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$100 Startup Book Review (Updated 2019)

Update for 2019:

It’s been about 7 years since I wrote this book review!

Seriously… 7 years!

I can say with absolute certainty that this book has withstood the test of time.

Throughout the last 7 years, I’ve referenced this book for ideas on how to grow my business or for inspiration.

So, how has this book impacted my life and business 7 years after reading it? Read on to find out:

$100 Startup Book Cover by Chris Guillebeau
The $100 Dollar Startup Book Review

I won’t give this book too much credit for my success as an entrepreneur, but without question, it does get some small percentage. I’ve thought about many of the lessons and topics I read in this book over the years as I’ve grown my business into what it is today. There’s a lot to be said for a book that has stuck with me.

While I didn’t re-read the book in full like I thought I would at the end of the review, I’m impressed that so much stuck with me from just one reading. I’ve not felt too inclined to re-read the book cover-to-cover and I think much of that is due to the fact that I’ve grown past the audience this book was intended for.

So, to amend this review, I will add this one, possibly obvious, detail: this book is best for:

  • People who are just beginning their entrepreneurship journey.
  • People who are only used to complex businesses and want to know how to start a very simple business.
  • People who wish to simplify a more complex business, but aren’t sure where to start.

With all of that said, below is my original book review (with a few updates- my grammar has improved in the last 7 years too).

Recently, I finished reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. I’ve heard so much about the book that I needed to get it on my reading list, and I’m glad that I did.

The 100 Dollar Startup Book Synopsis:

Chris Guillebeau met people throughout this career as an entrepreneur who had very interesting stories about how they started up and grew successful businesses. He started interviewing people, listening to their stories, and recording the information. He then compiled this book together with his findings, and injected his own knowledge and interpretations.

What you end up with is a compilation of entrepreneurs explaining how they built businesses, and succeeded in the face of bad economies, tough government structures, and just plain hard lives.

$100 Startup Information:

Book Title: The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

Published by: Crown Business

Page Count: 304

Bonus Content: Companion website with exercises from the book.

$100 Startup Review: My Favorite Parts


One thing I loved about this book, which I also loved in my BlogWise review, was the different perspectives. This book isn’t just a biased or jaded view through the eyes of the author. Instead, you have perspectives from numerous entrepreneurs who have been in the trenches. Additionally, he brings in the perspectives of experts that have different philosophies or methods.

For example, Chris Guillebeau clearly prefers the idea of building a business and sticking with it, but this didn’t stop him from devoting a portion of the book to his friend who successfully built and sold 4 businesses. He also lays out how you should plan a business for the potential of being sold in the future.

As another example, Chris appears to prefer minimizing outsourcing, but this didn’t stop him from documenting the opinions of those who were strongly for outsourcing to virtual assistants and hiring employees (ala Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Work Week). I really like the unbiased approach. I’m never a big fan of authors who say “this is how I do it, this is the right way, do it this way.” I can appreciate someone having a limited perspective, but Chris intentionally broadened his perspective to bring a superior book to market.

Wide Scope

I also liked, in many ways, the wide scope that was brought to this project. It covers entrepreneurs in manufacturing to entrepreneurs in web applications. You had a gentleman from India creating spreadsheets to a Tuk Tuk (Auto Rickshaw) driver in Thailand.

In addition to the wide scope of entrepreneurs, the book covers product launches all the way to whether the business should grow once it is successful. This was a very welcome variety to read.

$100 Startup Review: The Parts I Disliked

I enjoyed the wide variety of content, but with that comes a lack of depth. In many of the great stories, we didn’t get to explore as deeply as I would have liked. There was an excellent chunk of the book dedicated to insights from Brian Clark of CopyBlogger and Unemployable. If you have read this blog at all recently, then you know I’m a huge fan of Brian Clark.

The only other complaint I have is that the book mentions so many entrepreneurs by name, that it’s hard to remember which entrepreneur does what 6 chapters later. So, throughout the book, Chris will mention an entrepreneur by name, and the chapter they’re mentioned in, but you really don’t know which business they are in without going back and referencing.

I know I’m being a bit picky here, but I try to be unbiased in my book reviews.

$100 Startup Summary

I loved the $100 Startup, and will read it again. I was reading it on my Kindle App, and was highlighting so much in the book that it almost became pointless. I might as well have just changed the page colors to yellow. I think this book contains a lot of wisdom for anyone considering starting a business, or someone who has but wants a different perspective on growth, debt, etc.

This book is perfect for the person sitting in a cubicle wishing to be free of that lifestyle. This book covers a number of entrepreneurs who began their business and grew while still managing a cubicle job. This book definitely offers hope for people who feel trapped in their job.

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