You guys have got to check out these books. Following his formula for crushing it and building my personal brand, this blog is going to be about road-testing self-improvement and life hacks. Stuff like minimalism, getting up early, getting a six pack, learning new things, marketing and making more money. At the moment, I’m trying to do 30 days of daily exercise. It’s currently day 4 and it’s 4 x 25 push-ups. Join me in this challenge and let me know how you’re going!
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday is the third book in my Book a Week Challenge. I must admit that I didn’t find this an easy read. Street Smarts was a page turner. Ego is the Enemy less so. That’s not to say that it’s not got an important message. It does. And it’s a message that you can apply to your own life. Key Takeaways Don’t let your Ego get in the way of proper progress I’ve been playing golf for since I was 13. That’s more than 20 years ago. I’m still a pretty poor player knocking around a 24 handicap. You’d think that in 20 years I might have improved. Even one shot better a year would have meant I’d be a single figure golfer by now. So why haven’t I improved. Holiday would say that my Ego has prevented me from improving. I think …[Read More]
Jim Rogers is an investing legend. His Quantum Fund was up 4,200% when he retired at the age of 37. Since then, he’s taught at Columbia and travelled around the world twice setting Guinness World Records in the process! Street Smarts is a book that opens your mind. It’s an exhilarating read. The opening chapters are a memoir, which takes you from his beginnings in Alabama to Yale to Oxford to the US Army to Wall Street and to Quantum. He’s definitely a man to listen to (unlike the likes of Greenspan, Geithner, Paulson at al. who Rogers excoriates). Key takeaways from Street Smarts Think really long term Rogers thinks about not just the last bear market (2008) but about the dot.com crisis, the Asia crisis, the savings and loans crisis, OPEC, The Second World War, The Great Depression, the 1907 crash and so on. Don’t think about this news cycle; …[Read More]
I picked up Shoe Dog on a recent trip through Hong Kong airport. I’d first heard about it on Bill Gates’ excellent blog. I read this in less than a week. It’s that good a page turner. It’s the story of how Phil Knight went from selling shoes in Oregon to building a $30bn empire. What stands out about this book is its raw honesty. Knight never puts a nice spin on things. In many ways, he’s a very difficult man. He doesn’t omit this. He’s uncommunicative to colleagues and can be a complete asshole. But he’s a man you respect and by the end of the book, I really liked him. It reads more like a novel than a business book. One of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. Key takeaways from Shoe Dog Pursue something related to what you love Knight wanted to be a professional athlete. He …[Read More]
We all know we should read more. What’s stopping us? “I don’t have enough time.” “I’m too tired when I get back from work.” “I’m not a good reader.” Excuses, excuses. Reading educates us. It opens our minds to new ideas. It makes us better. If you can find time to go to the gym, you can find time to read. Hold on, bad example: going to the gym is a good thing. If you can find time to watch TV, you can find time to read. If you can find time to go drinking, you can find time to read. I’m taking a challenge. I’m going to read a book a week. That’s 52 books a year. Assuming that I live another 40 years, that’s more than 2,000 books in the rest of my life. Impossible you say? Well let’s break it down. My Kindle gives me an estimate …[Read More]
I read I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi before I read The Richest Man in Babylon (see previous post). However, I Will Teach You To Be Rich (IWT) can be taken as building on many of the principles in The Richest Man in Babylon (RMB). IWT is RMB for the 21st century. Summary IWT is split into 6 sections: Get out of debt Don’t save or invest until you’ve got out of debt. Interest rates on credit card debts far outweigh any possible gains from high-interest savings accounts or investments in equities or bonds. Sethi gives the reader scripts for negotiating lower credit card interest rates to help you pay off your debts faster. Set up no-fee, high-interest bank accounts This is harder to do now in the post-2008 low interest rate world. Still you can find no-fee accounts and accounts with more attractive rates. As …[Read More]
I first heard of The Richest Man in Babylon from Fighting Mediocrity who made a fantastic animated video review of it. (Check it out here.) I bought it on Kindle for next to nothing: £1.99! It’s a short book and reads like an allegory similar in style to The Alchemist. Synopsis In ancient Babylon, an ordinary family man is struck one day that he is not rich and in all likelihood never will be rich. He and his friends decide to ask the richest man in Babylon for his secrets to becoming rich. Takeaways and analysis The overall objective recommended is the image of ‘fattening up your purse’. It’s a great image to have in your mind when you’re reading this book. Imagine your wallet slowly getting fuller and fuller. Rule 1 Pay yourself first. Save 10% of your income and spend the rest. Clason makes the point that most …[Read More]
Unlike most of the books on this site, what I took from The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt isn’t so much about learning, but much more about inspiration. Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt led one of the most action-packed lives in history, filled with vigour, achievement, joy, suffering and overcoming. This incredible biography of Roosevelt by Edmund Morris is heavily detailed and a work of intense scholarship but is as readable as a novel. This is actually the first of a three part series by Morris on Roosevelt. (The second being Theodore Rex and the final being Colonel Roosevelt) The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt charts the period from birth to the Presidency. What can we learn from The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt? That life is more than long enough Most people complain that life is too short. They can’t fit everything in. There’s never enough time etc. Teddy’s life shows that all to be bullshit. He …[Read More]