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The key points of 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur' by Derek Sivers

In the book 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur' by Derek Sivers, the author shares valuable insights and lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs. From business revolution to personal philosophy, Sivers provides practical advice and wisdom based on his own experiences. Let's explore some key takeaways from the book:

Key Takeaways

  • Embrace simplicity in your business approach.

  • Prioritize customer service to build strong relationships.

  • Focus on innovation to stay ahead in the market.

  • Learn from mistakes and use them as opportunities for growth.

  • Maintain a balance between passion and practicality in your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Business Revolution

The Business Revolution is not just about the latest technology or startup trends; it's about a fundamental shift in how we approach entrepreneurship. Businesses can now be built around the personal values and desires of the founders, rather than conforming to traditional corporate structures and expectations.

  • Embrace your unique vision and let it guide your business decisions.

  • Prioritize customer satisfaction and personal happiness over profit maximization.

  • Stay lean and flexible, avoiding unnecessary complexity and bureaucracy.

Understanding that every interaction is an opportunity for improvement is key. Effective conflict resolution is crucial in this new business landscape. It involves identifying root causes and choosing mutually beneficial options. Handling criticism gracefully is not just a skill, but a pathway to personal growth.

2. Personal Philosophy

Derek Sivers emphasizes that your personal philosophy is the foundation upon which your business is built. Your values and beliefs guide every decision and action within your company. It's crucial to be clear about what you stand for and to align your business practices with your personal ethos.

  • Define your core values.

  • Ensure your business reflects these values.

  • Stay true to yourself, even when it's challenging.

Understanding your motivations and what you want to achieve is essential for creating a business that not only succeeds but also brings you fulfillment. It's about more than just making money; it's about creating something that aligns with your vision of the world.

3. Little Details

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes that the little details are what truly differentiate a business. It's not just about the grand vision; it's the small touches that create a memorable experience for customers.

  • Pay attention to the user interface and design elements.

  • Craft thoughtful, personal responses to customer inquiries.

  • Regularly update and refine products based on user feedback.

Remember, it's the accumulation of little details that can set your venture apart and make it feel special to your customers. It's about creating something they can't get anywhere else.

4. Customer Service

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes that customer service is not just a department, but the entire company. It's a philosophy that should permeate every interaction with your customers. To excel in customer service, consider the following points:

  • Treat your customers with respect and kindness, as if they were guests in your home.

  • Listen to their feedback and act on it. This shows that you value their input and are committed to improvement.

  • Be transparent with your customers, especially when things go wrong. Honesty builds trust.

  • Go the extra mile to surprise and delight your customers. This can turn a one-time buyer into a lifelong fan.

Remember, in the digital age, customer service also extends to the online environment. The website page contains custom styling properties for headings, links, hashtags, and quotes with specific font styles and colors, which contribute to the overall customer experience.

5. Business Models

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes that the business model you choose can define your journey as an entrepreneur. Your business model is your story, and it should align with your personal philosophy and the unique value you want to deliver to your customers.

  • Traditional models focus on profit maximization and scaling.

  • Innovative models might prioritize customer experience or social impact.

  • Hybrid models can blend various aspects of both to create a new approach.

Understanding the nuances of different business models can help you carve out a niche in the market. It's not just about the product or service; it's about how you deliver it and how you sustain your operations. The right model can make your business resilient and adaptable to change.

6. Marketing

In Anything You Want, Derek Sivers emphasizes that marketing is not about using a one-size-fits-all strategy; it's about understanding your unique audience and tailoring your message to resonate with them. Marketing should feel personal and authentic, reflecting the values and voice of your brand.

  • Identify your target demographic

  • Understand their needs and desires

  • Communicate your value proposition clearly

While traditional marketing methods still hold value, Sivers encourages entrepreneurs to explore creative, unconventional approaches that can set their business apart. It's essential to be adaptable and willing to test different tactics to see what works best for your product or service.

7. Learning from Mistakes

Derek Sivers emphasizes that mistakes are inevitable in the entrepreneurial journey. However, it's not the mistakes themselves that define our success, but how we respond to them. Embrace each error as a learning opportunity and use it to refine your approach.

Failure is not the opposite of success; it's a stepping stone towards it. By analyzing where things went wrong, entrepreneurs can avoid future pitfalls. Consider the following points when dealing with mistakes:

  • Acknowledge the mistake promptly.

  • Analyze the root cause.

  • Learn the lesson it teaches.

  • Apply the newfound knowledge.

  • Move forward without dwelling on it.

8. Innovation

Innovation is the lifeblood of any entrepreneurial venture. Embrace change and seek to create solutions that disrupt the status quo. It's not just about having a groundbreaking idea; it's about implementing it in a way that resonates with your audience.

  • Identify a need or problem in the market.

  • Brainstorm creative solutions.

  • Prototype and test your ideas rigorously.

  • Iterate based on feedback and results.

Remember, innovation isn't confined to products; it also applies to your business processes and models. By fostering an innovative mindset, you can stay ahead of the curve and maintain relevance in a rapidly changing market.

