Book Notes: Choose Yourself by James Altutcher

Why Choose Yourself

Book Notes and a Book Review for Choose Yourself by James AltutcherSo I heard about James Altutcher through his impressive appearance on 2 episodes of the School of Greatness podcast. The first episode was a show where James was interviewed by Lewis regarding his tumultuous life of making millions and losing it over and over again. The second interview was probably one of the highest listened to School of Greatness interviews where James interviewed Lewis about how Lewis made millions of dollars.

Anyways, I loved this one. I read it in one span of time while flying from Australia to America. I think these notes below are robust because it is written well and it is all about stuff that I’m interested in:

  • How to take care of yourself
  • Cultivating creativity
  • The new economy and how to thrive at it
  • What not to do

I was listening to the book and James is the narrator. He takes liberties to just go off and make his own jokes I think so the whole experience is great. Let’s get to the notes…

Reading Notes for Choose Yourself

The American dream is derived from a marketing campaign done by Fannie Mae

“The learned man aims for more, the wise man decreases and the decreases again.”

James Altutcher saved the stock market in 2009 with a bunch of bags of chocolate.

The whole thing that college graduates make more money than non college graduates is nonsense. The study suffered from selection bias in their sample by simply describing two groups of people.  The study was carried out by Georgetown University so of course there is a bias because they have a vested interest in showing that their University is providing value.

3 Bodies:

1. Emotional – people become crappy people, not because who they are, but because they are crapping inside of you.  Stop letting that happen.

Exercise: be quiet. Most people speak 2,500 words a day. Try to cut it down.

2. Mental

10 ideas exercise – write 10 ideas about anything at the very minimum. Do this to become an idea machine.

Cultivate an idea-sex environment

3. Spiritual – appreciate the rooftops when walking around the city.many people are time traveling by worrying about things.

Accept the beautiful stillness. Leads to 0 chance of burnout

4. Physical – eat well, exercise

“I dominate search engine optimization for “I want to die.” – James Altutcher

The things to do to get healthy
– sleep 8 hours
– eat 2 meals instead of thee
– no TV
– no Junk food
– no complaining for 1 while day
– no gossip
– return an email from 5 years ago
– express thanks to a friend
– write down a list of ideas
– watch a funny movie or standup bit
– read a spiritual text
– Say, “I’m going to save a life today” and spend the day looking for that person
– learn a new hobbie
– write down your schedule for the day and cross one if those things out and don’t do it for eternity
– forgive someone – write down on a piece of paper that you forgive someone and burn the piece of paper
– take the stairs instead of the elevator
– tell someone everyday that you live them
– make plans to spend time with a friend
– deep breathing

5 People That I’m grateful For:
1. Veronica
2. Mom
3. Dad
4. Erik
5. John

Work smarter not harder.

There is enough business in your town to make you rich.

You make no money by traveling.

Help the people around you.

You want to be friends with your clients. You want to make them feel happy to be around you. And you want to be happy being around them.

You make more money working with people you like.

Things I like about being entrepreneur.
– you get to be artistic
– you get to make your own hours

In everything thing you do, bring your art into it.

There is more money floating around than ever before. Most of its hidden from the employee mindset. Be an entrepreneur and reach out and grab it.

Making more money is the real reason to become an entrepreneur. “But the economy.” That’s BS. There is more money out there than ever before

The stock market has a capitalization of several trillion dollars. There’s another 2 trillion in private equity. There are fifty trillion in transaction every year. If you make money, someone will buy your company.

Having control over your own career means you can create what you want for people.

How to make money – chapter 13

Often the real reason that people buy from you isn’t for your product, but for you.

He built a trading business then sold advice on stock piking and finally, James built StockPicker.com and sold it. He gave 50% equity to a company that was dubbed the worst idea of all time… But that 50% helped him stay in business when many others were going out of business because of the dotCom bubble

Ch 12 How to Become an Idea Machine

Note: Stephen King in On Writing where he fell out of writing from being hit by the car. 3 weeks of a lack of writing f#%$#d up King’s ability to write. Exercise your idea muscle.

