The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky

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 There are many ways to make profit and it is unlikely that your business does all of them. People will pay different prices for the same thing in different situations (think: Coke in the grocery store vs. Coke in a nice restaurant). Good profit models are easy to brainstorm and hard to execute.

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The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Zander and Benjamin Zander

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Everything in life is an invention. If you choose to look at your life in a new way, then suddenly your problems fade away. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on the possibilities surrounding you in any situation rather than slipping into the default mode of measuring and comparing your life to others.

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Are You Fully Charged?by Tom Rath

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 There are three keys to being fully charged each day: doing work that provides meaning to your life, having positive social interactions with others, and taking care of yourself so you have the energy you need to do the first two things. Trying to maximize your own happiness can actually make you feel self-absorbed and lonely, but giving more can drive meaning and happiness in your life. People who spend money on experiences are happier than those who spend on material things.

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Anything You Want

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by Derek Sivers

Print | eBook | Audiobook

The Book in Three Sentences: Too many people spend their life pursuing things that don’t actually make them happy. When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you create all the laws. Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers.

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Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

Hardcover | Print  | Audiobook

The Book in Three Sentences

“Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself”.

“Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself”.

“Never do anything just for the money”.

The Five Big Ideas

“Don’t pursue business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help”.

“Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working”.

“You don’t need money to start helping people”.

“The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy”.

“When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than ‘Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!’—then say ‘no.’”

Anything You Want Summary

“Don’t be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams”.

“Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself”.

“Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself”.

“When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world”.

“Never do anything just for the money”.

“Don’t pursue business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help”.

“Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working”.

“Your business plan is moot. You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it”.

“Starting with no money is an advantage. You don’t need money to start helping people”.

“You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people”.

“Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business”.

“The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy”.

“Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working”.

“When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than ‘Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!’—then say ‘no.’”

“Any time you think you know what your new business will be doing, remember this quote from Steve Blank: No plan survives first contact with customers”.

“Necessity is a great teacher”.

“Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make every decision—even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone—according to what’s best for your customers”.

“It’s counterintuitive, but the way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone”.

“Starting small puts 100 percent of your energy on actually solving real problems for real people”.

“Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing”.

“Care about your customers more than about yourself, and you’ll do well”.

“Set up your business like you don’t need the money, and it’ll likely come your way”.

“When one customer wrongs you, remember the hundred thousand who did not”.

“Please know that it’s often the tiny details that really thrill people enough to make them tell all their friends about you”.

“There’s a benefit to being naïve about the norms of the world— deciding from scratch what seems like the right thing to do, instead of just doing what others do”.

“In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have”.

“To be a true business owner, make sure you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left”

“Trust, but verify. Remember it when delegating. You have to do both”.

Recommended Reading

If you like Anything You Want, you may also enjoy the following books:

Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! by Anthony Robbins

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday

Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way by Steven Pressfield

The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone

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The 10X Rule says that 1) you should set targets for yourself that are 10X greater than what you believe you can achieve and 2) you should take actions that are 10X greater than what you believe are necessary to achieve your goals. The biggest mistake most people make in life is not setting goals high enough. Taking massive action is the only way to fulfill your true potential.

The 10X Rule breaks down the anatomy of extraordinary success by first pointing out what’s wrong with shooting for average, why you should for ten times more when tackling your goals and how to back up your new, bold targets with the right actions.

One thing I’ve learned from thousands of marketing articles and videos over the years is to never judge people in those professions by their cover. I was raised, like most people, to be skeptical of all sales people, but that makes it harder to see the often good person behind the shiny exterior.

Grant Cardone is definitely one of the guys I would have instantly put into a box five years ago, but not today. I took the time to watch a few interviews with him and he’s quite smart, humble and actually a bit nerdy. In Your Move by Ramit Sethi, I learned to ask myself how much impact potential projects can really have.

Why bother with growing your revenue 20% when you can try to double it? The 10X Rule sounded like a similar idea, so I thought I’d check it out. Here are the 3 things I learned:

  • The problem with average is that it may not last very long.
  • The 10X Rule has two parts: outstanding effort and audaciousgoals.
  • Most people know only three degrees of taking action, butthere is a fourth one and it’s the best.

