Book Review: Start by Jon Acuff | Punch Fear in the Face

What can you not stop doing?

That is one of the critical questions presented in Jon Acuff’s new book, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.

I pre-ordered the book more than a month ago and what I expected was something along the lines of, “Matt (I expected Jon to write the book personally to me), you know you’ve always wanted to _______, so what are you waiting for?”

But that’s not what I got at all. And that was disappointing at first. I assumed I was missing out on something, that I was missing my calling, and that this book would show me how to start something new and revolutionary.

But it didn’t.

Your revolution is already there

You are probably already doing your dream in some capacity. Rarely does anyone say, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be a professional gardener,” but has never wielded a hoe or planted some seeds. You are probably spending your weekends gardening at home, helping your friends, and daydreaming of weekends by noon on Monday. You read gardening books, watch gardening shows, and have a membership to a gardening forum.

You are already living your dream. And you can’t stop. It would kill you to stop.

That’s what I found as I read the book. There was no great revelation. No epiphany that revealed to me that I have been missing my calling all along. It simply asked me, “What can I not stop doing?”

Studying myself

It also showed me how to connect the dots in my life’s timeline.

I grew up playing competitive (eventually professional for a short time) golf.
I’ve run four political campaigns (two of my own).
I’ve run three businesses.

Start by Jon Acuff Book Review

Buy this book.
If you don’t think it’s worth the price, I’ll buy it from you at full price.

I started a blog, learned to wake up two hours earlier, and ran a 10k.

And I realized that all of them tie together. I’ve learned from all of them. I’ve been awesome before. I will be awesome a lot more.

Acuff writes:

You need to be a student of you. Don’t walk down this road to awesome as if you’ve never been awesome before. You have. You’ve succeeded at something…How can you apply that to this [your new awesome]?

Three promises

I could write about more general ideas from the book, but the video will cover that, so instead I will make you three promises.

  1. This book will change you.
  2. You will laugh…a lot.
  3. You won’t take me up on my offer.

My offer: If you buy the book and you don’t feel it was worth the investment, I’ll buy it back from you. That is how much I believe in it.

So, now you have nothing to lose and a life of awesome to gain.

The first thing is to START reading this book.

What can you not stop doing?

Free Affiliate Training from Matt McWilliams
  • Wade_Thorson

    This looks to be an exciting book from the reviews and comments I have read. I haven’t ordered the book yet, but it is definitly on my must read list. I am just finishing Quitter, so I guess it will make sense to Start this bok soon.

    • Wade – I suggest you order this book TODAY! It’s so impactful – I’ve read it twice already. Why wait to start?

      • Wade_Thorson

        At the end of the audiobook I recieved for Quitter it had the 1st chapter of the Start book. It definitly looks to be an interesting reading, thanks for the recommendation.

    • Start is to Quitter as Filet Mignon is to a really good hamburger. I love a good hamburger, but Filet is incredible.

      This is an incredible book indeed!

  • Great review Matt. I wholeheartedly agree with your points. It’s not that it’s new information, but presented in a way that makes so much sense, and I found myself going, “yeah, that’s right” a lot. The examples are down to earth and the advice is sound. I cannot imagine you’ll be buying back any copies!

  • I’d love to read Start, except that MY ORDER IS NOT HERE yet. (Skropp will love my use of caps). I’m tired of hearing people ask me “how do you do all you do, where do you find the time, and with two little kids, aren’t you exhausted?” It all becomes noise like Charlie Brown’s teacher (wah,wah,wah,wah). I say, if people are not ready to start their own dream, they can keep their opinion to themselves and just get out of the way so others can. Rant over.

    • Rant approved.

    • Lily, I hear the same thing – “How do you paint and draw so much?” Well, duh, it’s my job. Or “How do you have time to knit?” – Well, duh, how do you have time to shop/see movies/watch tv/do Facebook?

      Rant reinforced.

  • Good recap of the book. I feel the same way. I attended all three Quitter conferences, where the meat of this book was developed. I never get tired of hearing Jon reassuring us and encouraging us to be awesome. We all have it in us, we just have to do it.

    • All three? I love that. Reinforcing what is important rather moving on to the new shiny object. I’m only reading 12 books this year, down from 50 or so last year. Not reading less…just reading less information and focusing on repetition.

      • That is a great idea, Matt. I am a huge reader and continually read a ton of books. But, learning to really apply them is something that is really strategic, I think.

        • All the credit goes to my mentor, Verlin Rice. He is amazing.

    • Scott Barlow

      Wow, all three quitter conferences! That’s awesome. I made it from Washington State out to one and was really impressed with Jon’s content but now I’m really impressed that you made it to 3. I agree with Matt on the reinforcement point (I’m terrible about “shiny objects” in the area of self development)

      • Glad you made it to one Scott. I hope you enjoyed Franklin/Brentwood/Nashville. I still call that area home in my heart.

        The great thing is that you can reinforce that one experience by listening to the audio (hope you got that), reading your notes, reading the book, and talking with others like @tammyhelfrich:disqus about what you learned and are learning.

  • Great review, Matt. If this doesn’t make you want to read this book, I don’t know what will.

    • Plus, you’ve got to love how Jon spells his name!

  • I’ve got my copy that I pre-ordered and am a good way through it. He didn’t disappoint – great recap, Matt!

  • Pingback: Take the First Step | A Lesson from Start by Jon Acuff | Matt McWilliams | Life. Leadership. Love. Learned the Hard Way.()

  • Pingback: Be Your Secret Self | Jonathan Harrison()

  • Pingback: The Voices in Your Head | About Fear & Lies via Jon Acuff | Matt McWilliams | Life. Leadership. Love. Learned the Hard Way.()