READING LIST: The Startup of You

Reid Hoffman is the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn and knows a thing or two about the power of networking.

The Start-up of You is not a technical “how to” book about the world’s most popular professional networking site, but instead a philosophical discussion about approaching your career with the mindset of entrepreneur.  Hoffman along with his co-author, Ben Casnocha suggest that you consider your career in permanent beta– as a professional, you are never complete, but instead always aiming to grow, expand and improve.

Who should read this book? This book is for the person who doesn’t understand what it means to be an entrepreneur or to have an entrepreneurial mindset (even people who don’t work for a start-up can have the mindset of an entrepreneur).  If you already have this mindset, you might be disappointed in the book in that the key concepts won’t be new to you.  With that said, the book has several highlights that will resonate with all readers including:

  • Chapter 4: It Takes a Network – Even though the focus of the book is approaching your career as a start-up (or being in permanent beta, the most compelling chapter is this one about networking.  Not online networking, as you might expect, but instead creating and strengthening your professional relationships. This chapter includes some interesting background on LinkedIn as it pertains to the theory of Six Degrees of Separation and the importance of weak links in your network.
  • Also in Chapter 4, the authors introduce the idea of IWe (I to the power of We) which they define as “An individual’s power is raised exponentially with the help of a team (a network).”
  • The authors do an outstanding job of crystallizing their ideas and advice into specific actions steps at the end of each chapter in a section labeled “Invest in Yourself.”  Even if you didn’t read the book, you could utilize the suggested action plan to improve your career.
  • There is a great story about Chris Sacca, just named one of the “50 Best Angel Investors in Silicon Valley” by Business Insider.  Click here to see Kevin Rose, founder of Digg and co-founder of Revision3 and Pownce, interview Chris.
  • – includes a free, downloadable executive summary of the book, free video tutorials on related topics, a blog and stories from readers.

Here is a CNN Opinion article, “Permanent Beta: Why Your Career is a Work in Progress” written by Hoffman and Casnocha– basically another summary of their book.  Read the article and the summary on book’s website to decide if you want to buy the book.

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