New York Times Book Review

7,000 business books are published each year. The New York Times reviews about a dozen of those in their "Off the Shelf" column in the Sunday business section.

I would love to be able to explain why they chose to review my book today. I can’t. I had no inside track. All I can say is that I got really, really lucky. Again. It’s even more of an honor to be reviewed by Harry Hurt III, an amazing writer who I’ve read for years.

The review is eminently fair, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses in the book. Hurt would have liked to have seen more financial information about Comcate — as he notes, I’m reticent because unlike other books in this genre, Comcate is still around, still fighting competitors for deals, still forming partnerships, still hiring. In this sense, it can’t tell all. Hurt also says the book lacks socioeconomic / political context, a fair complaint. (On a side note, Hurt inaccurately says Inc. Magazine named me Entrepreneur of the Year; not true.)

All in all, though, I think it’s a positive review: "Very much worth reading" and "informative, precocious, and entertaining" are two phrases which jump out in this spirit. He calls some of the entrepreneurial how-tos "insightful and inspirational".

I’m sure in the coming days some people will take shots at me, some people will roll their eyes, some people will think I’ve self-promoted my way into the New York Times. I’m still learning to deal with these kind of sentiments which automatically come (truthful or not) with higher profile.

But hopefully, some people will read the review and the book and feel inspired to start their own entrepreneurial journey. They will feel more ready to be CEO of their own life. And they will pick up some practical advice — not from the world’s most successful entrepreneur, not from the world’s most successful young entrepreneur — just some musings from a guy who’s accumulated a bunch of unique experiences, loves to write, and tried to deliver his thoughts in a way that would provoke thinking, spark laughter, and inspire action.

Thanks again to Harry Hurt and the New York Times for choosing to review my book.

21 Responses to New York Times Book Review

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    This is awesome Ben. Don’t let the jealous bastards get you down.

    When people see someone rise to the top, they can have one of two reactions–they can try to raise themselves up, or they can try to tear the other down.

    Help the former, and ignore the latter.

  2. Toli G. says:

    CONGRATULATIONS BEN!!!!!!

  3. To add to what Chris said, just remember: Opinions are like assholes; everyone’s got one and they all stink. Keep being amazing and forget those opinions.

  4. I thought that’s what bidets were for.;-)

    I wouldn’t let any schmuck’s opinion get me down, but I wouldn’t tune out his criticisms, either.

    You might actually learn something useful.

    Congrats.

  5. Fred Destin says:

    hey ben, i am a venture guy with some experience, and i love reading your insights. in theory i should be reading tom peters or sthg and telling you what to do :-) so don’t let anyone cramp your style!!

    guy kawasaki also writes a great blog (talk about a self promoter), and he’s the guy most famous for saying no to Yahoo !! as French writer Paul Valery once said, “to be competent is to be wrong according to the rules” so please don’t even think about it :-)

    the only duty is to always take visibility with a good dose of humility. there are too many in the blogosphere who reveal a fairly shallow personality once they do get famous, but it feels like you are of much sterner stuff and have too much of a sense of distance and healthy self deprecation for that !

    anyway keep writing with zero filter and we’ll keep reading it all …

  6. Ah, you just sold me your book, with that idea of being CEO of your own life! Looking forward to it. Congrats all round.

  7. Josh Spear says:

    Congrats Ben! Come visit me in Boulder again already?

  8. Krishna says:

    I read that review and I think it’s fair. Some of the comments here are unreasonably hostile towards the reviewer for no reason.

    To expect the whole world to be nice to whatever we do – is being stupid. Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.

  9. Ben Casnocha says:

    To be clear, the earlier comments on this post were referring to other hostile commenters, not the NYT reviewer…..

  10. Shefaly says:

    Erm, as for wondering why somebody reviewed your book, isn’t that what your publisher is supposed to do – forward your book to reviewers and cajole them into reading and reviewing? Or am I missing something?

  11. Ben Casnocha says:

    Yes, but it’s the sheer odds. It’s very rare to be reviewed in the New York Times. They get hundreds and hundreds of books from publishers and publicists each week.

  12. Ayodeji Adewunmi says:

    Ben, you rock!

    You have done well for yourself.

    Congratulations my Buddy.

  13. David Cohen says:

    Happy for you in Boulder.

  14. Ramit Sethi says:

    This is great. Sometimes hard work and good luck combine into a huge win. Congratulations, Ben. You deserve it.

  15. Cherif says:

    Congrats, Ben. That’s amazing!

    Btw, I would take “some people will think I’ve self-promoted my way into the New York Times” as a compliment not a criticism.

  16. Tim Taylor says:

    I’m happy for you dude and there’s something, I don’t know, weird about the fact that just last Friday we were slammin’ burritos in Zona Rosa…you’re so damned down to earth while still taking on the world bud.

    I believe in you.

  17. writeups says:

    hey, well done on your book.
    have you read black swan by nassim nicholas taleb? it deals with randomness very eloquently, as does his fooled by randomness. great books which i’m sure you’d enjoy as an entrepreneur.

  18. Ben
    Those who know you at all, in person or through your writing, recognize your rock-sold sense of playing fair.

    About five years ago someone wrote a nasty letter to the editor at the Washington Post, saying I was “improbably quoted probably because I was related to the reporter.” How probable with a last name of Anderson, eh? I keet that gem of a phrase in my file.

    Kudos to you for attracting this review through the quality of your writing.

  19. Ben – good review, book, etc. You will be misunderstood, critiqued and criticized more and more because you are not normal. Congratulations on that!

  20. Wes Mahler says:

    So my aunt shows me the paper, you should read this article on this kid named Ben Casnocha, young entrepreneur.

    I said, we’ve talked. Your killing it my friend Ben, keep on doing your thing. If you ever come to Portland you have to let me know or the Oregon area in general! :)

  21. Jay L. Cooper says:

    As a subscriber to the New York Times Book REview, I think the review on Stanley (the guy who purportedly said “Dr. Livingstone I presume?” is probably the finest review I have ever read in your newspaper. Now compare this to Cliv James’ review of the new Philip Roth book. It is torturous reading, difficult to understand poorly written. He then goes off the deep end by comparing other authors on page 34 (you have to really move aside your usual reading habit for this one) beforre winding it all up. This is a bad review, regardless of his opinion.

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