Cover image for Rules for revolutionaries : the capitalist manifesto for creating and marketing new products and services
Rules for revolutionaries : the capitalist manifesto for creating and marketing new products and services
Kawasaki, Guy, 1954-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperBusiness, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 207 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5415.153 .K384 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"Life for a revolutionary is all about kicking but: 'You have an interesting product, but...' 'I can see where there needs to be a better way, but...''I'd like to help you, but...'"

Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple Computer Inc., and renegade business strategist is back with a "but-kicking" manifesto, Rules for Revolutionaries. Kawasaki inspires world-changing innovation--this time using his battle-tested lessons to help revolutionaries become visionaries. With his trademark irreverence and go-for-broke attitude, Kawasaki lays out the solutions to the challenges that companies must meet to change the world.

Rules for Revolutionaries is divided into three sections:

Create Like a God. This section explains how to create revolutionary products and services. Kawasaki turns the conventional wisdom--which suggests that breakthrough insights appear when you're in the heightened and altered state of sitting in a beanbag chair squirting colleagues with water pistols--on its head. He shows how the key to creating a revolution is analyzing how to approach the problem at hand.

Command Like a King. In order for a revolution to be successful, someone has to take charge and make tough, insightful, and strategic decisions. From breaking down the barriers that prevent product adoption to avoiding "death magnets" (the stupid mistakes just about everyone makes), these are the strategies revolutionaries cannot go without.

Work Like a Slave. Successful revolutions require hard work--lots of hard work. To go from revolutionary to visionary, you'll need to eat like a bird--relentlessly absorbing knowledge about your industry, customers, and competition--and poop like an elephant--spreading the large amount of information and knowledge that you've gained.

Jam-packed with examples that are not just "real world," but real-world-turned-on-its-ear and man-bites-dog in nature, Rules for Revolutionaries presents a grab bag of insights from top innovators such as Apple,, Dell Computer, Hallmark, and Gillette, and a rich store of hands-on experience from the front lines of business revolution. Kawasaki's relentless enthusiasm and verve will empower you, whether you're an entrepreneur, engineer, inventor, manager, or small-business owner, to turn your dreams into reality, your realty into products, and your products into customer magnets.

Author Notes

Guy Kawasaki was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 30, 1954. He received a BA in psychology from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA. He was the chief evangelist of Apple. He is the co-founder of and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. His has written ten books including Enchantment, Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

If Stephen Wozniak and Steve Jobs can be said to be the brains behind Apple Computer, then Kawasaki should be considered its heart and soul. During Apple's earlier years he was officially identified as director of software development, but Kawasaki styled himself as "corporate evangelist" and was responsible for creating the "cult of Macintosh." He has since gone on to start several hi-tech businesses of his own, pen a column for Forbes, and write a half dozen books that include How to Drive Your Competition Crazy: Creating Disruption for Fun and Profit (1995) and Selling the Dream (1991). As in Apple's newest ad campaign, Kawasaki urges us to "think different" in order to beat competitors and get ahead. And, as in his earlier books, he enthusiastically offers examples of his own and from the world of business that demonstrate how zeal and offbeat approaches can work. This time, Kawasaki exhorts us to "create like a god, command like a king, and work like a slave." --David Rouse