How to Exercise Your Idea Muscle
1. Read or Skim from 4 topics
2. Write Down 10 Ideas ( must be 10, you want your brain to sweat )
3. Activate another part of your brain – watercolor class
4. Collisions – read ideas and compare your old ideas with new ones. Best ideas come from old an new ideas
5. Don’t pressure yourself – be willing to fail and just do your best
6. Shake Things Up – Eat Write Work Sleep…. But mix it up afterwards

Chapter 13 Don’t Have Opinions

7 Habit of Highly Effective Mediocre People

Procrastination – if you’re feeling procrastination, listen to if. Maybe you should be delegating.

0 Tasking – multitasking doesn’t work, and being comfortable in doing nothing is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs

Being Not Original
100% of my successes were when working with people smarter than me.

The best ideas are born from taking an old idea and a new idea and smashing them together. Eg Facebook is the bastard child of the idea sex of Internet and stalking

Poor Networking

Honesty is #1 – this is easy

Honesty about imperfections creates amazing opportunities in life

Subtraction, not addition is what makes for a clearer, more useful mind

Ghandi sugar story – come back in 2 weeks. Why though? I had to stop eating sugar

The Beatles Last Album on YouTube

Review – (Note: This review was part of my notes)

This is a really powerful book because it is relevant to right now. James has a really interesting view on the economy as someone who has experienced it’s ebbs and flows in a visceral way.

It is a great book for anyone struggling with a bummer job who would be interested in taking the leap into entrepreneurship. But if you’re keen on that one, be prepared because the ups and downs are serious.

This is a great one though. I definitely recommend it. He’s funny and if you listen to the audio book, he goes off on interesting tangents, which he didn’t include in the book.

My overall take away from Choose Yourself

Honestly, this one is a must read for anyone interested in being in the entrepreneurial space going forward. If you’re not in the entrepreneurial space, maybe you should think about it.

James recently came out with a podcast called The James Altutcher Show. It’s great and you can get a great idea for his personality through that. If you want more convincing to get this book, other than the fact that I’m telling you to do it, then listen to his show a little and maybe you’ll get more into it.

Oh and if you get the book you can send him an e-mail telling him so and he will reimburse your purchase. I didn’t test this one out… but it would be a cool experiment. If you do test it out, I’d love to hear from you.

I Hope These Notes on Choose Yourself Where Useful

You can get a free copy of this book by singing up as a new member with Audible  through this link.

It’s easy to buy the book on Amazon too. Just go here.

 

Book Notes: Give and Take by Adam Grant

Why Give and Take?

Book Notes and Review of Adam Grant's Give and TakeI first heard of Adam Grant while editing Lewis Howes’s podcast, the School of Greatness. I was really impressed with the idea that people who give are either the ones on top of the world or they end up on the bottom. To me, it was imperative to understand exactly what separates the ones on the top from the ones on the bottom…. but I took no action on it at first. The next time I heard of Adam Grant was on Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields (not released at the date of publishing.) This time, Jonathan went really deep with Adam and the breadth of his knowledge really intrigued me. I went out and got the book on audible right after listening to the show. These notes are not conclusive. While listening to this book, I was wrapped up in massive emotional turmoil due to a peak performance leadership conference I was attending in Los Angeles. I do think I’ll return to it, but for now, I’ll just share the notes I did get as well as how I responded to it all.

