Book review Productivity Recommended Read

Book Review | Twelve and a Half

Publisher: Harper Business (Paperback)
Originally Published: 2021
Pages: 202
Author: Gary Vaynerchuk

Rating: 3 out of 4.

If you have read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crushing it (2018) and you are reading his latest book Twelve and a Half, you may either be a bit surprised or a little disappointed. Of course, if you are a regular listener of his podcasts and vlogs, you will get the drift of why this book exists.

For people who are depressed or nonplussed about their careers, this book could be a gleaming light at the end of the tunnel. When I started reading this book, I, myself, was going through a bit of a bad patch and negative emotions were getting the better of me. I won’t exaggerate that this book turned me into a bedrock of positivity overnight, but, yes, it did offer help.

Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Twelve and a Half

Gary Vaynerchuk

Twelve and a Half is a manifestation of GaryVee’s evolving thought process over the years. Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that he wasn’t a visionary earlier or that his ideas were flawed. It’s just that his vision is now more multi-faceted than ever.

Yes, his religious promotion of NFTs has made many think he is going overboard, but if the past is any evidence, you’d know that there is always a method to his madness. His most ardent fans know it.

Coming back to the book, in case the title is intriguing you, twelve and a half refers to the twelve emotional values or soft powers that you can deploy in your personal and professional challenges.

GaryVee has always promoted values in his talks and presentations. When Web 2.0 was catching steam, he often stressed to his followers to hustle. Then, a few years later, he started focusing on getting perspective.

In the last five years or so, he has been talking a great deal about inculcating emotional ingredients such as patience, humility, empathy, and gratitude in our professional and personal lives.

The book is split into two sections. Section I has GaryVee’s elaboration on how these emotional ingredients work and why they are important. Section II comprises real-life case studies which you, most likely, will identify yourselves with.

You can feel Gary’s relentless enthusiasm as you go through the book. There is no doubt in my mind that his people knowledge and people skills are par excellence. In one of the chapters, he professes that he is an anthropologist by nature who loves to study deep human behavior. I think his self-admission is bang on.

Here’s him talking about gratitude:

“If I wake up in the morning and nobody I love has passed away or come down with a terminal illness, then my day starts off great…Nothing else can truly faze me beyond that.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

The problem with Twelve and a Half is that some of the content comes across as repetitive. When you are dealing with a subject like Emotional intelligence, and discussing values such as empathy, curiosity, candor, humility, etc. – there is bound to be some overlapping narrative and that’s exactly what happens here.

I would slide Twelve and a Half into the ‘deceptively sophisticated’ category of business books. As I write this review, I glanced through some of the pages and felt like I should read this chapter again.

Finally, you don’t need this book if you have never faced a people problem in your life or if you have always had the wind in your sails. But, how many people can claim they have lives so blissful? Very, very few. That’s precisely why you should read this book. It’s not as awesome as Crushing it! but it’s not far off either.


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