START by Jon Acuff: a Review.

Mmmm, Tasty book cover image. Go on and puchase the thing, already.
Mmmm, Tasty book cover image. Go on and puchase the thing, already.

I was on the super-secret launch team for Jon Acuff’s new book START, which launched April 22nd 2013, and I think I just broke the first rule of launch team.

Here are my initial reactions to the book, having finished reading it last night. Full disclosure: I was given a free copy, but am under no obligation to give a positive review.

I’ll give you the one-word, one-sentence, and full-post versions. At whatever point I have convinced you, feel free to click on the “preorder now” link at the end of each segment. Those aren’t affiliate links, I don’t get anything for you buying the book.

One Word


One Sentence

There have been few books so intensely practical, applicable, visionary, and encouraging; from beginning to end Jon gives you both rails to run on and hilarious introspection—lessons from his own “journey to awesome.”

The Long Version

I am what you might call “biased” because I went into this book expecting to love it. Mainly because I’ve read every book Acuff has ever written, and have loved them. But this one (and to a certain degree his previous, Quitter) is different. Acuff is coming into his own as a legitimate force in the already-crowded motivational/vocational non-fiction genre.

Where this book stands apart from what you might read elsewhere is that Jon Acuff comes across as a regular guy. So much so that I find it odd to write his full name hop over to this website. Even though we’ve never met, I feel like he’d say “don’t call me Acuff, call me Jon.”

Where most self-help gurus will tell you how amazing their life currently is (after they went through this simple 4 step process that you can get for only $199.95 + shipping), Jon is honest. His humor is self-deprecating, his tone is conversational, and his language treads the line between “I don’t have this all figured out” and “I have enough of it figured out to be a genuine help to you.”

START pairs nicely with Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath, which I am also currently reading. The two books taken simultaneously have been hugely helpful for me in my personal season of change. (ahem, those links at the top were made for clicking, and that’s just what they’ll do)

If you are already comfortably awesome, and living your dream, this book is not for you. If like me you find yourself longing for practical help getting from where you are to where you want to be, do yourself a favor and buy two copies of this book. One for you, and one for a friend to walk through it with you.

10 Replies to “START by Jon Acuff: a Review.”

  1. I like the one-word, one-sentence and full-post reviews. I also like Start. I’m also on the super secret launch team and started Start this weekend.

    1. Thanks, Kristin! I look forward to your review soon! (don’t talk about launch team, though) 🙂

  2. Could you give some examples of how the book is practical? I read Quitter and found it to be a lot more theory than practical.

    1. Jon majors on theory, for sure. But this book walks you down a path from here to “awesome” and while he does hang on the “why” and other motivational aspects of things, he also gives very practical advice. Then, at the end of the book there is a literal numbered list of imperatives like “Get a notebook, write down these things in it…” that coincide with each chapter of the book. I’ll definitely be reading it again with that notebook.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. I love your phrase “…the already-crowded motivational/vocational non-fiction genre.” Nicely sums up this category. Now I can describe my collection. BTW, not only is the category crowded, but you appear to have quite a critical mass of these kind of writers/bloggers in the Nashville area.

    I’m reading the book right now (Sorry, I previously purchased it. But, there was some overpowering subliminal power that caused me to click on your listing in the search results. The Force is strong with you, Ben).

    Among the many gems in this book, Critics’ Math really resonates with me. What an amazingly accurate, yet simple insight. Understanding it from Jon’s perspective has already been a big help to me.

      1. If you happen upon a blog post or other online profile of mine from pre-06 I was briefly from the Nashville area. So that could be it.

        That or my writing was just so hip and obnoxiously trendy that you assumed me to be from the ‘ville.

        I grew up in Winston, but a Tar Heel fan.

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