Reading Notes for Give and Take

Reciprocity styles: Givers, Matchers and Takers Givers dominate the top and the bottom of the success curve. Givers are more likely to be champs or chumps Expedition Behavior – putting the goals of the team ahead of those of the individual. Givers are less likely to be caught in sunk cost traps. Inman, the talent scout made a mistake in missing out on Michael Jordan in exchange for drafting someone a little less valuable. But he recovered from the mistake and was a leader in drafting players. Inman was a giver. Michael Jordan on the other hand shows sings of being a taker (pay players more as a player, pay owners more as an owner, leaves out thanks in his hall of fame speech in exchange for belittling those who didn’t believe in him.) As the owner of the Wizards, Jordan went all in on a player who turned out to average 7 points per game in his career. He oversaw the Wizards at a time when thy had the smallest winning percentage in NBA history. Because Jordan was a taker, he was more susceptible to sunk cost errors because of the nature that takers are unwilling to be wrong. When attempting to gain dominance of a situation, takers are more powerful due to asserting anger, large motions and getting louder…. But are they more effective leaders? Dominance is a zero sum game Prestige is not a zero sum game Prestige therefore has more lasting value. Powerless communication is worse at asserting leadership and confidence. Powerless communication is the most powerful sales strategy in the studies Advice seeking can be a powerful way to assert influence in a situation. Giver seek the most effective advice because they genuinely seek the learning from others. Advice seeking is a way to open yourself up to the possibilities of the universe. Benjamin Franklin was an expert at this. important note: it only works when it’s sincere and genuine.

My overall take away from Give and Take

I loved this book. My notes left out a pair of important parts of the book. The example of the editor of the Simpsons and the silicone valley connector that helps so many people. Though I can’t recall the names of these characters, I know that they where integral parts in creating many amazing things because they allowed themselves to give and receive without an immediate expectation for reciprocity. This is how I live my life now. I’m constantly on the lookout for how I can give to people. This just came to me though, what does separate the givers on the top from the givers on the bottom. Funny enough, after going through the whole book and I can’t recall this. I think I’ll have to give Give and Take another reading.

With Luck, You Found These Notes on Give and Take Useful

If you go to  this link and sing up with Audible you can get a free version of this book so you can read it just like I did and forget the most important part. Just kidding. If you’re more conventional and like to dog ear the book and mark it up, please feel free to pick it up on amazon here.

Book Notes: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosake

Why Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad Book Notes and ReviewThis is one of the books that I had seen on the shelves of a thousand walls. I’ve known about it since I was young but I never actually took the time to read anything about how to become rich until 2010.

After working my way around the world picking fruit, cattle station handing and being a tour guide in various places, I realized that I wanted to hack the whole money game. Though all my previous jobs were adventures and really enjoyable… I was getting tired of resetting over and over again from broke to flush. I knew rich people and I knew what was possible, but I also knew there was a big gap in my financial knowledge. So I picked up this book up in Hawaii in 2011.

The lessons in this one are super important for anyone out there seeking to make lots of money. Hell, I haven’t made lots of money yet, but I’m starting to get to the point where cash flow is coming in without me actively spending time on it. This is the meaning of wealthy. When your income derived from your assets out paces your expenses.

So the lessons learned in this book are indispensable and if you’re reading this, you’ve gotta do yourself a favor and listen/read this book. While you do, take notes and make actions to get your way there.

Reading Notes for Rich Dad, Poor Dad

This is my second reading of this book. The first one was years ago.

What’s blowing me away is the focus on emotional intelligence in the first chapter. I remember none of this from reading years ago. If you asked me last month what the book was about I would have remembered the mechanics of of the cash flow quadrant and other superficial aspects of the book. Now I see that I missed a core ingredient of financial success: identifying fear and desire and work with it rather than it it.

“Harness money’s power.”

“Learn to use your emotions to think, not think with your emotions.”

“The rich really do, make money. They do not work for it.”

If you want to build the Empire State Building you have to dig really deep an pour a giant foundation. If you want to build a home in the suburbs, you have to pour a 6 inch slab. Most people trying to build massive wealth do it on a 6 inch slab.

Rule #1 and only. If you want to get rich you must know the difference between assets and liabilities and buy assets.

Wealth is a persons ability to survive so many number of days forward or, if I stopped working today, how many days could I survive?

