I recently read ‘The Thankyou Economy’ by Gary Vaynerchuk… I don’t really do reviews, so this is more of my ramblings and overall thoughts…
The Thankyou Economy
This is Gary’s second published book, I did a video interview with him in London for his first book ‘Crush It’, and there was a LOT about Gary that really impressed me…
Unfortunately, this book, like Crush It, doesn’t live up to the levels of content we are used to from Gary… I feel that like a great actor or great comedian, Gary is best when unscripted, instinctive, and speaking from the heart… in book format, he loses his “X-factor” somewhat (more on that in a moment).
The book is about Gary’s belief that we have entered… that’s right, you guessed it… the ‘Thankyou Economy’… a brave choice to use the word “economy”, and I feel that Gary spent most of the book trying to justify that choice.
It is much more of a “corporate” book, which is no surprise given that his consulting firm Vaynermedia is his first real foray into the dark side… gone are Gary’s quirky, topical and controversial arguments, stories and metaphors, and in instead are well researched case studies and examples of the thankyou economy being used in the “real world”.
I am probably not the target audience for this book, but I feel that Gary’s USP was that he fought against the corporate world, he brought the wine industry out from the stuffy, old fashioned ways and made it cool again… but this book feels corporate, and for me, that made it a not very enjoyable read.
Maybe I was expecting too much, afterall, I have seen Gary live, spent an hour with him in person, and watched hundreds of his videos, but honestly, there was very little of Gary’s voice in this book. When you remove Gary’s voice and his “X-factor” you are just left with yet another smart, hard working business owner. There is nothing wrong with that, but that doesn’t mean I want to spend a few hours reading from those types.
The big objection I have ALWAYS had with Gary as a teacher… is that he has a HUGE amount of what I call the “X-factor”… charisma, passion, story telling, quick witted… you just can’t teach this stuff, and Gary has it in bucket loads…
I am not for one minute saying that Gary is successful because of this, but you can’t tell me that being featured on MANY major tv shows (including Conan and Jimmy Fallon) hasn’t done a LOT more for his popularity than the fact that he replies to all his emails (or used to), or has done more for him than his many hours in “the trenches” commenting on Twitter etc…
and this is the problem… as an inspirer, thought leader and entertainer, he is second to none, but when you cross that line of “ok, Gary, that is awesome, what should I do to try and replicate your success”, you are largely doomed, as there are very few on the planet who can mirror that X-factor, and those who can, don’t need Gary’s help in the first place.
Those Who Can, CAN’T Teach?
We have all heard the old (and largely false) phrase “those who can’t, teach”… I feel the opposite is true with Gary, he CAN, you don’t build a $60 million wine business or get 100,000 views per day without absolutely 100% having the “chops”… but I feel he vastly under plays the importance of his “X-factor” in his success in the online world, and all the books in the world are not going to teach you how to do that.
There is a market for this book, and I am the first to admit I am not that market… but I was certainly the market for Crush It, and truth be told, that wasn’t a great book either ( I have heard that even Gary feels that way)…
The Thankyou Economy is a bold statement, and for the most part, I agree with it 100%, but while I am sure the book will win Gary a LOT of high paying corporate clients, I honestly feel that you will get more value from his on stage videos, and frankly, the book can be summed up in one page: Care about your current and potential customers, be active in the community, listen instead of always pushing, and real businesses are doing this now, and now is the time to start doing it too.
If you want entertainment, the X-factor, passion, humour and some cool ideas and stories, or even if you just want a kick up the ass of inspiration, go watch some of Gary’s videos… if you want step by step instructions, or are looking for detailed actionable how-to info, then Gary isn’t and has never been the guy for that.
There is a reason that Gary chose video as his medium, it is his strength, it captures his X-factor, books don’t, and that is a shame.
Note; If you are an employee in a corporate company, and are looking for something to give to your boss to encourage him/her to get more up to date, then this book may achieve that goal.