Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck – Review

I just finished reading Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuck. The full title of the book is actually Why NOW is the Time To Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion.  I kept hearing about this Gary Vaynerchuck guy all over the place and hearing about this book (Inc. listed it as one of the top books for business owners in 2009).  I would also hear people talk about how they “crush” this or that.  I figured if I can get a copy at the library then I’ll give it a read.  Glad I did.  Awesome read!

This book is a primer on how to build your own personal brand and why you have to. It’s a quick and inspiring read that is well worth you time, whether you aren’t happy with the work you are doing or you are looking for ways to really grow what you are about.

Who is this Gary Vaynerchuck?

Gary’s background comes from working at his father’s wine store.  He worked diligently to learn everything he could about the business and about wine from the ground up, eventually building up the company to $10 million in annual sales.  That might make for a nice story right there but that’s just the beginning.

Gary V then built up the immensely popular Wine Library TV using his know-how, his passion, and today’s social media tools that are available such as Twitter, Facebook, and video blogging..  He then leveraged that success into VaynerMedia, with his brother, AJ, which led to book deals, keynote speeches, and consulting jobs.

Oh, his goal is to buy the NY Jets too.

What does this book say?

The main message throughout the book is to live your passion.  When you are doing something you love, it’s no longer work.  You don’t mind putting in the crazy hours to grow your business and you brand because it’s more than just a job – it’s part of who you are.

The book is parts inspirational, parts biographical, and parts how-to.  Gary really makes you think you can, and SHOULD, go out make your own brand, following your passion so you too can “crush it!”

According to Gary V, building up your brand is something every person should do these days, no matter what your current job.  Get started using social media and talk about that which you love, really love.  It can be accounting, law, comic books, or brushing cats – if it’s your passion then leverage what the internet has to offer and make a name for yourself.

About the internet.  He talks about how the internet has changed media for all time.  The traditional outlets — radio, TV, print — are fading away and are too difficult to get into anyway.  The internet is this child media that has unknown potential for growth and can make anyone an expert in their field.

At first I thought the book was going to be all inspiration, telling me to go out and do my best and everything will follow.  That all sounds good but without substance it doesn’t really do anything.

Fortunately he goes deeper than that.

Gary goes on about what drove him to build up his father’s company and then his brands.  He talks of the hard work and patience he put in to get where he is.  But he also shows you what you can do to get started yourself.

Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck reviewBesides passion and hard work, Gary show you the steps you should take to build your online presence.  He goes into finding the medium that works best for you and how important it is to create awesome content.  He also tells you steps to go out on the internet and build up a community.  I won’t go into details here (that’s what the book is for) but I can tell you it makes a lot of sense and I’ve already been doing some of what he talks about so I can see where he’s coming from and the power of what he is saying.

You must engage your readers, viewers, listeners with your story.  When your expertise is infused with your passion people will be interested.

Of course, the hardest part is figuring out that which is really your passion in life.  That he can’t tell you.  But once you figure it out then you can find a market out there that will listen to you.  And even if you guessed wrong you may just stumble onto what it is that makes you, you and follow that.

I have a few ideas already of things I want to do and incorporate, both with and outside.

Here are a few passages and quotes from Crush It! that got my attention:

“Live your passion.  What does that mean, anyway?  It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world.  You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing — working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same.  You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work.  You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.”

“Are you living, or just earning a living?”  This was certainly me not that long ago.  I did my job well but it wasn’t my life.  I think that’s a major reason why I didn’t excel more — I just didn’t have the desire to keep doing what I was doing.  Thank goodness I was able to start Free From Broke and do something for myself!

“Your latest tweet and comment on Facebook and most recent blog post?  That’s your resumé now.”

“My feeling is that no matter how much you like your job, you should aim to leave it and grow you own brand and business or partner with someone to do so, because as long as you’re working for someone else you will never be living entirely true to yourself and your passion.”

“Anything insane has a price.  If you’re serious about building your personal brand, there will be no time for Wii.”  Man, how many hours upon hours of my life and potential were eaten up with video games and TV?  I can honestly say I SO prefer working on Free From Broke over sitting and watching TV.

Do I recommend Crush It!

Hell yes! Like I said, it’s a quick read but a powerful read.  The only thing holding you back from success is you.  I’m seeing this book’s words in play all over the internet.  Maybe not exactly like Gary lays it out, but there are so many out there that are living their passion and you can see it and that’s why they have the following they have (I’m talking about you Adam Baker and Jeff Rose – truly inspiring).

I’m thinking of buying a couple of copies of the book to give to friends and family who I KNOW it will help them build their businesses up (I got mine from the library but I might need to have one on hand at all times).

Ask yourself this – “Am I happy doing what I do?”  If the answer is remotely no then grab this book.

If you want to see more you can check out Crush It! on Amazon.

Have you read Crush It?  What do you think?

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Published or updated March 7, 2011.


  1. I read Crush It. And I did like it. But I still have some reservations.

    Gary V. talked about using every spare moment he wasn’t with his family to build his business. It’s a great reminder that easy, overnight success comes from hours and hours of hard work.

    But here’s the question I always have when I read another successful (male) entrepreneur talking about how they created their own success: who did the laundry? Who cooked dinner? Who did the shopping? Who paid the bills?

    That’s the inspirational book I want to read. I suspect that many of these stories wouldn’t be the same if the writers didn’t have a wife to keep their lives together.

    • How’s it go? “Behind every great man is a great woman?” Without a doubt I wouldn’t be able to get done all I can without my wife’s help (I hope she feels the same about me). In the very beginning of the book Gary V says family first.

      Still, in the book he also says you don’t have to quit your full time job just yet to go and build your passion. You can start in your spare time and go from there. Of course you have to take care of family obligations first. Without clean underwear, well, we all need to leave the house eventually too! 😉

  2. Robert Muir says:

    I read the book and thought it was fantastic! It’s even better in audio because Gary recorded it about six months after the book was sent to the publisher and he gets to riff on all the changes that happened after the book was published.

    To boil Gary’s book down to one sentence, figure out what you are totally passionate about and go after it with complete gusto using the latest social media resources when applicable. Just hearing Gary speak of his passion is inspirational and contagious.

  3. I read his book last summer and loved it. His points are super simple and easy to follow.

  4. Gary V is not only a great writer but a great guy he personally responds to all his fan and you can see that on twitter. This guy is all about the hustle and being passionate about your business and your life.

    His new book the thank you economy came out yesterday and I already ordered a copy. Crush it is worth to buy for the expert tips at the very least.

    • Throughout the book he tells you if you have any questions to drop him an email. That’s pretty awesome that he makes himself that accessible.

  5. I actually didn’t like the book as much as you did. The most exciting thing to read was how he did it, and I just don’t think he provided enough details. Still a good quick read.

    • I hear you. He does provide ways for a person to get started like getting your own domain, Twitter, etc…, and tells you how to go about commenting on other sites and setting up searched for keywords you are interested.

      I think the hard thing is telling someone exact steps when you don’t know what it is that is their passion.

  6. M. A. Tohami says:

    Crush It is a great book. The practical tip I got from this book is that when you discover your passion, build a blog around it. Blogging is a great way to build a community around your passion.

    • Indeed! And it’s so satisfying seeing comments to something you have written. It’s a kind of validation you don’t get in many other jobs.

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