Badass: Making Users Awesome Book Review

Badass reads more like a textbook than a self-help book, and that’s a great thing. Pictures line the pages as well as explanations, reflections, and activities. She’s gone to great lengths to make this book as accessible to as many people as possible and, especially for businesses/business type people, to escape the corporate jargon that sometimes bogs similar titles in this genre down. From the CEO of a major corporation, to someone just starting out with their own business, Badass is a fount of knowledge for all.

One somewhat surprising thing about the book is how optimistic and encouraging it is. Similar books generally go for the textbook route and keep the content focused on the how-to’s and what specific path you should follow for the best success. Badass doesn’t do this. Often, there are jokes in the footnotes and captions, and Sierra leaves the door open for contemplation through the exercises and assessments. The exercises are meant to help the reader evaluate where they currently are in their badass journey with their users. She sets the reader up with the tools to evaluate, let’s them evaluate, and then helps them decipher the results. This is both refreshing and indispensable.

Badass seems to be mostly targeted towards business owners or developers/inventors just starting out with a new app or product. The focus is not in how to make the best product per se, but in how to make the best tool to create the best users.

“Not badass products, badass users. Not amazing apps, amazing users. Where you find sustained success driven by recommendations, you find badass users. Smarter, more skillful, more powerful users. Users who know more and can do more in a way that’s personally meaningful. Users don’t evangelize to their friends because they like the product, they evangelize to their friends because they like their friends.[1]

The goal is to give the user to appropriate and the best tools to make themselves the best users at whatever it is that they’re setting out to do. People don’t buy expensive cameras because they want to be camera experts. They buy those cameras because they want to be better photographers and take better pictures. This paradigm shift gives the creators the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate both their products usefulness as well as it’s user-friendliness. What good is the best app on the market if it’s a pain for people to use?

Badass not only imparts this knowledge onto readers for a creator’s sake, but also gives it out freely to people just looking to better themselves. In delving into the distinct aspects and processes of making someone an expert at something, Sierra also lets the reader themselves into the loop on helping them become better experts at whatever it is that they love.

This is main crux of why Badass is so rewarding for creators, hobbyists, and general readers alike. You don’t have to be the owner of a company or an inventor searching for their breakthrough to gain from the knowledge of this book. Sierra writes in such a way that it meets everyone where they currently are. The knowledge isn’t dumbed down to the lowest common denominator; it’s just written in a way that’s so accessible for all parties involved. This is her genius. This is Badass.

[1] Page 27; (inspired by a quote from Mike Arauz)


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Review Statement: The reviewer was supplied a copy of the book for the purspose of this review.

Samuel Cline

The author Samuel Cline

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