Book Summaries

Robert Kiyosaki: Fake: Fake Money, Fake Teachers, Fake Assets Book Summary

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  • Introduction: The Future is Fake
  • How My Generation Broke America
  • The elites got greedy taking care of themselves, at the expense of others.
  • The elites focused on making themselves rich, rather than creating new businesses, new products, more jobs, and rebuilding the U.S. economy.
  • They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments, including derivatives and credit default swaps, that produced sugar highs of immediate profits but separated those taking the risks from those who would bear the consequences.
  • The elites created fake assets that made themselves and their friends rich and ripped off everyone else. When the elites failed, they were paid bonuses. Mom, Pop, and their kids would pay for the elite’s failures via higher taxed and inflation.
  • What This Book is About
  • This book is about three specific fakes:
  • 1. Fake Money: Fake money has the power to make the rich richer while at the same time make the poor and middle class poorer.

  • 2. Fake Teachers: What did school teach you about money? For most people, the answer is “nothing.” Most teachers are great people. But, our educational system is broken, obsolete, and fails to prepare students for the real world.

  • Student loan debt is over $1.2 trillion and is the number one asset of U.S. government. In the criminal world, this is called extortion.
  • Definitions of extortion:
  • The act of extorting (using force) to take money or property, esp the offense committed by an official engaging in such practice;
  • A gross overcharge.
  • Fake Assets: First we need to define and understand the difference between an asset and a liability.
  • Assets put money in your pocket. Liabilities take money out of your pocket.
  • My poor dad always said, “Our house is our biggest asset.”
  • My rich dad said, “Your house is not an asset – it’s a liability.”
  • Millions of people believe their house is an asset.

  • Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction
  • Warren Buffett calls derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction.”
  • In 2008, almost $700 trillion in derivates exploded, nearly bringing down the world economy. Many people blamed the “subprime real estate” buyer for the real estate crash. The reality was the elites were manufacturing fake assets called derivatives. That was the real problem.
  • How to See the Future
  • Fuller taught his students, “If you want to see the future, you must start with the biggest picture possible.”
  • “The rich have more cash flowing in, and the poor and middle class have more money flowing out.”
  • The financial booms and busts the world has been experiencing have been caused by trillions of dollars in fake money being pumped into the system by the elites. Did the elites fix the problem? Of course not. Why fix the problem when the problem makes them rich? Why change? Why do anything differently? Life is good – for the elites.
  • In 2008, there were almost $700 trillion in derivatives.
  • In 2018, the high-end estimate on derivatives was $1.2 quadrillion.
  • In 1971, President Richard Nixon took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard. In 1971, the U.S. dollar became “fiat money”…government money. Rich dad called government money…”fake money.” He also said: “Fake money makes the rich richer. Unfortunately… Fake money also makes the poor and middle class poorer.”
  • That is why Lesson #1 in Rich Dad Poor Dad is: “The rich do not work for fake money.”
  • Lie #1: Saving money will make you rich.
  • Real financial education: Seeing with your mind what your eyes cannot see.
  • Chapter One: Fake Money: The world is about to change…
  • Financial Literacy Lesson: Trade Deficit: A trade deficit means America was importing more than in was exporting.
  • My rich dad’s philosophy was that mistakes were how people learn. He often said, “You can’t become a champion golfer reading a book. You’ve got to make a lot of mistakes before becoming a real golfer. The same is true for being a real rich person.”
  • Fake vs. Real
  • This book is about fake money, fake teachers, and fake assets. This book is also about real money, real teachers, and real assets.
  • Fake Money
  • When President Nixon took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard, the U.S. dollar became fake money.
  • Fake Teachers
  • In school many teachers were fake teachers. Simply said, they did not practice what they taught.
  • Fake Assets
  • For most people, their “assets” are taking money from their pockets.
  • Today there are three types of modern money. They are:
  • God’s money: Gold and silver
  • Government’s money: Dollars, Euros, pesos, etc.
  • People’s money: Bitcoin, Ethereum, ZipCoin, etc.
  • Chapter Two: In God we Trust: Who has earned your trust?
  • I find it interesting that on all fake paper U.S. dollars we see the words: In God We Trust
  • Why are we asked to trust in God? What happened to God’s money, gold, and silver? Gold is atomic number 79. Silver is atomic number 47. Gold and silver were here during the formation of planet Earth. Gold and silver will be here when the last cockroach is finally extinct.
  • Gresham’s Law states: When bad [fake] money enters the system, good [real] money goes into hiding.
  • Look at this chart

  • Now look at the chart of what happens to fake money, when our leaders print more fake money.

