Derek Sivers

I was first introduced to Derek Sivers while watching a TED Talk. I thought his three minute speech was brilliant, so when I saw that he had written a book I was very excited to read it.

Sivers is the creator of CD Baby, a very successful online business that helps independent musicians sell their music. The book is essentially his retelling of the birth and journey of growing that business. It is described as “40 Lessons For A New Kind of Entrepreneur”. The book is put out by The Domino Project and is very short in length (77 pages).

Everything in me wanted to love this book, but I just couldn’t really get into it. There was some content that I just thought was poor advice (ie. not setting up thorough precautions for possible lawsuits) and then the parts I enjoyed I feel like I have read elsewhere and it wasn’t new to me.

Even though I wouldn’t consider this a “must have” book, I do think it is a decent book, and it is interesting if you’re into the nuts and bolts of starting a project or business.

Here are a few quotes from the book that I appreciated:

“Watch out when anyone (including you) says he wants to do something big, but can’t until he raises money. It usually means the person is more in love with the idea of becoming big big big than with actually doing something useful. For an idea to get big big big, it has to be useful. And being useful doesn’t need funding. If you want to be useful, you can always start now.”

“You can’t pretend there’s only one way to do it. Your first idea is just one of many options. No business goes as planned, so make ten radically different plans.”

“Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing.”

“Delegate, but don’t abdicate.”

With all that said, I once again have to mention the TED Talk I saw him give. I have watched numerous TED Talks, but this one is without a doubt my favorite. In fact the first couple of times I watched it, I actually got a little teary thinking about the power and potential in being “a follower”. I instantly thought of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and all the implications of “followership” (theologically the illustration doesn’t line up perfectly, but there are still some great take aways). It’s definitely worth your time (3 minutes) to watch it and unpack it (video below).


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