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Book Notes

I take notes while I read. These book notes start with a short summary and my two cents, then follow by key lessons and highlights.

This page will be constantly updated as I read more, so bookmark it if you want to check back in a few months. Or you can signup to my newsletter to receive the latest book notes in your inbox.

Smartcuts

Smartcuts

How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

Shane Snow

New ideas emerge when we question the assumptions. Successful mentorship happens when we have a mentor guide our journey, not just our practice. Negative feedback spur improvement but we need to separate ourselves from the perceived failure and learn from it objectively. While hard work is important, deliberate pattern spotting can compensate for experience. Giving makes us a superconnector and creates serendipity. Momentum is the predictor of success. Simplification gets what we do from good to amazing. Constraints make us more creative. Going after a 10x goal forces better thinking and attracts supporters.

The Simple Path to Wealth

The Simple Path to Wealth

Your Roadmap to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life

JL Collins

The simple formula to financial well-being: spend less than you earn—invest the surplus—avoid debt. Your goal is to save up F-You money, generally 25x of your annual expenses, to regain your freedom. During the wealth accumulation stage, allocate 100% of your investment portfolio to Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) or its ETF (VTI). When you're closer to your retirement, adjust 20-50% of your portfolio to include Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBTLX) or its ETF (BND). Aim for a 3-7% withdrawal rate during your (early) retirement.

Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters

OKRs — The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth

John Doerr

Goal setting is more of an art than a science. OKR stands for Objectives, Key Results. Each objective is paired with a few— usually two to four—key results. Objectives are what you want to accomplish while key results are the outcomes you need to see to achieve your objectives. They help teams communicate and work with each other. OKR works best with CFR that stands for Conversations, Feedback, Recognition. CFR helps facilitate communications and collaborations. Together, OKR and CFR build a culture that helps teams strive.

On Writing Well

On Writing Well

The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

William Zinsser

The essence of writing is rewriting. Spend the time to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Take extra care of the very first sentence, the lead of an article, and the last sentence of a paragraph. To be a professional writer, establish a daily writing routine and stick to it. The product that any writer has to sell is not the subject being written about, but who he or she is. Don't be afraid to share your values and be open with your intention. To write well, you must have the confidence to be yourself.

The E-Myth Revisited

The E-Myth Revisited

Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

Michael E. Gerber

Before starting any business, understand that you have three roles: The Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician. The Entrepreneur sets the vision and leads the way; The Manager manages the processes and the people; The Technician does the work. Your business needs you to be the Entrepreneur to build a systems-dependent business that could work even without you, the owner. Create systems around finance, marketing, management, and operations to serve (and innovate for) your customers with the experience they—not you—want and need.

The Psychology of Money

The Psychology of Money

Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness

Morgan Housel

Money decisions are rarely rational and almost always emotional. That said, doing well with money has more to do with our behavior than our intelligence. Instead of a specific case study, you’ll get closer to actionable takeaways by looking for broad patterns of success and failure. Rich is a current income; wealth is financial assets that haven't yet been converted into the stuff you see. The hardest financial skill is to have enough—so master it early. To build wealth, focus on what you can control: Increase your saving rate and the time horizon of you stay invested.

How Will You Measure Your Life

How Will You Measure Your Life

Finding Fulfillment Using Lessons From Some of the World's Greatest Businesses

Clayton Christensen

There is no shortcut to happiness and meaning in life. While success leaves cues, past data doesn't guarantee future outcomes. Until you allocate your resources to what's important, it doesn't matter. The best time to take care of your health and relationships is now, not when you most need them. Have guiding principles and commit to them. Things happen in small incremental. "Just this once" is a dangerous first leap that gets us to where we don't want to be. Lastly, create a life purpose—learn to look past the immediate reward—and focus on fulfilling it.

High Performance Habits

High Performance Habits

How Extraordinary People Become That Way

Brendon Bruchard

Seek clarity on your identity, values, and goals. Then, generate energy to maintain focus, effort, and well-being. Raise the necessity of exceptional performance by creating internal standards and external accountability. Increase productivity in your primary field of interest by focusing on prolific quality output. Then, develop influence with those around you to get help and support. Finally, show courage by expressing your ideas, taking bold action, and standing up for yourself and others, even in the face of fears and uncertainty.

