social media book reviewsHave you heard of Joseph Campbell?

He was the famous mythologist—author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces and many other books—who told us all to “follow your bliss” in his Power of Myth PBS specials with Bill Moyers in the late 1980s.

“That’s all well and good,” you may have thought at the time. “But I have to make a living. How do I make money by following my bliss?

If you’ve been asking that question for the past 20 years, you’ll be happy to know that someone has finally answered it. Gary Vaynerchuk has written a book to teach us how to make money by following our bliss.

Many of you may know Vaynerchuk as the host of the video blog Now he has written a book titled Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion.

Here’s a recent episode from Gary’s WineLibrary TV.

crush it“Crush It!” refers to Vaynerchuk’s passion: wine. His family had a liquor store and by the age of 26, he had taken the store from $2 million in revenue in 1994 to $20 million in 2001. Here’s how he did it, building his personal brand along the way:

  1. He started in 1997 by creating and selling wine online.
  2. The rise and popularity of YouTube convinced him to start a video blog called in 2006.
  3. He started talking about business in 2007. How to start one, what to sell, and how to sell it.

He had come to the following conclusion based on his personal experience: the only way to make money and be successful is to monetize your passion.

Or in Joseph Campbell’s words, to make money by following your bliss.

Why is monetizing your passion the only way to make money? Because starting a successful business is long, hard work. That’s exactly why you must monetize your passion and nothing else.

“If you’re living your passion, you’re going to want to be consumed by your work. The passion and love for what you do will enable you to work the hours necessary to succeed,” Vaynerchuk said.

And why is now the time to do it?

Because social media, new advertising venues, and the Internet have made it possible for you to find other people who share your passion and might even pay you for your knowledge. If you can establish yourself as an expert, people who need your expertise will seek you out.

Let’s talk about those new advertising venues. “The difference between promoting your brand via traditional marketing and advertising media and doing it via social networking platforms is like the difference between sending a message by Pony Express and chatting on Instant Messenger,” says Vaynerchuk.

Here’s how he came to that conclusion. He spent $7,500 to advertise on a billboard, send a direct mailing, and produce a radio spot. He got 170 orders from the billboard, 300 from the direct mailing, and 240 from the radio ad.

Then he tweeted the ad for free and got 1,700 orders in 48 hours. That’s more than all three traditional ads put together!

“These social networking sites have changed the game by giving entrepreneurs a reason to ditch the sinking traditional media and advertising platforms in favor of a communication method that opens them up to markets that would have been inaccessible until just a few short years ago.”

Crush It! will give you the techniques you need to establish your expertise using social media. Vaynerchuk calls it “building your personal brand.” Here are the techniques in a nutshell:

  1. Identify your passion.
  2. Learn as much about it as you can.
  3. Start blogging about it.
  4. Find other blogs about it and leave comments.
  5. Find Facebook pages about your passion, become a friend/fan and contribute.
  6. Search Twitter to find other passionate people and talk to them.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 over and over and over.

As your knowledge and your passionate community increase, you can reach out to advertisers. And don’t be surprised if some business development people start calling you. Vaynerchuk calls them “biz dev” people.

Suppose you have no product or service to sell? You can still get paid for your expertise. You can write one or more ebooks, speak at conferences, and even sell ad space on your blog.

But Vaynerchuk doesn’t care for Google AdSense. It “makes your page look cheap and cluttered [and] it doesn’t pay that well.” Instead, he recommends banner ads.

Here’s how to find advertisers: browse through magazines about your passion and look at the ads. Who’s advertising? Contact those companies and say, “how about advertising on my blog for a lot less money?” Of course, you have to have a really big community to get their advertising dollars.

“There is lots of money to be made, albeit in dribs and drabs to start, by siphoning off money from already-existing sources,” Vaynerchuk says.

“Siphoning off money from already-existing sources” means dumping traditional advertising venues and marketing techniques that broadcast the same ad to millions of people. Most of whom couldn’t care less about the product being advertised.

Instead, you will offer advertisers a highly targeted market: all of the people who share your passion.

And if the money comes “in dribs and drabs” in the beginning, don’t worry. As you build your expertise and your passionate community, more people will seek you out. Including advertisers.

