Anything You Want by Derek Sivers - Book Review


The writer and entrepreneur Derek Sivers uncovers what he has learned to increase his business from 0 to 20+ million in profit. In this yet another engaging reading, you'll understand a handful of unconventional principles that might help you reconsider how you view your work, life, and business.

Business isn't about money. It's also about making dreams come true for others and you. Creating a company is a perfect opportunity to make the world better while enhancing yourself. Don't ever do anything just for money.

Key Takeaways

  1. Stop doing what isn't working- Persistence is crucial, but it's not even persistence that may allow you to resolve an idea, tactics, or strategy that does not work. And instead of working hard on something that doesn't work, keep getting better and invent to seek one thing that works.
  2. It's all right to exclude people- You have to exclude people appropriately and proudly tell them how much you're not. By so doing, you're going to win the hearts of people you want. Instead of wanting to satisfy the crowd, concentrate on the people that love your product. Get comfortable being specific as to who your product is and who it is not for. Excluding the folks you don't want, you're going to increase the loyalty of the people you like.
  3. Don't forget your purpose- Don't make the mistake of perpetually scaling up your business. What were you scaling a specific business for anyway? Does growing your business make you happier? If you are cost-effective, comfortable, and serving customers, that should be enough.
  4. The small details are essential- Rather than thinking about such a complicated plan to boost your business, try to do something that might make your customer smile. If you start making someone smile, they're quite likely to feel good about your business as well as tell everyone about it.
  5. Keep a human being in your process- If you have achieved a reasonable number and your company becomes enormous. You want to produce efficient processes. It doesn't mean you have to lose the 'human touch' of your business where you started. Human touches are what people will remember, so don't slip down into the trap of trying to make your company uninteresting just because it went big.
  6. Self-employed vs. Business Ownership- Being a company owner means that the business can operate without your involvement. Being a self-employed person means that your business relies on you. Once you're self-employed, you're a business slave. Once you're a business owner, you can enjoy the freedom you've envisioned when you first started to think about starting a new business. 
  7. Don't do the things you hate- As the owner of your business, you could perhaps create a dream role that you've always desired. Rather than slogging through stuff you hate, find somebody who loves to do that, employ them, and then focus your energy on something else.

These are principles that Sivers shared, and there's more to learn. Why not read the book yourself.


Derek Sivers is the head and former CEO of CD Baby, a website CD store for independent artists. He founded the business in 1997 as a website by which he sold his CDs, but at that time, he was indeed a professional musician. That site started to turn out to be so much more when his buddies and friends requested him to sell their CDs on his website as well.

Derek shares what he learned from building his CD company; he eventually sold over $20 million and also had 80+ staff members at the time. The book does have 40 Lessons on entrepreneurship, most of which were unusual or out of the box teachings that I did enjoy. As for myself, I especially appreciate the book, but I tend to find the message provided in such books to be quite practical. The wonderful thing about this book is that this was offbeat. The lessons, as well as the way the author speaks, just grabbed my interest.

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