The Six Minute Book Summary of Gary
Vaynerchuk’s Crush It!
Passion, hustle, authenticity: these are some of the recurring themes in Gary Vaynerchuk’s
book CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion. He opens with a chapter on
why passion is so important. It is a big driver for the success of a business. The author has three
rules that he lives by in order to enjoy his success: love your family, work hard, and live your
passion. He reflects on the internet, and how it is a powerful tool for the success of a business. He
is also a strong supported of having a personal brand, stating that it a crucial factor to success.
Mr. Vaynerchuk feels that the drive to succeed can be attributed to his DNA, that it is a
natural part of who he is. On that note, be begins telling his story, so that the reader knows just who
he is. Born in the former USSR, his family immigrated to the United States when he was young.
His father did well at a liquor store, eventually becoming co-owner. In the meantime, young Gary
Vaynerchuk was making money of his own, starting with a chain of lemonade stands. He would
eventually move into trading baseball cards before going to work at his father’s liquor store. This is
where he learned many business lessons. He was introduced to the internet in college and
convinced his father to use it to the business’s advantage. In 2006, he launched a wine tasting blog
that has enjoyed huge success, bringing him to prominence as well.
The following chapters cover a great number of subjects. Among the topics here, Mr.
Vaynerchuk discusses what is involved in building a personal brand. The media landscape is
changing: the internet is dominating the traditional media forms. He shares his approach to using
blogs and social media to build a personal brand and a community based around the content he
creates. From there he shows the reader how to monetize on this. Next, he shares his insight on the
advantages of making a business readily adaptable in the event of changes and challenges.
In the last chapters, he stresses some important lessons. Firstly, there is the importance of
considering the repercussions of decisions made, especially in a time where so many things can be
easily preserved for future generations. In closing he warns that constant change will render his
instructions useless in time, but that the underlying lessons can be applied no matter what the future
has in store.
The Ten Things Managers Need to Know fromCRUSH IT!
1. The internet has changed the way things are done in the short time it has been around. It
still has many surprises in store.
2. When someone has a passion for what they do, they will work harder. This is because
they will enjoy it and do not consider it “work.”
3. Traditional media sources like newspapers and radio are facing tough times. As more eyes
and ears are going to the internet, so are ad revenue dollars.
4. The ability to tell a story is an under-appreciated skill. Engaging the customer is very
5. Not allowing your employees to have a blog or some form of social media account can
actually harm you.
6. Being yourself is very important, people can pick up on acting.
7. The internet is like word-of-mouth advertizing… with a big supercharger on top.
8. The internet is allowing an unfiltered message to be broadcasted. Ignoring it and not
taking advantage of it can work against you.
9. Differentiation is invaluable, especially when there are a number of competitors.
10. A business must be able to adapt and react to changes and problems that may arise.
Full Summary of CRUSH IT!
Passion Is Everything
The author, Mr. Vaynerchuk, starts with a discussion on how we are living in a world that provides
unprecedented opportunities for success to those with a passion for a subject matter and a
willingness to capitalize on it. This is due largely to the internet and more specifically, the growth
of social media. He points out that the internet is a tool to create success, but cautions against using
it as a way to gage success. There are three rules that he lives by in order to gain success: “Love
your family. Work superhard. Live your passion.” His idea of success stems from happiness and
not simply financial gain. Passion is essential for the kind of success he enjoys. When someone
has passion for what they do, they will not perceive what they are doing as “work” and are more
likely to succeed. He goes on to use the remainder of the chapter to sum up what he will teach in
the book and to galvanize the reader. There are some important lessons taught here. Firstly, is that
it is never a bad time to start a business, if you can do well in a recession, you can do well anytime.
Having a personal brand is key to success, whether you are self-employed or an employee of
someone else. You don’t have to be a skilled business developer to do well, that’s what partnerships
are for, each partner has something to bring to the table. Lastly, slacking off will be your undoing,
if you don’t keep up the hard work, you can’t expect to win.
Success Is in Your DNA
Mr. Vaynerchuk opens with the theory that his drive to succeed was inherited and a function of his
DNA. He feels bad for people who work somewhere they do not like for the sake of a paycheck.
