Book Review: Killing It by Sheryl O*Loughlin

Title:  Killing It
Authors: Sheryl O'Loughlin
Publisher: Harper Business
Release Date:  December 6, 2016
Genre: Non-Ficiton

The former CEO of Clif Bar, Co-founder of Plum, and serial entrepreneur offers insights about launching and growing a business while maintaining a fulfilled life in this practical guide filled with hard-won advice culled from the author’s own sometimes dark, raw experiences. With a foreword by Steve Blank.

Aspiring entrepreneurs are told that to launch a business, you must go all in, devoting every resource and moment to making it work. But following this advice comes at an enormous personal cost: divorce, addiction, even suicide. It means sacrificing the intangibles that make life worth living.

Sheryl O’Loughlin knows there is a better way. In Killing It, she shares the wisdom she’s gained from her successful experiences launching a company from the ground up (Plum), running two fast-growing companies (Clif Bar and REBBL), and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs (Stanford University). She tells it like it is: If you don’t invest in your wellbeing, your business will not succeed, nor will you.

Sheryl knows firsthand the difficulty of balancing the needs of her growing family with her physical and mental health, while managing other work and life challenges. In this warm, honest, and wise handbook, she gives you the essentials for killing it in business—without killing the rest of your life.

Filled with real-life examples and anecdotes, Killing It addresses common questions including:

  • How do you prepare your significant other for your business venture?
  • How do you time launching and growing your business with the ebb and flow of family life?
  • How do you find joy in the day-to-day?
  • How do you maintain meaningful, supportive friendships?
  • How do you walk away and start again?

The ultimate life and business course, Killing It gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to start their enterprise and thrive—both in the office and at home.

Do you want to start your own business or are you thinking of starting your own business? In that case, you need to get yourself a copy of Killing It by Sheryl O'Loughlin.  For entrepreneurs and those who wants to be but are skeptical to take the first step, Killing It is well written and easy to understand. Sheryl O'Loughlin is experience in business, in launching her own company and running fast growing companies. She knows what she's talking about, and she is candid about it. She doesn't sugar coat it. Starting and running a business is hard work. It takes dedication and sacrifice. You need to want it, and willing to make it work.

The author is smart, funny and relatable. She speaks to you as the reader with confidence as well as the struggles in balancing work and personal life, providing examples to further explain her point. I find this book can almost relate to those in any leadership role, not necessarily in business, but it definitely will benefit those in the business sector.  This is one of those books that I will want to share with others, as well as keep it handy around. 

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



As a child, Sheryl O'Loughlin was best known for rushing everywhere and being too impatient to pour milk into a glass before drinking it. As an adult, Sheryl is no less eager. She served as the CEO of Clif Bar, where she introduced the world to Luna bars; she was the cofounder and CEO of Plum Organics; and she is currently CEO of REBBL super herb beverages. One of her favorite roles was mentoring budding entrepreneurs when she was the executive director at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. With her book, Sheryl is able to share her advice with a wider group of current and aspiring entrepreneurs all at once, which delights her because, well, it's faster. And that means more time for drinking wine at her Santa Rosa home, and hanging out with her husband and two sons.


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