  • Is history repeating itself?
  • This picture of German children in 1923 playing with money is the streets – billions in fake money. Under the Weimar Republic after WW1 inflation was such that a U.S. $1 was worth 4.2 million DM.

  • The chart below shows where the kid’s money came from.

  • The FRED chart above shows the United States printing trillions in fake money after the crash of 2008.
  • Do you notice a similarity with the 1920s German printing of fake money, the Reischmark?
  • The bad news is, never in human history has fake money survived. Odds are that all of today’s paper money will return to its true value: zero.
  • When it comes to your money, do you still “trust in God”?
  • Get the Student Back to His Studies
  • Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller wrote about “Freeing the scholar to return to his studies” – in other words: getting students out of school and letting them get back to their studies.
  • Fuller was saying that the invisible people who control the world economy search our schools to find the best and the brightest so they can train them to run the world economy the way they way the world economy to be run.
  • Chapter Three: Seven practical reasons I own real gold and silver: A case for God’s money
  • Reason #1: Real gold and silver are not investments.
  • Gold and silver are my insurance, my protection from our leaders and myself.
  • Reason #2: No risk.
  • Always remember, the price of gold or silver will go up or down because the value of our fake money is going up or down.
  • Just as Warren Buffett holds stocks forever, I will own gold and silver forever.
  • Use banks to store short-term cash, my operating capital. But I will not hold my long-term wealth in banks. Banks are too risky.

  • This is what happened in 2008:
  • Subprime borrowers, people like your friend, borrowed money to buy a house they could not afford.
  • Banks were happy to issue the subprime loan to your subprime friend.
  • The bank then sold the mortgage to an investment bank.
  • The investment bank then packaged thousands of these subprime loans, labeling them mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, a financial derivative.
  • Investment banks sold these MBS to governments, investment funds, pension plans, and other gullible people.
  • To give all parties a sense of security, these elites bought insurance policies, known as credit default swaps, CDS.
  • Everyone was getting rich…because everyone was collecting “fees.”
  • The elites created an economy built on deals that moved assets around instead of building new ones. They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments, including derivatives and credit default swaps, that produced sugar highs of immediate profits buy separated those taking the risk from those who would bear the consequences.
  • The entire global monetary system is built on counter-party risk.
  • Two minds are better than one – except in school, where two minds working together is called cheating.
  • Reasons #3: Gold and silver attract real wealth. Wealth attracts wealth just as poverty attracts poverty.
  • Reason #4: Why real gold and silver? Why not paper gold and silver exchange traded funds (ETFs)?
  • I do not trust anything paper. Anything paper is a derivative, a fake, something that requires a counter-party for value.
  • Financial Education
  • Much of the global banking system runs on what is known as fractional reserve banking.
  • The world’s banking system is built on fractional reserve banking, a system that has been running the world for thousands of years.
  • Reason #5: The system is broke and broken. The gap is growing. We are on the verge of class warfare.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words.

