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Home » Random

Book Review: Crush it and cash in on your passion

Over the last few months I’ve heard and read a lot about Gary Vaynerchuk (Pronounced Vay-ner-chuk).

For those who don’t know Gary, he spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a US national leader taking sales from $4m a year to $50m in  just 8 years.

Crush It!: Why Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion is the story of how Gary leveraged social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to promote Wine Library TV, his video blog about wine.

Although Gary started with a succesful business which his father gad built up, Gary has been instrumental in taking the business to this much higher level.

Gary is very much the early adopter, having taken launched Wine Library’s retail website in 1997 and Wine Library TV in February 2006.

His lesson and thoughts on the use of social media and growing your personal brand are well worth looking at.

Gary starts with his 3 rules:

1. Love yout family
2. Work superhard
3. Live your passion

Ok, so we can’t argue with that as they are pretty good rules to live by. Gary talks about building a brand and basically being out there on all social media sites you can think of.

He’s a big fan of video blogging (which suits his personality) – apparently he’s dyslexic, so video works well for him and is very much an extension of his personality. What works for Gary may not work for you, and unless Gary’s style is your natural sytle, certainly don’t copy it. If you’re not being yourself you won’t look natural and you’ll look false and awkward. Gary’s videos work well and he generates a huge following by being himself,  but there are lessons here which you can (and should) adopt.

He gives some great tips about how to build link juice and reveals his  formula for building traffic  post to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and every social networking platform and keep doing it (i.e. rinse and repeat)

Interestingly enough he talks about delaying monetising your site, which considering most people turn to the Internet thinking that they are going to make their millions is well worth considering.

He splatters his text with some great examples of the opportunities that arise from just one visitor. In fact he’s very much of the build the community one step at a time approach, which is very much in keeping with being social.

He shares a great story from his work at one of his wine stores where a customer ordered a bottle of wine for  Christmas but it had missed the delivery run. So Gary took it upon himself to drive to the customer’s house some 3 or 4 hours away just to deliver the bottle of wine.  Do you think that the customer told all her friends about the service? You bet she did.

Gary prides himself on answering all his emails personally. He doesn’t hide behind assistants, which is an amazing work rate for anyone.

Is the book worth buying? It’s certainly interesting and has some great nuggets to take away so on the whole yes. You can read it in an evening or two and one of the nuggets may pay big dividends for your business.

For example I would never have set up a Facebook Fan Page for The Big Red Tomato Company if it hadn’t been for Gary.

You can find Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion on Amazon.


  • Ben said:

    Crush It is a great read! I cracked through it in a few hours which is unheard of for me and reading (even though it isn’t long)

    I’m always blown away by how passionate Gary is talking on stage or on video about cashing in on your passion. All you need is some simple tools, loads of hardwork and not to have a lazy attitude

    Great competition

  • Eleanor Edwards said:

    I agree with Ben. Crush It! is awesome. I bought a copy on Ben’s recommendation and wasn’t disappointed. The coolest bit for me is chapter 9: The best marketing strategy ever. One word – care. Love it!

    So I don’t need a second copy but can I put an entry in on Heather’s (Shades of a dream) behalf? I’ve promised her a copy for her birthday when she gets back from Canada next month so if you gave her one instead, you’d save me a few quid. 😉

    Being a student … (sorry, cue the violins as I make a pitch on her behalf) Ready? OK. Being a student, she has a very tight budget. Crush It is on her list but it has to fall behind food and design software (so she can complete her uni work.) I loved the book so much, I promised that I’d get her a copy if she hadn’t been given one by September 2nd.

    The end 😉

    Seriously, very cool competition. It is a brilliant book.

  • Chris C. Ducker said:

    Read this in ONE sitting…

    Excellent read.

    100% convinced me that VIDEO is the way to go for the future.

  • El Edwards said:

    As one who loves to write sparkling posts, I have to agree to disagree with your conviction on this one Chris. There is a place for video (and don’t get me wrong, I love doing videos too. They’re such fun) and it’s getting more popular but I personally don’t (can’t?) believe that it is a false notion to be investing in high quality written word.

  • Karen said:

    I disagree, too, Chris

    Yes, there are many people who like to watch videos (we live in an instant, on demand world) but there are many, many other people who learn and resonate more with the written word. That’s not going to go away.

    Loved the book, too, Matthew 🙂

  • Ben said:

    I think it’s an individual thing Chris. I love the idea of video and will be doing a lot more of them in the future.

    It would be wrong wouldn’t it mate if you and me didn’t do video. I mean we’re good looking, charaismatic…… lol

  • El Edwards said:

    Humble too. 😉

    You’re right though Ben (about it being an individual thing ;)) because like Matthew said in this post, our lovely GV does video because it’s best for him. It’s about finding your voice and expressing it in whatever way (or ways) suit you best.

  • Eirc said:

    Hey Matthew!

    I also read this great book and got a lot out of it. Crush It! definitely has some great ideas that anyone can use to really amp things up in the blogging AND business world.

    I don’t have my own copy yet and would like to some day. I feel it would be great to have this particular book because it shares some great points that, if followed, will take your blog to new heights as long as you stick with it.

    You’re right when you mentioned most people start blogging to make a lot of money and very soon get disappointed. Blogging is HARD money to make. I know, I’ve made not a single cent yet online. But I”m happy with what I’m doing and the people I’ve met and the great relationships I’ve built and continue to grow on.

    Take care! 🙂

  • Gurl said:

    Hey, Matthew.
    Great contest. Why do I want a copy of this? I borrowed it from the library and read it cover to cover in no time. At first I was thinking it was well to do boy gets rich, but as it went through…I saw the real story behind the man and his upbringing. It moved me, his beginnings aren’t very different from my own. To see how far he’s come is inspiring, to say the very least.
    I’d love to OWN a copy so that I could pick it up and turn to a chapter on days when my motivation is failing me. I would love to be able to just sit down and read it whenever I want instead of waiting to pick it up from our local library. I’d buy it myself, but I’ve had to prioritize, and this keeps falling by the wayside for the simple fact that to be able to do all the above would be a convenience. It’s not a need for me or my business plans and ideas, but its a HUGE want!
    I can also empathize with Heather’s situation that El mentioned above. I admire her for doing the blogging thing WHILE taking what seem like very time intensive courses. Not sure if throwing in another “vote” for her in abensia will help at all, but she should get this before me…and then I can make El promise ME one for MY birthday (JK!) LOL

  • Kyle McShane said:

    I am a recent college graduate and am starting a business that will help people get jobs easier online. I have recently began creating my network on social media, asking for advice and creating a presence for myself and my company, DreamFetcher. I have been learning an extreme amount of information about social media, and have heard that Crush It is an amazing book. I would like to win a copy of the book so I can continue to increase my knowledge about social media while making the most efficient job website on the Internet.

  • Rick Byrd said:


    I haven’t read this book but I have read other blogs that also rave about the book. As usual, I am slow to get to the party. I will definitely pickup a copy and dive into it.

    It sounds like Gary really understands the value of cutomer service, how refreshing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the book.

    – Rick

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Rick, I wrote this post 5 months ago and found it in my drafts folder! So I’m sorry I could have shared it with you earlier!