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Anything You Want [Hardcover]

Derek Sivers
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 29 2011
Best known for creating CD Baby, the most popular music site for independent artists, founder Derek Sivers chronicles his “accidental” success and failures into this concise and inspiring book on how to create a multi-million dollar company by following your passion. In Anything You Want, Sivers details his journey and the lessons learned along the way of creating CD Baby and building a business close to his heart. “[Sivers is] one of the last music-business folk heroes,” says Esquire magazine. His less-scripted approach to business is refreshing and will educate readers to feel empowered to follow their own dreams. Aspiring entrepreneurs and others trying to make their own way will be particularly comforted by Sivers straight talk and transparency--a reminder that anything you want is within your reach.

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Tim Ferriss Reviews Anything You Want

Tim Ferriss is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Workweek. He has a diverse background of experience, including working as an actor, speaking seven foreign languages, holding a world record in tango, and being a national Chinese kickboxing champion. He has written for Maxim and the Philadelphia Inquirer, has appeared on MTV and CBS radio, and has been interviewed or featured in such major publications as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and more. Read his review of Derek Sivers's Anything You Want:

I love this book!

Derek is the entrepreneur's entrepreneur. Just as important, perhaps more so--he is a phenomenal teacher. Whether detailing the fascinating rise of CDBaby, explaining catastrophic (but common) founder mistakes, or teaching me about relational databases in two minutes using analogies, he makes the complex simple. Moreover, he makes it all actionable.

If you want a true manifesto, a guidebook with clear signposts, and a fun ride you'll return to again and again, you have it here in this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. --Tim Ferriss

About the Author

After making a living as a professional musician, Derek Sivers went looking for ways to sell his own CD online and ended up creating CD Baby, once the largest seller of independent music on the web with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients. Since 2008, Derek has traveled the world and stayed busy creating and nurturing creative endeavors, like Muckwork, his newest company where teams of efficient assistants help musicians do their “uncreative dirty work.” Derek writes regularly on creativity, entrepreneurship, and music on his blog:

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great role model March 23 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fair and honest man builds store with bare hands. Store grows in size while owner remains hardworking and committed to his suppliers. A balance of customer satisfaction and profit is realized and one day, sensing his usefulness at the store has passed, wisely sells store and uses 95% of proceeds to fund a charity of great importance to the man. A modest lifestyle is sustained with the balance and the fruits of a life well-lived are his gift to the universe. Amen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An easy 1-2 hour read that will inspire those who may be "stuck". His website/blog/animated videos are also great ([...]).

The book is an excerpt of how Sivers was rejected by the big record labels and then decided to post his own music on the web for sale. This was several years before PayPal was even invented and iTunes was still many years away. In building this hobby into a business, it was always about the "artists" and sharing their music. After "maximizing" his company and the "joy" of running it had lost its luster, he sold it for a cool $22MM... and largely gave it all charity and reinvested into supporting independent music distribution.

Some of the key quotes that caught my attention:

- If it's not a hit, switch
- I Miss the Mob
- Obvious to You. Amazing to Others
- If you think life's purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt, you'll overlook the little day-to-day things that fascinate you; if you think revolution meeds to feel like war, you'll overlook the importance of simply serving people better.
- Ideas are just a multiplier of execution
- Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what's not working.
- Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers.

Sivers reminded me to "pay close attention to when you're being the real you and when you're trying to impress the invisible jury" (similar to Marcus Buckingham Go Put Your Strengths to Work). His words struck at my own motivations and pressure/stress that I self-inflict.

He also encourages through his book to innovate, and ignore how many others may have already executed the same idea... build upon the idea/service/product. Don't wait for the perfect idea. Experiment and start building with incremental improvements along the way.

