June 17, 2016

The #AskGaryVee Book: a book review

And, why the Q&A format for a business book reflects the needs of the market

I don’t want you to regurgitate what you learn; I want you to act on it right now – Gary Vaynerchuk

For those who don’t know, Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author (4 times) and an investor. He co-founded one of the fastest growing digital agencies VaynerMedia with his brother AJ, as well as Wine Library, a New Jersey-based liquor store.

In his fourth book, The #AskGaryVee Book, Vaynerchuk took questions from his hugely successful YouTube show the #AskGaryVee Show and put them into a book.

As the dust-jacket of the book explains:

Whether you’re launching your own company, working in digital media, starting your first job, or looking for inspiration, #AskGaryVee is your essential guide to making things happen in a big way.

The questions and answers are divided into chapters such as “Self-awareness”, “Investing”, “Hustle”, “Facebook Ads” and “Influencer Marketing”.

What makes this book useful is that Vaynerchuk’s answers come from his experiences in business, sales and marketing. There’s no theory, and no fluff to what Vaynerchuk says: his language is not convoluted nor does he try put industry jargon into his speech.

The real value of this book

For those who claim they don’t have time to read a whole book, but want something new and interesting. This book is for you.

Don’t want to read the whole thing start to finish? Just pick the chapters on subjects which interest you – such as: “chapter 7: content and context” or “chapter 18: GaryVee’s guide to public speaking without shitting your pants.” – and, once you’ve read the introduction, you can find the questions which resonate most with you.

The value of this book is in how it’s present. Each chapter stands alone providing the reader with short, digestible, easy to consume pieces of content. Similar to short stories, except way more popular, Vaynerchuk has found the format which provides the most value to his audience.

And when he writes his next book, you can safely bet he’ll maintain this Q&A style because it’s what he prefers. It’s the most interactive format as well as the proven way to give his readers what they want.

The physical book vs the audio-book

The audio version of The #AskGaryVee book plays to Vaynerchuk’s strengths: talking (a lot) and providing his audience with value through answering their questions.

For the first two weeks after its hustle quote-garyveerelease the audio-book was number one on both iTunes and Amazon, and then it stayed in the top 10 bestselling business audio-books for about a month after its release. It’s safe to say the physical version didn’t have this sort of traction because writing isn’t Vaynerchuk’s strength—most people know him from his keynotes and his shows on YouTube.

When I originally reviewed the audio-book I gave it five stars and said it was awesome. But on reflection, it’s definitely my least favourite audio-book of Vaynerchuk’s (his best book—both physical and audio—is The Thank You Economy). The #AskGaryVee book is my least favourite because if you aren’t already a Vaynerchuk fan, you might find his ego and bravado a little too abrasive and hard to swallow when he gets really passionate in the audio-book.

What I do like about Vaynerchuk’s audio-books is that they differ from the physical books. He gives you a reason to buy both. There are some answers which are only in the book or only in the audio, and with the audio-book he can update what he wrote in the book. As Vaynerchuk says: quality content appeals to the heart, it’s shareable, and is native to the platform on which it appears (chapter 7, pg97-98).

A well-rounded book for anyone interested in business, sales or marketing

This book is perfectly suited to people who “don’t have time to read a whole book,” but want some useful (and entertaining) answers to business, marketing, sales, public speaking and investing questions. Like a good book of poetry, you can dip into this book and find something worth rereading on almost any page.

Whether you read it cover-to-cover or just the bits you find relevant to your situation, there’s no denying this book is one of the best business books published this year.

Want to listen to the audio-book? You can download it here.