How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  • Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  • Principle2: Give honest and sincere appreciation
  • Principle3: Arouse in the other person an eager want

Part 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You

  • Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people
  • Principle 2: Smile
  • Principle 3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • Principle 4: Be a good listener
  • Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  • Principle 6: Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely

Part 3: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  • Principle1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  • Principle2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  • Principle3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  • Principle4: Begin in a friendly way
  • Principle5: Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately
  • Principle6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  • Principle7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  • Principle8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  • Principle9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
  • Principle10: Appeal to the nobler motives
  • Principle11: Dramatize your ideas
  • Principle12: Throw down a challenge

Part 4: Be a Leader—How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Rousing Resentment

  • Principle1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  • Principle2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  • Principle3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  • Principle4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  • Principle5: Let the other person save face
  • Principle6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty inyour approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  • Principle7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  • Principle8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
  • Principle9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don’t criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be.

Criticism is futile because it puts us on the defensive and usually makes us strive to justify ourselves. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds our pride, hurts our sense of importance, and arouses resentment.

Don’t criticize others; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.

“Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.”—Confucius

We’re not logical; we’re emotional, motivated by pride and vanity.

“I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody.”—Benjamin Franklin

Rather than condemn others, try to understand them. Try to figure out why they do what they do.

We all want to be appreciated.

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people. The greatest asset I possess and t way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.”—Charles Schwab

Before trying to persuade someone to do something, ask yourself, “How can I make this person want to do it?”

“If there is any one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”—Henry Ford

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.” 

Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Always make the others feel important.

Most people you meet will feel superior to you in some way. A sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.

“Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.”—Disraeli

“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.”

How to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument:

  • Welcome the disagreement
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression
  • Control your temper
  • Listen first
  • Look for areas of agreement
  • Be honest
  • Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully
  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest
  • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem

“There’s magic, positive magic, in such phrases as: ‘I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.’”

“Don’t argue with your customer or your spouse or your adversary. Don’t tell them they are wrong. Don’t get them stirred up. Use a little diplomacy.”

“If we know we are going to be rebuked anyhow, isn’t it far better to beat the other person to it and do it ourselves?”

“Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say or intends to say—and say them before that person has a chance to say them.”

When you’re right, try to win people gently and tactfully to your way of thinking. When you’re wrong, admit your mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm.

“In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing—and keep on emphasizing—the things on which you agree. Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose. Get the other person saying, ‘Yes, yes’ at the outset. Keep your opponent, if possible, from saying ‘No.’”

“Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don’t think so. Don’t condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that”

“If, as a result of reading this book, you get only one thing—an increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view, and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own—if you get only that one thing from this book, it may easily prove to be one of the stepping—stones of your career.”

How to stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively: “I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”

“Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.”

It’s always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.

“Calling attention to one’s mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism.”

“It isn’t nearly so difficult to listen to a recital of your faults if the person criticizing begins by humbly admitting that he, too, is far from impeccable.”

“Admitting one’s own mistakes—even when one hasn’t corrected them—can help convince somebody to change his behavior.”

“People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.”

“Everybody likes to be praised, but when praise is specific, it comes across as sincere—not something the other person may be saying just to make one feel good.”

“If you want to improve a person in a certain aspect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.”

“Tell your child, your spouse, or your employee that he or she is stupid or dumb at a certain thing, has no gift for it and is doing it all wrong, and you have destroyed almost every incentive to try to improve. But use the opposite technique—be liberal with your encouragement, make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it—and he will practice until the dawn comes in the window in order to excel.”

“Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.”

The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:  

Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person

Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do

Ask yourself what is it the other person really wants

Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest

Match those benefits to the other person’s wants

When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit

Recommended Reading

If you like How to Win Friends and Influence People, you may also enjoy the following books:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others by Daniel H Pink

Buy this book

You Are A Badass Summary

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 You Are A Badass helps you become self-aware, figure out what you want in life and then summon the guts to not worry about the how, kick others’ opinions to the curb and focus your life on the thing that will make you happy.

One thing I like about aging is that with each year, I care less about what people think. I’ve always wondered why old people are so direct and unapologetic, but I believe that’s why. They’ve been around long enough that reality has reassured them countless times: opinions don’t matter. Especially not those of haters.

The sad thing about learning this lesson only late in life is that you might not have the energy or time to still achieve your dream, whatever that may be. So the sooner you learn it, the better. If you’re young and worried about what other people think, this book is for you.

Enter Jen Sincero, who’s seriously rebellious and rebelling seriously against humdrum life. After working for a record label, starting a rock band, failing, and then writing a book about that, she became a lesbian, failed at that too and wrote another book about that, before ultimately coaching people to improve their sex lives and later their lives altogether.

You Are A Badass is the culmination of several years of helping people transform their lives from loser to happy-go-lucky and it comes packed with fun stories and valuable lessons.

My favorite 3? Here you go:

Decide you’ll stop caring what other people think. Right. now.

Figure out what you want but don’t obsess about how you’ll get there.

If your habits, surroundings and friends don’t support you, it’s time to change them.

Ready to discover your inner badass and put him or her in charge? Let’s go!

Lesson 1: Draw a line in the sand. Now.

Do you know how you remember some people for one, distinct thing they taught you? With one girl from high school, the only thing I ever really learned from her came in the form of a status update she posted on Facebook:

If people say they don’t have time for you, it just means that other things are more important to them.

I’ve never forgotten this lesson. How you choose to spend your time is entirely up to you, so how you distribute it reflects your true priorities, no matter what you claim they might be. Naturally, chasing a distant dream of yours infers choosing yourself over others – and that always creates some fallout.

If you’re aspiring to be a writer, like I am, some of the comfort you usually get from hanging out with friends will have to come from appreciating the time you now spend writing. Being serious means putting in days, months, years of work.

You’ll lose some friends. You’ll go to less happy hours and football games. You’ll be laughed at. Ridiculed. Made fun of.

But none of that matters if you’re happy spending time chasing what others don’t dare to: To really go for your dream, you must put your inner badass in charge.

Lesson 2: Know what you want, but be flexible about the how.

Sticking with the example of becoming a writer, here’s how most people go about that particular dream:

Realize they want to be a writer.

Analyze every writer that inspires them in detail, learn about their paths to success and craft a masterplan of which track they can follow.

Give up after six months of analysis paralysis and not writing a single word.

That’s the kind of trap you should try to avoid at all costs. Jen suggests doing so by figuring out what you want, but not obsessing over how you’ll get there. Here’s an updated plan for becoming a writer:

There really isn’t much more to it. Imagine making your way through a poorly trodden forest. You’ll find and shape your own path as you go along. The most reassuring thing you can do to get the confidence to call yourself a writer is write, not seek comfort from other writers.

Over time, with more and more hours of writing practice put in, you’ll get into a virtuous cycle that positively reinforces your attitude – and thus gets you to write even more. This is what actually lets you make progress towards your goal. Not planning, or debating, or strategizing.

Lesson 3: When your environment doesn’t support you, change your environment.

Having the thick skin to deal with the ridicule of friends or shooting down their tempting attempts to distract you is one thing. Making a conscious decision to actually get rid of some of the weights that are dragging you down is another. That’s tough.