Wealth vs Net Worth | wealth is how many days you can retire on… Net worth is a wushu washy number if what your junk is worth.

The rich but assets. The poor expense. The middle class but liabilities that they think are assets.

A corporation is just a file in an attorney’s office. Nothing more. It’s a structure that allows you to manage your risk of government invasion.

4 Areas of Exertise:

1. Accounting: being specific with every penny

2. Investing: money makin money

3. Expertise of Market: understanding the markets around all of us

4. Law: knowing what corps can do that individuals can’t

Self doubt is the #1 aspect holding people back. Many people know the answer but take no action.

It’s not the smart that get ahead, it’s the bold.

The poor and middle class work for money, the rich make money.

If you can grasp the idea that money is not real you will grow richer faster.

Investment Strategy.

Technical skills tht make up financial education:

1. Financial Literacy: the ability to read numbers

2. Investment Strategies: the science of money makin money

3. The Market: Supply and Demand.

4. Law: knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations regarding accounting.

Lesson 6 work to learn don’t work for money.

My overall take away from Rich Dad, Poor Dad

This is a game changer. I’ve begun to see my finances in this light and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. These are lessons that where never taught to me neither in my home nor in my International Business course work. Yet it is essential.

Kiyosake is a big fan of real estate but I’m bearish on real estate. As freedom and movement are integral factors in my view of what wealth is, I’m trending more towards internet properties that allow for cash flow.

But hey, he even says in the book, “this is just what I used to get rich. Anyone can get rich in other fields as long as they understand the importance of Cash Flow in their finances (paraphrasing.)”

I Hope These Notes on Rich Dad, Poor Dad Were Useful to You

You can get a free copy of this book by singing up as a new member with Audible through this link.

You can purchase the book on amazon here.

Book Notes: On Writing by Stephen King

Why On Writing

Book Notes and a Review of On Writing by Stephen KingStephen King’s books are too scary for me. I was working with the guys over at Asymetrical Publishing and I found in their forum a discussion in which King spoke about what it takes to be a writer.

Hell, I don’t know if I want to be a writer. I don’t even know what that means. I write a lot, I guess that makes me a writer. The labels seem off balance to me. I appreciate craft and if to be a writer you have to hone the craft, I think they should take on another word for what it is that they do. Perhaps author is that word.

I digress. Anyways, I listened to this one while walking around the illuminated streets Fitzroy in the city of Melbourne, Australia. It was winter and while walking around listening to Stephen King narrate the book to me, I enjoyed the week of projections that the local artists had set up in all the stores windows. Each wall was bathed in light from a projection show that the artists had put together. It was a truly mesmerizing experience and I was constantly stopping to take the following notes. Here you go…

Reading Notes for
On Writing

“We are writers, we never ask each other where our ideas come from because we all know; we don’t know.”

No one asks about the language. This is the idea that hit this book.

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”

Massive poverty for these kids growing up in Durham in the mid 50s. = Another example of the abundance society we live in these days

“The idea that creative endeavor and mind altering substances are entwined is one of the great pop intellectual myths of our time. The four 20th century writers who’s work is responsible for it are probably Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson and the poet Dylan Thomas.

They are the writers who largely formed our vision of an existential, English speaking wasteland where people have been cut off from one another and live in an atmosphere if emotional strangulation and despair.

These feelings are very common to alcoholics. The common response to them is amusement.”

“…I’m going to tell you as much as I can about the job [writing].

As promised, it won’t take long.

It starts with this:

Put your desk in the corner and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room.

“Life isn’t a support system for art, it’s the other way around.”

You must not come lightly to the blank page.

The first rule of vocabulary is to use the first word that comes to your mind.

“Grammar is not just a pain in the ass; it’s the pole you grab to get your thoughts up on their feet and walking.”

