Review: The $100 Startup

Review: The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau

ISBN-10: 0307951529
ISBN-13: 978-0307951526


  • Gives simple advice on doing your own startup.
  • Provides many useful examples.
  • A focus on action.
  • Admits up front your “dream” may not be what you’ll actually end up doing.


  • Doesn’t cover everything you’d need, and though it admits it, it’s not complete.
  • Targeted at a pretty sophisticated audience – which might not be you initially.

SUMMARY: A good book to read when you want to found your own startup, and good to give you a kick to get going.  Worth buying and rereading if you’re serious.

I grabbed this book out of curiosity than anything else.  It certainly came well recommended from people like Pamela Slim, and you know me and business books.  Besides, I’m in Silicon Valley, home of startups.

It was actually different than I expected.

Books on starting your own business often have choices to make.  There’s the inspiring side, the educational side, the practical advice side.  This book makes the interesting choice of navigating among all of them, striking a kind of middle ground as it’s focus is really “getting off your backside and doing something.”

“The $100 Startup” walks you from idea to self-promotion and even franchising, and does the following things:

  • Gives examples.  These are valuable, inspiring, and often reality-grounding.  The book early on admits that your dream job and startup may not be what you expected it to be.  That really set the book above many advice-givers.
  • Gives exercises and activities to get you thinking and learning.  Many of these seem simple or obvious, but they’re precise and aren’t overdone.  It makes the book an effective read that doesn’t bog you down with endless detail.
  • Gives things to do.  There’s actual actions to take.  This is useful and inspiring, but light for some people – your own actions and research will be needed.  This is not exactly a weakness, but know what you’re getting into here.

It’s a light, effective read, without a lot of fat.  This makes the book energizing and easy to read; in fact it’s almost too easy to dive into it and find you’ve got a lot you want to do.

Did I get anything out of it?  Quite a bit actually, and I’ll be pointing some people at the book for reference.  It’s just that if you’re a beginner, you’re gonna have a lot more to read than this because the target audience seems to be more people who already have some business and professional experience.

Reccomendation-wise, this one is a buy if you want to start your own business.  It’s a keeper if you’re serious, and one worth cycling among friends if you’re interested or not.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at