He says that people need to be true to their DNA and do something they enjoy, even while working
harder than they already do. He then begins to tell his background story. Born Gennady
Vaynerchuk in Belarus, part of what was once the USSR. In 1978 the family moved to New York, it
was soon after the move that his name was changed to Gary. His father found a job at a liquor store
in Clark, New Jersey. His father did well there and moved up the ladder, eventually becoming co-
owner. It was this business that would eventually evolve into The Wine Library and serve as a base
for Mr. Vaynerchuk’s successful video blog. At a young age he was already thinking like a
businessman, running seven lemonade stands at the age of eight. He eventually moved into trading
baseball cards. While he initially ended up owing money to his father due to higher than expected
costs, he did well by using market research. This continued until he went to work for his father at
15. He would read Wine Spectator when business was slow. He felt that wine buyers in particular
were in need of guidance. He went to Mount Ida College, where he was first introduced to the
internet. He eventually convinced his father to start Winelibrary.com, the store’s name would
change to reflect this in the following years. Business grew, but he wasn’t done yet, in late 2005 he
had an idea for a video blog, Wine Library TV was launched in 2006.
Build Your Personal Brand
The goal of Wine Library TV, as Mr. Vaynerchuk states himself, is to build brand and
personal equity and not solely monetary gain. He explains that the internet is a great way to grow a
personal brand as it requires practically no cost and is not subject to the limitations of other media
forms. Referencing a few examples, he stresses that having a good personal brand is essential to
monetizing your passion. Essentials to building a personal brand are being yourself and being
transparent. If you are putting on an act or trying to mask your true opinion people will not trust
A Whole New World
The internet is continually bringing about a change to the business landscape. Traditional
media outlets are losing viewers to online alternatives. This makes the internet the go-to place for
anyone starting a new business. This requires building a personal brand. He then begins talking
about planning. If you are not happy with your job, and especially if you are not allowed to have a
public persona, you should be making preparations to leave. The author stresses that having a
personal brand is a big part of the way business is going to be done in the future.
Create Great Content
The next essential part of the equation is content. Content is the result of what you love and
what you know. This is what will go on your blog site and be the basis of your personal brand.
Having a passion for something will help bring out your personality, which is a good thing. What
the content consists of is important, but so is where it goes, so choosing a medium is important. It
is best to stick to what you are strongest at; it would be counterproductive to do a video blog if you
are just not cut out for it. Lastly, you need to draw people in. First is the lure approach: put out
content and let people discover it. The next step is to lasso viewers by posting comments on other
sites to give new viewers a way to find your blog.
Choose your Platform
Good content is a must, but so is having a place to put it. There are three media types to
choose from on the internet: audio, video, and writing. Mr. Vaynerchuk is partial to video, as he
feels that it is the most effective, especially considering how people tend to read less. In the end
though, it comes down to what you are best suited for. Your blog will be the center of your
operations, where you will put your content and interact with people. Next, Mr. Vaynerchuk goes
over a number of websites and how to us them as platforms for your content and a as means
building your personal brand. Making his list are blog sites like Wordpress, Tumblr, and Blogger.
He includes social media sites such Facebook and Twitter. Flickr is mentioned as a solid option
should pictures be a part of your approach. If you plan to use videos, YouTube and Viddler are
discussed. Taking it one step farther, Ustream.tv gives you the ability to broadcast live video. He
even covers websites that upload to multiple platforms simultaneously, Ping.fm and TubeMogul,
both are very useful tools. In his words, “…if I’m going to teach you to fish properly, I can’t bait
the hook for you.”
Keep It Real... Very Real
This is where authenticity comes into play again, be yourself, it’s for the best. Having a
personality is a good thing. It is also best to focus your attention on what is really important.
Expensive cameras, turning the area you’re shooting in upside-down in an effort to make it look
nice, filming multiple takes trying to get it absolutely perfect: those are superfluous when your
message is what is really important. The remainder of the chapter is a lesson in hustle and patience.