If your environment, your habits, your friends, even your family, don’t lift you up in your journey towards a life you’ll be glad to have lived when it’s over, it’s time to make some changes.

Those can be internal and external, as long as they shift the focus of your life towards making your dream the center piece. For example, if playing Bubble Blast for 30 minutes every morning over breakfast is something you enjoy, but that cuts into your writing time, maybe you can shave off the last ten minutes in exchange for recording a voice memo you’ll transcribe later in your day.

Similarly, if an old friend you see once a month spends most of your conversation time mocking your writing attempts, maybe that’s an hour a month you can save and, well, dedicate to writing instead.

I’m not saying these decisions are easy, but I have a hunch Jen is onto something that’ll absolutely minimize the number of regrets we have at the end of our lives – and that’s a good thing.

My personal take-aways

I get why this book is such a massive hit. It’s 90% motivation with 10% tactics and calls to action, thrown in at the very end. You’ll get really revved up and ready to go – and then you’re let off your leash. What a wonderful way of setting other people up for success.

Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill: Summary Notes

Categories Money, Top 10Posted on

Think And Grow Rich is a curation of the 13 most common habits of wealthy and successful people, distilled from studying over 500 individuals over the course of 20 years.

Favorite quote from the author:
“The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.” 
― Napoleon Hill

If The Intelligent Investor is the bible for investing, then Think And Grow Rich is the bible for successful people in general. It’ll also make you rich, but not necessarily by picking stocks.

Published in 1937 by Napoleon Hill, this book has sold 70 million (!) copies to date. Yup, nothing beats the power of starting early. To contrast that, the last Harry Potter book has sold 50 million copies – impressive, huh?

Hill spent the majority of his life studying successful people and their habits, and the 13 most prevalent ones are the ones he shares in this book.

Here are the 3 that will get you the furthest:

  • Use autosuggestion to build an unshakable belief in yourself.
  • Be stubborn and always stick to your decisions.
  • Join a Mastermind group to cut the learning curve.

Lesson 1: Use autosuggestion to build an unshakable belief in yourself.

Autosuggestion is a psychological technique developed in the early 20th century.

Basically, it makes use of the Placebo effect by turning your goals into self-fulfilling prophecies through imprinting them in your subconscious.

Hill says a key trait of all successful people is this absolutely incredible, unshakable belief that they have about themselves and their goals.

It’s not a result, more a necessary prerequisite, to become successful.

By telling yourself over and over and over again, that it is possible for you to achieve your goals, that you can make your dreams a reality, and that you have to go your own way and can’t let anyone interfere with it, you form these beliefs in your subconscious.

This builds not only the confidence you need to follow through on your actions, but also lets your goals seep into the unconscious part of your brain, until you automatically align all of your actions in a way that leads you towards your goals.

But what else can you use this belief that could move mountains for?

Lesson 2: Be stubborn and always stick to your decisions.

Maybe you could use it to become a little hardheaded. In fact, you should.

Hill quotes lack of determination as the most common reason for long-term failure.

Millionaires, on the other hand, make snap decisions, and then they stick to them.

Come hell or high water.

When Henry Ford decided the Model T would be his masterpiece, he knew this would be it for the long haul. In spite of people telling him to come up with a new model again and again, he stuck to his guns. How long did production run?

The first model was produced in August 1908, and started the craze that turned into 15 million units total – the last of which was manufactured in 1927 – 19 years later.

Opinions are cheap. Everyone has one, and most people dispense them like they’re paper towels, only cluttering your mind with negative influences.

So be careful who you share your goals with, make it a set of trusted advisors, close friends and allies only – a mastermind maybe?

Lesson 3: Join a Mastermind group to accelerate your learning.

Yes, this is where this concept comes from and yes, it’s that old.

Napoleon Hill invented the Mastermind group as we know it today.

Millions of people use it (I’m in one as well), and with the internet, it’s become a worldwide phenomenon, as it’s gotten easier to hold a Mastermind session with people from around the globe.

Here’s how Hill defined a Mastermind group originally: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

Today, most groups consist of 4 people, which are not necessarily working towards the exact same goal or at the same company, but who are in the same industry and share many problems, obstacles, as well as character traits.

However, groups can be of any size, the only rule being that each session must follow a specific agenda (here’s the one we use).

The main benefit is that by combining the brain power of two or more people to solve problems, the result is more than the sum of its parts.

There is a surplus from sharing experiences, ideas and skills that could never be achieved if each person worked on their stuff alone, and that’s why Masterminds are so powerful.

I highly recommend you start one, you can find groups all over Facebook and online. 

My personal take-aways

It’s really hard to pick 3 things from 13, especially because they’re all important, but I think I did a good job. When you read the summary, you might think “Well, this is a lot of good advice, but it’s all generic.”

That’s true, but always keep in mind when the book was published. Imagine being a 1937 factory worker or coal miner, and then getting your hands on this book – the insights were mind-blowing at the time.

I find it astonishing that you could read this book and know everything you ever need to become successful, as long as you instantly start to execute the ideas in it.

Hats off Mr. Hill, you’ve done a great job at watering all the human plants you found in your lifetime and those of generations to come.

Long notes

The Book in Three Sentences

NapoleonHill researched more than forty millionaires to find out what made them the menthat they were. In Think and Grow Rich, he imparts that knowledge to you

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve

The Five Big Ideas

  • The starting point of all achievement is desire
  • You are the master of your destiny
  • When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal
  • Your greatest success will often come just one step beyond the point at which defeat has overtaken you
  • Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass

Bob Proctor has formed the habit of reading a few lines from Think and Grow Rich every day and has arrived at the conclusion that whatever challenge he may face, his solution will be found in the pages of Think and Grow Rich.

Another habit Proctor has formed that he would urge the reader to follow is to read the chapter on “Persistence” every day for 30 days at least twice a year.

“Don’t wait. The time will never be right.”

“Thoughts are things—and powerful things at that when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches or other material objects.”

Hill learned from years of experience with men that when a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.

“What a different story people would have to tell if only they would adopt a definite purpose and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming obsession.”

“Opportunity has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, often disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat which why so many fail to recognize opportunity.”

“An intangible impulse of thought can be ‘transmuted’ into its physical counterpart.”

Know what you want and have the determination to stand by that desire until you realize it.

“One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.”

Before success comes into your life, you are sure to be met with much temporary defeat and, perhaps, some failure.

More than 500 of the most successful individuals this country has ever known told Hill that their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.

“When riches begin to come, they come so quickly, in such great abundance, that one wonders where they have been hiding all those years.”

One of the main weaknesses of the human race is the average person’s familiarity with the word “impossible.”

A great many years ago Hill purchased a dictionary. The first thing he did with it was turn to the word “impossible” and neatly clip it out of the book. Hill advises you to do the same.

Another weakness found in many people is the habit of measuring everything and everyone by their own impressions and beliefs.

“When poet William Ernest Henley wrote the prophetic lines, ‘I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul,’ he should have informed us that we are the Masters of our Fate, the Captains of our Souls, because we have the power to control our thoughts.”