“If you live your passion and work the social networking tools to the max, opportunities to monetize will present themselves,” Vaynerchuk says. “The passion and love for what you do will enable you to work the hours necessary to succeed.”

So if you’re unhappy in your job, pick up a copy of Crush It! Vaynerchuk wrote it “because it drives me crazy to know that there are still people out there who haven’t figured out that they don’t have to settle.”

And he means “settle” for a job doing anything besides what you really love to do.

But is it really possible to make money following your bliss using Vaynerchuk’s techniques? Why not buy Crush It! or find it in a library and write down all 21 steps in Appendix A.

Then follow his techniques for one year. Do they work? Tell us about your success or failure, and we’ll summarize the results on Social Media Examiner.

Social Media Examiner gives this book 3.5 stars.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on Vaynerchuk’s style? Please comment below.

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  • I did read Crush It and loved it. Gary is great and he knows what he’s talking about. In fact, I got his book for free but then I purchased several copies of Crush It and gave it away as a gift.

  • I read Crush It and had the opportunity to here Gary speak live and love his enthusiasm and energy. It’s infectious. You walk away thinking and realizing that there is nothing you can’t do. You just have to make time for it.

    Whenever, I feel unmotivated, or unsure about what I am doing, I go back and listen to his video and remind myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    Crush it!

  • Great article. I think Gary is spot on with only pursuing what you are truly passionate about. Like he said, to achieve success, there are going to be many many long nights of burning the candle on both ends. Without that true passion, nights like those are enough to drive anyone insane.

  • This has got to be the 20th time someone has suggested that I read this book. Alright, enough already. I’ll go buy it today!!

  • I just ordered Crush It from your Amazon link. Am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the article.

  • williamsimi

    I’ve read the book and its very good. Last chapter provides a practical plan for utilizing social media which can be followed step by step…. but of course it helps to have a family business to work with.

    By the way, Joseph Campbell didn’t say anything about “making money” by following your bliss.

  • davideedey

    I have read the book as well and loved it. The book may be about passion but you feel in the words Gary writes and for that alone should get you moving if you are serious about creating the life you want and being in control.

  • Maxiosearch

    Interesting article Ruth, I´ve read Gary V´s book and it´s pretty basic but helpful also, since it gives clear guidance to start and put your efforts on what is important to cash out your passion online.

    You can also join business conversations on

  • Simon

    Listened to the audio book many times. Obviously love it. And am slowly starting to live it.

  • zurino

    Enjoy Here’s Gary crushing it on a TED Best of the Web Talk:

  • jasonbereklewis

    I came across Gary Vaynerchuk after someone posted a link to one of his talks on Twitter. I immediately hunted down Crush It! and devoured the book – Crush It is the most important book that I have read in a long time.

    Gary is inspirational, exciting and his ideas get you motivated, fired up! I am not living my passion, or crushing it yet – but I know what I want to do, I am building a plan to get there and a large part of that is due to Gary and his ideas.

  • I have to agree, it’s hard work to get a site up and running but once you do there’s nothing like it.

  • helenconnor

    My husband and I read this in one day – great book – gets you excited to go out there and get active.

  • ruthmshipley

    I know Joseph Campbell never said that. I guess I was putting words in his mouth.

  • Being a big wine fan myself, can’t think of anyone more colorful in wine tasting as Gary. He’s so right about monetizing one’s passion. Social media is undeniably powerful and should be utilized by all businesses really.

  • Muxxex

    What a coincidence, I actually was just listening to a speech he gave where he went into great (and wonderful) detail on his success and shared how he did it.

    It’s really amazing how much social media and branding can help you. Who would have though wine, of all things, would be something even rich people would tweet about 🙂

  • Hi,

    I speak Spanish (sorry for my bad English ha ha ha) but I need to say: “Crush It My Social Media Bible”

    Every body need to read this book… I love Gary and the form that explain all the important things that we need to create our personal brand.

    I am working in my personal brand but in Spanish… and i follow all the tips.

    Thanks for this post… Love it!

  • Hi,

    We saw a presentation given by Gary posted on YouTube last year. Yesterday, we saw your newsletter with his interview and the information about his new book. Picked up a copy this evening!