9. Leadership

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes that leadership is not about being in charge, but about taking care of those in your charge. A leader's role is to serve their team, fostering an environment where everyone can thrive and contribute to the company's success.

  • Lead by example, not by decree.

  • Empower your team members to make decisions.

  • Encourage open communication and feedback.

Understanding the dynamics of motivation is crucial for effective leadership. It's not just about assigning tasks, but also about inspiring your team to align with the vision and goals of the business. A true leader inspires action, not through fear or authority, but through passion and example.

10. Happiness

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes that happiness is a critical component of entrepreneurship. Unlike traditional business metrics, happiness cannot be quantified, but it is essential for sustained success and personal fulfillment.

  • Pursue projects that align with your passions.

  • Create a work environment that brings joy to you and your team.

  • Measure success not just by profits, but by the happiness it brings to your life and others.

While strategies for negotiation, such as those in an article on negotiation strategies based on 'Never Split the Difference' by Chris Voss, can be crucial for business dealings, they should not overshadow the importance of finding joy in your work.

11. Goals

Setting goals is a fundamental component of business strategy and personal development. Goals give direction and provide a benchmark for success. However, it's crucial to distinguish between aspirational goals and achievable targets.

  • Aspirational goals inspire and set the vision.

  • Achievable targets are specific, measurable, and time-bound.

Aligning these two types of goals ensures that the big picture stays in focus while making tangible progress. It's also important to remember that goals should evolve as you and your business grow. Stagnant goals can lead to complacency or misalignment with current realities.

In the context of personal finance, as discussed in 'The Psychology of Money' by Morgan Housel, goals can also reflect the nuanced relationship between money and human behavior. Understanding this connection can inform more realistic and psychologically sound financial goals.

12. Simplicity

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes the power of simplicity in business. Keeping things simple isn't just about ease of understanding; it's about focusing on what's truly essential. By stripping away the non-essentials, entrepreneurs can concentrate on their core mission and values.

Clarity in your offer makes it easier for customers to understand and buy into your vision. This can lead to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty. Here are a few ways to embrace simplicity in your business:

  • Prioritize your features and services.

  • Simplify your messaging and marketing.

  • Streamline your operations and processes.

13. Trust

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes that trust is the foundation of any successful business relationship. Whether it's with customers, employees, or partners, maintaining a high level of trust is crucial. Trust is not just about believing in the honesty of others; it's about reliability, consistency, and the understanding that you will act in the best interest of all parties involved.

  • Trust is built through transparency and open communication.

  • It is maintained by meeting or exceeding expectations.

  • It is repaired by acknowledging mistakes and making amends.

Remember, once trust is broken, it can be incredibly difficult to rebuild. It's essential to make trust a priority from the outset, nurturing it with every decision and interaction.

14. Money

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers approaches the topic of money with a refreshing perspective. Money is a tool, not the goal. It's a means to make things happen, but it shouldn't dictate the direction of your entrepreneurial journey.

  • Keep costs low: Start with what you have and grow organically.

  • Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity: Focus on the bottom line, not just gross sales.

  • Invest in your happiness: Use money to buy freedom and align with your personal values.

Remember, the best things in life aren't things. They're experiences, relationships, and the satisfaction of creating something truly valuable. So, while it's important to be financially savvy, it's crucial to remember why you started in the first place.

15. Freedom

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes that freedom is the ultimate goal for many entrepreneurs. This freedom isn't just about financial independence, but also the liberty to pursue one's passions and create a lifestyle that aligns with personal values.

  • Control over one's time is a key aspect of this freedom.

  • Choosing projects that resonate with personal interests.

  • The ability to say no to clients or deals that don't fit.

Entrepreneurs often start businesses to break free from the constraints of traditional employment. However, it's easy to become trapped by the business itself. Sivers advises to constantly evaluate and ensure that your business serves your life, not the other way around.

16. Time Management

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes that time is the only truly limited resource we have, and managing it wisely is crucial for entrepreneurs. Effective time management isn't just about doing more in less time; it's about doing what's important and aligning your tasks with your personal and business goals.

  • Prioritize tasks based on their impact and urgency.

  • Delegate or eliminate tasks that do not contribute to your goals.

  • Set clear boundaries to avoid burnout and maintain work-life balance.

17. Adaptability

In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, adaptability is a crucial trait for success. Being able to pivot and change direction when necessary can mean the difference between thriving and failing. It's not just about having a plan B; it's about continuously evolving your plan to fit the changing landscape of business.

  • Recognize the need for change

  • Assess the current situation

  • Identify potential solutions

  • Implement changes effectively

  • Evaluate and iterate

Incorporating flexibility into your business model can help you respond to customer feedback, market trends, and new opportunities more swiftly. Remember, the most successful businesses are those that can navigate the unpredictable waters of the market with agility and foresight.

18. Passion

Derek Sivers emphasizes that passion is the fuel that drives entrepreneurs to succeed. It's not just about finding a niche or a business opportunity; it's about engaging with something that deeply resonates with you. When you work on something you care about, the energy and commitment flow naturally.

Passion should not be confused with temporary excitement. It's the enduring enthusiasm that persists even when faced with challenges. Sivers suggests that passion can be a guiding force in decision-making, often leading to more fulfilling outcomes.

