“I’ve written four books, one about wine, and three about business. When I have written my eighth, I will have written more books than I have read. A lot of people think that one of my weaknesses is that I don’t read, and I waver between believing they’re right or they’re full of it.” — Gary Vaynerchuk
Let’s. Get in. To the revieeeeew!
I picked up the audiobook on day 1 on Audible, and here’s why you should get it too.
First, as much as I’ve enjoyed Gary’s previous books I found them much more living and natural in audiobook form. While his ghost writer Stephanie Land does a fantastic job capturing and translating his energy into text, it’s still not the same.
Second, there are differences between the answers given on “the shooooow”, in the book, and in the audiobook. Granted, I’ve only skimmed the ebook version thus far but I know it’ll be worth it to check out all three.
There’s a third reason, but let me just pour some sugar on Gary for a while.
Back in ’08 my cousin introduced me to South African wines. Previously I hadn’t really fallen in love with wine. But something about the South African red wines turned me on, and I joined the South African Wine Club of Sweden (now defunct).
Since neither of us were particularly well versed in wine lingo (a culture we felt was too hoity toity) we just took the associations we knew and ran with them. This lead to classics like “this tastes like butter and greaseproof paper” and “it tastes like the smell of asparagus & my friend’s livingroom”.
Little did we know that there was a dude across the ocean bringing the conversations to a level which we could both respect and understand.
A couple of years later I read Seth Godin’s book “Tribes” where he mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk. So, I decided to check out what Gary was up to. That’s when I saw a 15 minute keynote that made me really respect the guy way more than what he’d done for wine.
This opened my eyes to the fact that here’s a guy who cares about the bigger picture. It’s not just limited to wine and business. What he’s talking about is life.
Here’s the major point where me and Gary “disagree”.
When he talks about certain things being in the DNA of a person it pisses me off.
The reason is that people use it as a poor excuse not to challenge themselves, and way too many people use it.
If you’re not interested, if you’re not willing to spend the time, if you’re not willing to work hard, that’s fine. But that’s on you. Not your DNA.
I’ve seen too many people overcome obstacles, character traits, disabilities, etc to believe that. People who once fell for the line that you either got in your DNA or you don’t, yet found a way to become great at it.
I’m not victim blaming here, there are things in our lives that we have little to no control over. There are things that will be made harder, if not impossible, for us to do because something happened or we were born into circumstances that were awful from the go.
I fully understand that.
Now, since Gary gave me so much value, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. And if you follow him you know that he gives a good idea of what he defines as “in your DNA”, and what is down to hard work and leveraging your strengths.
Here he really redeems it for me though. Because he acknowledges the fact that we can become the best possible version of whatever we want to be, but we might not become the “greatest of all time” simply because we had certain things happen in our lives or we were born under bad circumstances.
Also, he wants to get rid of the fake entrepreneurs and the great misconception in Entrepreneurland that anyone with an idea can just waltz in and make a billion dollars.
I get that. I even admire that.
There is a cap where you start getting diminishing returns. A point where no matter how much harder you work or how much more you study someone else will have the DNA that allows them to work harder and become smarter.
Yet, while I recognize DNA having a big impact on our lives, I still disrespect the role it plays. I feel that both ignoring it and focusing on it too much is harmful to our potential.
Especially when it comes to our creativity.
For all the limitations we humans have, we’ve found amazing ways of overcoming them.
We looked out on vast seas and made our way across on ships. We looked at birds and built planes to soar above them. We even looked at the moon and said: “Shit, we can totally go there.”
And we’ll never know how far we can take it unless we go for it.
Now we arrive at the third reason you should read and listen to this book: Context.
“Content is King, But Context is God“ — Gary Vaynerchuk
It’s far too easy to dismiss people who use hyperboly, words that you dislike, or talk about things that are challenging to hear. But there’s a reason you should still keep listening to them.
If you can manage to focus on what their intentions are, provided their intentions are good, you’ll find out that while you can disagree, what they’re trying to do is to bring out the best in you.
That’s what I feel Gary is doing, and that’s why I have so, so much respect and love for him.
With every question and with every evolution of the answer he’s only focusing on how he can give us the best possible shot at accomplishing what we want to do.
Now, when he feels our intentions or direction is misguided, he says so. He’s basically everyone’s “Dutch Uncle”. When he feels tough love is needed he dishes it out.
He only wants to give other people the shot that he was both good enough, smart enough, and lucky enough to get.
I was very lucky to be able to develop the proper context on Gary. It’s been motivating, inspiring, and above all else useful.
In a big way Gary’s living out the end tail of “The Hero’s Journey” with this book.
He’s gone through the process of building two companies, he’s conquered the dragons, and he’s grown a lot. Now he returns to share what he’s learned on his travels.
Now we get the chance to sit around the fire listening to him tell about all the things we can expect on our own journey.
But don’t think for a second that the wise man is done. He’s got plenty of adventures ahead of him, and one day we’ll get to hear what he’s learned from his next one.
Will it be about parenting? Will it be about HR? Or will it be some strange unknown we have yet to find out?
Either way, I’ll be there.
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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!