important to nod to here. One, a lot of the answers that Gary provides to these questions lack some degree of detail. But of course, these are questions that were asked on a daily video program and answered in real time, in a minute or two. So you’re not going to get a 42 page treatise on a particular question. You’re going to get a handful of paragraphs as you see here and here.
So you’re not going to get a ton of detail, but that is, in fact, the format, and as is Gary’s style, a lot of the answers in the book are about Gary. Gary answers questions by nodding back to his own experience and his own circumstance, and while that makes for a compelling narrative, I don’t find that that’s always the most relevant or the most accurate or the most useful way to answer questions. When you put all questions through the prism of your own experience, I think to some degree you do a disservice to the questioner in some cases.
But those are really quibbles. I think in general the book is terrific, and everybody who is an entrepreneur or who wants to add more entrepreneurial spirit to their life will take a lot away from the book “#AskGaryVee.”
Now, one thing I think is great is that Gary absolutely keeps it real, and not only in his own work but in person and in the book. He’s not afraid to call people on their action, not afraid to tell people that they’re wrong.
For example, here somebody asks: “What’s the best way to make a right hook seem like a jab?” In Gary Vaynerchuk parlance, a right hook is a call to action, and a jab is content that you give away useful content, like a utility. Here’s Gary’s answer.
Let me say is again. DON’T
Ninety-nine percent of salespeople and businesses try to make right hooks feel like jabs, and they fail because people don’t respond well when they feel like they’re being conned. Be honest. If you’re going to do something nice for your customer, do it because you want to, not because it will get you something.”
Over here he says, “There is no disguising the sale. Give when it’s time to give. Go all in with authenticity and generosity. On the flip side, don’t hesitate to ask for a sale. You’re not Mother Teresa. Sell when you need to sell, just be clear about it. So the answer is simple. There is no version of making jabs and right hooks seem like one and the same. Your jabs should be clear, and your right hooks should be even clearer.”
Man, that is exceptionally useful advice, and I’m so glad that Gary isn’t afraid to tell people when they’re on the wrong track.
One thing I wish Gary would have done in this book though is acknowledge who the questions are from. His community is so passionate and so involved and so wrapped up in sort of the Church of Gary Vee that I would have loved to have seen who asked all these questions. I think that would have been a cool addition to the book.
The other thing that I think is really interesting — and as an author I really respect this — that Gary talks about a lot of issues in here, especially social media platforms, and answers questions in a way that the answer is not going to be valid a year from now.
Here’s a great question about Snapchat and what Gary would do if he owned a hockey team. This answer is relevant today. It’s not going to be as relevant a year from now when Snapchat is even bigger, and I think it’s really awesome that Gary answered questions in a way that he knows if somebody buys this book two years from now, that particular answer may not be relevant.
It’s really hard as an author of a business book or a marketing book to answer questions and include information that you know is going to be out of date at some point. So I appreciate him overcoming those fears and putting the real stuff in the book. But I’ve got to tell you, right now I think this book is absolutely vital and necessary for people to read.
One of the things I think is great about this book and things that sort of Gary is known for is he’s really not afraid to acknowledge in the book his own shortcomings. For example, here’s a question where somebody asks: “How do you celebrate victories?”
That could have been a very prosaic question and a very straightforward answer. But instead here’s how Gary answers it.
“I’m terrible at it, and that’s not something I’m proud of, because when you don’t celebrate your wins, you hold your company back. Celebrating victories, in my opinion, is an integral part of building company culture.”
He talks about that, and he says the reason he doesn’t celebrate victories is because he loves the climb so much.
“Many entrepreneurs are like that. We’re so focused on the journey, by the time we’ve gotten to the top we’re already thinking about the next hill. You just get to the next battle so you can win it. But this can be dangerous and unfair to the people who helped you with that climb. Some people like to pause and enjoy the air up there. If you move right along without acknowledging their efforts and celebrating the moment, they can feel used and unappreciated, especially if you’re the only one to reap the bulk of the awards.”
I’ve got to tell you that resonates with me as an individual and as an entrepreneur so much. I am taking this page and I am putting it on my desk and keeping it in a place that I can see it because it is spot on, and I really appreciate Gary being willing to show some vulnerability in places like that and really throughout the book.
The other thing I think is fantastic, at the end of the book here, is that Gary acknowledges all the other people who help make the #AskGaryVee show go. So it talks about the whole cast. There are little places in here that they actually talk about their experience with the show, which is so great because it’s not just him. There are all kinds of people in front of the camera and behind the camera that make the show work, and I think it’s just a really nice touch to hear from them too. It makes it much more of a community and less of just a podium for Gary and his work and his beliefs.
So there’s a lot of stuff in here, more than I even thought was going to be in this book. It is really chock-full of great advice and counsel. There are certainly parts in there that anybody is going say, ‘Eh, I don’t need to know that,” or “I already knew that,” or “Oh Gary is full of shit.”
But generally speaking, you’ve got 350 pages here. There are 300 pages that you’re going to appreciate, enjoy, and learn from, and I’ve got to tell you that’s a pretty damn good ratio in any book. So I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Congratulations to Gary for knocking out another winner.
I’m Jay Baer. Hope you guys have a fantastic weekend. Thanks for watching.