  • Chapter Four: Printing fake money: History repeats itself
  • Printing fake money is not new. The ancient and modern banking systems are built on printing fake money. Printing fake money is the way banks make money. The reason banks make so much money is because, for thousands of years, the banking system has had a license to print money.
  • People who work for money…work for people who print money.
  • Americans are reaching retirement age in worse financial shape than the prior generation.
  • History has proven that printing fake money never ends in prosperity. History is evidence that printing fake money always ends in poverty for those who work for fake money.
  • Historically – from the Chinese, the Romans, the German Weimar Republic, and Venezuela today – printing fake money has never produced a sustainable prosperity. Historically, printing fake money has always ended in either depression, revolution, war, or all of the above.
  • Chapter Five: How much money are you printing? How to take control
  • Printing Money #1: Printing Cows
  • For thousands of years, money has taken many forms. Money has been beads, feathers, stones, animals, and pottery. One of the earliest and most important forms of money was cattle.
  • When a person left his cattle as collateral, the moneylender was paid in kind with the children of the cattle. Calves, or kinder, were an early form of interest. Today, when a banker lends you money, the interest you pay your banker is today’s modern form of kinder.
  • In kind means like-for-like. Calves-for-cattle, money-for-money…and an eye for an eye.
  • Interest is in kind. Or, another way to look at it: Interest is money having children – or money printing money.
  • Modern banks could not survive if they were not allowed to charge interest on their fake money.
  • Credit Cards
  • When you use your credit card, you are printing money. There is no money in a credit card. The only thing behind a credit card is your good credit. Your good credit is the bank’s collateral. In America, your credit is measured via a FICO score, a measurement of how creditworthy you are. The difference is that when you use your credit card, you are printing money for the bank – money you have to pay back and, likely, pay interest (in kind) on.
  • Loans
  • When you borrow money for a car, home, or business loan, you are printing money. You are printing money for the bank, and the bank charges you interest on their newly printed money.
  • Printing Money #2: The Fractional Reserve System
  • Printing Money #3: Derivatives
  • Derivatives from an Orange
  • Think of an orange. When you squeeze the orange, you get orange juice. The orange juice is a derivative of the orange. When you take the water out of the orange juice, you have orange juice concentrate, a derivative of both orange juice and the orange.
  • Derivatives of Money
  • Stocks are derivatives of a company. A mortgage is a derivative of real estate. And a bond is a derivative of money.
  • Printing Money #4: Inflation
  • With inflation, debt gets cheaper – because money gets cheaper – and debt can be paid back with cheaper dollars.
  • With inflation, people spend faster. They are afraid prices will go up.
  • With deflation, people do not spend. They wait for prices to get lower, which may lead to financial depression.
  • Historically, when the gap between the rich and everyone else grows too wide, revolutions occur.

  • When inflation fails, many countries have suffered hyperinflation, often fueled by a hyper-printing of money.

  • The Chinese symbol for crisis is made of two words: danger plus opportunity.
  • Chapter Six: Eight philosophical reasons why I own real gold and silver. What are yours?
  • Reason #1: Trust
  • Reason #2: Gold and silver are not investments
  • Reason #3: Real gold and silver have no risk
  • Reason #4: Affordability
  • Reason #5: Complexity vs. Simplicity
  • Reason #6: What is real money?
  • The following are the definitions of real money.
  • Medium of exchange – readily acceptable for financial transactions.
  • Unit of account – value is measurable
  • Store of value
  • Reason #7: Buying gold and silver coins is easier and less expensive than buying gold and silver mines.
  • Reason #8: Gold…the tears of God
  • Invisible Money
  • On August 15, 1971, president Richard Nixon did more than take the dollar off the gold standard. He made money invisible.
  • Ever since 1971, our education system has been a case of the blind leading the blind.
  • Today, people without real financial education are blind. They cannot see the cash heist, they cannot see how their labor and their lives are being stolen via the very money they work for.
  • The American education system – the most expensive educational system – the most expensive educational system in the world is corrupt. Perhaps that is why even massive amounts of money spent cannot change the fact that the educational system produces the worst results in the Western World.
  • Part Two: Fake Teachers
  • When I was nine years old I asked my poor dad, the head of Education for the island of Hawaii, when I would learn about money. His response: “We don’t teach about money in school.” That’s when I went in search of a real teacher.
  • The real reason we’re not taught about money in school
  • The main reason money is not taught in school is because teachers can only teach what the government allows us to teach.
  • Entrepreneurs do not have a job. An entrepreneur’s job is to create jobs.
  • Employees and entrepreneurs are very different people.
  • Our school system trains people to be employees. Employees do not need to know about money. That is why there is no financial education in our schools.
  • Entrepreneurs must know about money. If the entrepreneur does not know about money, employees lose their jobs and the entrepreneur is often out of business.
  • In 2018, the number one asset of the U.S. government was student loan debt, currently at over $1.5 trillion. This means that, for millions of young people, student loan debt is their biggest liability.
  • Income for the top 1 percent rose 31.4 percent from 2009 to 2012: but crept up a barely noticeable 0.4 percent for the bottom 99 percent.
  • Subprime Education
  • In 2012, student loan debt surpassed the $1 trillion mark, as well as credit card debt. As of 2018, federal student loan debt is the number one asset of the U.S. government.
  • The United States went from subprime mortgages for poor people to subprime education for poor students. Subprime education loans are the worst-of-the-worst loans. At least a subprime mortgage can be forgiven via bankruptcy. Most subprime education loans can never be forgiven.
  • Inflation
  • Without inflation, the banking system, Mandrake’s Magical money Show, and Grunch’s cash heist will not work.
  • A few reminders:
  • Without inflation, Mandrake cannot pay back the money that was printed.
  • When there is inflation, people spend faster, afraid prices will keep rising.
  • If there is deflation, people stop spending, waiting for lower prices.
  • The banking system must produce inflation, or the economy collapses.
  • Inflation steals from the poor and middle class.
  • The people who can least afford inflation pay the highest price: they pay with their lives.
  • Why is America, the richest country in world history, so deeply in debt?
  • Why is there no financial education in our schools?
  • It is easier to give a man a fish…than to teach a man to fish.
  • Chapter Seven: What made the three wise men wise? The Value of Lifelong Learning
  • What made them wise was their lifelong search for great teachers.
  • They were wise men, rich men because they never stopped learning. They kept seeking new knowledge, knowledge from great teachers.
  • America is now a debtor nation, printing more and more money to pay off the debt printing money creates. America is much like a person who uses his credit card to pay off his other credit cards.
  • Financial stupidity is very profitable for people who know how to print fake money.
  • Apprenticeship: Real Teachers
  • At the age of nine, I became an apprentice to my rich dad. Apprenticeship is one of the oldest methods of real education. Apprenticeship works because most apprentices learn from real teachers, not fake teachers.
  • Chapter Eight: Going back to school: Fighting what’s fake
  • Learn to invest in real estate.
  • You need to learn to use debt as money.
  • Money is debt. It means money can only be created by creating debt. It means, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Treasury will encourage everyone to get into debt. If people do not get into debt, our economy will not grow.
  • There is no money in your card. You don’t need money in the bank. Money is created out of thin air, the moment you charge something on your credit card.
  • Using credit cards. Millions will buy houses and cars, using debt. Millions will work harder and grow poorer because they never learned to use debt.
  • Real estate will always be the basis of wealth. Real estate is like gold and silver. The word real is derived from Spanish. Real in Spanish means ‘royal.’ Royalty throughout history, has always valued land, gold, and silver.
  • If you learn to use debt as money, and buy royal estates with debt, as I have, you will become a very rich and smart man.
  • If you use debt to buy liabilities, you will join the millions upon millions upon millions of poor and middle-class people who will spend their lives working for the ‘royals’ who own the banks, working for fake money to pay off their debt.
  • If you do not want to learn to use debt as money, stay out of debt. Debt is very dangerous. Debt is like a loaded gun. Debt can both kill you and protect you.
  • This class begins when you enter the real world.
  • Getting rich takes work and discipline.
  • How to tell the difference between real teachers and fake teachers
  • Fake teachers teach via lecture and books. Real life is a classroom.

