A smile is the most frequent punctuation in any conversation with Guy Kawasaki, once-upon-a-time chief evangelist for Apple and, since then, a jet-hopping entrepreneur, author, columnist, blogger, venture capitalist and new media creator. The smile is part of his calling card, even if it’s only implied by the tone of his voice traveling halfway across the country from his home office in Northern California.
Alternately self-promoting and self-effacing, Kawasaki’s frank and smooth-flowing banter takes a page out of his 10th and most recent book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions , published by Portfolio/Penguin Books.
“Enchantment is the accumulation of all the things I learned in 25 years about marketing, sales and evangelism wrapped into one,” he tell SUCCESS over background sounds of doors opening and closing, and his children wandering in and out.
Kawasaki explains he’s a fan of the work of Bob Cialdini, professor emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, whose book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion has sold more than 2 million copies, and of Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People (the American self-improvement guru’s 1936 massive best-seller that remains popular today). “This is my attempt to enter that genre, to provide people with this type of information,” Kawasaki says.
The 57-year-old Hawaiian-born hockey enthusiast (he learned to play when one of his children expressed an interest) is fond of aiming high with his long slap shots. He hoped a previous book, Reality Check , would be the entrepreneurial counterpart to grammar’s The Chicago Manual of Style . In Enchantment, he writes that he hopes this work remains relevant for decades, like Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. When challenged that perhaps he was guilty in both cases of ignoring one of his tenets in Enchantment, underselling and over-delivering, he laughed robustly as he responded, “Probably.”
“This may be rationalization, but if I had said that my books are better than those, then that would be overselling,” he explains. “What I’m trying to do is give people a position or hook about what my book is. So I would like them to think that Enchantment is How to Win Friends and Influence People brought up to date. In the same sense, when Toyota entered the U.S. market with Lexus, they positioned Lexus as almost as good as a BMW or Mercedes at half the price. That’s easy for someone to comprehend.”
Kawasaki skates over some familiar ice in Enchantment, a primer on how to build relationships in meaningful and purposeful ways, but also fills it with rich, value-added materials and real-world and practical examples.
“There is no such thing as an easy book,” he says. “I can make the case that by the 10th book, there are two opposing forces. On one hand, you clearly know how to finish a book. The first one is an accident. The second one, you are starting on a trend that you know what you are doing. The opposition force is that you don’t want to repeat yourself. Those forces are competing with each other. I had to cover evangelism, for example, but if I just retold the subject, I would be guilty of not writing a new book. If you write too little, you’ve abandoned your past; too much, and you’ve duplicated your past.”
What Kawasaki delivers with Enchantment is a quick, readable trove of how to enchant and influence.
Fast Company blogger Shawn Parr described the work earlier this year: “He’s reframed emotional intelligence and made it simple for the reader to use these tools to approach relationships in business and in life differently. Guy made the advice practical and relevant so you can apply it in your day-to-day, from setting and managing expectations to effectively using social media and technology to build meaningful connections with people.”
Kawasaki, who has more than 390,000 Twitter followers and is nearing 100,000 tweets, chuckles when he says, “My opinion is that in life, everything is sales.” Digital tools such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter make it easier to be enchanting today, he says. “You can reach a lot more people instantly without geographic boundaries. I have a lot more friends because first there was email, then blogging, then Facebook and then Google+. There are issues, but then there are issues with all communication. I think it is a net gain.”
In the Kawasaki world, “you can use a process to improve relations with people—to enchant them instead of sell, promote or bludgeon them into submission,” he says. “Enchantment is about creating a voluntary, long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship of support and loyalty.”