This book could have been a definitive work but it misses the mark on it's title promise, "Mastering the VC Game". It should have been titled, "A general introduction to venture capital." The table of contents laid out a wonderful road map that promised answers on what we entrepreneurs care about most. But when you get into the book, it was unsatisfying and provided fewer answers than what could be found in a cursory blog search. Specifically, the book seemed mostly focused on reconciling the underlying motivations for VCs and Entrepreneurs. The motivations for Entrepreneurs was interesting but, given the likely reader of this book, ran long. The motivations for VCs was more enlightening, especially around deal terms, but was presented too generally to be truly valuable. You can't fault the author here because frankly all VCs are different.
Where the book really missed out on great opportunities to help entrepreneurs "Master the VC game" is the discussions around actually raising the money. Here too, he speaks in anecdotes and generalities, and doesn't share any real best practices.
For example, on pitching: He does a great job of highlighting the importance of finding the right person where you feel your idea is in their sweet spot. But what goes into a pitch? What should you focus on most in your first meeting? How do you create and deliver a compelling story? What are common pitching pitfalls? These questions have good answers but none of these were explored much and instead he provides general thoughts on being passionate and prepared. Good answers to these some of these questions are covered in Jerry Weissman's Presenting to Win.
Another example of an important missed on opportunity is on how much money to raise. A critical decision that very few people have good grasp on. It is skimmed over here and presented as a trade off between capital and exit options. A valid and valuable lesson. But there are a few important nuances not covered. First, how the capital you raise actually impacts your pre-money valuation for many firms which means that your dilution is not linear depending on how much you raise. Nor is there any mention of what investors may look for at different stages of investment. To be fair, these are REALLY hard issues to be declarative on but there should have been an exploration of them.
And what about actually playing the VC game? How do you manage the process? Do you hit 30 all at once? Do you start with a few throw aways and then work your way up to the big boys? Do you get one going and then leverage him to speed up or pressure others? How long should we expect to be raising? When should we step back and reevaluate? When and how should you re-approach someone who said no?
A bright spot in the book was discussion around terms. He gave a good breakdown and made the most important recommendation-- get a good lawyer. But even here, most of the content could be easily found on VC blogs.
Overall, well written and a good intro to the world of VC. But this book is not an entrepreneur's guide to Mastering the VC game.