Avoid the passive tense
The passive voice is safe
Unsure writers think the passive tense is majestic
One place or the passive tense:

A fellow dies in the kitchen but the body ends up somewhere else:

The body was carried from the kitchen and was placed on the parlor sofa.

= ok but was is used too often =

Freddy and Myra carried the body out of the kitchen an laid it on the parlor sofa

Why does the body have to be the subject of the sentence anyway? It’s dead for Christi sake! Forget about it!

Too much use of was sucks.

Powerful Stephen King…. I never really understood subject of a sentence until now…

Another one

My first kiss will always be recalled by me as how my romance with Shaina was begun.

Shit… Better=

My romance with Shaina began with our first kiss. Ill never forget it.

Not in love with this because it uses with twice in 4 words…

At least it’s rid of that awful passive voice

Also notice how much simpler it is to understand as its broken up into two thoughts

The reader must always be your main concern

The writer threw the rope; NOT; the rope was thrown by the writer

Adverb is not your friend. It’s used by the timid writer

Adverb = words that motify (often end in -ly)

The road to hell is paved with adverbs

Fear is at the root of most bad writing

Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation.

Good writing is about choosing the right tools to work with.

“You can’t be serious,” bill said unbelievably = shit writing because the adverb is inherently redundant.

Writing is refined thinking.

The more you write, the more your paragraphs take form on their own.

My overall take away from On Writing

Stephen King uses On Writing as an excuse to tell his life’s story and its a beautiful accomplishment to blend together; as they are such entwined existences.

King’s life is exciting in only a way that he can explain. His is immeasurably good writing because he can make a life story like his exciting. In truth, his life wasn’t too remarkable. He grew up in a lower middle class household, held crappy jobs until he sold his writing for a high price tag. He then got addicted to drugs and then kicked the habit. Finally, he was hit by a van on a long walk. To be perfectly honest, it’s a mediocre life story in terms of radical adventures and remarkable accomplishments. It’s in the way that he explains his life and passion that makes this book a 5 star, “you must read this book because it is all important if you want to write” type book.

I’m a better writer because of this book and I appreciate grammar for the first time in my life. A lifetime of ignoring English teachers and cheating on tests couldn’t get me to give a damn about what the subject of a sentence was; but King brought it to my attention and I retained it almost immediately when he discussed the importance of grammar.

So yeah, this is a must read. Even if you don’t want to be a writer, it’s a beautifully written autobiography with lessons that could just as easily be used if you want to be a painter or a banker.

On Writing is a Must Read and I Hope These Notes Were Valuable to You

If you want to listen to King read the book to you, you can get it for free through this link.

Amazon sells the book too. Surprise, surprise.

 

Maker’s Schedule – A Discussion On a Paul Graham Essay

I’d like to discuss this article: Maker’s Schedule.

Let’s use the comments below to open up a dialogue and see what comes up.

Are you a maker or a manager? Do you suffer from trying to play the different roles?

Do you produce your value from a manager schedule or a makers schedule?

What is a speculative meeting to you? Damaging or empowering?

Thanks to Ryan Holiday’s article for brining this to the forefront.

My Research on Bitcoin

You can find the original bicoin creation document written by Satoshi Nakamoto here.

I found it empowering to follow along with the audible version embedded below. Reading while hearing is a powerful way to internalize complex ideas:

This is a challenge to wrap ones head around, but what I’m gleaming is about the Bitcoin system is that the system’s security becomes more robust as it grows.  The complexity is built out by miners who are rewarded with Bitcoins. These miners are getting increasingly sophisticated. One entrepreneurial miner moved to Iceland to take advantage of an abundance of cold air.

So these entrepreneurs are running tremendous computers, specially designed to make hacking the Bitcoin system more challenging (using the Hashcash system.) With each use of a bitcoin, with each creation of a bitcoin, the currency becomes more robust.

But I’m skeptical because, while I understand this all very vaguely on an intellectual level, I wanted to know about who was behind it all… What do the faces of the guys who are running this show look like?