Publisher's Weekly Review

If music (Big Yellow Taxi) and television (That '70s Show) can look to the 1970s as a source of current inspiration, why not business books? That's the implicit argument of Forbes columnist Kawasaki's (How to Drive Your Competition Crazy) new book, which tries to capture the attitude of Apple Computer some two decades ago, when its goal was to make "insanely great products." This tone doesn't occur by accident. Kawasaki was director of product development at Apple. To his credit, Kawasaki, who now runs, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, succeeds in being inspirational as he lays out his three steps to success: "Create Like a God," "Command Like a King" and "Work Like a Slave." Each section is filled with dozens of ideas about how to approach a market differently, and he gives pithy examples of how firms ranging from bicycle companies to Internet enterprises applied one of the three steps on their way to market. But while long on inspiration, Kawasaki is short on "how to." He has sprinkled the book with "exercises," but they are primarily there for comic relief, rather than instruction (e.g., "The next time a telemarketer calls you at home, ask for his phone number and tell him you will call him back that night"). Ultimately, however, these shortfalls probably don't matter. Kawasaki gives entrepreneurs and team leaders battling entrenched corporate bureaucracies more reason to keep up the fight. It is very hard not to like a book whose major theme is "don't let Bozosity grind you down." (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chapter One Cogita Differenter (Think Different) I guess in all my years, what I heard more often than anything was: a town of less than 50,000 population cannot support a discount store for very long. - Sam Walton The Shark Versus the Mouse Since 1955 the Walt Disney Company* made the rules of the amusement park business. That's the year it opened Disneyland and set the standard for showmanship, efficiency, and profitability. Before Disneyland, the rule was that amusement parks needed big, scary roller-coasters to succeed. Disneyland changed all that by featuring theme rides instead of thrill rides. For the next thirty years, amusement park companies played by Disney's rules, or they hardly mattered at all. And by playing by Disney's rules, they reinforced Disney's supremacy. Then along came Jay Stein. Jay Stein ran MCA Recreation,* the company that owns Universal Studios-which includes the tourist activity Los Angelinos dread the most: the Universal Studios Tour. (Just how many times should a person have to endure the Parting of the Red Sea?) Universal Studios was an also-ran in the amusement park business because it merely re-purposed content from the studio's main business of making movies. The rule it played by was simple and stupid: Stuff people on a tram, take them "behind the scenes" of a movie, drop them off, and hope they buy souvenirs. But when MCA built Universal Studios Florida, Stein had a different idea of how to play the game. First, he threw out his own company's standard operating procedures. Instead of "See how we make the movies," his pitch became "Come ride the movies." Back to the Future (the movie), became Back to the Future (the ride). Where else can you ride in a time machine disguised as a DeLorean? Stein combined theme and thrill to rewrite Universal's rules. But it gets better. Next Stein went after the de facto rules established by Disney: Be nice, gentle, and politically correct. For example, the bleeding edge of Disneyland's rides is attractions like the Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean. They are works of art-far more "multimedia" than the vaunted multimedia efforts of the computer business-but not exactly risky.* Stein decided that rides wouldn't be nice-instead, they would kick people's butts. So at Universal Studios Florida there are blood, guts, flames, and explosions. Every day there are customer complaints that the fireballs are too hot. The shark in the Jaws ride comes so close to the boat that it will break people's arms if they're dumb enough to put them in harm's way. And every day thousands of people come back for more. There's not much that Disney can do about this full-frontal attack because it is a prisoner of its own G-rated, fun-but-safe standards and image. Stein used Aikido marketing:* turning the strengths of Disney into a constraining weakness. If Disney tried to liven up its rides, it would lose its core audience and blur its image. The Revolutionary Thought Process Stein did what revolutionaries do: Think different in order to change the rules. By definition, if you don't change the rules, you aren't a revolutionary, and if you don't think different, you won't change the rules. Exercise Suppose you wanted to change the rules of the animated film business. How would you do it? But how do revolutionaries come up with the insights that separate them from the crowd? The conventional wisdom is that revolutionary ideas come to people after they contemplate a situation, condition, or problem for a long time. A more current and popular notion is that breakthrough insights and ideas appear when you're in the heightened, altered state of sitting in a beanbag chair squirting colleagues with water pistols. But these observations are trite and not very helpful because coming up with a revolutionary idea is not simply a matter of thinking a long time (or shooting a water pistol). The key is how you are thinking about a problem for a long time. In fact, there are three key stages of the revolutionary thought process. Stage 1: Purge The first step is purging-that is, disposing of old prejudices, procedures, and presuppositions that cloud and constrict your thinking. Perhaps evolution has programmed people to seek stability and safety, but revolution requires defiance of the status quo. Dump your idols Sir Francis Bacon was often aggravated because his contemporaries clung to existing ideas. He called these ideas "idols of the tribe, the den, the market, and the theater." They represent, respectively, the groupthink of a particular community, the qualities of a particular individual, the results of social interaction, and the drama of showing off one's intellectual prowess. Generally, idols spring up for good reason. Through experience we discover effective ways to avoid ghastly and stupid mistakes. However, success is habit-forming and creates rules, and fosters crowds that follow these rules. Over time the rules are not optimal or even applicable because the marketplace has changed. Or someone was just plain dumb lucky to begin with, so the rules should never have been established in the first place. To make it easier to identify some of the idols that afflict you, your company, or your industry, here are some examples of foolish but generally accepted business practices: Distribution idol: "We sell through dealers. We don't sell to our customers directly." Employee idol: "Employees can't be trusted. We have to monitor their productivity and get after them when they're lax." Market share idol: "Market share causes profitability, so let's reduce prices to gain share." Enemy idol: "We can't cooperate with X Company because we compete with X Company." Zero-based budgeting is the process in which every expense is questioned from the very first dollar-nothing is continued from previous budgets. "Zero-based idolizing," then, means questioning every business practice and trashing the ones that are no longer compelling. You cannot discard too many, so be ruthless! (Continues...) Excerpted from Rules For Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki Copyright © 2003 by Guy Kawasaki Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.