Selling the Dream: Guy Kawasaki and Business Evangelism

I have a habit of buying a lot of books. I love books. I don’t tend to get the time to read a lot of books, but the effort is made. There are two types that I look out for: names I recognize in the business section, and metaphysical stuff.

Guy Kawasaki is a familiar name for people that are interested in business, or in Apple Computers. Either way. During the 1980s he was a product manager at Apple, back when the company was getting their feet wet and just before they became successful. Mr. Kawasaki has entrepreneurial experience under his belt, too. Basically: if you find one of his books, get it, read it.

The title I managed to get my hands on? Selling the Dream.

First published back in the late 80s and revised in the early 90s, it references a lot of outdated companies and technologies, but the principles are sound. Selling the Dream introduces readers to the concept of evangelism from a business perspective.

If you’re already familiar with religious evangelism, then you have a vague idea of what Guy brings to the table. The basic premise is this: your job, as the person in charge or the voice of your company, is not only to believe strongly in what you’re offering — but to convince others to believe just as much as you do. It’s a form of selling that we still see today, and admittedly Guy has made “sales” the equivalent of a four-letter word. I’d consider them interchangeable. A Christian evangelist is selling the concept of God, a business evangelist is selling their product, service, dream, vision, or overall business idea.

My favourite part of this book is just how sarcastic Guy is. Many of the footnotes are little remarks, occasionally poking fun at himself, that I couldn’t make myself skip simply because they were so amusing (and mostly informative). I don’t pay attention to footnotes in most works. They’re boring. Not this time. His writing style is conversational which makes it an easy read, and it’s not hard to fall into a rhythm and find yourself looking up three hours later when you realize you’re hungry. Possibly late for an appointment.

I wish I’d read this book years ago. I wish I’d found it years ago, and I really need to give it another read.

Selling the Dream is the perfect read if you’re stuck and floundering, you’re not sure about your business, or you want to get started but you need a kick in the ass. Guy is great at lighting a fire under people. He’s great at stoking excitement, and the real-world examples of evangelism at work in the business world really help drive the point home: if you want other people to be gung-ho about your business, you have to feel that way first. This is one of those books that has made it on many entrepreneurial ‘must read’ lists and I’d add it to my own, too.

Whether you’re established, just starting out, having a crisis, or just looking for some new-old ideas, get your hands on a copy of Selling the Dream and thank me later.


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