If I had to summarise this book in one sentence, I would say:
Always remember, whether you are chasing money, fame or possessions, happiness is the goal. So do what makes you happy.
Derek Sivers is the founder of CD Baby, a website that became the largest seller of independent music on the internet with over $100M in sales and 150,000 musician clients. But Sivers never intended to start a massive online store. He started out with a site just to sell his own CD’s, then put on the CD’s of a few friends and it grew from there….
That’s why Sivers has a great perspective on “success”.
Most people have been dreaming about running a massive business for ages, that’s all they’ve wanted and all they’ve been working for. Derek is different. He kinda didn’t want have a big business. He just wanted to keep his customers happy and enjoy the process. He mentions in his book a few times how he tried to keep the company small, but it just kept on growing.
From the book:
“When you’re thinking of how to make your business bigger , it’s tempting to try to think all the big thoughts and come up with world – changing massive – action plans . But please know that it’s often the tiny details that really thrill people enough to make them tell all their friends about you.”
Another great lesson to learn from Derek is to enjoy the process. Sometimes the point isn’t just to get something done. The point is to enjoy yourself:
“When you want to learn how to do something yourself , most people won’t understand . They’ll assume the only reason we do anything is to get it done , and doing it yourself is not the most efficient way . But that’s forgetting about the joy of learning and doing . Yes , it may take longer . Yes , it may be inefficient . But what’s the point of getting bigger and making millions ? To be happy , right ?“
“Happiness is the real reason you’re doing anything, right? Even if you say it’s for the money, the money is just a means to happiness, isn’t it? But what if it’s proven that after a certain point, money doesn’t create any happiness at all, but only headaches? You may be much happier as a $1 million business than a $1 billion business.”
He also offers great advice on how to win the hearts of your customers and keep on growing. One of the things that made CD Baby famous was the email they sent to each and every client when the finished the order:
Even though Sivers never intended to run a massive company he shares some very good advice on business:
“That’s the Tao of business: Care about your customers more than about yourself, and you’ll do well.”
“It’s another Tao of business: Set up your business like you don’t need the money, and it’ll likely come your way.”
And some really good advice on life in general:
Even with all of this that was not the most important point I took from this book. I summarize the most important lesson learned from this book in the following little video I shot: