Learn how to Build. Build your career, business and your life.

A Book Review – Build: An Unorthodox Guide To Making Things Worth Making

By Tony Fadell

How do we build? Why should we build?
How do we build? Why should we build?

iPod, iPhone and “BUILD”?

Without doubt, the iPods and iPhones have been among the most important devices built by Apple during the years 2001 to 2010. You will always remember the keynote speeches presented by Steve Jobs introducing these groundbreaking products, and their impacts to the entire world have been profound.

But do you know who was the genius behind these amazing products? It was Tony Fadell, the author of this book “Build”, who led a small team at Apple to spearhead these development projects.

As similar to many successful entrepreneurs, Tony’s journey was full of ups and downs. In reality before he thrived in building the innovative iPods and iPhones known to the world, he had so many startup and product failures. These failures, however, all contributed to the successes he attainted today.

“If you’re passionate about something – something that could be solving a huge problem one day – then stick with it.”

Chapter 1.2 Get a Job

In this book, Tony generously shares his valuable experiences on how to build. However, he not only talks about building a product, but also shares valuable lessons on how to build yourself (as a better person), a career, a business and a team.

As stated by Tony, this book aimed to become an “advice encyclopedia” which you can freely flip through anytime on topics that you wanted advice on. I have learnt a great deal by reading this book. I outline my three key learnings to share with you in below sections.


Part III of the book focuses on advices about building a good product. Regardless of the product nature, a product is good if it helps to solve someone else problems.

The key to building a good (or great) product is to place strong emphasis on the “WHY” and not get carried away by the “WHAT”.

The WHY is the reason for the creation of your business, for instance to solve a specific problem some people are facing. The WHAT is the product you are building and that your business is offering to customers.

Great business ideas in fact start with the simple notion of helping to solve a particular human problem or need. When we are hungry, we look for food to eat. If we feel bored, we seek for entertainment. When we want to stay healthy, we work out and do exercises. Good business ideas aim to solve these needs.

Tony advises us to conduct adequate research to test the feasibility of our business idea. He advises that an idea is usually great if it sticks to our mind, and some indications include the following.

  1. It solves for “why”. The “why” drives the “what” (but not the other way around)
  2. It solves a problem many people have in their daily lives
  3. You cannot stop thinking about it despite knowing its difficulty

When you clearly understand the reason for your creation, it’s time to commit to building your product. The technique of “storytelling” will help you bridge the gap between the need (WHY) and the solution (WHAT).

Build by Tony Fadell

It’s time to Build.

(Paid link via Amazon)


Tony encourages us to build things that we are passionate about.

In Tony’s closing remarks, he believed that there are two things that really mattered: products and people. It boils down to what you are building and who you are building it with.

This is because building something special actually defines both your career and life. Building a successful product can earn you fame, money and give your unlimited satisfactions. However, Tony reminded us that success is not a guarantee.

In most cases, we will fail and we will fail hard. Sometimes even an amazing product will fall apart. However, as like what I learnt in the book The Alchemist, Tony resonates that the journey may be more rewarding than the goal itself.

Even if we fail, it still counts as we would have learnt loads and grown. In addition, along the way we are building something, we would get hold onto many wonderful people. These are invaluable treasures and instill meanings in our lives.

Tony pointed out that at some point in life, you will realize that the things you built may have changed other people’s life (in a positive way). This is when you know, that you have made something worth making.


“Build” is an excellent advice book which contains so much invaluable wisdoms. I can write on and on the lessons or reminders I have learnt but I recommend the best is for you to get your own copy (see above) to read.

After reading this book, I attempted to put knowledge in practice by reflecting on what the Calm Reading is trying to offer to my readers.

Obviously, the WHAT is this current site. I started the Calm Reading with a good intention of promoting calmness through reading. But I reflected that I have not done enough research on the WHY.

Remember that the “why” should ultimately shape and drive the “what”. I will need to clearly understand the issue to solve (the “why”) in order to improve my site (the “what”) to better help people.

I figured that the ultimate problem I wanted to solve would be “How to help people in the modern world to reduce stress and increase relaxation through reading”.

So I am planning to do more research then make improvements to this site over the course of the coming few weeks. If you have any constructive ideas, please do leave me a comment in the section below.

I will see you again in the next post!

Own the book

Build by Tony Fadell

It’s time to Build.

(Paid link via Amazon)

From Amazon

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2 responses to “Learn the WHY And the WHAT to “Build” in Life”

  1. Kitty Tse Avatar
    Kitty Tse

    Good recommendation!

    1. The Creator Avatar

      Thank you Kitty, glad you liked the post!

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