“A burning desire to be and to do is the starting point from which the dreamer must take off. Dreams are not born of indifference, laziness, or lack of ambition.”

“Those who win in any undertaking must be willing to burn their ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win, which is essential to success.”

“Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.”

The method by which desire for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent consists of six definite, practical actions.

Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say, “I want plenty of money.” Be definite as to the amount.”

Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.”)

Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.

Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.

Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night and once after arising in the morning. As you read, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money.

You can never have riches in great quantities unless you can work yourself into a white heat of desire for money and actually believe you will possess it.

“If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.”

“If the thing you wish to do is right and you believe in it, go ahead and do it. Put your dream across, and never mind what ‘they’ say if you meet with temporary defeat, for ‘they’ perhaps do not know that every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.”

“You may have been disappointed, you may have suffered setbacks and defeat during hard economic times, you may have felt the great heart within you crushed until it bled. Take courage, for these experiences have tempered the spiritual metal of which you are made—they are assets of incomparable value.”

All who succeed in life get off to a bad start and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they “arrive.”

“No one ever is defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.”

“There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. You are never ready for a thing until you believe you can acquire it.”

“No more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty.”

“Nothing is impossible to the person who backs desire with enduring faith.”

“All achievement, no matter what may be its nature or its purpose, must begin with an intense, burning desire for something definite.”

“Faith is a state of mind which may be induced by autosuggestion.”

“Faith is a state of mind which may be induced, or created, by affirmations or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind, through the principle of autosuggestion.”

“Repetition or affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind is the only method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith.”

“All thoughts which have been emotionalized (given feeling) and mixed with faith begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent or counterpart.”

“Each of us is what we are because of the dominating thoughts which we permit to occupy our mind.”

“Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.”

“Your subconscious mind recognizes and acts only upon thoughts which have been well-mixed with emotion or feeling.”

“When visualizing (with closed eyes) the money you intend to accumulate, see yourself rendering the service or delivering the merchandise you intend to give in return for this money.

“Go into some quiet spot (preferably in bed at night) where you will not be disturbed or interrupted, close your eyes, and repeat aloud (so you may hear your own words) the written statement of the amount of money you intend to accumulate, the time limit for its accumulation, and a description of the service or merchandise you intend to give in return for the money.”

“As you carry out these instructions, see yourself already in possession of the money. For example, suppose that you intend to accumulate $500,000 by the first of January, five years hence, that you intend to give personal services in return for the money in the capacity of a sales representative.”

Your written statement of your purpose should be similar to the following:

By the first day of January, [here state the year], I will have in my possession $500,000, which will come to me in various amounts from time to time during the interim. In return for this money, I will give the most efficient service of which I am capable, rendering the fullest possible quantity, and the best possible quality of service in the capacity of selling…. (describe the service or merchandise you intend to sell). I believe that I will have this money in my possession. My faith is so strong that I can now see this money before my eyes. I can touch it with my hands. It is now awaiting transfer to me at the time and in the proportion that I deliver the service, I intend to render in return for it. I am awaiting a plan by which to accumulate this money, and I will follow that plan when it is received.

“Repeat this program night and morning until you can clearly visualize (in your imagination) the money you intend to accumulate.”

“Place a written copy of your statement where you can see it night and morning, and read it just before retiring and upon arising until it has been memorized.”

“There are two kinds of knowledge. One is general; the other, specialized. General knowledge, no matter how great in quantity or variety it may be, is of but little use in the accumulation of money.”

“Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action and directed to a definite end.”

“The individual who can organize and direct a Mastermind Group of people who possess knowledge useful in the accumulation of money is just as educated as anyone in the group. Remember that if you suffer from a feeling of inferiority because your schooling has been limited.”

“Your major purpose in life, the goal toward which you are working, will help determine what knowledge you need.”

“As knowledge is acquired, it must be organized and put into use, for a definite purpose, through practical plans. Knowledge has no value except that which can be gained from its application toward some worthy end.”

“Successful people, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession.”

“The person who stops studying merely because he or she has finished school is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity, no matter what that person’s calling.”

“The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”

“We rise to high positions or remain at the bottom because of conditions we can control if we desire to control them.”

“Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a burning desire for wealth, are the only dependable means of accumulating wealth.”

“The only limitation is that which one sets up in one’s own mind.”

“Ideas can be transmuted into cash through the power of definite purpose, plus definite plans.”

“Riches, when they come in huge quantities, are never the result of hard work. Riches come, if they come at all, in response to definite demands, based upon the application of definite principles, and not by chance or luck.”

“Success requires no apologies. Failure permits no alibis.”

“Your achievement can be no greater than your plans are sound.”

“No follower of this philosophy can reasonable expect to accumulate a fortune without experiencing temporary defeat.”

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

“A quitter never wins—and a winner never quits.”

“A follower cannot reasonably expect the compensation to which a leader is entitled, although many followers make the mistake of expecting such pay.”

“Most great leaders began in the capacity of followers. They became great leaders because they were intelligent followers.”

“The person who can follow a leader most efficiently is usually the one who develops into leadership most rapidly.”

“An intelligent follower has many advantages, among them the opportunity to acquire knowledge from his or her leader.”

“Most people go through life as failures because they habitually wait for the “time to be right” to start doing something worthwhile.”

“Before you even start to negotiate for a readjustment of your salary in your present position or seek employment elsewhere, be sure that you are worth more than you receive.”

“Many people mistake their wants for their just dues.”

“Genuine wisdom is usually conspicuous through modesty and silence.”

“Riches do not respond to wishes. They respond only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence.”

“When a group of individual brains are coordinated and function in harmony, the increased energy created through that alliance becomes available to every individual brain in the group.”

“The years between 40 and 50 are, as a rule, the most fruitful. Individuals should approach this age not with fear and trembling, but with hope and eager anticipation.”

“Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time.”

The Seven Major Positive Emotions:

  • Desire
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Sex
  • Enthusiasm
  • Romance
  • Hope

The Seven Major Negative Emotions (To be avoided):

  • Fear
  • Jealousy
  • Hatred
  • Revenge
  • Greed
  • Superstition
  • Anger

Recommended Reading

If you like Think and Grow Rich, you may also enjoy the following books:

Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Buy The Book: Think and Grow Rich

Print | Kindle | Audiobook

The Power Of Habit Summary

Categories Personal growth, Top 10Posted on

The Power Of Habit helps you understand why habits are at the core of everything you do, how you can change them, and what impact that will have on your life, your business and society.

You can’t possibly call yourself a habit junkie and not know this book. It’s THE book about habits. Published in 2012 by Pulitzer-prize winning author Charles Duhigg, this gem has spent over 120 weeks on the various New York Times bestseller lists.

The book was sparked by Duhigg’s fascination with the wit of a U.S. army major in Kufa in Iraq, who nipped riots in the bud by persuading the small town’s mayor to keep food vendors out of large and growing gatherings – when people couldn’t fuel their anger and energy with kebabs, as they usually did, they just left. Tons of research and 8 years later, Duhigg published the go-to book about habits.

Here are your 3 must-takeaways:

  • Habits work in 3-step loops: cue, routine, reward.
  • You can change your habits by substituting just one part ofthe loop, the routine.
  • Willpower is the most important habit, and you canstrengthen it over time with 3 things.

