Book Review: 10 Powerful Personas By Kevin Vogelsang

Ever wonder what makes a leader great?  Ever spend time thinking about what the strengths are in your personality or how you might be able to become more like great people around you? Kevin Vogelsang has and he’s written a book to help you answer those questions.  In his just released book “10 Powerful Personas, Kevin examines key attributes of 10 different qualities found in leaders. I learned a lot from the book and I’d like to share a few of the lessons here:

1) Leaders come from everywhere

One of the most interesting things about Kevin’s book is the balance in people he uses as examples of different leaders.  He uses everyone from General Patton to his football coach to his mother as examples of the different powerful personas to great effect.  Because of his wide variety of examples, it made me think about who around me, both famous and friend, that exhibited the traits he describes; it was an excellent reminder that you can really learn from anyone around you if you simply raise your awareness and look for it.

<Click here to read the other reasons at>

Book Review: Mastering the VC Game by Jeff Bussgang

As a young entrepreneur, it’s not easy to understand how venture capital really works. There are tons of horror stories that spread through the community like urban legends and phrases like “Term sheets” and “Down Rounds” can sound foreign.  Amidst all of these questions is an aura of uncertainty about how the whole system really works. Fortunately, there’s Jeff Bussgang’s book, Mastering the VC Game to help.

This book should be a must read for any young entrepreneur who thinks they may ever want funding. It’s that good. Here’s a few reasons I love the book:

It Answers My Questions:

For a long time, I’ve had a million different questions about how it all works from start to finish and why certain aspects of the investment process are they way they are.  In Mastering the VC Game, Jeff breaks it all down in simple terms that have immeasurably raised my understanding how it all works. He’s also fair to both entrepreneurs and VCs alike, in explaining on how varying motivations can lead to all those conflicts and horror stores we hear about.

Thanks to this book, I now have a basic framework and understanding to build off of should I ever pursue funding.  I thought I was going to have to go to a ton of events about funding to understand venture financing, but this book is much clearer than putting together piecemeal information from events.

Read the other reasons at Greenhorn Connect…

New Year’s Resolutions Check Up

I’m two weeks into my resolutions for New Year’s and so I wanted to check up on how I was doing. I figured I might as well share my progress:

8 Resolutions in 2010

1) Improve my Punctuality: I’ve gotten a little better, but I’m still far from perfect. Going to keep at it.

2)  Improve Time Management: I’ve found that by making a list broken down by project (I’m involved in 3 startups these days) right before I go to bed, I wake up ready to get all the things done. It’s working, but will probably keep evolving.

3) Get Back to the Gym: I finally made it back to the gym on Wednesday and then went again on Friday. It felt better than I expected getting back into. Apparently the pull ups and situps I’d been doing in my apartment kept me from losing too much strength. I am incredibly sore right now, but that comes with the territory. I also feel energized, so it’s a fair tradeoff. I just need to get a routine going and I’ll be good.

4) Get back to Running: Waiting for warmer weather…

5) Read a Book per Week: I’m 2 for 2 so far as I’ve made it through Trust Agents and Crush It. I’m now onto a bit heavier reading with 4 Steps to the Epiphany, so we’ll see if I can get through that in a week as well. Taking books with me on the subway has definitely helped a lot. I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting each day just not thinking while on the subway. You’ll now know what I’m reading if you see me at an event at night as I’m taking reading material for the trips to and from.

6) Post More Often: This is my 6th post of the year, so that’s going well. I’ve also successfully started writing shorter posts as evidenced by my business card and winter wardrobe posts.

7) Keep learning: This one wasn’t so much anything new as trying to do more of the same.  A number of you have been great in providing me more feedback and comments, so please keep it coming!

8.) Pay it forward: I still help who I can. The best example is the other night at an event a woman was lamenting that she couldn’t find much support as a woman entrepreneur. I was able to pass her along info of all the resources for women entrepreneurs listed at Greenhorn Connect.

So all in all…doing well. Need to keep improving in the punctuality department, build the gym back into my routine fully and stick with the book reading regimen.

How are YOU doing on your resolutions?

Book Review: Gary V’s Crush It

If entrepreneurship was a team and we had a big game coming up, I have no doubt that Gary V would lead the pep rally and carry the spirit stick.  If you need a book to jump start your passion for entrepreneurship, to remind you why you do what you do and give you some tips to better succeed at what you are passionately pursuing, then Crush It is is the book for you.

When I first started reading this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to buy into it. It felt like sort of fluff.  But Gary V’s enthusiasm is contagious. Before long I was really feeling charged up about his beliefs in pursuing your passions and thinking about how I’m already doing it and how I can do more.

Compared to some more academic entrepreneurial books, this is a quick, easy read (142 pages), but it still is filled with great ideas and concepts.  After feeling like Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents was a bit verbose, I was very happy to breeze through this book. Gary hit on a lot of great points and covered a reasonable number of topics, but never dwelled on any idea too long.

If you’re looking for a quick read to get you pumped up to pursue your life’s passion AND have a method for actually making money on that passion, this is well worth the time to read this book.  If you don’t like overly casual/conversational books, you may want to steer clear of this one.  If I had to boil the book down to one principle, I’d say that it’s “Discover your life’s passion and create interesting content about that in the form you want, then be patient and get paid.”

Next Book: Steve Blank’s 4 Steps to the Epiphany

On Deck: Open to recommendations…

In the hole: Open to recommendations…

Book Review: Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents

As I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions post, one of my goals was to read a book per week this year. The first book I chose was Chris Brogan and Julien Smith”s Trust Agents.  This 260 page social media gem took me a bit longer than a week (9 days in fact), but was well worth it.  Here’s a quick review:

This book provides a step by step philosophy and guide for how to become a key member of the online and offline world.  This is really a “how-to” on being a great person who is valued, trusted and genuinely liked by others.  If you’ve ever followed any of Chris Brogan’s work such as his blog, or the awesome “overnight success” video series you know that basically this is a detailed book on how he did it.

The really strange and amazing thing about reading this book for me was the realization that I owe a lot of Greenhorn Connect’s success to the principles Chris and Julien go over.  At times, this made me inpatient reading it as I wanted to get on to topics I didn’t already know and practice, but at the same time, it was reassuring and helpful to understand those principles better.  Often, you can see success and attribute it to the wrong things.  This book helped me realize some of the things I’m doing that are helping lead to success. It also surprised me how often things that were happening in my life lined up with things I was reading in the book.  That includes the inspiration for my post earlier this week on business card etiquette.

I’d like to give this book some deeper analysis, but really all I can say is that YOU should read this book. It’s about social media and so much more. Not only will it teach you key tools and tips for taking proper action in social media, but it also shows you how to become a genuinely likeable person who succeeds.  If I had to boil the book down to one principle, I’d say that it’s “Pay it Forward both online and offline and it will all work out for you.”

Next Book: Gary V’s Crush It.

On Deck: Steve Blank’s 4 Steps to the Epiphany

In the hole: Open to recommendations…