  • Real teachers teach from real-life experience, from their mistakes, and encourage you to do the same.
  • You do not have personal freedom until you have financial freedom.
  • Chapter Nine: How to Catch a lot of fish: Seeing the invisible
  • Rich dad often said, “You cannot catch fish in clean water.” “You can only catch fish in muddy water.”
  • It is easier to give people fish…than to teach people to fish. Why? Because learning to fish is hard. All real learning is hard.
  • Prosperity has made many people soft, weak, and lazy.
  • Many actually believe they are entitled to be rich.
  • Money is a drug. Without financial education, people become addicted to money. Money makes them happy. Money solves their problems. Money heals their pain. Today, billions are addicted to the “quick fix,” the “temporary high” of money. The problem is, the “highs” become “lows,” and the addicts goes back to work to feed their addiction. Addicts will do anything to feed their addiction.
  • Corrupt money creates corrupt people.
  • Don’t change the world…change yourself.
  • The reason the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing is because, without real financial education, the fish – the people – are swimming in muddy water. This is why and how the academic elites who run our legal system, banks, and Wall Street are catching a lot of fish.
  • What is Financial IQ?
  • IQ is a measure of a person’s ability to solve problems.
  • Financial IQ is a person’s ability to solve money problems. Financial IQ is measured in money.
  • Financial IQ can go up if the person practices.
  • There are six foundational words to real financial education. There are:
  • Income
  • Expense
  • Asset
  • Liability
  • Cash
  • Flow
  • My banker has never asked me for my report card. My banker never asked me what school I went to. My banker has never asked me for my GPA. When I talk to my banker, my banker wants to see my financial statement. My financial statement is my report card in the real world.
  • If a house is cash flowing positively, with money going into your pocket, then the house is an asset.
  • If a house causes cash to flow out of your pocket, the house is a liability.
  • In 2008, millions of people found out their homes were liabilities.
  • Follow the Money

  • The middle class is the asset for the government, Wall Street, and the banks. Compare the cash flow of the middle class to the cash flow of the rich.