Ready to science the heck out of your habits? Let’s go!

If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Lesson 1: Habits work in 3-step loops: cue, routine, reward.

Roughly 40% of what you do happens on autopilot.

Habits are your brain’s way of saving energy, so given you spend around 6 of your 16 waking hours doing things you’re not aware of, it might be worth understanding what happens here.

Duhigg discovered that at the root of all habits, like drinking your coffee every morning, lies a simple 3-part loop.

The cue is what triggers you to do the habit, for example sitting down at your kitchen table to have breakfast every morning at 7 AM.

The routine is the behavior you then automatically engage in, which, for drinking coffee, might be to go over to your coffeemaker, turn it on, and press the “large cup” button.

Lastly, you’ll receive a reward for completing the routine, such as the rich smell of your coffee, it’s hearty taste and getting to watch the steam rise from the cup as it sits on your kitchen table in the sunlight (I really love coffee, can you tell?).

Note: My friend Sam Thomas Davies created an excellent blog post with a beautiful visualization of the loop.

Your brain’s activity only spikes twice during this loop. At the beginning, to figure out which habit to engage in, and at the end, when the link between cue and routine is reinforced (here’s a graphic from the book).

Wait, reinforced?


That’s how habits are built and the stronger this link gets, the harder it becomes to change them. But you can still do it.

Lesson 2: You can change your habits by substituting just one part of the loop, the routine.

Naturally, the more often you reinforce a habit, the more embedded in your brain it gets.

In case of the coffee, you might crave it the second you sit down at your kitchen table, and when you can’t have it that day, because the machine broke, you’ll probably get very grumpy and buy one later at work.

The trick to changing a habit then, is to switch the routine, and leave everything else in tact.

Duhigg calls this the golden rule.

If you’re trying to get off caffeine, the tweak is incredibly simple: switch to decaf (like my “friend” Replacing Rick).

You’ll still have the entire experience from A to Z, but instead of pressing a button you’re now pouring hot water over decaf coffee powder, and voilà, you won’t miss caffeine for even a single day.

Lesson 3: Your most important habit is willpower, and you can strengthen it over time in 3 ways.

Not all habits are created equal and Duhigg says willpower is by far one of the most important ones, as it helps us do better in all aspects of life.

Having been to the moon and back in terms of willpower research, I don’t want to tell you to eat right, sleep enough and exercise regularly.

Instead, here are 3 uncommon ways in which you can grow your total willpower capacity over time:

Do something that requires a lot of discipline.

For example a tough wake-up regimen or strict diet will make you constantly practice delaying gratification and thus give you more willpower to exert throughout your day.

Plan ahead for worst-case scenarios.

Even just thinking about your boss yelling at you before it ever happens will help you not loose your cool when it does.

Preserve your autonomy.

Yesterday I learned that autonomy was a major part of living a passionate life. Today I learned that if you take it away, your willpower also goes down the drain. When you’re assigned tasks by someone else, which you must do, your willpower muscle tires much quicker.

The Power of Habit Review

Duhigg has managed to combine the scientific research with his own ideas and personal experiences in such a way that the book tells many extremely compelling stories, while teaching you everything you need to know about habits. If I could have you read only one book this year, this would be it – although Duhigg has published a new book, Smarter Faster Better, hmmm. Nah, go with The Power Of Habit!

Buy this book

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod: notes

Categories Personal growth, Top 10Posted on

The Miracle Morning makes it clear thatin order to become successful, you have to dedicate time to personaldevelopment each day, and then gives you a 6-step morning routine to create andshape that time.

Hal’s story is fascinating. After being declared dead from a car crash for 6 minutes and being told he’d never walk again, he miraculously healed, and after even more ups and downs developed this morning routine. Don’t be surprised to not see the actual routine in my lessons, more on that later.

Here are my takeaways from The Miracle Morning:

  • Don’t isolate incidences in your life.
  • You can get a good night’s sleep, even if it’s just 4 hours.
  • Have a pre-morning routine to get out of bed faster.

Let’s take a closer look!

Lesson 1: Don’t isolate incidences.

Hal suggest you don’t look at the events in your life as separate, but all part of the bigger picture. For example you might say to yourself: It’s okay if I skip gym today, I had a long day at work, it’ll be just this once.

However, this not only affects this particular moment, this also changes who you become. If you tell yourself it’s okay to skip gym once, you’re more likely to do it again, because you already gave yourself permission last time and eventually become someone who skips gym – a slacker.

Exceptions quickly become the norm and before you know it you find yourself in a sea of bad habits.

So don’t skip your good habits, because how you do anything is how you do everything.

Lesson 2: You can get a good night’s sleep, even if you just sleep 4 hours.

Hal slept for varying amounts. 4 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours, etc. He found that no matter whether he slept 4 hours or 9 hours, if he told himself it would be too little sleep the night before, he woke up tired, groggy and miserable.

On the other hand, when he told himself he’d feel good, refreshed and have a great day, he woke up in a great mood and energized, even with as little as 4 hours of sleep.

I’m living this right now. It works. Yesterday I went to bed at 9:20 pm, but my freaking upstairs neighbor had a party. I told myself I’d be fine and even if I only got 6 hours I’d feel good in the morning.

I finally fell asleep at 10 pm, only to be woken up by our door bell (yup, they rang) at 2 am in the morning. Then the party went on, and when they started “having fun” at 4 am in the morning, I got up.

I have a commitment to this blog, after all.

I’ll publish this article a little late, but I feel quite good. Last year I would tell myself the opposite and feel terrible with anything under 7 hours of sleep, just because I told myself I would.

The lesson: You can create your own reality. Your mind’s power over your body is real, so use it.

Lesson 3: Have a pre-morning routine to get out of bed faster.

This is what happens before you start your Miracle Morning, and even if you find a morning routine is not for you, this will help you.

It actually starts the night before with lesson 2. Also, place your alarm at the other end of your room, so you have to physically get up to turn it off.

Once you’re up, immediately do these 3 things (in whichever order you prefer):

Have a glass of water.

Brush your teeth.

Wash your face.

These 3 things alone will wake you up enough to get going and make sure you can start your Miracle Morning routine.

My personal take-aways

The advice from lesson 1 seems contrary to what Learned Optimism suggests at first. Optimism is about seeing negative events as isolated incidences – but only the ones you can’t control. What Hal talks about is not making excuses and making the right choices when you are in control, but doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up for failures.

Both the summary and the book are great, I suggest you read either one of them and then give the routine a try. You can always dive deeper and perfect it as you go along! Cheers to crafting your very own Miracle Morning!

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Print | Kindle | Audiobook

The Miracle Morning Summary

The Book in Three Sentences

“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life”.

Don’t choose the easy thing, choose the right thing.

Hitting the snooze button gives us permission to not follow through with the things we intend to do.

#5Big Ideas

“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life”.

“By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible”.

“Every day you and I wake up, we face the same universal challenge: to overcome mediocrity and live to our full potential”.

Where you are is a result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be, from this moment on”.

“Every time you hit the snooze button, you’re in a state of resistance to your day, to your life, and to waking up and creating the life you say you want”.

