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Anything You Want: 21 Inspiring Ideas From Derek Sivers

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on June 29, 2011 in book strategy culture 20 Comments

I first met Derek Sivers at the Business of Software conference. I'd heard about him, but I hadn't actually met him.

Derek has done at least two remarkable things:

1. He created a successful business, from scratch.

2. He gave the business away to charity when he was done.

Derek recently spoke at the Business of Software conference.  You should go watch his presentation.  Inspiring.

Derek just came out with a simple, highly readable book called “Anything You Want”. It's short, to the point and inspiring. Also, the book is published through "The Domino Project" by Seth Godin.anything you want

Before I could get this article published, the book has climbed from a 12,000 ranking on Amazon to about 1,000. [Update it's all the way at #6 now]

Inspiring Ideas From “Anything You Want” By Derek Sivers

1. Business is not about money. It's about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.

2. When you make a company, you make a utopia. It's where you design your perfect world.

3. Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what's not working.

4. A quick glance and common sense should tell you if the numbers will work. The rest are details.

5. “Revolution” is a term that people use only when you're successful. Before that, you're just a quirky person who does things differently.

6. When you're on to something great, it won't feel like revolution. It'll feel like uncommon sense.

7. If you're not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say “no”.

8. Start now. No funding needed.

9. After we grew to 50 employees, people started pitching me on how I needed an official employee review plan, sensitivity training, Terms and Conditions postings, and all this corporate crap. I got such joy out saying no to all of it.

10. In a perfect world, would your website be covered with advertising?

11. Resist the urge to punish everyone for one person's mistake.

12. If you find even the smallest way to make people smile, they'll remember you more for that smile than for all your other fancy business-model stuff.

13. Don't try to impress an invisible jury of MBA professors. It's OK to be casual.

14. No matter what business you're in, it's good to prepare for what would happen if business doubled.

15. In the end, it's about what you want to be, not what you want to have.

16. When you sign up for a marathon, you don't want a taxi to take you to the finish line.

17. There's a big difference between being self-employed and being a business owner.

18. Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be.

19. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves it. Find that person and let them do it.

20. Why he gave his company away to charity: I get the pride of knowing I did something irreversibly smart before I could change my mind. Most of all, I get the constant, priceless reminder that I have enough.

21. Whatever you make, it's your creation, so make it your personal dream come true.

So, what do you think? Are you working towards being happy?  What's your favorite idea from the list?  Tweet it out and tell the world.  Thanks.