Book Recommendation: The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

A must read for the hurley burley change ridden labour market of today, The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha is more than a Silicon Valley centric LinkedIn brochure.

The main premise of the book is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business.Reid-Hoffman-Ben-Casnocha-1024x682

Start-ups are an apt metaphor for our careers. Start-ups are nimble, they invest in themselves, they build professional networks, take intelligent risks and live with uncertainty everyday.

I love the permanent beta concept they talk about because we are all a work in progress.

“Keeping your career in permanent beta forces you to acknowledge that you have bugs, that there’s new development to do on yourself, that you will need to adapt and evolve.”

A YouTube animated summary for you to watch:

The book emphasizes the power of networks, the value of weak ties and the role of fostering strategic serendipity (selective randomness) along your career journey. 

“The value and strength of your network are not represented in the number of contacts in your address book. What matters are your alliances, the strength and diversity of your trust connections, the freshness of the information flowing through your network, the breadth of your weak ties and the ease with which you can reach your second or third-degree connections.”

Here’s a quick graphic overview:


Some of my favourite quotes are:

“Network intelligence is the advanced game: if you do it well, it’ll give you a competitive edge.”

“Establish an identity independent of your employer, city, and industry.  For example, make the headline of your LinkedIn profile not a specific job title (e.g., “VP of Marketing at Company X”) but personal-brand or asset-focused (e.g. Entrepreneur. Product Strategist. Investor).” 

“In order to strengthen our network, we must do things for others. This is about sharing knowledge, wisdom and ideas in addition to connecting people who could be of value to each other.”

paypal-mafia-hubspot-500An example given in the book is the so called “PayPal Mafia”. The original founders of PayPal who went on to create other businesses leveraged each others networks for their own careers.

And another graphic!

Main takeaways:

* Adapt your career plans as you change, the people around you change, and industries change.

* Develop a competitive advantage to win the best jobs and opportunities.

* Strengthen your professional network by building powerful alliances and maintaining a diverse mix of relationships.

* Find the unique breakout opportunities that massively accelerate career growth.

* Take proactive risks to become more resilient to industry tsunamis.

* Tap your network for information and intelligence that help you make smarter decisions.

This visual summary of the book on SlideShare is long but worth it.

Start-up of You, Visual Summary from Reid Hoffman

Grab some time and dive into the concepts – you’ll be nodding and having ah-ha moments as you click each slide forward.

I’m a huge fan of the work produced by the collaboration between Reid and Ben, here’s some more to get your teeth into:

10,000 Hours with Reid Hoffman 

“The Alliance” by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh.

Shireen DuPreezNeed to re-invent yourself? I’d love to help! Check out my coaching services or visit my online shop.

Be well, keep learning,


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