The Miracle Morning Summary

“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life”.

“By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible”.

“Every day you and I wake up, we face the same universal challenge: to overcome mediocrity and live to our full potential”.

“Always remember that where you are is a result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be, from this moment on”.

“We must realize that the real impact and consequence of each of our choices and actions—and even our thoughts—is monumental, because every single thought, choice, and action is determining who we are becoming, which will ultimately determine the quality of our lives. As T. Harv Eker said in his best-selling book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, ‘How you do anything is how you do everything’.”

“Every time you choose to do the easy thing, instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity, becoming the type of person who does what’s easy, rather than what’s right”.

“When you do choose to do the right thing and follow through with your commitments—especially when you don’t feel like it—you are developing the extraordinary discipline (which most people never develop) necessary for creating extraordinary results in your life.  As my good friend, Peter Voogd, often teaches his clients: ‘Discipline creates lifestyle’.”

“When the alarm clock goes off, and we hit the snooze button (the easy thing), most people mistakenly assume that this action is only affecting that moment. The reality is that this type of action is programming our subconscious mind with the instructions that it is okay for us to not follow through with the things we intended to do”.

“Always remember that who you’re becoming is far more important than what you’re doing, and yet it is what you’re doing that is determining who you’re becoming”.

“Virtually all highly successful people—from CEOs to professional athletes to the President of the United States—embrace a high degree of accountability”.

“Accountability is the act of being responsible to someone else for some action or result”.

“Here’s the problem: accountability was never something you and I asked for, but rather something that we endured as children, teens, and young adults. As it was forced upon us by adults, most of us unconsciously grew to resist and resent accountability altogether”.

“Our levels of success will rarely exceed our level of personal development, because success is something we attract by who we become”.

“Remember this truth: now matters more than any other time in your life, because it’s what you are doing today that is determining who you’re becoming, and who you’re becoming will always determine the quality and direction of your life”.

“Every time you hit the snooze button, you’re in a state of resistance to your day, to your life, and to waking up and creating the life you say you want”.

“It’s been said that nobody actually likes waking up early, but everyone loves the feeling of having woken up early.The first key to waking up is to remember [to set your intentions before bed]: Your first thought in the morning is usually the last thought you had before you went to bed”.

“If you keep your alarm clock next to your bed, then you are still in a partial sleep-state when the alarm goes off, and it makes it much more difficult to wake yourself up”.

“It’s crucial that you hydrate yourself first thing every morning. After 6-8 hours without water, you’ll naturally be mildly dehydrated, and dehydration causes fatigue”.

Recommended Reading

If you like The Miracle Morning, you may also enjoy the following books:

Eat That Frog! Get More of the Important Things Done – Today! by Brian Tracy

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

Buy The Book: The Miracle Morning

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey: Notes

Categories Personal growth, Top 10Posted on

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People teaches you both personal and professional effectiveness by changing your view of how the world works and giving you 7 habits, which, if adopted well, will lead you to immense success.

If you haven’t at least heard about this book, I’d be shocked. It has sold over 25 million copies. That’s as if the entire population of Venezuela had gotten a copy.

I’m not sure if Stephen R. Covey had any clue about what a success this book would be when he published it in 1990, but even 4 years after his death it’s still the bible of leadership and modern management.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Do the funeral test.
  • Learn how to say no.
  • Practice active listening.

Lesson 1: Do the funeral test.

This is the habit that Covey calls “Begin with the end in mind”. He issues a warning that plowing away and getting a massive amount of tasks done in a preferably short time (i.e. being efficient) is only useful when you’re plowing in the right direction.

The classic analogy here is the ladder you’re climbing furiously, only to find out it’s leaned against the wrong wall when reaching the top.

Only if you’re clear about your major, long-term goals can you align each and every single one of your decisions with them.

The by far best way to become VERY clear about those goals is to do the funeral test. I learned about this from Tai Lopez, and assume he’s gotten it from the book.

Ask yourself:

What do I want people to say about me at my funeral?

As what sort of person do I want to be remembered?

For what do I want to be remembered?

Depending on your number of relationships (family, friends, clients, partners, customers), you can also ask yourself how many people will be there to mourn your death.

As Steve Jobs said: all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Truthfully answering those questions will make you realize you might not want that out-of-the-suitcase, business class lifestyle, or that really all you ever wanted to do was dance.

So be bold and ask them.

Lesson 2: Learn how to say no.

Knowing exactly where you want to go makes it easy to find out what’s important to you, and what not. When you know your final goal, you’ll at least have an inclination for each to-do on how important it actually is.

You’ll often find that the important things aren’t urgent and vice versa. That means some things don’t deserve to be done at all.

Note: A great tool to learn more about the difference between urgent and important is the Eisenhower Matrix.

That means you’re gonna have to learn how to say no. It’s not easy, especially if money’s involved.

Sometimes tempting rewards will be dangled right in front of you, which is when it’s time to pull out the funeral test again to see whether those rewards deserve to be chased.

I’ve tried to learn from Derek Sivers in this regard, who says it’s either a hell yeah, or a no. He’s incredibly focused on a few things, but those things create all the meaning he needs in his life.

Lesson 3: Practice active listening.

The good thing about saying no to doing a lot of things is being able to spend a lot more time actually listening to others.

Active listening is part of our “Coaching 101” on, and it is a 3-pronged approach to communication:

You’re listening to understand the person you’re listening to, not primarily to give advice or respond.

You make sure you understand by repeating back to them what they said and mirroring their emotions.

You help them structure their own thought process.

This was one of the major lessons I learned during my first 6 months as a coach: A good coach is determined much more by the quality of his questions, than by the quality of his answers.

Covey calls this “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” and it is a call to practice active listening and empathy.

Just like you get suspicious of your doctor when he prescribes you hefty antibiotics after hearing you cough just once, we don’t tend to trust people, who we think don’t really understand us.

So make an effort to listen to understand, instead of listening to respond. A good way to start this practice is by simply talking less.

My personal take-aways

When I went through the summary to pull out 3 things, I counted 8 I wanted to share. The best lessons in these blinks are not necessarily the 7 habits themselves (which you can find in tons of videos and infographics around the web), but the little sentences at the end of the paragraph here and there, which show you how to implement them.

This isn’t a how-to book and the lessons will take you a while to implement, since they are general principles. Therefore, they’re all the more helpful once you get them right. Covey could have been Tim Ferriss’s grandfather, the message is conveyed differently, but remains the same. Whatever you do, be effective, not efficient

The Book in Three Sentences

Success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness.

Before you can adopt the seven habits, you need to change your perception and interpretation of how the world works (see: paradigm shift).

Between what happens to you and your response to it is your freedom to choose that response.

The Five Big Ideas

  • Proactive people work on the things they can do something about.
  • Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
  • A paradigm is the way we “see” the world.
  • We see the world, not as it is, but as we are conditioned to “see” it.
  • To make relatively minor changes in your life, focus on your attitudes and behaviors. To make significant, quantum change, work on your basic paradigms.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  • Be proactive
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Put first things first
  • Think win/win
  • Seek first to understand then be understood
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the saw

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary

“Leadership is communicating others’ worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.”

