Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki [Book Review]

Guy Kawasaki was the chief technical evangelist for Apple back in 1983 (and returned to Apple in 1989 as an “Apple Fellow” to reward his contribution to the company). He was responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984. He was great at his job, clearly. He’s also responsible for the spread of the concepts of “technical evangelism” and “evangelism marketing.” He’s now an esteemed Silicon Valley venture capitalist, speaker, and author. When you see him speak or read his books, it’s clear that he practices what he preaches.

Guy (I use his first name since it feels like we’re already best friends) has written numerous books all on a similar topic. Think: How to Win Friends and Influence People, Guy style.

This is Guy’s 2011 Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions in a nutshell.

What is Enchantment and Why?

First, you may be asking, what is enchantment? Enchantment, as defined by Guy, is “the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization, or idea.” In other words, it’s how to get people to do what you want them to do. Enchantment gets things done, whether that’s overcoming a habit, making a life decision, or changing the world. Enchantment can be very powerful, but make sure you’re honest and ethical!

Enchant by Being Trustworthy and Likeable

You can’t enchant if no one trusts or likes you, and Guy realizes this.

To be likeable, he says, make sure you smile, dress suitably, have a strong handshake, and use appropriate vocabulary. Swearing, in the right situation, can bring people together. Accept others, don’t impose your values, have a passion (aka don’t be boring!). Be a “yes” person. Believe that people are good until proven bad.

Trustworthiness can be achieved by being an honest individual. My Dad’s principle is “keep your commitments,” which Guy would agree with. Be civil to those who have wronged you, don’t interrupt people or shut down their ideas, and be upfront with your intentions. Make sure you ask “what can we learn?” when something goes wrong.

While everyone is capable of being trustworthy and likeable (see, I’m assuming people are good until proven bad!), this doesn’t mean they are. Guy reminds us of the importance and power of these traits.

How to Prepare and Launch Your Quest for Enchantment

Say you have a product, and you want to enchant someone with it. In other words, you want to market it. In this section of the book, Guy gives his tips on how to do this.

First, the product itself. It should be deep, intelligent, complete, empowering, and elegant. In other words, you want your product to have multiple features, solve problems in smart ways, provide a great experience (in addition to the product itself), enable people to do new things, and be pretty.

As for marketing, Guy reminds us to always be positive and respectful. Keep it short, and use metaphors, similes, and tricolons. Guy mentions the tricolon, “Eye it, try it, buy it,” which proved to be very successful for Chevrolet in the 1940s. Guy also has the idea of using a checklist to sell your product. For example, a car wash could have a “buy 5 get 1 free deal.” Or, they could say “buy 6, get 1 free, and if you buy now, we’ll credit you for 2.” What a great idea!

Make sure you tell a story when talking about your product, and communicate its impact. If you need to ask something of someone, make a big ask, then a little ask. You’ll be more likely to get a “yes” to your small ask. This is like how high school students (females in particular, if you know what I mean) will sometimes scare their parents with horrible news, only to say they made it up, then proceed to show them their report card. It softens the blow.

And remember: Getting your first follower is the hardest part. This is what legitimizes you.

How to Overcome Resistance and Make Enchantment Endure

Throughout the process of enchantment, you’re bound to encounter some resistance. Guy has some interesting suggestions on how to overcome it.

Create perceptions. Create the perception of ubiquity. Create the perception of scarcity. Apple achieved the former by using easy to spot white iPod headphones. This made them seem more common. Google  created the perception (or even reality!) of scarcity when Gmail first came out, which was by invitation only.

As the goal of enchantment is not to achieve a short-term sale, but to make a long lasting impact and impression, you want to make sure your enchantment endures.

You can do this by building a community (Guy calls this an “ecosystem”) around your product. A forum could suffice. In terms of enchanting others, make sure you ask for reciprocity. If you help someone, then “I know you’d do the same for me,” Guy says, is better than “You’re welcome.” This relieves pressure on the recipient, and makes them more likely to help you or ask for help again. Internalize your values, and find the believers in your cause, and work with them.