  • Lessons
  • Real financial education teaches the rich to keep the cash flowing into the asset column.
  • Fake financial education keeps the cash flowing out of the pockets of the poor and middle class and into the pockets of those who print fake money, the pockets of the academic elite.
  • Fake financial education keeps the water muddy.
  • Infinite Return
  • Using 100 percent debt to produce $25 is an example of an infinite return. It is money for nothing…money created from financial intelligence.

  • Stocks
  • Let’s say I purchase 100 shares of a stock for $1 per share. I have invested $100 invested. The price of the stock rises to $10 per share. My 100 shares are now worth $1,000. I sell 10 shares at $10 and receive my original $100. My 90 remaining shares are free once. I have recouped my initial investment.
  • The primary reason why most people are not rich is because they went to school.
  • Why people are not rich
  • In school, students are taught that mistakes make you stupid. In real life, making mistakes makes you richer. God designed humans to learn from their mistakes.
  • Cheating means asking for help. In school, students take tests on their own. Asking for help is cheating. In real life, business and investing are team sports. The rich have teams. The average person does not have a team.
  • Good grades mean you are smart. In real life, my banker has never asked for my report card. My banker does not care what school I went to or what my GPA was. In real life, my banker wants to see my financial statement.

  • Get out of debt. In real life, debt makes the rich richer.
  • In 1971, money became debt. Bankers lover debtors because debtors make bankers richer. The richest people in the world know how to use debt to make money.
  • Taxes are patriotic. The American Revolution had its origins in a tax revolt, the Boston Tea Party, in 1773. In real life, the rich don’t pay taxes.

  • Simple does not mean easy.
  • Without real financial education in our schools, millions become the fish that the elites trap in their nets and webs of lies. Without real financial education, millions go to school, get a job, pay taxes, save money, buy a house, and invest in the stock market.
  • Entrepreneurs know they must make mistakes and learn from their mistakes and that business is a team sport.
  • The purpose of financial literacy is to empower the mind to see what our eyes cannot see, via words. The purpose of financial education is to empower our ability to see in dirty water, aka transparency. And one reason why the latest crashed have been so big and severe is due to a lack of transparency.
  • Chapter Ten: Why mistakes are your best real teachers: Using mistakes to get smarter
  • A baby learns to walk by falling down. Next, the child learns to ride a bicycle by falling off the bicycle. Then they go to school and are taught. “Making mistakes makes you stupid.” That is insanity.
  • The moment you operate from the concept of “right and wrong,” your intelligence is cut in half. This is why standing on the edge of the coin – seeing both sides rather than taking sides – increases your intelligence.
  • Think for yourself.
  • Parents, out of love and a desire to prepare their children for life when they are gone, teach students not to make mistakes so they can be accepted socially.

