Manuel Brandt

Book Notes: Anything You Want

Hey there! Let’s dive into “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers. Derek is a founder and CEO, sharing about his own journey of creating CD Baby, an online music store that revolutionized how independent music gets shared.

Key Insights

  1. Personal Touch is Key: Derek started CD Baby to help his friends sell their music. He didn’t go big corp style – he kept it personal, like a friendly neighborhood shop.
  2. Customer Focus: CD Baby succeeded because it put musicians first. Derek’s mantra was to make them happy, and the business thrived on that principle.
  3. Keep It Simple: Derek’s philosophy was to simplify, not complicate. This approach can be a game-changer in a world where businesses often get lost in complexities.
  4. The Art of Letting Go: Derek sold CD Baby when he felt he’d done all he could. He teaches the importance of knowing when to move on and pursue new dreams.

Favorite Quotes

“Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working.”

“The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy.”

“If you’re not saying “Hell yeah” about something, say no.”

“Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make every decision—even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone—according to what’s best for your customers.”

“Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves. So find that person and let her do it.”

“You have to just do whatever you love the most, or you’ll lose interest in the whole thing.”


Derek Sivers is like that cool, experienced friend who’s been there, done that. He’s not just giving advice; he’s telling a story that’s relatable and real. His approach to business is refreshing in its simplicity and honesty.

If you’re thinking of starting your own thing or are in the early stages, this book is like a friendly chat with someone who’s walked the path. It’s short, sweet, and packed with genuine insights.

And that’s it! “Anything You Want” is a quick read but sticks with you long after. It’s a reminder that at the end of the day, business is about people, passion, and staying true to your vision.

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