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

The start of a new year is always a great time to reflect on the past, what went well, what didn’t, and resolve to make changes moving forward. In their book, The Start-Up of You, Reid Hoffman, the cofounder of LinkedIn, and Ben Casnocha, a technology entrepreneur, advise us to continuously succeed and move forward, we need to manage our career as our own “start-up”; we need to think like an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs adapt to uncertainties. “They take stock of their assets, aspirations, and the market realities to develop a competitive advantage.” (Hoffman and Casnocha, 2012, p. 8).

To illustrate the importance of maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit and ignite our motivational fire, Hoffman and Casnocha provide a number of examples of complacency versus adaptability and innovation. They describe how the Detroit auto makers were once at the helm of entrepreneurial innovation, but due to complacency and the loss of their entrepreneurial spirit, they followed a path that led to their eventual decline. Hoffman and Casnocha (2012) state, “The forces of competition and change that brought down Detroit are global and local. They threaten every business, every industry, every city. And more important, they also threaten every individual career” (p. 18).

Hoffman and Casnocha (2012) assert that the old notion of job stability is no longer valid. Even government and education jobs that were once thought of as some of the most secure jobs are in flux due to budget cuts and reallocations.  Now “Adaptability creates stability” (p. 24).   As I was reading this book, I thought their advice is similar to staying in the New Year’s mindset of reflection and resolution throughout the entire year.

As a cofounder of LinkedIn, Hoffman stresses that career success takes a network. Hoffman and Casnocha (2012) state that, “Your career success depends on both your individual capabilities and your network’s ability to magnify them. Think of it as IWe.  An individual’s power is raised exponentially with the help of a team (a network)” (p. 87). Being part of a network involves sharing resources and helping others as well as asking for help when needed. Networking takes time to build and nourish  relationships.

Walden Career Services wishes you a strong entrepreneurial spirit as you manage The Start-Up of You in 2014!

Written by Career Advisor Denise Pranke