The Character Ethic teaches that there are basic principles of effective living and that people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character.

To focus on technique is like cramming your way through school.

“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”—Thomas Edison

We have many maps in our heads and each can be divided into two main categories: maps of the way things are, or realities, and maps of the way things should be, or values.

“We interpret everything we experience through these mental maps. We seldom question their accuracy; we’re usually even unaware that we have them. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be.”

“To try to change outward attitudes and behaviors does very little good in the long run if we fail to examine the basic paradigms from which those attitudes and behaviors flow.”

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are—or, as we are conditioned to see it.”

“Our paradigms, correct or incorrect, are the sources of our attitudes and behaviors, and ultimately our relationships with others.”

“If we want to make relatively minor changes in our lives, we can perhaps appropriately focus on our attitudes and behaviors. But if we want to make significant, quantum change, we need to work on our basic paradigms.”

“Paradigms are inseparable from character. Being is seeing in the human dimension. And what we see is highly interrelated to what we are.”

“Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world. The power of a paradigm shift is the essential power of quantum change, whether that shift is an instantaneous or a slow and deliberate process.”

On practices vs. principles: “Practices are situationally specific. Principles are deep, fundamental truths that have universal application.”

“Principles are the territory. Values are maps. When we value correct principles, we have truth—a knowledge of things as they are.”

“Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.”

“The way we see the problem is the problem.”

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”—Albert Einstein

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”—Aristotle

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

Stephen defines a habit as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, the what to do and the why. Skill is the how to do. And desire is the motivation, the want to do. To make something a habit in our lives, Stephen explains, we need to have all three.

Effective Habits

“Private victories precede public victories.”

True effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset or capacity to produce (the goose).

Effectiveness lies in the balance—what Stephen calls the P/PC Balance. P stands for production of desired results, the golden eggs. PC stands for production capability, the ability or asset that produces the golden eggs.

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”—Henry David Thoreau

“We are not our feelings. We are not our moods. We are not even our thoughts. The very fact that we can think about these things separates us from them and from the animal world.”

There are three social maps—three theories of determinism widely accepted, independently or in combination, to explain the nature of man:

Genetic determinism. This basically says your grandparents did it to you. That’s why you have such a temper.

Psychic determinism. This basically says your parents did it to you.

Environmental determinism. This basically says your boss is doing it to you—or your spouse, or that bratty teenager, or your economic situation, or national policies. Someone or something in your environment is responsible for your situation.

Between what happens to you, or the stimulus and your response to it is your freedom or power to choose that response. (Sam: this is similar to what Ryan Holiday posits in The Obstacle Is the Way.)

“Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.”

“Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn’t a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not.”

“The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values—carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.”

“Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, whether physical, social, or psychological. But their response to the stimuli, conscious or unconscious, is a value-based choice or response.”

“It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.”

Victor Frankl suggests that there are three central values in life:

The experiential, or that which happens to us

The creative, or that which we bring into existence

The attitudinal, or our response in difficult circumstances such as terminal illness.

“What matters most is how we respond to what we experience in life.”

“Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.”

The problems we face fall in one of three areas:

Direct control. Problems involving our own behavior

Indirect control. Problems involving other people’s behavior

No control. Problems we can do nothing about, such as our past or situational realities. (Sam: this is similar to what William B. Irvine writes in A Guide to The Good Life: “There are things over which we have complete control, things over which we have no control at all, and things over which we have some but not complete control.”)

“‘Begin with the end in mind’ is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation, to all things.”

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”

“The two additional unique human endowments that enable us to expand our proactivity and to exercise personal leadership in our lives are imagination and conscience.”

“Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behavior with your beliefs. As you do, other people begin to sense that you’re not being driven by everything that happens to you. You have a sense of mission about what you’re trying to do and you are excited about.”

A good affirmation has five basic ingredients:

  • It’s personal
  • It’s positive
  • It’s present tense
  • It’s visual
  • It’s emotional.

An example of an affirmation: “It is deeply satisfying (emotional) that I (personal) respond (present tense) with wisdom, love, firmness, and self-control (positive) when my children misbehave.” (Sam: Jack Canfield writes about the power of affirmations and visualization in The Success Principles.)

“The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.”

“You simply can’t think efficiency with people. You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.”

“Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.”

Recommended Reading

If you like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you may also enjoy the following books:

Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Buy this book

The 48 Laws Of Power Summary

Categories Society & Culture, Top 10Posted on

 The 48 Laws Of Power draws on many of history’s most famous power quarrels to show you what power looks like, how you can get it, what to do to defend yourself against the power of others and, most importantly, how to use it well and keep it.

Even though Mastery by Robert Greene is a great book, it wasn’t what put him on the map. This one was. Published in 1998, after taking a big risk, due to quitting his former job (which he hated), the book became a bestseller and has now sold over a million copies.

It’s especially popular with rappers and hip-hop artists, but many celebrities quote from the book and mention the laws’ influence on their life (50 Cent being one of them, with whom Greene ended up collaborating on another book). Most of the 48 laws draw on a specific situation from history, and even though some of them seem to contradict one another, there’s a precious lesson to be learned from every single one.

Here are 3 lessons about power to help you understand it better:

Always make superiors look smarter than you.

Confuse competitors by acting unpredictably.

Don’t force others to do what you want, seduce them instead.

Want to discover where Kanye gets his power? Let’s study the actual laws of the world!

Lesson 1: Always make superiors look smarter than you.

Here’s one surefire way how to not get promoted: When your boss comes across a problem she can’t solve on her computer, go to her, and, as you fix it, say: “Seeeeee? That’s how you do it. No problem, I’m happy to help!”

The one thing people in a position of power don’t want is to look powerless. But when you flaunt your skills right in front of them, that’s exactly what happens. The French minister of finance under King Louis XIV, Nicolas Fouquet, paid for that lesson with a life in prison. When he threw an excessive party at his chateau in favor of the king, the king accused him of stealing, for no one man could legally be that wealthy, and threw him into prison.

So instead of showing off how good you are, make your boss look like she’s the smartest person in the room, even if you know she isn’t. Give away credit and you’ll be given responsibility in return.

For example, when Galileo Galilei discovered the four moons of Jupiter, he could’ve taken all that credit. Instead, he named them after the Grand Duke, Cosimo II de’ Medici, and his brothers. As a result Cosimo appointed him as his official philosopher and mathematician, securing Galileo’s funding for his research for years to come.

Lesson 2: Make errors on purpose to confuse your competition.

Sometimes the competition seems to always be one step ahead of you. That’s likely because they’ve invested time and energy into researching you and finding out your behavior patterns. When that happens, your best move is to act unpredictably. Do the opposite of what you think people expect, make a mistake on purpose, or just disappear for a while.

Erroneous behavior throws people off their analysis game, and while they’re busy trying to figure out your new pattern and explaining your behavior, you have the chance to strike back.

This is one of the first lessons good poker players learn. If you only play hands when you’ve hit at least a pair or above, the other players will quickly be on to you and fold every time you bet. But throw in a bluff or two, which you commit to and ride out, even if you end up losing those hands, and your opponents can’t be so sure anymore.

Bobby Fischer used this exact strategy to confuse Boris Spassky in their match for the 1972 world championship title in chess. He made a beginner’s mistake in their first game, didn’t even show up for the second one (and lose by forfeit, and returned only minutes before the third game started. Then he started making crazy demands, like moving cameras, switching rooms and exchanging chairs. Finally, he played openings completely atypical to his usual chess style, and eventually beat Spassky to become world champion.

Note: I recently watched Pawn Sacrifice, a great movie about Bobby Fischer and this incident. Highly recommended.

Lesson 3: Seduce others into voluntarily doing what you want them to, instead of forcing them.

Even when you’re in a position of power already, people won’t always do what you want them to. When that’s the case, you should never resort to trying to force people to obey. Instead, make it impossible for them not to do what you’d like them to by seducing them.

Chuko Liang, head military strategist of ancient China used this to break his enemy, King Menghuo. Rather than destroying their entire army, when they attacked China, he captured them all, and then…

…served King Menghuo great wine and food. His soldiers saw this generosity, and after Liang was sure he had baffled them, he released them, but kept King Menghuo hostage. Only after threatening that he’d have to bow to the Chinese king, if he was captured again, did he release the enemy. Over the years, Liang did capture Menghuo time and time again, each time making the same threat, yet always releasing his prisoner. After the seventh time Menghuo surrendered, bowed to the king and gave up on his own accord.

Raw force only breeds resentment, so use seduction instead.

My personal take-aways

If you’re a “Mr. Nice Guy” like me, then this book won’t tell you what you want to hear. However, it might be what you need to hear, at least in some cases. I don’t agree with all the laws, but there’s a solid reason behind each of them. All in all a great read with lots to learn!

Buy this book

Man’s Search For Meaning Summary

Categories Experiences, Top 10Posted on

Man’s Search For Meaning details holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s horrifying experiences in Nazi concentration camps, along with his psychological approach of logotherapy, which is also what helped him survive and shows you how you can – and must – find meaning in your life.

I don’t think any combination of words can paint a picture gruesome enough to describe what existing (note the difference to “living”) inside a Nazi concentration camp must have been like.

Viktor Frankl was one of the few, who survived in a place, where your chances of dying are higher than those of living on any given day. After three years in various concentration camps, his camp Türkheim was liberated, upon which he returned to Vienna, where he was born.

Frankl spent the rest of his life teaching what he’d learned during the worst of times: that people can, and must, find meaning in their lives, even if all they know is tremendous suffering. It is called logotherapy and has made him one of the key figures of modern psychology.

Here are 3 lessons from his world-famous 1946 book, Man’s Search For Meaning:

Sometimes the only way to survive is to surrender to death.

Your life has its own meaning and it’s up to you to find it in any given moment.

Use paradoxical intention to make your fears go away.

Are you ready for some of the toughest lessons anyone has ever had to learn? Let’s show Viktor Frankl some respect by learning from him.

Lesson 1: Being indifferent to death allowed people to survive.

Frankl said all concentration camp prisoners went through the several phases after arriving at the camp. This one is what made him and some of his surviving peers different from those, who perished, and it’s quite paradoxical.

In order to survive, you had to be okay with dying any moment.

This sort of indifference to death, the perspective of merely existing, not living, allowed prisoners to shield their minds from the terrors around them and do what was necessary to survive.

All of the things we take for granted today were severely limited in the concentration camps: food, clothing, sleep, rest. By surrendering to the present and not spending one second thinking of the future, prisoners summoned the apathy they needed to, for example, grab a vital pair of shoes from a dead body or hide in a pile of manure to avoid being led to the gas chambers.

Sometimes, the only way to survive is to surrender to dying.

Lesson 2: Your life has its own meaning and it’s up to you to find it in any given moment.

If you ask any great chess player what the best move in chess is, they’ll just stare at you with a puzzled face. There is no such thing. There is, however, a best move in any particular constellation of pieces on the board. Of course there’s a best move in any game situation, but no general move beats all others.

The meaning of your life is the same way.

There’s no general meaning of life and not even one, singular meaning of your own life. Your life’s meaning is not only unique to you, it also depends on your decisions and situations.

This is what logotherapy claims and it flips the common misconception that you have to find your life’s meaning first, before you’re able to live your best life, upside down.

Instead, how you act, and how much responsibility you bring to the decisions you make determines how big your sense of meaning in life is.

For example, Frankl found meaning when stumbling through the night, barefoot, across icy rocks and through big puddles, forced to work by the Nazi guards, simply by thinking of his wife, imagining her face up in the clouds and finding bliss in this moment of love.

Lesson 3: Try to force your fears to come true to make them go away.

Another thing logotherapy does is enable people by focusing on their internal state of mind, instead of external factors, thus giving them a sense of control over their own life.

For example, if you’re afraid of sometimes stuttering in front of your friends, it might seem like your environment (i.e. your friends being there) is what’s at fault.

But by using something Frankl calls paradoxical intention, you can turn this around and take control. In reality, you only start stuttering, because you’re afraid you’ll start stuttering. Paradoxical intention flips this around by getting you to try and force your fears to come true.

In this example, you should do exactly what you’re afraid of, and try to stutter as much as possible when you’re around your friends.

You’ll notice that, as soon as you try to force it to happen, it won’t work, and eventually lose your fear of stuttering in front of your friends altogether.

My personal take-aways

This book is about more than just reading or learning something new. It’s about respect. I don’t think there’s any way my generation (millennials) can make amends or pay dues for what previous generations have done. It’s not our job either.

But there’s still that feeling of having to take responsibility for the course of history by learning as much about it as we canand showing our respect to those, who shaped it.c I really think everyone should read this.

Note: This short video is a great start to learn more about Viktor Frankl and his work.

How To Read Literature Like A Professor Summary

Categories Communicate, Top 10Posted on

How To Read Literature Like A Professor shows you how to get more out of your reading, by educating you about the basics of classic literature and how authors use patterns, themes, memory and symbolism in their work to deliver their message to you.

I randomly came across this book, and found out it was really popular. I’d love to help you read more and better, and my gears are constantly churning how I can help you do that (hit me up if you want to hear my product ideas so far). Summarizing this book is surely a good start.

Thomas C. Foster is an English professor (surprise), and he uses many examples from classic books to show you how you can unlock what you read and figure out what lies beneath the basic level of the story. This book will not only make your reading more fun and more satisfying, you’ll also be able to harness what your learn in a much more professional way.

Here are 3 lessons to help you master the craft of reading:

  • Memory, symbols, and patterns are what hide the deepermessage in any book.
  • One of the most common patterns is the quest structure.
  • Look for universal messages in books to discover whichsymbols authors use.

Want to read literature like a professor? Let’s take a literature trip!

Lesson 1: Most books hide their message using memory, symbols and patterns.

The majority of people falls into the category of shallow readers. When they read books, they only pay attention to the basic story level, but not much more. If you want to go beyond that and actually interpret what you’re reading, Foster says there are three things you need to watch out for.

Memory. This has happened to you for sure. You’ve read a chapter in a book and thought: “Wait, don’t I know this scenario? Haven’t I read about this before?” Clever readers don’t brush off that gut reaction. Instead, they dwell on it and draw an actual comparison between what they just read and how it’s different from a similar book they’ve read in the past.