Use Social Media to Enchant

As much as I dislike social media (Instasham, not Instagram), I acknowledge its power. And so does Guy. Push and pull technology, when used properly, can be oh so enchanting.

Push technology is a style of communication where the request for information is initiated by the publisher. In other words, Twitter, presentations, or email. With push technology, Guy says, make sure you engage fast, engage many, and engage often. You never know what “nobody” will become “somebody,” so be nice to everyone. Make sure you give credit where credit is due, and disclosure your conflicts of interest.

For presentations, he suggests customizing your introductions for each audience. If travelling for a conference, try taking pictures of yourself at tourist attractions, or take pictures of conference attendees, and use these pics in your intro. It’ll add a personal touch. Guy emphasizes his 10-20-30 rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, font at least 30 points.

When dealing with email, make sure you reply fast. This is enchanting. If you’re the one making the initial contact, keep your message to 6 sentences (I need to work on this!). Outline why you’re contacting (aka suck up), who you are, what your cause is, what you want, why the recipient should help, and what the next step is.

Pull technology, on the other hand, is a style of communication where the initial request for information comes from the client. Examples of pull technology are Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or a blog. While Guy hates the idea of Flash intros on webpages (interesting, since Apple killed Flash), since it takes too long to get to the content, he loves embedding videos into actual webpages. Err on the side of more media, rather than less, he says. He also emphasizes the importance of updating your social media every few days- I’m trying my best with this blog!

Enchant Everyone! Your Employees and Your Boss

So by now we know how to enchant and why it’s useful. How do we use this in a work setting? Guy has the answer for that.

If you’re employer, practice MAP: Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose. These are three things employees want, and if you can give this to them, they’ll find you enchanting. Make sure you judge others by their intentions, and judge yourself by your results, not the other way around. Celebrate success. And absolutely don’t, Guy warns, ask employees to do what you wouldn’t want them to do. That sounds great, Guy. But the whole “doing face time” at work seems pretty engrained in the culture of many companies. Or workers. Or people in general. As a young person looking to get into the workforce, I don’t like this, but I understand it may be necessary depending on your boss. I just want my boss to like me and know I work hard!

Which brings us to: how to enchant your boss. In short, make them look good. Guy advises that you under promise and overdeliver, like a long line at Disneyland that ends up shorter than expected. He also suggests, quite controversially, he admits, that when your boss asks you to do something, drop everything, and do what they said. Do part of the task quickly, then ask for feedback. This shows your boss that you’re able to prioritize what they ask of you, are efficient, and work had. He also says you should always deliver bad news early, along with an idea on how to fix the problem. A lot of my friends could benefit from this- if you’re going to be late, tell me more than two minutes before we were supposed to meet!

Know When You’re Being Enchantment- And Resist It

If you’re a good enchanter, you’ll know when you’re being enchanted. The hard part is resisting it. In this case, we can easily replace “enchantment” with “temptation,” and Guy’s words will still make complete sense. Make sure you avoid situations that will tempt you. Don’t fall for anecdotes with a sample size of one, and know that the wisdom of the crowd can be wrong. But let yourself be enchanted in small ways to avoid bigger, rash decisions. For example, let yourself eat that piece of cake. It’ll keep you from binging out on the whole thing later in the week.


In many ways, reading Enchantment felt like I was reading The Law of Attraction by Abraham Hicks. Both discuss how to get what you want. Enchantment discusses how to get people to do what you want, while The Law of Attraction is all about how to make life what you want. Guy’s voice in Enchantment makes it feel like I’m not only having a conversation with him, but that I’m having a conversation with him and we’re best friends. While much of his advice in the book can be summed up by “just be a nice person,” he has some useful tips. Enchantment serves a reminder that being honest, kind can go a long way. Through in some savvy marketing skills, and you’re set.

Rating for Enchantment: 4 out of 5. A fun, quick read, with some really useful information. Not life changing in any way, but solid. A lot of it I knew already, hence the 4. Recommend.

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