Somehow I’d forgotten I liked Gary Vaynerchuk.
The Irish version of Donald Trump is a man called Bill Cullen. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he’s a self-made businessman who played the Trump character in the Irish version of ‘The Apprentice’.
There’s a lot to admire in Bill. He succeeded against all odds, he has ambition and drive. When his businesses failed he picked himself up and started again. But I’m not a Bill Cullen fan, I attended a talk he gave at my local enterprise office whilst he was still riding the Apprentice wave. It became clear to me that he was arrogant and intolerant. He couldn’t see that not everyone could be like him, that we all had different strengths and weaknesses. I admired his success but disliked his attitude.
What’s this got to do with Gary Vaynerchuk?
I’d always liked Gary Vee. I reviewed his last two books on this blog, I even reviewed his appearance at the Dublin Web Summit but at some stage I’d put him in the same basket as Bill Cullen. I’d assumed that as both were loud, brash, self-assured businessmen that they shared the negative qualities that I’d seen in Mr Cullen. But it turns out I was wrong.
When I asked Snapchat and Twitter what my next book club should be people overwhelmingly recommended #ASKGARYVEE* and I have to thank them for that.
#ASKGARYVEE is a collection of questions and answers that have been part of the YouTube video show of the same name. People submit questions they want Gary to answer and he does so on the show.
I found myself enjoying the read. Gary isn’t scared to talk about his weaknesses, he knows he’s a bit of an egotist but he manages to temper this with an understanding that not everyone can be like him. Sometimes his answers are short, even slightly disparaging but all of them open a window into the world of a highly driven and unusual character.
I particularly like the sections that dealt with his struggle with education. It’s so encouraging for young people to see someone who was an academic failure, who doesn’t enjoy reading and whose greatest fear is reading out loud in public be successful.
I usually read business books to learn but this one isn’t just about learning. I find it fascinating to understand what makes someone like Gary Vee tick. How does he keep his energy going? How does he manage the work-life balance? What isn’t he good at? All the answers are in the pages.
It’s also highly quotable. If you grab a marker there are whole sections you could highlight and repeat to people to inspire them or to prove your argument.
Some of my favourite Q&A’s included in the book are:
“How do I create interesting content for a boring product or a stale industry?” See the original answer here.
“People who write essays as their Instagram captions – what the hell are they thinking? We’re there to look at pics, not read endless shit” See his YouTube answer here.
That second one had me laughing out loud, particularly as I’ve written about captioning in detail for AgoraPulse recently. Luckily Gary Vee seemed to fall on my side.
One thing that stands out for me is that Gary Vee wants to be liked, or at least he sees being liked as giving him a business advantage. He’s written about customer service before, he’s written about what it takes to make a customer happy but I’d forgotten. Simple things like referring to business people as ‘she’ as much as ‘he’ got me on side very early on.
Not all of us can be Gary Vee but not all of us would want to either. What you’ll get from this book isn’t a blueprint of how to make money or of how to be Gary Vee but some real inspiration and some affirmation. And if you are like me you’ll find a new warmth for a man who you may have thought was inaccessible.
*Affiliate link – I get a small cut of sales if you buy after clicking this link
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