Symbols. The scar on Harry Potter’s forehead is much more than just a scar. Its shape, the way it hurts, the visions he has because of it. It stands for much more than an accident, it’s a symbol, and only if you can interpret it you’ll get the full picture of the story.

Patterns. Sometimes trivial and seemingly meaningless details pop up again and again. Just like the story itself most often follows a pattern, so do certain characters, items and even words people use. Authors often use patterns to communicate hidden messages.

But spotting these and interpreting them correctly is hard, so let’s look at two things you can do to improve.

Lesson 2: The quest structure is one of the most common patterns in literature.

One of the most universally applied structures in novels, which you can find anywhere in life (even in your latest trip to the grocery store), is the quest structure. It’s sometimes also called the hero’s journey and it always contains the five following things:

A quester

A destination

A stated reason to go

Some challenges along the way

An unexpected revelation

Take The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, for example. Santiago, a shepherd, is the quester. His destination are the pyramids of Egypt. He says his reason to go is that he must find his destiny and explore the vision from his dream (about a treasure in Egypt). Of course he faces many challenges on his journey, such as finding love, but having to leave it behind. At the end, there’s an unexpected revelation, showing Santiago that the treasure was right in front of him all along.

But if you run out of bread, and it becomes your reason to go to the grocery store, a destination, you become a quester too. A challenge might be to find a parking spot, or arrive at the store before it closes. Eventually, you’ll unexpectedly find you still have a loaf at home after you come back.

See, it has all the elements of a quest, even though it’s a very trivial scenario. Now you can pay attention and find the quest structure in other books and events!

Lesson 3: Look for universal messages in books to discover which symbols authors use.

Do you sometimes feel like books are a rip-off? That they’re just blatantly copying from another author? Well, actually it’s tough to find a book that doesn’t copy from a previous one. In truth, no book is 100% original, whether the author knows he or she is copying, or not.

This phenomenon is called intertextuality – all texts depend on one another – and it’s a good thing! When the same ideas appear again and again it turns them into symbols. You can then rely on interpreting them correctly, because the same symbol usually stands for the same idea.

For example, whenever a storm is seen on the horizon, this is usually a symbol for trouble lying ahead, whether in the form of an actual storm or a plot twist.

Often, the hero’s home is destroyed, and he or she has to start all over. This is usually meant to show that even in destruction, there is a liberating power.

Ask “What’s the universal message behind this event?” as you read, and you’ll be able to spot symbols and some of the big ideas, which have been around for centuries.

Note: Another thing that helps you develop this skill is reading a wide variety of books, especially classics, because these have popularized most of the symbols we use today.

My personal take-aways

I want more of this. More reading about reading. If reading a lot is good, then reading a lot about reading is great. Every tiny improvement you make in how you read will be with you for the rest of your life and therefore help you get more out of every next book you pick up.

This is highly recommended. It’s a great book and the summary on Blinkist is a very good starting point, with most of the big ideas explained well and plenty of examples.

Buy this book

Good To Great Summary

Categories Business, Top entrepreneurship booksPosted on

Good To Great examines what it takes for ordinary companies to become great and outperform their competitors by analyzing 28 companies over 30 years, who managed to make the transition or fell prey to their bad habits.

Another trilogy stands completed on Four Minute Books. I was shocked to find out that Jim Collins’s Built To Last was published in 1994, but instantly understood when I learned how many years of research went into it.

That was the book, which outlined what helped visionary companies stay visionary over decades. Good To Great is the book that answers the question the previous one raises: How do you become great in the first place?

Analyzing 28 companies in 3 categories – good-to-great, direct comparison and unsustained comparison – over the span of 30 years, Jim and his team looked at which companies went from average or sub-par stock market performance to outperforming the stock market by a factor of at least 3.

The result is a set of strategies, habits and practices, which can turn a company from good to great. Here are 3 of them to give you an idea of what it takes to build something that’s world-class:

  • Find your Hedgehog concept.
  • Only adopt new technology if it helps you reach your goal.
  • Confront nasty facts head on, but don’t lose hope.

Want to go from good to great? There you go!

Lesson 1: Find your Hedgehog concept.

If the lion is the king of the jungle, then the hedgehog is the king of the forest. Yup, you read right, the hedgehog.


Because he’s got the simplest defense strategy of them all and in any attack situation, he knows what to do: curl up and become an untouchable, spiky, rock-like, unbreakable fortress.

Clever foxes and snakes can come up with as many cunning strategies as they want – the hedgehog will always react the same, and he’ll always come out on top.

Jim Collins says companies that go from good-to-great always figure out their very own “Hedgehog concept” – a strategy they can keep pushing for ages, which will eventually take them to number 1. To find your Hedgehog concept, you must answer 3 questions:

What can we be the best in the world at?

What can we be passionate about?

What is the key economic indicator we should concentrate on?

But no rush – it takes most good-to-great companies 4 years to figure it out, so chances are, it’ll take a while to find yours. Two examples are Zappos, who want to create the best customer experience for people buying shoes online, and Walgreens, who shoot to be the best, most convenient drugstore with a high per-visit profit.

Lesson 2: Only adopt new technology if it helps you accelerate your momentum.

Anchor,, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter – all of these are less than 10 years old, and there are dozens more – and these are just social networks. We’re flooded with an incredible amount of new technology every single year. The question is how much of it really benefits us?

I’m trying to build the best book summary website in the world, and I’m relying on blogging to achieve it, a technology that is considered old by any means at this point.

Of course I experiment with the new stuff – but I don’t jump right in and bet all of my money on it. If you’re jumping on a new technology, just to be a pioneer, or because you’re afraid you might miss out, you’ll have a very hard time aligning it with your actual mission.

For example, Walgreens took a 40% share price drop by completely ignoring e-commerce at first. But while competitors rose quickly, and disappeared again a year later, they carefully mapped out their online strategy and used it to boost their actual goal of being the best pharmacy store, for example by offering online prescriptions for pick-up in store.

Always be wary of new innovations. Only jump on the bandwagon once you’re convinced they help you improve your Hedgehog concept.

Lesson 3: Always confront uncomfortable truths head on, but never lose faith that you’ll work it out.

Realistic optimism is another habit good-to-great companies share. They don’t put their head in the sand and ignore the hard facts, but they don’t throw their hands up in despair either.

When you’re just not profitable enough to make it, or your latest marketing campaign sucked, accept it and deal with it. For example, when Procter & Gamble entered the paper goods market, the situation looked pretty bleak for the incumbents Scott Paper and Kimberly-Clark.

But while Scott Paper gave up the battle before it even began and started to branch out, trying to dominate a few small niches P&G had no business in, Kimberly-Clark held a moment of silence for P&G – because they knew the big guys were about to lose. Kimberly-Clark rallied at this opportunity to compete with one of the big guys.

20 years later Kimberly-Clark not only owned Scott Paper, but also outgunned P&G in 6 out of 8 product categories.

As my Mum always says: Everyone boils their food in the same water. So don’t sugarcoat the bad things, but never lose faith in your ability to figure it out.

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