This Is Marketing

This Is Marketing

You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

Seth Godin

Make products and services for the customers you want to serve rather than finding customers for the products and services you want to make. Marketing is about making change happen. To do that, create a culture by telling stories that match the built-in narratives and dreams of the smallest viable market you choose to serve. Then, show up consistently to earn permission—by building confidence and trust—to follow up and share your work.

A Short Guide to a Long Life

A Short Guide to a Long Life

David Augus

Your body loves predictability. Reduce stress on your body by maintaining a routine for your sleep-wake cycles, eating times, periods of physical activity, and schedule for taking any prescribed medications. Consume foods that are as close to nature as possible. Maintain a correct posture, stand, exercise, and stretch more. Have a personal hygiene routine especially for your teeth and feet. If possible, take time off to relax and live with someone else to improve your mental health.

Smarter Faster Better

Smarter Faster Better

The Transformative Power of Real Productivity

Charles Duhigg

Productivity is all about our attempts to figure out the best uses of our resources as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort. To motivate ourselves, we must feel like we are in control. To be a great leader, build a culture where people feel heard and safe. To make better decisions, use mental models to direct our attention, rather than just react, and learn to think probabilistically. To get creative, connect existing ideas in new ways. To learn from new information, we need to force ourselves to do something with the data.

Dollars and Sense

Dollars and Sense

How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter

Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler

Money has no value, it represents value. Every financial decision has an opportunity cost. We assign money to mental categories, and that controls how we think and feel about money. We are willing to pay more when we see the effort involved even when it doesn't change what we get. Prices shouldn’t affect value, performance, or pleasure—but they do. Money is a means to an end. But because money is much more tangible than happiness, well-being, and purpose, we tend to focus our decision-making on money instead of on our ultimate, more meaningful goals.

Expert Secrets

Expert Secrets

The Underground Playbook for Creating a Mass Movement of People Who Will Pay For Your Advice

Russell Brunson

Three common things in people who build a mass movement: 1) charismatic and attractive character, 2) focus on a future-based cause that was bigger than themselves, and 3) offer their audience a new opportunity. To get started, go out there and work for free and get some results. If what you’re doing works, then capture those stories and testimonials. Everything in business comes down to one thing: Belief. You must persuade people to believe in what you are doing, and you do that by mastering the art of storytelling.

Outsource Smart

Outsource Smart

Be Your Own Boss… Without Letting Your Business Become the Boss of You

Daven Michaels

Your desire to work less doesn’t mean you’re lazy. Being busy is not necessarily being productive. Focus on income-generating activities (and what you enjoy doing) and delegate everything else. To ensure you hire right, give them a task and see whether they can complete it capably. Building a relationship with your VAs is essential. When your VAs feel bonded to you, they’ll be vested in your success. Learning to delegate is challenging, but the better you know yourself and what you’re after, the more successful you’ll be.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Violate Them at Your Own Risk!

Al Ries and Jack Trout

Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products. You need money to get into a mind and to stay in the mind. It's better to be first than it is to be better. Create a category you can be the first in. Discover the essence of the leader and then presents yourself as the opposite. If you want to be successful, you have to narrow the focus to build a position in the prospect’s mind. One of the most effective ways is to first admit a negative and then twist it into a positive.

The Little Book of Stoicism

The Little Book of Stoicism

Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness

Jonas Salzgeber

The four Roman Stoics whose writings and teachings build the foundation of Stoicism: Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. In Stoicism, The good life depends on your characters, choices, and actions rather than your circumstances. The ultimate goal of life is Eudaimonia (to become good with your inner spirit) and Areté (to express the highest version of yourself in every moment). The four broad Stoic virtues are Wisdom, Justice, Courage, and Self-discipline.

Company of One

Company of One

Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business

Paul Jarvis

As a company of one, you build your business around your life, not the other way around. To do that, start small, define growth, and keep learning. Execution is the only valid currency in business. Develop real connections by sharing simple messages, repeatedly, through your actions. Then, utilize simple rules, systems, solutions, and processes to reach profitability as quickly as possible.