  • You cannot know what you do not know. In other words, be very aware of the mistakes you will be making.
  • Mistakes are great – the more I make the smarter I get.
  • My mistake was my real teacher.
  • My mistakes are my mistakes. Your mistakes are your mistakes. In other words, my mistakes are customized to me. Your mistakes are customized just for you.
  • The most important thing I can do is encourage you to make your own mistakes and learn from them.
  • Learning from mistakes starts with first admitting you made a mistake and then using love and compassion to learn God’s customized lesson, just for you. Then mistakes will make you smarter.
  • An important Lesson
  • From Sunday School, I learned “lead us not into temptation.”
  • In today’s dysfunctional society, the temptation is to:
  • Pretend to never make mistakes. People like to pretend they are perfect.
  • Lie.
  • Make excuses.
  • Blame is really two words: “be” and “lame.”
  • Go to court.
  • Go big or go home.
  • Bernie Madoff should be running the U.S. government, the biggest Ponzi scheme in world history.
  • Mistakes are the key to success
  • Thomas Edison changed the world by making mistakes. He reported failing 3,000 times before inventing the electric lightbulb. Henry Ford went bankrupt before Ford Motor Company became a success. And Jeff Bezos’ Amazon-offshoot zShops failed.
  • Colonel Sanders had to reinvent himself many times and found himself broke at age 65 before KFC succeeded.
  • The Power of Practice
  • Tiger Woods did not become the greatest golfer in the world without practicing, making millions of mistakes, and hitting millions of practice golf balls.
  • And in his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell states no band in history practiced more the Beatles. Gladwell also wrote that talent alone is not sufficient to guarantee success. The difference is hours of practice.
  • The Beatles played up to eight hours a night for years before becoming successes.
  • Doctors, lawyers, and dentists do not call their business a business. Professionals call their business a practice. The practice on you.
  • Translation: Real teachers practice what they teach. Fake teachers do not.
  • As Fuller said, “Mistakes are sins only when not admitted.”
  • Give and you shall receive. A better saying is, teach and you will learn.
  • Mistakes are the key to real success.
  • The fear of losing creates more losers.
  • Money is a crazy subject. People do crazy things for money, even kill a loved one, deal in drugs, sell their body, marry for money, or work at a job they hate.
  • The more a person avoids financial risk the greater financial risks they take.
  • Risk-averse people fall into four distinct categories.
  • The Worker: A risk-averse person will play the lottery, bet on the ponies or sporting events, or go to Las Vegas and pretend to be a high-roller.
  • The Student: The reason student loan debt is the U.S. government’s number one asset is because there is a quasi-religious belief in education, that a good education can be salvation from the harsh cruel world.
  • The Criminal: Many honest, risk-averse people become petty criminals. They work for cash, they do not have to pay taxes.
  • The fear of failure is a powerful human emotion.
  • For most people, the fear of financial failure paralyzes them, keeps them small, poor, and obedient.
  • For a few people, the fear of failing financially inspires them to learn, to become real student, and to seek real teachers. Mistakes are not failure. For this person, mistakes are real learning experiences. Each failure – although painful – is a lesson in humility, for only through genuine humility, does a person learn.
  • Chapter Eleven: How going to school keep people poor. Bucking an obsolete system.
  • Real education empowers people. It empowers them to do things others can’t. And, in many cases, things they thought might never be possible for them.
  • Fake education keeps people poor, small, limited, and tethered to tiny filaments of life, limited by limiting thoughts.
  • I Can’t. The most destructive words a person can use are the words “I can’t.” Especially when those words are tied to money: “I can’t afford it.”
  • What Causes Poverty?
  • When it comes to the cause of financial poverty, it is those few, short words – “I can’t afford it” – that keep people poor…and keep people small. If a person cannot those words into the question “How can I afford it?” they will always live in financial poverty, no matter how much money they may make.
  • Without real financial education, most people spend their lives saying things like: “I can’t afford it.” “You can’t do that.” “I wish I could do that.”
  • Invisible Poverty
  • Schools teach people to be poor with a term known as invisible poverty.
  • Schools reinforce invisible poverty by:
  • Punishing students for making mistakes
  • Teaching that mistakes make you stupid
  • Memorizing answers rather than learning by making mistakes
  • Decreeing that there is only one right answer that the teachers have
  • Delineating right versus wrong, rather than the concept of three sides to every coin
  • Lacking real financial education
  • Viewing cooperation as cheating
  • Taking tests on your own
  • Making it unacceptable to ask for help
  • Never saying, “I don’t know”
  • Not helping others
  • Grading on the bell curve, where there are smart people and stupid people
  • In 1989, with the invention of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the world transitioned from the Industrial Age into the Information Age, and accelerating acceleration began. Education, however, has not changed. Education remains frozen in time.
  • Your greatest assets are people. So people are your greatest liabilities.
  • For humanity to survive, each of us needs to start telling the truth. When people start talking about the human liabilities in their lives, they start telling the truth about the inadequacy of their children’s and their own education.
  • Simply put, education is failing to prepare people for a changing world of accelerating acceleration, a world of invisible change and invisible money.