    Thanks for the latest in social media.

  • icantinternet

    Haven’t read it yet, but it sure does sounds promising. Social media is definately here to stay, so this will come on my “to-read” list 🙂

  • This is interesting. Does anyone know how I can get a free copy (or just a copy) of Crush it? I love his philosophy in life. And I really want to read more.
    I’m thankful for the internet…now more people can follow their passion and make money over it. I’ve read a hundred success stories who found their passion in blogging. Maybe blogging is not really my passion but I still find it interesting the concept of following your passion.
    PS…For those starting a new blog, I found this helpful tips

  • I had this same discussion with someone yesterday. Taking it one step further, it really makes my skin crawl to hear a parent comment that their child loves music and is damned good at it, but they refuse to pay for a music education because she’d never make any money at it. Those comments are so detrimental to children of any age. I’d love to see more books like this on the market, in hopes that adults read them and understand that a child pursuing their passion can always be successful.

    Likewise, I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve said their child was a dynamite artist, but that they are pursuing some other degree area so they can make a living. Look at the great American painter of the late 1800s Albert Bierstadt or the present day “painter of light” Thomas Kinkade. Both have made millions doing what they love — painting.

    You guys will have to circle back to me in 10 or 15 years. After being inspired by the music of Hans Zimmer, my daughter developed a strong interest in music composition. Today, she is pursuing a double major in music composition and piano performance so that she can create music for Hollywood. I’d never squelch that dream with the long odds. She will be highly successful if she continues to follow that passion, because it will lead her places she never thought possible. So those of you with kids, take the words of this Gary Vaynerchuck to heart and help your children pursue their passion, believing with them that they can and will succeed.

  • excellent program..

  • TisaYonts

    Thank you; this is just what I need to do. I feel like I am trying to run through maple syrup as in a dream to face this and seize the day. I am overcoming great inertia.

  • I bought Crush It! a few months ago. What I really liked about the book was that it was a very easy, laid-back read. Definately one that you could read by the pool on vacation, and I found it very motivating indeed. On the flipside, my own opinion is that Crush It! was kind of light on specific details. It really just tells you to comment on blogs, get on Twitter and Facebook and start a blog. It’s a decent starter on the subject of social media but I think you’ll need to do quite a bit more research and experimentation before you really start to see results with this form of communication.

  • ruthmshipley

    I felt that way too. He makes it sound so simple. Is it really that simple?

    I also felt that many people might not be able to duplicate his results. He sells a very popular product! That’s why I suggested trying his method for one year, and then letting us know whether you are successful.

    But the most interesting part of his book was the idea that advertisers may start looking at blogs as a much better market for their ads than traditional mass market venues. If you follow Gary’s advice, your blog may become one of the top blogs about your specific, unique passion. If so, companies that make products related to your passion may decide to advertise on your blog. Especially if you have thousands of subscribers. Your subscribers would be a very highly targeted market. So advertisers would get more bang for their buck.

    So even if your passion doesn’t involve a product or service you can sell, you could still make money from ads on your blog.

  • boomer54mark


    I have read Gary’s book and follow him on Twitter. I started my baby boomer blog 6 months ago, without knowing it I used Gary’s methodology, then read his book and refocused my efforts.

    I have gained traction in the community with offers for guest posts on my blog and for me to provide a guest post as a baby boomer expert. Even being named in the top 10 boomer blogs by the Examiner.

    Am I making money, a little, but if I can make a little then more will follow.

    Thanks letting me share.

    Boomer54 Mark

  • Setting up a site as per your requirements can be tough work, but making it popular among your area is a bigger prospect, which involves even more work. Social media as a business tool is still developing, and new ideas are appearing all the time.

  • Sounds like something I should get right away… thanks!

  • Brad

    Thanks great! Don’t have much time to read the book at the moment, but this is great! Cheers & good luck!

  • Hey Joannix, Crush It its really really good. I have my copy and i read it a lot of times.

  • Kurt Stephens

    Gary is one of those ideal internet marketers, his passion for what he is doing sure did give him the key to success. As what Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” I guess this has something o do with doing what you are passionate for.

    Kurt Stephens,
    Make Money Online
    Turbo Online Business

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