Night School

Night School

Wake Up to the Power of Sleep

Richard Wiseman

Your brain removes unwanted toxins during sleep. Poor sleep slams cognitive performance. Sleep in ninety-minute blocks, e.g. 360 minutes (6 hours), 450 minutes (7.5 hours), etc. To improve sleep, avoid bright light before your sleep, keep your room dark and cold, and have a wind-down routine. Napping is good—make it a part of your daily routine. Your dreams help identify your worries and concerns, at the same time, see new and innovative solutions to your problems.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad

What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money—That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not

Robert Kiyosaki

Two emotions that keep people in Rat Race: fear and greed. Assets put money into your pocket, liabilities take money out from it. Rich people acquire assets. The poor and middle class acquire liabilities that they think are assets. Raise your financial IQ by learning accounting, investing, understanding markets, and law. If you want to be a successful business owner and investor, develop three main skills: 1) find opportunities that everyone else missed, 2) raise money, and 3) organize smart people.

Your Move

Your Move

The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business

Ramit Sethi

The best entrepreneurs know that they have an obligation to ask for the sale because that’s the best way to help their customers. Money is the marker that you're doing the right thing because people pay you for the value you create and the problems you solve. And the more you make, the more value you can create. Focus on what you can control, ignore what you cannot. Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on your audience.

The Brain Audit

The Brain Audit

Why Customers Buy (And Why They Don’t)

Sean D’Souza

Remember: Your readers are busy. Isolate and elevate a problem, and then, present a solution which is the flip side of the problem. To make your copy effective, choose one person and write for only him or her. Objections are your friends. If your prospects didn't care, they'd just walk away. Start your testimonials with an objection, and then share how your products resolve it. You don’t find your uniqueness; you invent it. Choose what you want to be the best at, and then build your business around it.

Do The Work

Do The Work

Steven Pressfield

Resistance is a repelling force that prevents us from doing our work. The more important a call is, the stronger the Resistance. Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneur’s worst enemy. We can accomplish nothing until we act. So start before you’re ready. Get something done, however flawed or imperfect. When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion. The opposite of fear is love for the work, challenges, and growth.

Mastery

Mastery

Robert Greene

Smart Choices

Smart Choices

A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions

John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, Howard Raiffa

How to Be a Productivity Ninja

How to Be a Productivity Ninja

Worry Less, Achieve More, Love What You Do

Graham Allcott

The Winner’s Brain

The Winner’s Brain

8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success

Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

No Guilt. No Excuses. No B.S. Just a 6-Week Program That Works

Ramit Sethi

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

Cal Newport

Ego is the Enemy

Ego is the Enemy

Ryan Holiday

We Are All Weird

We Are All Weird

The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal

Seth Godin

Principles

Principles

Life and Work

Ray Dalio

Brain Rules

Brain Rules

12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

John Medina

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Mark Manson

Poke The Box

Poke The Box

When was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?

Seth Godin

The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power

Robert Greene

Business Without the Bullsh*t

Business Without the Bullsh*t

49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know

Geoffrey James

Perennial Seller

Perennial Seller

The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts

Ryan Holiday

The 4-Hour Work Week

The 4-Hour Work Week

Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich

Tim Ferriss

The Art of Thinking Clearly

The Art of Thinking Clearly

Rolf Dobelli

Unshakeable

Unshakeable

Your Financial Freedom Playbook

Tony Robbins

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Stephen Covey

The Accidental Creative

The Accidental Creative

How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice

Todd Henry

Blink

Blink

The Power of Thinking without Thinking

Malcolm Gladwell

What Clients Love

What Clients Love

A Field Guide to Growing Your Business

Harry Beckwith

10-Minute Toughness

10-Minute Toughness

The Mental-Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins

Jason Selk

Manage Your Day-to-Day

Manage Your Day-to-Day

Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

99U, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei

The Bounce Back Book

The Bounce Back Book

How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity, Setbacks, and Losses

Karen Salmansohn

It’s a Jungle in There

It’s a Jungle in There

Inspiring Lessons, Hard-won Insights, and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring

Steven Schussler

Outliers

Outliers

The Story of Success

Malcolm Gladwell

The Hour between Dog and Wolf

The Hour between Dog and Wolf

How Risk Taking Transforms Us, Body and Mind

John Coates

The Narrow Road

The Narrow Road

A Brief Guide to the Getting of Money

Felix Dennis

Linchpin

Linchpin

Are You Indispensable?

Seth Godin

The Virgin Way

The Virgin Way

How to Listen, Learn, and Lead

Richard Branson

Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill

The Impact Equation

The Impact Equation

Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?

Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

David and Goliath

David and Goliath

Underdogs, Misfits & the Art of Battling Giants

Malcolm Gladwell

Influence

Influence

What It Really Means and How to Make It Work for You

Jenny Nabben

Enchantment

Enchantment

The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Guy Kawasaki

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Robin Sharma

Launch

Launch

The Secret Formula to Sell Almost Anything Online

Good Products Bad Products

Good Products Bad Products

Essential Elements to Achieving Superior Quality

James Adams

How We Learn

How We Learn

The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens

Benedict Carey

The Champion’s Mind

The Champion’s Mind

How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive

Jim Afremow

The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit

Why We Do What We Do in Life & Business

Charles Duhigg

The $100 Startup

The $100 Startup

Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love And Work Better To Live More

Chris Guillebeau

Obliquity

Obliquity

Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly

John Kay

59 Seconds

59 Seconds

Think A Little Change A Lot

Richard Wiseman

The Fast Diet

The Fast Diet

Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting

Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

Awaken The Giant Within

Awaken The Giant Within

How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Financial Destiny

Tony Robbins

The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon

George Clason

This Is Marketing

This Is Marketing

marketing entrepreneurship

Smarter Faster Better

Smarter Faster Better

productivity high performance psychology

Dollars and Sense

Dollars and Sense

money psychology

Expert Secrets

Expert Secrets

entrepreneurship marketing

Outsource Smart

Outsource Smart

productivity leadership

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

marketing communication

The Little Book of Stoicism

The Little Book of Stoicism

philosophy mindset

Company of One

Company of One

entrepreneurship creativity work perspective

Night School

Night School

health high performance productivity

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad

money mindset

Your Move

Your Move

entrepreneurship marketing

The Brain Audit

The Brain Audit

communication marketing

Do The Work

Do The Work

creativity work

Mastery

Mastery

work psychology creativity success

Smart Choices

Smart Choices

decision making psychology

How to Be a Productivity Ninja

How to Be a Productivity Ninja

productivity high performance

The Winner’s Brain

The Winner’s Brain

high performance psychology

Ego is the Enemy

Ego is the Enemy

philosophy perspective mindset

We Are All Weird

We Are All Weird

marketing creativity entrepreneurship

Principles

Principles

work decision making leadership perspective success

Brain Rules

Brain Rules

success psychology high performance

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

perspective mindset success

Poke The Box

Poke The Box

creativity marketing entrepreneurship

The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power

history leadership success

Business Without the Bullsh*t

Business Without the Bullsh*t

leadership entrepreneurship

Perennial Seller

Perennial Seller

work marketing creativity

The 4-Hour Work Week

The 4-Hour Work Week

money entrepreneurship success

The Art of Thinking Clearly

The Art of Thinking Clearly

psychology decision making

Unshakeable

Unshakeable

money investing

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

productivity high performance

The Accidental Creative

The Accidental Creative

creativity psychology work

Blink

Blink

decision making perspective psychology

What Clients Love

What Clients Love

entrepreneurship marketing

10-Minute Toughness

10-Minute Toughness

mindset psychology high performance

Manage Your Day-to-Day

Manage Your Day-to-Day

productivity high performance creativity work

The Bounce Back Book

The Bounce Back Book

health psychology mindset

It’s a Jungle in There

It’s a Jungle in There

entrepreneurship people

Outliers

Outliers

success perspective

The Hour between Dog and Wolf

The Hour between Dog and Wolf

decision making high performance psychology

The Narrow Road

The Narrow Road

money success people

Linchpin

Linchpin

creativity entrepreneurship work

The Virgin Way

The Virgin Way

entrepreneurship leadership people

Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich

mindset money

The Impact Equation

The Impact Equation

creativity entrepreneurship marketing

David and Goliath

David and Goliath

perspective success

Influence

Influence

communication leadership

Enchantment

Enchantment

leadership entrepreneurship marketing

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

mindset perspective success

Launch

Launch

marketing entrepreneurship

Good Products Bad Products

Good Products Bad Products

decision making creativity perspective

How We Learn

How We Learn

psychology creativity

The Champion’s Mind

The Champion’s Mind

psychology mindset

The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit

high performance productivity psychology success

The $100 Startup

The $100 Startup

entrepreneurship marketing work creativity

Obliquity

Obliquity

success work creativity mindset

59 Seconds

59 Seconds

psychology decision making

The Fast Diet

The Fast Diet

health fitness high performance

Awaken The Giant Within

Awaken The Giant Within

success psychology high performance mindset

The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon

money success mindset

Master Your Week to Master Your Life

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