You will work hard making a living this way, but you will enjoy it because it is what you care
about. Additionally, don’t expect the money to start flowing in from the get-go, these things take
Create Community: Digging Your Internet Trench
Next is a lesson on building a community. A lot of effort should be put into this. It starts
with striking up conversations. Every possible way you can contribute something useful to an
online conversation, you do it. Make sure you leave your name and a like to your blog, that way
you are putting your name out there and drawing people to your content. If your content grabs them
it will likely draw them back for more, possibly inspiring them to share with their friends. Having a
community starts with one listener it grows from there.
The Best Marketing Strategy Ever
This is perhaps the most powerful chapter in the book. Surprisingly, it is also the shortest
chapter in the book. The body of this chapter only takes up one page. As a matter of fact, this
chapter consists of only one word: “Care.” It does have a footnote with Mr. Vaynerchuk’s email
address, should the reader have any questions, they can contact him. He manages to say so much
with so little here. This is a very simple concept to grasp: the best approach to business is to care
about the customer. After all, who would want to do business with someone who is unconcerned
with the customer and what they want?
Make the World Listen
Any topic can be the basis of a good business according to “Gary Vee.” To prove that, he
gives a step by step example of how to get your content and personal brand up and rolling from zero
hour. There are thirteen steps in total. They cover registering your domain name, setting up your
blog, creating social media accounts, putting out content, and getting your name out there by
constructively commenting on every pertinent subject. He cautions against taking the first business
offer you get, waiting will allow you to build your community and leverage on the business side of
When the time is right, and you have built a strong community, it’s time to start making
some money. You will start small, but as you grow, bigger opportunities will present themselves.
Advertising is what to look at first. Traditional media is in a tight spot as advertisers are going
online, this is a good thing for anyone with a website that draws in a strong fanbase. He does warn
against expecting a big name with big money to spend, at this point it will be smaller advertisers
you will deal with. Mr. Vaynerchuk offers some suggestions on how to reach these advertisers and
do it tastefully on your website. The next opportunity to seek out is speaking engagements. At first
you will offer to do it for free, this will help get your name out there, but it can eventually open
doors for paid appearances. Affiliate programs are another option. With this, you will get a
commission on products bought by people who click through to the vendor in question from your
site. There is potential in retail. Creating a unique product or even offering t-shirts and hats can be a
good source of income. The list goes on from there, including articles, seminars, book and TV
deals, and consulting. He also suggests that once you have built your personal brand to a strong
enough point, to seek out big name advertisers to do business with.
Roll with It
Nothing stays the same, and that is why Gary Vee is a big proponent of what he likes to call
“reactionary business.” It boils down to adaptability. You can find yourself in trouble if you are
unwilling or to change your gameplan in order to keep up. Say there is a major change in the
subject you concentrate on, ignoring this is leaving potential on the table. Reactionary business
would dictate shifting your actions so as to take advantage of this change. It isn’t purely business
either. If something is taken out of context, or something that could hurt your business comes up,
practicing reactionary business would mean that you quickly put out this “fire before it gets bad.
Social media is allowing your story to be told unfiltered. It is up to you to correct any
misunderstandings and reinforce any positive remarks. This allows you to let your true story to be
heard. Reactionary business also involves spotting tends. This is crucial for staying on top of a
changing environment and keeping an eye out for new opportunities.
Legacy Is Greater Than Currency
There was a time when people didn’t have to worry about managing what was being said
about them to the public, unless you were some kind of public figure. In modern times this isn’t the
case. Social media has put us al in the public eye. This is good for when things are going your
way. Should something go wrong though, there are consequences. This should serve as a warning:
think things through before you act. The digital age is making it possible for everything you say
and to be documented for further generations. In effect, you are creating your own legacy on a
daily basis. This should be weighed in the decisions you make. If an opportunity will have a
positive effect on how you are seen, it should be open for consideration. Should that opportunity be
seen negatively, steer clear.