  • Identify what excites you

  • Align your business with your personal interests

  • Let passion guide your learning and growth

19. Focus

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes the power of focus. He suggests that entrepreneurs often spread themselves too thin, trying to pursue multiple opportunities at once. Instead, Sivers advocates for a laser-like focus on one's core mission and competencies.

Focus is not just about saying yes to the right things, but also about saying no to the many good, but ultimately distracting, opportunities. To illustrate this, consider the following points:

  • Identify your core values and align your business activities with them.

  • Prioritize tasks that have the greatest impact on your goals.

  • Delegate or eliminate tasks that do not contribute to your core mission.

20. Saying No

Mastering the art of declining opportunities is as crucial as seizing them. Saying no frees you up to focus on what truly matters. It's not just about refusing what doesn't align with your goals, but also about setting boundaries to maintain your priorities and sanity.

  • Recognize when requests don't serve your mission.

  • Politely decline offers that distract from your core objectives.

  • Reserve the right to change your mind if circumstances evolve.

Remember, every time you say yes to something, you're implicitly saying no to another. Make your choices count.

21. Strengths and Weaknesses

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial for any entrepreneur. Focusing on your strengths while managing your weaknesses can lead to greater efficiency and success. It's not about being perfect in every area, but about recognizing where you excel and where you may need support.

  • Identify your core competencies

  • Acknowledge areas that require improvement or delegation

  • Leverage your strengths to maximize business potential

By honestly assessing these aspects of your character and skill set, you can make informed decisions that align with your entrepreneurial vision and goals.

22. Opportunity Costs

Understanding opportunity costs is crucial for entrepreneurs. It's about recognizing that every choice you make has a trade-off. Choosing one path means forgoing others. For instance, spending time perfecting a product feature could mean missing out on market research or customer outreach.

  • Time spent on product development

  • Time not spent on market research

  • Time not spent on customer outreach

By always being aware of what you're giving up, you can make more informed decisions that align with your long-term goals. This awareness can lead to a more efficient allocation of your resources, be it time, money, or effort.

23. Vision

In 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes the importance of having a clear and compelling vision for your business. Vision is the guiding star for all your entrepreneurial endeavors, influencing decisions and strategies. It's not just about where you are now, but where you want to be in the future.

  • A strong vision helps you stay focused on long-term goals, even when short-term temptations arise.

  • It inspires your team, giving them a sense of purpose and direction.

  • Vision drives innovation, as it pushes you to explore new possibilities to achieve your end goal.

Remember, a vision without action is just a dream. It's crucial to back up your visionary ideas with concrete steps and measurable milestones. This ensures that your vision is grounded in reality and can lead to tangible success.

24. Commitment

In the journey of entrepreneurship, commitment stands as a pivotal force that drives an individual's dedication to their vision and goals. It's the unwavering resolve to see an idea through, despite the challenges and setbacks that inevitably arise.

Commitment is not just about the big decisions; it's reflected in the daily actions and the small choices that cumulatively define the trajectory of a business. To illustrate, consider the following points:

  • Staying true to your core values even when tempted to compromise.

  • Consistently working towards your long-term objectives, regardless of short-term distractions.

  • Being prepared to make sacrifices for the greater good of your venture.

Remember, the depth of your commitment can often be the difference between a fleeting attempt and a lasting legacy.

25. Legacy and more

In the final lesson of 'Anything You Want', Derek Sivers emphasizes the importance of considering the legacy you leave behind. Building a business is not just about the immediate profits, but about the lasting impact you create.

  • Reflect on the values you want your business to embody.

  • Think about how your business practices can benefit society in the long term.

  • Consider the message you're sending to future entrepreneurs who will follow in your footsteps.

It's crucial to be mindful of the consequences of your business decisions, not just for your own success, but for the mark they leave on the world. Strive to build something that stands the test of time, something that people will remember and respect. This is the true measure of entrepreneurial achievement.


In conclusion, 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur' by Derek Sivers provides valuable insights and lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs. From embracing simplicity to focusing on customer experience, Sivers' book offers practical advice that can benefit anyone looking to start or grow their own business. By emphasizing the importance of staying true to your vision and being selective in your pursuits, Sivers encourages readers to approach entrepreneurship with a fresh perspective. Overall, this book serves as a guide for those seeking to navigate the challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurship in today's dynamic business landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key points of 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur' by Derek Sivers?

The key points cover various aspects of entrepreneurship such as business revolution, personal philosophy, customer service, leadership, happiness, and more.

Who is the author of 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur'?

The author of the book is Derek Sivers.

What is the main theme of the book 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur'?

The main theme revolves around providing valuable lessons and insights for entrepreneurs to succeed in their ventures.

How many lessons are included in the book 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur'?

The book contains 40 lessons for a new kind of entrepreneur.

Is 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur' suitable for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Yes, the book is suitable for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to gain knowledge and guidance in their entrepreneurial journey.

What sets 'Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur' apart from other entrepreneurship books?

The book offers a unique perspective and practical advice based on the author's own experiences and insights, making it a valuable resource for entrepreneurs.

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