Imagine you 10x-ed everything in your life right this second. What would that feel like? Let’s see how we can turn this vision into reality!

Lesson 1: All average everything is the world we live in, but it often doesn’t last.

One of Grant’s favorite quotes is that “average is, by definition, less than extraordinary.” A line rappers use to hint at the lavish luxury of their cars or clothes is “all black everything.” Our world is closer to “all average everything,” where most people live average lives in average houses with average careers and average goals.

The problem isn’t so much the state of average itself – not everyone can be a millionaire – but the fact that average is sold to us as a safe bet to make. It’s not. When you aspire to be part of a middle class that has been dwindling for years, you’re only thinking about today and tomorrow, but not long-term.

A nasty side effect of only lurking around average is that you can fall below average very quickly. All it takes is one busted loan, one property damaged, one financial crisis and you’ll go straight to poverty.

The 10x Rule will help you make sure this never happens.

Lesson 2: There are two parts to The 10x Rule: extra effort and bigger goals.

To prevent your brain from even thinking in “average mode,” you can use Grant’s 10X Rule, which has two simple aspects to it:

Whatever goal you’re trying to achieve will probably take 10X the effort you suspect, so you should account for it.

Wherever you set the bar for your goal, if you shoot for 10X the results, you’ll end up in a much better place.

The first part is just smart. If you expect you need 10 phone calls to make a sale, schedule 100. Think you’ll shoot five takes for your video? Plan 50. And so on. This buffer achieves multiple things. It lowers your expectations, increases your patience and re-calibrates your work ethic, right from the start.

The second part is about shooting for the moon and then landing among the stars, even if you miss. Like the question I found in Your Move, going for 10x the results you originally wanted instantly rules out average thinking. You can’t possibly make $10,000 with the exact same approach as making $100,000.

Kicking your creativity into high gear helps you accomplish more than you think you’d be capable of, even if you fail. That’s still better than getting the average result you set out for. Now all you have to do is take action!

Lesson 3: A degree of action most people don’t see is massive action and it’s the one that’ll get you to your goals.

Another thing Grant sees that most people don’t is an extra degree of action. Here are the three everyone knows, we all spend most of our time in one of them:

No action. You do nothing. Your book lies unfinished in the drawer, the website redesign remains un-tackled.

Retreat. Whatever action you took before has lead to failure so right now, you’re dialing back and laying low.

Normal action. You just go about your day and comply with requests and to dos as they’re served.

The last mode is the one we spend the most time in and it’s also the most dangerous because it has us running right towards average. Here’s the fourth degree of action Grant thinks is best: massive action.

It’s when you go all out to convince Home Depot to stock your sprinkler. When you re-record all the videos for your course in one day, because the files were unusable. This kind of action should be your default mode and we all know people who live that way: children.

Kids don’t budget their time or weigh their effort. They just set a goal and then they work on it until it’s done. Who’d have thought one of the most successful sales guys in the world gets his inspiration from the little ones?

Well, so can you and maybe that’s the true secret behind The 10X Rule.

My personal take-aways

Rarely has the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” felt more appropriate. Grant’s a good guy. Give him a chance and hopefully, you’ll learn to think in bigger dimensions too. If there’s only one takeaway from this summary, I think it’s that.

12 Rules For Life Summary

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12 Rules For Life is a stern, story-based, entertaining self-help manual for young people, that lays out a set of simple principles, which can help us become more disciplined, behave better, act with integrity, and balance our lives while enjoying them as much as we can.

Four words every writer is dying to hear at least once in life: “One million copies sold.” But you wouldn’t expect to hear them four months after the publication of your second book. Then again, Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life isn’t just a book. As for his first one, Peterson spent years collecting and refining the ideas that would create a sort of blueprint for a good life. This time, however, the book didn’t flop and sell less than 500 copies.

Since its publication in January and Peterson’s accompanying world tour, 12 Rules For Life completely exploded, dominating bestseller lists around the globe. Suddenly, millions view, listen to, and follow Peterson on social media, he’s racked up over $60,000 in monthly donations through Patreon, and, of course, one million copies sold.

