Tag Archive: Acuff; Jon

Jan 10

Review: Start by Jon Acuff


I don’t know. I just don’t know. Start should have been a book that was right up my alley. It’s business-oriented, very aspirational, easy to read, has actionable items…everything I look for in my own personal brand of self help. But…I don’t think it did it for me.

This is the followup to Acuff’s book Quitter. In this book, he basically advocates a five stage approach to moving away from average towards being awesome. While he doesn’t advocate that there is a shortcut along the way, he does say that it doesn’t have to take the traditional 50 years. The other central conceit of the book is that you’re never too late to get started, and that anyone can be “in their 20’s” whenever they want to get started. Even if, in my case, you’re literally in your 20’s. He covers not listening to voices of despair and working hard to get where you want and not being afraid about not knowing where you’re going. And maybe I’ve heard it before, and that’s why it didn’t do it for me, but I had the hardest time getting into it.

The kicker is, Acuff has some great advice. The idea of really measuring what you spend your time on in a week and then figuring out where you can salvage time to devote to your dreams is great and has made me a lot more cognizant of when I’m just dicking around. And he advocates getting up at 5 AM because you’ll be fresh and that time isn’t devoted to anything, so you can use it for whatever you want. I really want to adopt that strategy (I’m already getting up at 6:15 pretty consistently).

But there are other parts of the story that just didn’t do it for me. Often, Acuff would tell a story that illustrated his point, but he’d stop the story before the conclusion because the part that illustrated his point was done. While this led to a much more streamlined book, I prefer a more Malcolm Gladwell-style looking at a story from beginning to end from multiple angles. Another bit is that Acuff works for used to work for Dave Ramsey, who is a Christian financial guru (thanks to Pearson for the updated info). Whenever people want to mix business and religion, I am instantly suspicious and on my guard. Wariness is probably not the best attitude to approach books like this, but that’s just the way it is sometimes.

Belle eybrow

What are you hiding?

And it so bums me out that I didn’t get more out of this for two reasons. First, Acuff seems like a really nice guy. He’s charming, he is funny (or at least tries to be), he seems sincere, he’s very complimentary towards his family, he seems very grounded, and he seems passionate about what he says. Second, tons of other people LOVED this book. The reviews glow. And I just don’t see it, and I wish I did.

JMF Rating: 6/10

‘Til next time,