Conclusion: The Time Is Now, the Message Is Forever
Entrepreneurs today are building their business in a truly revolutionary basis. Things are
possible now that were inconceivable to anyone in the days before the internet. The internet has
already changed so much in the time it has been in existence, it would be unwise to think that it
doesn’t have many more tricks up its sleeve. Mr. Vaynerchuk warns that changes can happen
quickly, and that the instructions he has given in the book should not be taken as gospel, changes in
the landscape can make them obsolete. He also stresses again that success isn’t a matter of money,
but family, passion, hard work, and a number of other factors. In closing, while social media may
not be the hot ticket in the future, the concepts behind what is covered in this book can apply to
The Video Lounge
What better way to grasp the ideas in this book than to hear from the author himself. In this video,
Mr. Vaynerchuk discusses the changing social media landscape, his passion for business
development and the basic needs for building a strong personal brand.
Why I think:
• The author is one of the most brilliant people around…or is full of $%, because:
The man is brilliant, there’s no way around it. He was ahead of the curve when he started Wine
Library TV, and he is a big proponent of spotting trends before they take off. In addition to wine, he
also has a passion for business development. This should help you understand that he isn’t playing
around, he means business. After all, anyone that is behind transforming a liquor store that made 4
million dollars a year into a wine-selling powerhouse that pulls down well into nine-digits probably
has some good advice to share.
Then, all of the following bullet-items are mandatory to write about:
• If I were the author of the book, I would have done these three things differently:
1. I found that Mr. Vaynerchuk would give a short lesson on a subject only to cover the
subject more in a later chapter.
2. While it may be the title of the book, I felt that the term “crush it” was slightly over-used.
3. Some of the chapters seemed a bit short. This would have been a good place to possibly
• Reading this book made me think differently about the topic in these ways:
1. Social media isn’t just about sharing the latest joke or quoting your favorite song, it is also
a money-making tool.
2. There are numerous ways to use a simple blog as a basis for making money.
3. Letting your personality show isn’t a bad thing. Many would have you believe that to be a
professional you have to be boring.
• I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this book in my career by:
1. I will cultivate a personal brand. People will no doubt like a face to tie into a business
they deal with.
2. I will definitely use social media to my advantage. With the rate people use Facebook
alone, it is a great way to reach customers.
3. Reactionary business practices are not to be ignored, keeping on top of change is vital.
• Here is a sampling of what others have said about the book and its author:
Success takes hard work and this book does a great job of showing anyone the framework for
making what really makes them passionate and turn it into an online business.
-Lee Odden, Top Rank Online Marketing Blog
This book isn’t academic. It’s practical and straightforward. “Crush It!” comes straight from Gary
-Ivana Taylor, Small Business Trends
It’s a relatively short book at just 160 pages, but if you’re looking for motivation to pursue your
passion, Vaynerchuk delivers the goods.
-Robert Pagliarini, CBS MoneyWatch
Gary Vaynerchuk’s book has received praise all around. Inspirational, witty, and insightful
are some of the words used to describe his book. He provides the framework and catalyst many
need to steer many in the right direction. This book does not simply provide business lesions, there
are many things taught here that one can utilize in daily life. Armed with the lessons and
motivation provided here, many will seek the kind of success that Mr. Vaynerchuk enjoys
Vaynerchuk, G. (2009). CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion. New
York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers
Pagliarini, R. (2010, June 23). Book Review: Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It!. CBS MoneyWatch.
Retrieved from http://moneywatch.bnet.com/career-advice/blog/other-8-hours/book-review-gary-
Taylor, I. (2010, January 9). Review of Crush It!: Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion.
Small Business Trends. Retrieved from http://smallbiztrends.com/2010/01/review-of-crush-it-why-
Odden, L. (2009, October 18). Book Review: Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk. Top Rank Online
Markting Blog. Retrieved from http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/10/book-review-crush-it-gary-
This book summary and review of CRUSH IT!: Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your
Passion was prepared by Seth W. Moore while an Accounting major in the College of Business at
Southeastern Louisiana University.
To contact the author of this “Summary and Review of CRUSH IT!,” please email Seth W. Moore
This document has been initially released under Creative Commons licence by David C. Wyld
(firstname.lastname@example.org), Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in
Hammond, Louisiana. For details on the licensing terms click here: