in Books/Reviews, Great Stories

Review: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Through his new book titled “The $100 Startup – Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love And Work Better to Live More, Chris Guillebeau shares amazingly inspiring stories of people who transformed their ideas and skills into viable businesses.  Some people start on their own because of situations and others start based on their internal drive, passion and skill. Some people keep experimenting with side projects and then do more of what works to become entrepreneurs. These are all possibilities.

For this book, Chris included stories of 100+ entrepreneurs to show us how these possibilities are realized. In a new world of work, it is entirely possible to be on your own with your passion and skill and money can follow. These entrepreneurs started with little or no money to build businesses that earns them more than the average American salary.

I specially loved the story of Brett Kelly who noticed that there was no detailed user manual for Evernote and started working on one. He meticulously created a comprehensive user guide titled “Evernote Essentials” that went on to become a big hit amongst Evernote enthusiasts. The goal was to sell $10,000 worth of copies and that was achieved in just eleven days. Stories like these also underline the importance of “noticing” a gap, a pain (and hence an opportunity) and then doing something about it. Passion comes in first, but then it is all about execution.

Chris says,

“They all did it by pursuing two twin concepts: freedom and value.

Freedom is what we’re all looking for, and value is the way to achieve it. The magic formula of skills + usefulness is how you change the world.

When you value freedom above other things, you’ll make different choices. Your priorities will shift. When you focus on helping others, connecting your work to their needs, that’s when value is created.

This is what it came down to for all of these people, and that’s how it can work for you too. No special skills, not a lot of money, but the willingness to imagine.”

One question to Chris Guillebeau

Tanmay: Chris, our world of work is changing very fast and people are looking for work that is “challenging, new and interesting” versus “safe, known and routine”. If you had to give ONE piece of advice to young students and professionals about living life on their own terms, what would that be?

Chris Guillebeau: You don’t have to make that choice — there’s not much "safe" work left. Fortunately, the challenging, new, and interesting work is unlimited. If you can’t find it, follow the lead of all the unconventional entrepreneurs in The $100 Startup and create it yourself. All the best!

This is a great book that provides a blueprint for creating freedom by building a business with no special skills and a small amount of money. Life is abundant, possibilities are endless and you are in charge. Personally for me, this book gave me a feeling of abundance, of possibilities that reside within each one of us and how those possibilities take a form when we are determined to live a creative life.

Chris also writes for a small army of remarkable people at Check out my review of his previous book “The Art of Non-Conformity”.