Book Review

Anything you want by Derek Sivers

I got to know Derek Sivers as I was reading a book referring to one of his talks about how to start a movement. If you have not heard about Sivers, you can watch one of his talks; I have listed selected ones hereunder.

Derek Sivers is famous for creating CD Baby, a platform that reformed the music industry by opening the market for independent musicians that do not own a record label (in the book I am reviewing you will enjoy reading his encounter with Steve Jobs).

If you run a quick Google search about him you will get to see that he is a writer, an entrepreneur, and an “avid student of life”. I allow myself to say that Sivers is a philosopher and in his book, “anything you want”, he lays the ground for a philosophy about life, work, and Love.

His book seems like a crisp story about his venture with CDBaby: from ideation to rebirth (or death – depending on your perspective).However, Sivers offers much more if you have the luxury to read through the lines, to research his company (CD Baby), and to watch his talks.

Sivers dives into the human psychology of success and failure. He tells stories about organizational behavior with focus on delegation, empowerment, generosity, and trust. He also draws best practices in customer centricity. He in fact summarizes ten years of experience in entrepreneurship in less than one hour (yes the book is that small) offering the gist of his lessons learned.

You would think that he closes his book on a happy note; nevertheless he does not. He says – in a brutally honest fashion – that the bigger his company became, his stories about it were less happy. Sivers does not push people to be less dreamy or less ambitious. Instead, he proposes two ideas to reflect on.


Dreams are ours. They are not other people’s dreams that we realize or that we realize on their behalf. Dreams are personal.


Whatever we create, we are responsible for. It becomes what we want it to become and what we allow it to become.

When I was younger I met a florist. She owns a little shop in my hometown in Lebanon. I only remember her smiling. More than three decades later, she still sells flowers in the same shop. It never grew; it never changed. She grew but she never changed. However, she is still happy. She had a dream but hers was little. It’s her choice to keep it small.

Keep your goals to yourself talk

How to start a movement talk

Get in touch with the author here

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