Act Like You Don’t Need the Money & Be Wildly Successful

5 life lessons from a book so good, I’ve gifted it to 30+ people

Scott Stockdale
The Startup
Published in
8 min readNov 1, 2021


Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

Hands in the air if you love a free gift?

Oh yeah, I saw you nodding. It’s human nature. When a bottle of wine is free, it tastes so much better.

It’s one of the reasons I gift books to podcast guests. I also tuck in a bookmark and handwritten card because — well, why the f*ck not?

My favourite book is less than 90 pages long, meaning it can be read in under an hour. I should know because I’ve gone through it nine times — front to back.

The book in question is Anything You Want by Derek Sivers.

In 1998, Sivers founded CD Baby as a favour for a friend. It accidentally became the largest seller of independent music on the web, with more than $100 million in sales. He sold it in 2008 and has since travelled the world, engaging in creative projects.

Here are five life lessons you can take from this fantastic book.

Lesson #1: “Start now. No funding needed.”

How often have you heard, “I’ll start when…”?

A friend goes on and on about their business idea, claiming it’s the next big thing. They just need to raise money and build a team and X, Y, Z…

For a long time, I was one of these people. I’d come up with a bunch of ideas, convinced they’d make millions. I rarely acted, though.

And I didn’t make money.

Sivers warns against this thinking.

“Watch out when anyone (including you) says he wants to do something big, but can’t until he raises money.

“It usually means the person is more in love with the idea of being big-big-big than with doing something useful.”

— Derek Sivers

He adds, “ideas are a multiplier of execution”.

A good idea on its own without execution isn’t worth much. A not-so-good idea brought to life is better. A brilliant idea and brilliant execution is the holy grail.



Scott Stockdale
The Startup

Freelance Writer | 1M+ views on Medium | Host of Entrepreneurs Can Party 🎉