Wise Guy: Lessons From a Life by Guy Kawasaki


5. Business

  • Here Guy discusses mistakes he has made so you can at least make different mistakes. For Guy, life is sales as these skills come in handy no matter what you are doing. The ability to persuade others is key. Wherever you work it’s important to build trust and diversify your acquaintances. Working for free can lead to well-paid employment. He sites the fact the TED Talks are done for free at the same time they offer excellent career boosts.
  • Mistakes and failures can lead to opportunities if you have the right mindset. For example, a drug developed to treat high blood pressure and angina turned out to be Viagra. Guy also shows the value of a network with a list of all the jobs he has had and how he got them. He got most of them because he knew someone.

6. Values

  • Guy relates stories of his dealings with several people who honored informal agreements and agencies who did not honor formal deals. From this, he concludes that a formal contract with a dishonorable person is worth less than an informal contract with an honorable person. You should assume that people are good until proven bad, and verify all excuses. If you are in a position of power, do the right thing, not what you can get away with.
  • Helping others can result in some of them returning the favor, sometimes with dividends. Guy suggests that you be humble and with that in mind offers some insight as to why Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016. The advice here is that if someone offers you help, you probably should accept it. He suggests you stand up for what you believe even if it may cost you followers or other opportunities. You also need to accept things you can’t control and try to keep the glass half full. When something negative happens, ask “so what.”

7. Parenting

  • Here you learn about Guy’s two biological children and two adopted children. He uses his son’s success on his third try to pass his driver’s test as a lesson about preparing for any challenge. Preparation often brings luck and is much more important than natural ability. Guy warns that parental control is an illusion and that you might feel like you are a Lyft driver and an ATM. It’s clear that being a parent is a big deal for Guy. His kids are lucky and from the stories he tells, so is he.

8. Sports

  • Here Guy tells of his love of sports. Since he wasn’t a natural athlete, he had to try harder. He also thinks it’s never too late to try a new sport. In his case, he tried various types of surfing. He suggests that you don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something and to consider trying what your kids are doing. Look for a good coach and make sure you have good equipment.

9. LOL

  • Guy reminds us that the simplest explanation is usually the best. This is also known as Occam’s razor. Here he explains why strong people show weakness. They can also change their minds and tolerate humiliation. Be kind, flexible, and humble when you are in a position of power. While making a good first impression is important, it is also important to look far beyond first impressions when judging others.
  • Guy tells a story about how he turned down the possibility of becoming Yahoo!’s first CEO. This cost him billions but he has no regrets because he put his family first. He also found that a silly idea can be a springboard for large profits. And don’t forget that everyone does stupid things from time to time. Experts in one area are likely to be average or less in other areas.
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