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Book Notes: Anything you want by Derek Sivers

Book Name: Anything you want: 40 lessons for a new kind of entrepreneur

Author: Derek Sivers

Visit the definitive home page for the book

Page Count: 71

It is a short book that tells you the real purpose of doing a business and keeping yourself happy without caring about crap & formalities.


Here are a few paragraphs and lines, I quoted from this book.

What’s your compass?

  • Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realising that it won’t make them happy.

Make a dream come true

  • The key point is that I wasn’t trying to make a big business. I was just daydreaming about how one little thing would look in a perfect world. When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia.

A business model with only two numbers

  • A business plan should never take more than a few hours of work—hopefully no more than a few minutes. The best plans start simple. A quick glance and common sense should tell you if the numbers will work. The rest are details.

This ain’t no revolution

  • But revolution is a term that people use only when you’re successful. Before that, you’re just a quirky person who does things differently.
  • When you’re onto something great, it won’t feel like a revolution. It’ll feel like uncommon sense.

If it’s not a hit, switch

  • Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.

No “yes.” Either “Hell yeah!” or “no.”

  • We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out

Just like that, my plan completely changed

  • No business plan survives first contact with customers

This is just one of many options

  • Now you spend a few years in relative seclusion, reading and walking. Go!

You don’t need a plan or a vision

  • please don’t think you need a huge vision. Just stay focused on helping people today

“I miss the mob.”

  • Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing. Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

How do you grade yourself?

  • It’s important to know in advance, to make sure you’re staying focused on what’s honestly important to you, instead of doing what others think you should.

Care about your customers more than about yourself

  • That’s the Tao of business: Care about your customers more than about yourself, and you’ll do well.

Act like you don’t need the money

  • Banks love to lend money to those who don’t need it. Record labels love to sign musicians who don’t need their help. People fall in love with people who won’t give them the time of day. It’s a strange law of human behaviour. It’s pretty universal.
  • People fall in love with people who won’t give them the time of day.

Don’t punish everyone for one person’s mistake

  • Learn to shrug. Resist the urge to punish everyone for one person’s mistake.

A real person, a lot like you

  • It’s too overwhelming to remember that at the end of every computer is a real person, a lot like you, whose birthday was last week, who has three best friends but nobody to spoon at night, and who is personally affected by what you say.

Little things make all the difference

  • Even if you want to be big someday, remember that you never need to act like a big boring company.

It’s OK to be casual

  • Don’t try to impress an invisible jury of MBA professors. It’s OK to be casual.

Naive quitting

  • There’s a benefit to being naive about the norms of the world—deciding from scratch what seems like the right thing to do, instead of just doing what others do.

Prepare to double

  • Never be the typical tragic small business that gets frazzled and freaked out when business is doing well.

It’s about being, not having

  • This wasn’t just my business—this was my creation
  • 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 the whole point of doing anything is because it makes you happy! That’s it!
  • In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have
  • When you sign up to run a marathon, you don’t want a taxi to take you to the finish line.

Delegate or die: The self-employment trap

  • It’s important to always do whatever would make the customer happiest, as long as it’s not outrageous
  • There’s a big difference between being self-employed and being a business owner. Being self-employed feels like freedom until you realize that if you take time off, your business crumbles. To be a true business owner, make it so that you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left.

Make it anything you want

  • Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves. So find that person and let her do it.
  • I loved sitting alone and programming, writing, planning, and inventing—thinking of ideas and making them happen.
  • Doesn’t every business want to be as big as possible? No. Make sure you know what makes you happy, and don’t forget it.

Trust, but verify

  • Trust, but verify. Remember it when delegating. You have to do both.

Delegate, but don’t abdicate

  • Lesson learned too late: Delegate, but don’t abdicate.

How I knew I was done

  • As with any breakup, graduation, or move, you emotionally disconnect, and it all feels as if it’s in the distant past.

You make your perfect world

  • No matter which goal you choose, there will be lots of people telling you you’re wrong.
  • Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury.
  • Whatever you make, it’s your creation, so make it your personal dream come true.


This book was an amazing read, I recommend this book to you people. Visit the website of the author and know more about him and his other books.

Let me know about your views about this book and these notes I quoted from the book.

Read quotes from books here

Happy reading.

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