So first off I went into how to set up a bitcoin wallet and how to buy coins. I got to this article which makes it far easier.

But again, who is this CoinBase group? Is this some elaborate scheme? Sure their website is designed beautifully and seems legitimate… but this is the wild west of crypto currencies and I image the pirates could figure this one out.

Of course, I paused for a long time when considering to enter my bank account information in order to purchase these abstract coins… who were the guys behind the coins? Where they to be trusted?

Then I found an interview with the co-founder.

This made it seem much more real.

I’m kicking myself for not getting in earlier to be perfectly honest. A friend of mine who is passionate about RoboCoin suggested buying coins 3 months previous. The price was $120. Now it’s $630…. If I’d listened to him I would have seen about 430% growth.

So I’m in. Tweet me @IndependentIan if you think this was a good idea. Even better, tweet me if you bought some too.

Update April 19th 2014: I bought in at $630 but got out at $830. Afterwards it’s tanked considerably. I’m still holding off. The current cost is $495 so it’s back on the rise. Stay vigilant people! 🙂

Book Notes: Who Moved My Cheese

This is my reflection and meditation upon reading Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. It’s a simple book which can be tied to a million metaphors… here is one:

Hustling is key to success and those two little rats (Sniff and Scurry) are the quintessential hustlers. They did a few things that I appreciate:

  1. See the Big Picture

Himmm and haaa didn’t notice that the cheese was shrinking. They didn’t notice that their time in tube three was running out. The signs were there but they just sat around getting fat and practicing stupid the whole time. When the cheese ran out they were obliterated.

Sniff and Scurry saw it coming. When the cheese finally ran out they weren’t surprised. They didn’t waste a minute to get to the business of finding more cheese.

This s$%t is happening on the daily in this country. THE CHEESE IS MOVING FOLKS. Higher education? Scammy finance rackets? Are you a involved in the movie rental business? BlockBuster declared bankruptcy in 2010 people. There is no reason you should think that whatever cheese you’ve got is not going to run out.

  1. Act Accordingly

Himm and Haa took forever. Haa got it after a while and I think his process would be far more enjoyable if he had enjoyed the hunt for cheese. Himm is simply a metaphor for what to avoid. Do not wait for the cheese.

Sniff and Scurry got to work immediately on hunting more cheese. There wasn’t even a discussion about it.

| Cheese Gone | I’m Finding Cheese |

  1. Win

There is always going to be cheese.

Macroeconomic forces might alter the big picture for governments and the international monetary fund, but that crap doesn’t affect me or you. Those things don’t affect us because, though we get international news, we live in local economies. We live in local relationships. You can start from nothing tomorrow and be great now.

100% is possible 100% of the time.

Cheese is, of course, a metaphor. It is the representation of getting what you want, be it a relationship, a bunch of money or inner peace. You’re only going to find it by taking action, finding new opportunities and executing on them like your life depends on it.

Book Notes: Act Accordingly by Colin Wright

You know that feeling where you’re listening to music or reading a book and you think, “ARRRGH I should have written that!” It’s like someone snuck in with telekinesis and jacked your idea straight from your soggy brain.

For example: I wrote a song called “Rich Kid Blues.” It wasn’t finished of course because I’ve got a 100% success rate at writing songs halfway and never touching them again. Anyways, I had “Rich Kid Blues” half written and was procrastinating when some guy name Jack White came out and wrote it.

Blah! Jack White sneaks out and beats me to the punch.

Alas, it’s happened again.

Colin Wright nailed a philosophical framework that I might have considered my own. Even better, I think he did it in a way than I had it in my head.

It’s a short read, you could bang it out in an afternoon.

He was the third guest on the Love Affair Travel podcast and you can listen to us talk about travel lifestyle and his philosophical framework for free.

If you want to pick up the book, you can get it here (he’s included an audio version for those of us who prefer to listen.)

By the way, the Act Accordingly mindset is going to have me finish a song one of these days.