This is the first of many book reviews that I’ll do. For each of the 20 books I aim to read this year, I plan to write a corresponding book review to document my learnings as well as how it relates to me.

The first book I decided to read is Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk. For those who don’t know, Gary is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO of VaynerMedia. He is well known for his work in social media and digital marketing.


Love your family. Work super hard. Live your passion.

Gary started out by stating the 3 rules he lives by: “Love your family. Work super hard. Live your passion.”. Although the majority of the book highlights hustling and living your passion, Gary stresses love your family as the top priority. This is something I resonate with strongly as happiness starts with loving and appreciating those dear to you.
What’s your passion? If you are currently living your passion, you would do whatever it is you are doing for free. I graduated with a commerce degree so passion is a word I heard tossed around often. However, I didn’t grasp what it means and even to this day can’t say for sure what my passion is. Back in my university days, we had to choose a specialization from finance, accounting, and management. I went with marketing, a concentration of management because I see it as a field that is less rigid and more creative in terms of problem-solving. With marketing being my clear choice among all the available specializations, I thought and somehow along the way convinced myself that marketing is my passion.
I started taking marketing courses and doing marketing internships. It was great to get experience in the field, but I never looked for ways to get better at marketing in my spare time. It was when I started working on my mobile app that I clearly realized marketing is not my passion. I spent a majority of my time working on my app and would skip hangouts with friends just so I can find more time to improve my programming skills and the app itself.
I’m still figuring out what my passion is, but I know I love to problem solve, learn, and build up and lead teams. In my view, having an industry-centric passion like technology or marketing, for example, is not critical, it’s having interests that you enjoy and want to dedicate the time and effort to get better at. And that I do have.

Develop your personal brand

Gary talks about how developing your personal brand is key to monetizing your passion online. You have to deliver great content, which should revolve around what you are most passionate about. One thing that Gary mentions that most people don’t realize is that your business and your personal brand need to be one and the same. Your messaging across different medium needs to be consistent and authentic.
Even though Gary does not consider himself good at writing, he will not delegate writing blog contents to someone else. This is to allow his messages to be unfiltered and authentic. So if you are not good at writing, find the medium that works for you. Another alternative that Gary mentions is to partner up with someone who complements you. So for this book, he teamed up with someone who knows how to write, but he dictates everything.
As Gary discusses, it’s crucial to develop your personal brand even if you aren’t planning to monetize it. Developing your personal brand is the same thing as living and breathing your resume. And through your content, you’re making sure that people can get to know you personally and professionally. This is my biggest takeaway and the reason I started blogging.

Creating community

Creating community is where the bulk of your hustle is going to go and where the bulk of your success will be determined. It’s about starting and joining conversations about your topic. You need to be deeply entrenched in communities surrounding your topic and better yet be a leading voice in those communities. Remember to always provide a way for people who are interested to get connected with you, which can be a way to contact you or a link back to your blog. Creating community should also be a never-ending task so make sure it’s on a topic you are passionate about.


I summarized the learnings that are most relevant to me so you might have different takeaways from reading it. It’s concise and provides clear examples and steps on how to monetize your passion that I didn’t detail here. I’ll definitely recommend this book to anyone especially if you have a passion you want to pursue. As Gary sums it up, “Know yourself. Choose the right medium, choose the right topic, create awesome content, and you can make a lot of money being happy.“.


  1. Based on what you’ve written here, I think the book would be an informative read, with tips that are responsive to today’s tech-age as well. Thanks for sharing the review! Because of all the buzz about the value of “living your passion,” I’m hearing a number of young people voice sentiments such as yours, about not really knowing what their passion is. I think it’s okay to not know right away. What’s important is we keep open to experiences that draw us in or inspire us, and later we’ll get to discover our passions through those. Life is fluid and the exciting part is in the discovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Carla! 🙂 Passion are often times think of as a type of job, field, or industry, such as passion in technology, drawing, etc. And for me, I think passion is something more granular. For example I’m interested in technology because I like the underlying problem solving part of it. I like marketing because of the underlying people interaction part of it. And interest turns into passion when the interest merge with a topic you are either talented in, good at, or want to get better at. And it’s hard for people at a young age to know what their passion is in terms of an industry or a job field when they aren’t exposed to the many possible fields and what it entails. And the book is definitely a good read! I found it short in comparison to the other books I got, but it’s actually the most concise book I have read so far.

      I’m happy to have things that I want to learn and want to improve in. We’ll see where our journey of learning leads us 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! I agree that passion is something that runs deeper than the activities/tasks that we do; it’s the internal force that drives us to do those activities and feel a sense of fulfillment out of them even without external rewards. The examples of that underlying motivation/theme as manifested in your own work/tasks are spot on! As for me, I like teaching and writing, and it’s only much later that I realized it’s because of my underlying passion for inspiring/motivating people.

        I do think kids just graduating out of high school are often too ill-equipped to make the best choice as to what career path to pursue. As you mentioned, it’s largely because they haven’t been exposed to that many fields. We could only hope career guidance services can at least offer help, and if they find they’ve made a mistake choosing, they have the courage to try again and pursue a more suitable path later on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup! 🙂 I finished my commerce degree first. But once I discovered that programming is what I enjoy doing in my spare time, I went back and finished my computer science degree. I know it’s not a popular choice because I ended up staying in school for 2 more years but one of the best choices I have made 🙂 I think there’s a quote that says unless you die tomorrow, you should always think long term (maybe a bit extreme haha) 😀


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