Whether he’s just struck the right nerve at the right time or put his finger on true significance and meaning, only time will tell, but with thousands of people messaging him how the book’s changed their lives, chances are good it’s the latter. Let’s look at 3 of his 12 rules to begin to find out:

Sweep in front of your own door before pointing out the street is dirty.
Treat yourself like a child you’re responsible for.
Aim to do what is meaningful, not convenient.
These form the premise Peterson’s book is built on and thus, the context for understanding why it’s been such a success. Let’s go!

Lesson 1: Before you judge the world, take responsibility for your own life.
Life isn’t fair. We all learn that one way or other. Some of us sooner, some later, some in small ways, some from terrifying blows. But we all realize it eventually. Like the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, who, in his short, philosophical piece, A Confession, concluded there are only four reasonable responses to the absurdity of life:

Ignorance, like a child refusing to accept reality.
Pleasure, like an addict on the hedonic treadmill.
Holding on, despite everything.
Even though he concluded suicide was the most honest answer, Tolstoy himself chose the last option, forever struggling on, which tells you a lot about his and Peterson’s beliefs about a good life: No matter how unfair life gets, you should never blame the world. There’s always someone who’s suffered worse than you. Like Viktor Frankl, for example.

Besides, even though the future may sometimes look bleak, if you can focus on taking responsibility and keeping your own house clean, so to speak, you’ll find the bad times will pass.

Lesson 2: Care for yourself like you would for a loved one.
Have you ever gotten a prescription from the doctor and thought: “Naaa, I don’t need that?” Over one third of people do it regularly. According to Peterson, it’s neither smart nor smug. It’s a subversive form of self-punishment. We do it a lot and, as a result, tend to take better care of others than ourselves.

Peterson suggests this is a consequence of our inability to deal with the insanity of life described above. Just like Adam and Eve had to taste the forbidden fruit of knowledge, we too indulge in our dark sides from time to time and thus, feel we deserve punishment. But, as with the unfairness of life, we all got thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Like Yin and Yang, we all carry both light and dark inside us. One can’t exist without the other.

That means instead of just striving for either one, we should seek balance, which is why his second rule is to care for yourself like you would care for a loved one: do what is best for you, even though it might not always make you happy.

Lesson 3: Seek meaning through sacrifice, not happiness through pleasure.
Balancing your light and your dark side can take many different forms. Sometimes, it may be staying in bed to get healthy, even though you want to work. Other times, it might mean staying late at work on a Friday. However it looks like, it always involves choosing meaning by making a sacrifice, rather than temporary happiness by choosing pleasure.

Peterson says this is a great coping mechanism, because it helps balance your life between drowning in hedonism and being so righteous it drives you mad. Of course not all sacrifices are equal. Those you make for personal gain, like working overtime to pay for a vacation, hold less meaning than those you make for the greater good, like volunteering on a Saturday.

Even though it might feel like it when you do it, sacrifice is never really about giving up rewards, it’s about deferring them until you can get something even better, usually a feeling of whole-ness or contentment. As such, it’s also great willpower training.

I’ll leave you with an analogy Peterson makes. The Lotus flower starts out at the very bottom of the lake, drenched in darkness. Inch by inch, it grows its way towards the surface, until, eventually, it breaks through and into the sunlight. I could sure think of worse ways to spend a life than to be a Lotus flower.

My personal take-aways
I haven’t gotten around to reading the full book, but I’d like to. It’s full of stories, science, myths, a broad mix of engaging ways to get his message across. It’s mainly targeted at male millennials, but don’t let that stop you. There’s something for everyone in 12 Rules For Life.

What else can you learn from the blinks?
Where the expression ‘pecking order’ comes from
What makes Jordan sad every time he returns to his childhood home
Why you should assess your life like a home inspector
The real job of parents
Nietzsche’s tool for measuring the strength of the human spirit
How you can practice active listening
Why you should pet all cats you see on the sidewalk
Who would I recommend the 12 Rules For Life summary to?
The 27 year old college student, who’s worried because she hasn’t figured out life, the 48 year old parent, who’s in a crisis, because he thinks he’s too old for this, and anyone who’s feeling lonely and depressed.

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