Book Review – The $100 Startup

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
Chris Guillebeau
Narrated by: Chris Guillebeau and Thomas Vincent Kelly
Random House Audio
Publication Date: May 8, 2012



“In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.” ~via Goodreads


“The $100 Startup” offers practical advice for anyone looking to start a business or change the story arc of their careers. The author, Chris Guillebeau, started this book by pulling data from 1,500 people who have actually done it – people who have made the transition and not looked back. As such, it is packed with real life examples from people living the dream of independence. They have struck the delicate balance between passion and income, and leveraged their skills creatively in order to live and work their own ways. The author himself falls into this category, in his thirties, having never held a regular job and traveling the world.


This book is very detailed and specific, which sets it apart from other books of its kind. However, many times it falls into being formulaic or mathematical with its advice. The book starts very strong, talking about things like recognizing opportunity and creating value for potential customers. The stories told in this part were relatable and inspiring. The book also ended well, getting back to the core of what a business is, how we can use it to serve other people, add value to their lives, and give ourselves the kind of future we actually want (whatever that might look like to you). That being said, there were many sections in the middle of this book that could get ahead of, and overwhelm a reader looking to make this leap of faith in themselves. There were parts that dove into marketing strategy, product launch sequence, partnership agreements, promoting with contests vs giveaways, etc, where my interest drifted. The information in these sections is accurate and potentially useful. However, even as a guy always on the lookout for my next side hustle, this was too far ahead of the horse. This book could have easily been 2 volumes: one to overcome inertia and have that activation energy, and one to refine your efforts and expand.


The narration for this audiobook started with the author reading the introduction. In just that short span, the listener gets a feel for his personality and his perspective when writing the book. We get a glimpse at his humor as he jabs at people who believe that they can manifest money.  (Again, showing the practical vs mindset nature of his work.) However, the professional narration was dry and had the air of a corporate training video. The small pauses before proper names made it sound a little bit like a canned voicemail system, only adding to the corporate feel. I believe that a work of this nature would have been better served by the author reading it in its entirety.


“The $100 Startup” is a book that has a lot of value as a reference volume due to its depth and detail; but, it had the tendency to belabor points that are potentially ahead of its target audience, so I have given it 3 out of 5 stars.

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