Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Conversation with Guy Kawasaki

The first time I heard Guy Kawasaki’s name, was when he visited Kepler’s to promote Reality Check. It was also the first time I heard my dad, who is a software engineer, get excited about someone appearing at the bookstore. “Guy Kawasaki?” he asked. “He’s an interesting guy.” From my dad, “interesting” is just about the finest praise an author could ask for.

Guy Kawasaki has written ten books, co-founded, was once the “chief evangelist” of Apple, and is a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. His enthusiasm is infectious, and his sheer likability is immediately apparent. His newest book, Enchantment, capitalizes on these skills—and, according to Guy, they can be skills, rather than unreachable, inherent qualities—and applies them our relationships with each other and the practical world.

FOR YOUR CALENDARS: Guy will be coming to Kepler’s on Thursday, March 31st, at 7:00 PM.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Guy a few questions about his new book. He talked about his reasons for writing Enchantment and the ideas that lie behind it.

Megan Kurashige: This is your tenth book. What inspired you to write another book? Why did you choose to focus on the concept of “enchantment”?

Guy Kawasaki: An honest author would say, "Royalties." :-) I wanted to leave my mark in business literature and write a definitive and tactical book about using social psychology tools to change the world.

MK: I have to admit that I picked up your book with the expectation that I wouldn’t like it. I work in the arts (as a dancer and a writer), and have a (probably unfair) prejudice against books about the world of business. However, you present so much great information about connecting and understanding people with such clarity and enthusiasm, that I found it incredibly invigorating both practically and artistically. What would you like to tell people who might not normally pick it up about this book?

GK: This is a heckuva of a setup! I'm glad I was able to dig myself out of the hole with you. Enchantment isn't about business per se. It's about making change happen, getting things done, and endearing yourself to people in the process. It's true that businesses need to do this, but so do artists, writers, and dancers.

MK: Can you describe the most recent thing or person or moment that enchanted you?

GK: I hate to say this because people already assume I'm a total Apple fanboy, but I love my iPad. I now carry an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro with me.

MK: In this volatile world, with new technology appearing all the time, do you think it is easier or more difficult for people to discover what enchants them?

GK: New technology is making it far easier for people to discover what enchants them because information flows faster and farther. Social networks are a big factor. They accelerate information so that people can gain exposure to far more enchanting things--just ask Mubarak if you don't believe me.

MK: Why did you choose to explore these ideas in a book, rather than a video, or a website, or something else? What is particularly enchanting about the book as a format?

GK: There are three reasons. First, a book captures the magic in a bottle like no other medium. A video or website cannot have the same impact. They are great at amplifying a book's impact, but they cannot replace a book. Second, I am not a filmmaker nor website designer. My tool is a word processor. It's what I do. Third, to be quite transparent, it's much harder to monetize a video or website compared to a book.

You can visit Guy online, or learn more about Enchantment on its own Facebook page.

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