Selling Sunshine:A Book review by Bob Morris

Selling Sunshine: 75 Tips, Tools, and Tactics for Becoming a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur
Tony Hartl
Greenleaf Book Group (2011)

“Wildly successful”? Perhaps….

Whether or not reading this book will enable a significant number of aspiring entrepreneurs to become “wildly successful” is possible but, given the odds, highly unlikely. Tony Hartl has apparently been an exception to the formidable odds, a great success who shares in this book everything he learned from his association with Planet Tan. The content is solid and well-organized. The 75 “tips, tools, and tactics” are anchored in the business world within which Hartl has built that organization. They have apparently worked for him.

I suspect that with all due respect to the hundreds of “Key Insights” inserted throughout the book, what Hartl learned from his mistakes will be of greater interest — and of greater value — to many (most?) readers. His is a somewhat familiar success story and what he has achieved thus far in his life is commendable. However, he seems driven to succeed. The challenge, in my opinion, is for aspiring entrepreneurs who read this book to recognize, and appreciate, the importance of that determination, indeed tenacity to succeed, and of his ability and willingness to make very difficult decisions, especially when he had to change his mind.

Those who have only recently become involved with a start-up will also find lots of useful advice in this book. A few years ago, during dinner with a long-time friend who is a prominent venture capitalist in the Silicon Valley, I asked him what he looked for when interviewing entrepreneurs who were seeking funds. “I have three questions in mind. ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What do you do?’ The first are easy to answer…but not the third one. ‘Why should I care?’  I was reminded of that discussion while reading Hartl’s book.

He remains active in the business world after stepping down as CEO of Planet Tan after selling it. In an HBR article published about 20 years ago, Peter Drucker observes, “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Presumably, Tony Hartl is doing all he can to help reduce the number of entrepreneurial initiatives that illustrate the wisdom of Drucker’s observation.

TAGs: Selling Sunshine: 75 Tips [comma Tools [comma] and Tactics for Becoming a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur, Tony Hartl, Greenleaf Book Group, Planet Tan organization, “Key Insights”, Silicon Valley, Peter Drucker, “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all”

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