Thanks to Sivers for an inspirational, quick but meaningful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Sivers' "Anything You Want" Aug. 14 2011
A very good read, with good stories of Sivers' years as owner/operator of his own business. He presents his own errors and successes in a witty, readable style. The whole book has many good life-lessons for both entrepreneurs and people who want to improve themselves. You should be able to read this book cover-to-cover in an afternoon, allowing even busy people to enjoy this great book.
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I knew nothing about the author, Derek Sivers, before reading this book. Read it with an open mind as if you understand the true essence of his character, and think about how his philosophies apply to you and your world, this book will offer personal development opportunities for you. It's well worth the read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  236 reviews
98 of 107 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the end, it's about what you want to be, not what you want to have June 29 2011
By B - Published on
"In the end, it's about what you want to be, not what you want to have."

If you agree with that statement (I think my favorite quote from this book), you need to read this book.
If you're looking for inspiration.
If you're afraid of failure.
If you want to start something.
You need to read this book.

"Don't pursue business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help."

Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby shares his success and his failures in this remarkably straight forward and honest book about how he basically accidentally founded a remarkably successful internet company - long before the internet bubble and without knowing anything about it.

I read this book in a couple of quick subway rides, to and from work. Don't be fooled by its ease, though. While you'll zoom through it, you'll close it feeling inspired and ready to start something new and, most importantly, you'll close it feeling less afraid of failure and less self-conscious about doing what makes you happy in life.

One more favorite quote: "... if you think true love looks like Romeo and Juliet, you'll overlook a great relationship that grows slowly." Revolution - in business and in life - often starts with a small step.

This book will help you remember that.
81 of 93 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An honest account July 2 2011
By Vanessa - Published on
While there is little here that you can't find in many other business books, it sounds like a very honest account of one man's journey. It's a short book that details the decisions (good and bad) and events that happened on the way to creating and eventually selling CDBaby. There's no secret in the book that will help you succeed in a similar way, but there are some important mantras that can be taken away, such as the importance of focusing on the customers above everything else. Due to the length of the book, it's hard to rate this book as you would a 300 - 500 page work. The book is worthwhile, but not great. Think of it as an opportunity to sit down with the author for an hour and having him tell you about the experience... definitely worthwhile.
63 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hit me CD Baby One More Time June 29 2011
By Tyler Hurst - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I've never met Derek Sivers. Never bought a CD from him and don't know of anyone who has. As far as I know, Derek doesn't know me either.

But I get him. I think.

I get that he likes to solve problems. I get that money isn't his sole or main goal. I get that he wants to live life on his terms.

I get that some of the best, most enriching ideas in the world never started out that way.

And that's what this book is about. How to create, maintain and let go of an dream that morphed into an idea that morphed into a solution that morphed into a business that morphed into something that made money.

Too many of us are always looking for the next thing. We're looking for whatever comes next.

We'd be well served just solving problems now and see where that goes.

I think Derek would agree.
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, practical and easily digestible June 29 2011
By Neil Davidson - Published on
This is a short, well-written, thought-provoking, deep, entertaining and useful book. Ostensibly a set of stories about Derek Sivers's journey building and selling CD Baby, it's actually a philosophy (but not a dogma) and an illustration of how being an entrepreneur is entirely compatible with leading a life well lived. A brilliant book, well worth reading.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short. Sweet. Simple. Powerful. June 29 2011
By Nate Bagley - Published on
This book is written for a new generation of entrepreneurs. It's written for those who would rather be happy than rich. It's written for those who would prefer to make a difference than make a paycheck. It's a written testament that the definition of success is changing in our culture.

If you want to be inspired by a real story by a real guy who helped to transform an industry simply by following his heart, and filling a need that both needed to be filled, and that he was passionate about, this is the book for you.

If you're trying to start a business, and you think you need a round of funding, and a team of experts and advisers... this book is for you.

If you hate your job, and wish you could be doing something you love every day, this book is for you.

If you think that being happy is more important than having a million dollars, this book is for you.

Read it. Love it. Change your life. Change your definition of success. Be happy.
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