Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Wise Guy: Lessons from A Life, by Guy Kawasaki

Penguin Group Portfolio, ISBN 9780525538615, February 2019

This is Guy Kawasaki's fifteenth book, and this one is about his life--from Hawaii to California to Apple, to his own software company, other companies, back to Apple for a while. It's not a straightforward autobiography; he's conveying the lessons he's learned in an active life that has gone in many different directions.

For instance, before he connected with Apple, he had worked in the diamond industry. Sorting diamonds, and selling them.

Which makes a certain kind of sense.

A lot of what he has to say is, on the surface, basic. Work hard, pay attention to details, pay attention to people. Make connections. Follow your passions.

His telling of it is a lot better than mine, and comes to life in his stories of his life.

Some of it, on the other hand, is less immediately obvious, and less commonly heard. Help people when you can--because you can, not because they'll pay you back. Accept help when you need it and it's offered. Don't be afraid to reach out; you might make a friend in addition to getting the help you need.

Of course, this is easier for some of us than others, but I can't help being reminded of my mother, who was nothing like Guy Kawasaki at all, whom you could set down in a crowded room where she knew no one and didn't want to be, and she'd come out with half a dozen stories of people she'd talked to.

I don't understand it, but it can be kind of fun to watch.

Guy is married and has four kids, three sons and a daughter, and while many parents want their kids to follow them, in their enthusiasms, the things they loved doing or the things they wish they'd been able o do, he took a slightly different approach to being an involved parent. As much time as he spent traveling on business, he was a all his kids' school games. But he wasn't content o just watch.

His two older kids played hockey, and Guy took up hockey, so that he could truly understand what they loved doing. Then his two younger kids took up surfing, and so did he, so he could truly understand what they loved.

And he has great stories about those experiences, and about the people he and his kids met because he was both really interested, and also both well-known and genuinely friendly.

This book is just a lot of fun, along with having useful life lessons to take in and use as suits you best.

Sadly, there is one problem, and no, it's not anything Guy wrote. I read an e-arc, and this may not apply to the published ebook, but the type font is both tiny, and not adjustable. This meant that despite the content and Guy's writing, this was a slow, painful read for me.

And with ebooks, there is quite literally no reason a all for that. Adjustable font size is one major reason to read ebooks. It's a basic accessibility issue. It's not acceptable to disable that functionality.

My most common response to this when I encounter it, is that the ebook goes straight in the bit bucket. I don't waste my time on books that the publisher has intentionally chosen to make harder for me to read. Because of my considerable confidence that I would enjoy Guy's new book, I persevered, and have merely read it slowly and painfully as I struggled with the font size.

And so my backup rule comes into play, on sites that include star ratings, I deduct one star for the publisher being idiots who don't have two or three brain cells to spare for the reader whose money they want.

Nevertheless, it's a very good, enjoyable book, and I do recommend it.

As stated above, I received a free electronic galley from the author, Guy Kawasaki, and I'm reviewing it voluntarily.

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