Commerce & Economy Reviews

Book Review: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Recommended reading for anyone looking to become a solopreneur or wanting to start their own microbusiness.

The Fortune Book Club Book Review: The $100 Startup


Title: The $100 Startup
Author: Chris Guillebeau
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication date: 24 May 2012
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 9780451496645
Rating: 4/5


The Information Age has changed the business game completely. The necessities of life no longer require the nine-to-five lifestyle of the past and starting up on your own has never been easier or cheaper than it is today. You don’t need a business degree or a huge investment either, just the idea and the courage to follow through. The $100 Startup is your guide to a new future.


The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is essential reading for any would be solopreneur or microbusiness that is looking for guidance on how to take the first steps towards operating their business. With chapters on everything from business plans to product launches, the whole business lifecycle is well explained and laid out in full.

If you make your business about helping others, you’ll always have plenty of work.

Built upon thousands of survey responses, a multitude of interviews and numerous in depth follow up calls, The $100 Startup uses case studies at its core, in order to teach entrepreneurship by example. A diverse range of real life microbusinesses and solopreneurs from a wide range of industries are used to highlight how accessible modern business has become. No longer do you need high investment capital, a detailed and well thought out business plan or a stream of existing clients, you just need an idea and the courage to follow through.

The real gem of the book isn’t the positive outlook, wealth of resources or the potential business ideas, but the proven fact that people all over the world are creating profitable businesses with a lack of starting capital and little to no prior business experience. This reinforcement of the bootstrapping startup model is both refreshing and motivational and leaves you with the feeling that you and your business are capable of achieving absolutely anything.

Moreover the book is hard to criticise. Some examples may come off as outdated and written at a time where it wasn’t as common to be self-employed, but the fact that the examples are outdated doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. They are merely there to support the principles outlined in the book and to provide inspiration as to the reader’s own capabilities. For example, if a homeless single mum can create an advertising agency from scratch, what can I achieve?

True partnership must create more than just a divided list of tasks.

Furthermore, the same can be said with the types of businesses on offer. A decent range of companies are mentioned throughout The $100 Startup but they mostly fall into consulting services. However, this again serves to highlight the fact that anyone can be a self-employed consultant, all you need is the willingness to jump in and the right positioning in order to stand out.

To conclude, while The $100 Startup only touches upon the surface of the business lifecycle it is a great resource for new businesses and first time startups. The content outlined in the book can be used as a template for starting, launching and growing a successful business and the content is well written, accessible and, most important, enjoyable. The $100 Startup is as entertaining as it is inspiring – 4/5.

Mentioned Reading

  • Escape From Cubicle Nation – Pamela Slim
  • The 4-Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferriss
  • Scientific Advertising – Claude Hopkins
  • The Referral Engine – John Jantsch

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By Jake Doran

Masters in Advanced Computer Science student at Keele University, interested in all things tech and business, with aspirations to undertake an MBA in the future.

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