BOOK REVIEW | Guy Kawasaki’s Wise Guy – A brutally honest ‘Life Review’



First of all, as Guy Kawasaki makes it clear in the preface itself, this is not another autobiography. Having read more than 25 of them, I agree. Being a fan of Guy, I would have read this book in whatever form, but even for people who don’t follow Guy a lot (you should at least follow him on social media!), the book is highly recommended.

The book is brutally honest and highly actionable… even beating the no-holds-barred writing style of Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity. (It) is a collection of stories that gives you nuggets of wisdom

The book is brutally honest and highly actionable. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, considered a saint by both, the locals and the British, shocked the world as he came clean about his experiences with smoking, stealing and sex in his autobiography. This book is close on the heels of the Mahatma, even beating the no-holds-barred writing style of Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity. This book is a collection of stories that gives you nuggets of wisdom.

“I have an upper hand when it comes to autobiographies, Richard!” – Made up Guy Kawasaki Quote [Image courtesy: Arya Patnaik]

While reading the book, I first tried to highlight/bookmark points that I would like to revisit. Before I knew, I was adding tasks to my to-do list with deadlines. Almost after reading half the book, I realized my mistake. This book prods you to take action. You’ll only be able to concentrate on the next chapter if you have truly “finished” the previous one, which includes taking action based on what you learned. I had to frequently put down the book from then on to tweak my Twitter bio (include personal interests), rewrite content on our company website (localized the pitch, after Guy insisted for the second time) & mentor a startup that was juggling with a chicken and egg situation to “fake it till you make it”

Click image to pre-order. Product details: Publisher: Portfolio (February 26, 2019); Language: English; ISBN-10: 0525538615; ISBN-13: 978-0525538615

I have exchanged mails with Guy Kawasaki in 3 different occasions and each of my mails got a prompt response. After reading about his “death of emails” philosophy, I considered myself really lucky that I got those replies, but then realized it was not just a happy coincidence. Guy himself goes on to say that the simplest explanation is the most probable one, although we always think of the most complex theory first. I got my answer when Nohemi says “My dad has shown me that it is very important to create and maintain strong relationships”. While she gives examples in the offline world, I’ve had the same experience with him online. Guy is a social media pro, not because he’s a celebrity (although he is one). People follow him because he’s “family” to them. He helps them out at the drop of a hat & asks for help just you would do with your close ones. We were taught in our school in India about the Sanskrit phrase “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”(the world is one family), but finally understood its significance after I experienced Guy Kawasaki practicing it!

You can read “Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life” with a mindset of learning a few tricks that will make you as successful as Guy Kawasaki. It will be as much a wasted effort as going to Hangzhou, Zhejiang & working as an English speaking tour guide. There’s a slim chance that it might have worked till 2008. I was in Hangzhou that year & could not find any guide who would speak in English. Still, would you have become the next Jack Ma? I don’t think so. The best way to approach an autobiography is try to learn from the mistakes of the public figure and try not to repeat those. Guy makes it super convenient by actually listing down the mistakes he made in his life. Wise Guy!

From the Editor:

The inspirational Guy Kawasaki took up surfing at age 62–which taught him that you can discover a new passion at any age, but younger is easier!

Here’s how Amazon introduces the icon that is Kawasaki, and his forthcoming book: Silicon Valley icon and bestselling author Guy Kawasaki shares the unlikely stories of his life and the lessons we can draw from them.

Guy Kawasaki has been a fixture in the tech world since he was part of Apple’s original Macintosh team in the 1980s. He’s widely respected as a source of wisdom about entrepreneurship, venture capital, marketing, and business evangelism, which he’s shared in bestselling books such as The Art of the Start and Enchantment. But before all that, he was just a middle-class kid in Hawaii, a grandson of Japanese immigrants, who loved football and got a C+ in 9th grade English. 

Wise Guy, his most personal book, is about his surprising journey. It’s not a traditional memoir but a series of vignettes. He toyed with calling it Miso Soup for the Soul, because these stories (like those in the Chicken Soup series) reflect a wide range of experiences that have enlightened and inspired him.

For instance, you’ll follow Guy as he . . . 

  • Gets his first real job in the jewelry business–which turned out to be surprisingly useful training for the tech world.
  • Disparages one of Apple’s potential partners in front of that company’s CEO, at the sneaky instigation of Steve Jobs.
  • Blows up his Apple career with a single sentence, after Jobs withholds a pre-release copy of the Think Different ad campaign: “That’s okay, Steve, I don’t trust you either.”
  • Reevaluates his self-importance after being mistaken for Jackie Chan by four young women.

Guy covers everything from moral values to business skills to parenting. As he writes, “I hope my stories help you live a more joyous, productive, and meaningful life. If Wise Guy succeeds at this, then that’s the best story of all.”

This book is indeed a treasure trove of inspiration. We recommend you pre-order your copy. You can do it here:


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