Enchantment – Book Review
I realize this may sound a bit absurd, but I don’t know Guy Kawasaki from Adam. In fact, I think I know Adam a whole lot better. So when the girl who was looking after our house mentioned that a book had arrived for me, and it was written by some “Apple dude”, my curiosity was piqued.
I’m happy to say that Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki is worth a read. Even if it was written by some Apple dude.
Upon looking at the cover and reading the tag line about “the art of changing hearts, minds, and actions”, I figured I was in for a book on personal empowerment that would end with me running naked through the forest. That hasn’t happened. Yet.
“Enchantment” is really about achieving likability, be that with the products or services we produce, or the relationships we have with our clients, or people we work with. And while the concept sounds simple at its core, it’s amazing how many people and businesses stink at being likable or trustworthy.
Enchanting people really takes a step away from selling to people and focuses your attention on making people happy. And lo and behold, happy people are easier to sell to.
When you enchant people, your goal is not to make money from them or get them to do what you want, but to fill them with great delight.
Enchantment takes you from the initial steps of why it’s important to get close to your clients to how to launch a service and enchant others with it. The book ends with some timely suggestions on when enchantment goes bad and how to avoid people who do not have your best intentions at heart.
If someone presses you for a quick decision, remember the phrase “Dopeler effect.”…The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
What I liked about the book
Guy is a pretty enchanting person. His writing is relaxed and enjoyable, and he doesn’t get bogged down in deep discussions around philosophy or life changing realizations. While he fully believes that an enchanting person is a better person, he doesn’t gloss over the fact that it requires work. Being enchanting is not something you can fake, and it’s never about getting your way solely for your own benefit.
The book is filled with personal experiences and examples that show enchantment in action. Guy describes these personal stories like a scoop of ice cream on top of apple pie. And while I prefer whipped cream and pumpkin pie, I do agree that the personal examples add a lot of value to the book.
Along with that, I think the book has value to freelancers in that it can teach us how to understand what clients are thinking before a purchase, and then how to address those concerns. Learning to be a likable freelancer will certainly not hurt your career.
The first step to enchantment is to get people to like you. To accomplish this, you’ll need to accept others and find something to like in them.
For those who are bosses or working with others, the book also has some good suggestions on how bosses can enchant their employees and vice versa.
What I didn’t like about the book
Typically this is the section that most authors stop reading a review. Strangely enough, I think Guy appreciates constructive criticism almost as much as praise. In fact, Guy encourages you to look for devil’s advocates to tear down ideas before you move ahead with them. So here we go, Guy. Let’s make with the constructive criticism.
Maybe it’s no secret, but I think Guy has a pretty big man crush on Steve Jobs. It’s true that Steve Jobs is a very enchanting person, and Guy has spent a great deal of time working with Apple, but his Macintosh fixation got a little bit much. While it’s important to write what you know, it felt like Guy had a hidden agenda pushing you towards Apple products. For most freelancers it’s a moot point, but for more sensitive Windows users it may get a bit much.
The book actually ends with a discussion of how the book’s cover came about with Guy expressing some surprisingly strong opinions on crowdsourcing. And while Guy seems like a really understanding person, he doesn’t seem to grasp why a No-Spec design community was a bit miffed in how he went about getting his book’s cover designed. It’s rather interesting how he had no problem going to the crowd to get his concept and then going to a couple of experts to get the concept turned into a reality.
While I’m not overly rabid on the No-Spec debate, I felt like the extra chapter was more for Guy to rant than to be enchanting.