Review: The Start-Up of You

The Start-Up of You

Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha have written a book for people with normal jobs. Corporate jobs. What they call the “escalator model.” Show up for 9-5 every day, earn promotions every so often, and get a steady paycheck.

The two explain that the classic model is dying. Then they explain in understandable way, that you need to embrace your personal brand, engage with the people ‘around’ you in a meaningful way, and have an eye on the adjacent possible (what they call, in classic bizbook lingo, ABZ planning).

To that segment, this is a pretty decent call to step it up, hustle as they say, and own their careers. So if you know someone still in that mindset, send them this book.

But for those of us who have already embraced this approach. Or, honestly, will never know any other , this book will read like like a primer. That’s not a knock, especially since I haven’t found the perfect book on this topic, but something to be aware of.

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  • I like the Kauffman “adjacent possible” thing applied to careers. Many people seem to find it hard to understand that career shift is about finding useful deltas on your current skill set, not just starting again. Scott Adams had some insightful comments on this a few years ago:

    I met Stuart Kauffman at a Systems Biology conference a few years ago; dude is brilliant. The whole boolean networks thing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boolean_network) was startlingly prescient work, deriving general properties of gene networks from a gedanken experiment, *decades* before they were directly verifiable. Also a great speaker. Following a few uninspired PowerPoint presentations he wandered up to the podium and freestyled a one hour talk based solely on some notes written on a napkin; totally crushed it, had us on the edge of our seats.

    • Shlok Vaidya
      Feb 13, 2012

      Bingo. Horizontal thinking, not just vertical. That’s cool about Kauffman. His stuff is brilliant as applied to warfare/organizational dynamics.

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