Book Review: Anything You Want

Book Review: Anything You Want

The best part of Derek Sivers’ book is, well, Derek Sivers.

That and this book is a crazy fast read. You can read it in about an hour.

In Anything You Want, Derek shares stories and principles that he learned from the creation, growth, and ultimate decision to sell CDBaby.

There are four sections that I’d like to highlight that may have some relevance to your world.

1. It’s about being, not having

In Anything You Want, Derek talks about prioritizing a passion for learning to become something. In other words, he talks about wanting to be something vs. wanting to have something. For example, Derek wanted to be a great producer, so he dedicated himself to learning everything about what it means to be a producer. Not because he wanted to say he was a producer but because he genuinely enjoyed learning to be a producer.

For me, the opposite of that would getting an MBA. I like the idea of having an MBA, but there is nothing about the process of getting an MBA that excites me.

So – Derek’s post is a good one – if you enjoy something and are passionate about it, you’ll enjoy the process of “being” it. Going a step further, if you are wondering about a decision that might level-up your career or your general well-being – here’s a helpful question to ask yourself: Are you doing it to get it done, or are you doing it for yourself?

2. The Doubling Principle

To combat “more of the same” approach, Derek utilized the doubling principle. If you grow to double, be prepared to handle double that. In his book, Derek would continuously buy double the space he needed for his warehouse – which allowed him to grow without being frantically over-run continually.

It’s a great principle as it forces you to stop and make a conscious decision to prepare for more when you are in a pattern of growth. Not doing that will create the I Love Lucy chocolate factory scenario. So – Stop, think about a new way to handle additional growth – don’t just assume that your old methods will work. Just doubled your staff? Great – prepare and plan for double that number. Just doubled your projects? Great – stop, anticipate, and plan for double that.

Note: In Derek’s scenario, the doubling principle worked because he was in a constant state of growth. I would advocate for planning on double if you are in the opposite pattern of growth.

3. Delegate, Don’t Abdicate

One way to get through a constant scale-up process is to delegate. And Delegate. However, there is a point where you will empower too much. To abdicate is when you delegate too often and remove yourself from having any say. In Derek’s case, it was a valuable lesson that any of us could learn. There is such a thing as too much delegation.

4. Little Things Make all the Difference

There are a few great stories throughout the book that set CDBaby apart. One fundamental principle that should be obsessed over for anyone who is in the Services industry is: Little Things Make all the Difference. CDBaby knew this and continually worked towards always making that little extra effort for every customer.

Although there are many examples sprinkled throughout the book, here’s one case involving a Squid.

Overall, a worthwhile read, but you’ll find yourself cyber-stalking Derek Sivers once you complete it because you’ll want more.

If you want to continue down the Derek Sivers rabbit hole – go to this article.

Supporting Music

Stereophonics – Have a Nice Day

Nirvana + Joan Jett – Smells Like Teen Spirit

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