Book review: The Knack

One of the most important thing about being an illustrator or an artist (who both are in the business of selling themselves and their work), is that they need to treat their work as business. It’s hard to view something so personal as business but that’s exactly why more effort needs to made to look at your work as such.

And so this week’s book review is for those who need a little push in the right direction — think of your art as your business, and that marrying the two shouldn’t have to leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s all about learning how to manage your skills and to sharpen your business acumen, which I think the book The Knack: How Street-smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up will help steer you in the right direction.

Norm Brodsky

Title: The Knack: How Street-smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up
By: Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham

Norm Brodsky has been writing for Inc Magazine for more than 15 years. I’ve followed him as he navigated business deals — both good and bad. What I’ve come to love is that he is a shrewd man; one that isn’t afraid to give his opinions but is open to hearing other people’s ideas. I didn’t know that he came out with his own book until I stumbled upon it on Amazon!

The book plays on Norm’s role as a mentor for other entrepreneurs and in the book, he writes out his experience so that people may be able to learn from his mistakes and benefit by learning from what he did right. The first chapter of the book is enough to make you sit up and take note of your own business. He isn’t afraid to make you think long and hard about numbers. Because what is a business if it isn’t about numbers?

The Knack

Now you may think that the book may not have any application to you, an artist. But that’s not true at all. If you sell your work in Etsy or exhibit at galleries or illustrate for a client, you’re most likely working for yourself, and that in itself, is a business (for those who are doing it as a hobby, this does not apply!)

If you are perfectly happy being where you are, or if you feel that
you are earning enough to get by — don’t turn your nose up on this book just yet. Its easy, conversational-style writing is easy to read and understand. What I love is that Norm doesn’t pepper the book with hard-to-read jargons; instead its all clear cut common sense with lots of examples and Q+A in between. Even if you’re not looking for advice, you might be pleasantly surprised by how warmly Norm presents his thoughts.

The book covers lots of topics that pertain to running and starting a business: sales, resilience, focus and discipline, competition, money, negotiations, customers, reputations and overcoming a lot of fear among other things. All of these would normally be experienced by an entrepreneur/businessperson as they go along their journey, and Norm merely helps them along. A useful summary of each chapter at the end helps to maintain focus on the topics that was explored earlier.

There is no mention of social media here or anything related to SEO. It’s all old-fashioned (read: real-life) business tips and advice on how you can improve on what you’re doing; or if you haven’t started, it’s a good read on what to look out for when you’re ready to take the leap.

When I read a book like this, I don’t just read for the fun of it — I read to see how I am able to apply the good stuff to my own business and make it better. And Norm’s book is one of the best books I’ve read that inspires me to do better.

The Knack

Who is it for?
People who are thinking or have already started a business, no matter how big or small, or what kind of business you’re in.

Who wouldn’t like it?
People who have no interest in business, either starting one or owning one!

{You’ll be happy to know that Amazon is currently selling the book at a bargain price — if you hurry you can get yours over here!}

One Reply to “Book review: The Knack”

  1. char says:

    BOUGHT! Thanks Amy!!!

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