  • Without real spiritual education, people are paralyzed because fake teachers teach them not to make mistakes and not to ask for help, because asking for help is cheating.
  • Without real financial education, people are blind because it is easier for the academic elite to steal the wealth of blind people via the money they work for.
  • Chapter Twelve: Entrepreneurs in education: Can you see the future?
  • Our education is the problem. It is what we teach, how we teach, and who teaches that is the problem.
  • Humanity is moving ever deeper into crisis – a crisis without precedent.
  • Chapter Thirteen: A Student of god: Choose your teachers well
  • The number one skill of an entrepreneur is the ability to sell. Sales equal income. The reason most people struggle financially is because they can’t sell.
  • Our mind is our problem.
  • My mind was my problem. My mind was in the way of the message.
  • Humans realize it is the development of our minds that separates us from the animals.
  • Split-Screen Mind. The problem is the human mind is a dualistic, often ego-driven mind. Our mind is like a split-screen TV. It sees the world through the prism of right and wrong, good and bad, up and down, in and out, pretty and ugly. That is why all humans have a good side and dark side.
  • The problem is that technology is evolving – but humans are not. Humans have not changed much in the last 500-1,000 years.
  • For humans to evolve, the next education level will require us to turn our minds off, shut up, and tune into God.
  • Be silent, be still, and become a student of god, the general overall director.
  • Today, most people are cautious about the food they put in their body. How many people are as cautious about the information they put in their brain? Just as there are people and businesses selling junk good, there are people and businesses selling junk information.
  • Why are the poor and middle class getting poorer? Because they invest in fake assets that they think are real assets.
  • The rich do not work for money. Savers are losers. Your house is not an asset. These are statements from Rich Dad Poor Dad, first published in 1997.
  • Most people are investing in real liabilities, not real assets.
  • Chapter Fourteen: Why retire young? The next big crisis
  • The looming retirement disaster.
  • Pensions going bust.
  • Pension plans are almost universally toast. Most of the time, politicians just ignore the problem and try to kick the can down the road to the next administration.
  • Moody’s Investors Service estimates state and local pensions have unfunded liabilities of about $4 trillion, roughly equal to the economy of Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy.
  • A 2018 study by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School has concluded that 40 percent of the American middle class will slide into poverty as they enter their retirement. Tomorrow’s poor have jobs today…but no retirement for tomorrow.
  • Retire Rich
  • In 1974, my goal was $120,000 a year in passive income. Then I could “retire young.”
  • In 1994, Kim and I reached that goal. Kim was 37 and I was 47. Again, it took me 20 years. It took Kim only 10.
  • Once we achieved $120,000 a year, our next goal was $1.2 million a year. Once $1.2 million was achieved, our next goal was $12 million per year. It was our personal challenge. First to retire young…then to retire rich. The math is not difficult. First is was $10,000 a month, then $100,000 a month, then $1 million a month.
  • Making money on the B and I side of the quadrant is only a game.
  • The important question is this: are you passionate about your game?
  • Do what God wants done. What does God want done?
  • Transitioning into the B and I quadrant is a tough journey.
  • There are many doors to financial heaven. There are even more doors to financial hell.
  • As you know, most entrepreneurs go through hell before achieving success in the B and I quadrants.
  • Many people take the door to financial hell and never come back.
  • Our education system… is a system without a soul. Everyone uses money. Every day. Why not teach money in school?
  • All financial planners are selling basically the same products: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, savings, and insurance.
  • The Name of the Game
  • Magic does not happen because the name of the game financial planning companies play is not “Make our clients rich.” The game financial planning companies play is “assets under management,” or AUM.
  • Rich Dad’s Plan
  • Rich dad taught his son and me that there are four basic asset classes. They are: 1. Business 2. Real Estate 3. Paper Assets (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and savings) 4. Commodities (gold, silver, oil, food, water.) Most financial planners and CFPs sold only paper assets and insurance for commissions.
  • Invest in what you love.
  • Paper assets are best for the average investor, a person without much financial education.
  • All paper assets are a form of derivatives. They are not real assets. They are fake assets,
  • Business and Real Estate
  • The problem with a business and real estate is they are illiquid. If you make a mistake, you become the skipper of the Titanic.
  • I recommend taking real estate courses before investing in real estate, then start small, follow the Higher Levels of Teacher, and practice, practice, practice.
  • Follow the McDonald’s formula for great wealth. What business is McDonalds in? Not Hamburgers, McDonald’s business is real estate.
  • The McDonald’s formula looks like this:

  • The Power of Words
  • If a person wants to become rich, they must learn to control the words they think and speak. Most people think and speak words that make them poor and keep them poor.
  • Poor people say, “I can’t afford it.”
  • Rich people ask, “How can I afford it?”
  • Poor people say, “I’m not interested in money.”
  • Rich people say, “If you are not interested in money, money is not interested in you.”
  • Poor people say, “I’ll never be rich.”
  • Rich people say, “I must be rich.”
  • Assets vs. Liabilities
  • Rich dad’s definition of assets: “Assets put money in your pocket.” Rich dad’s definition of liabilities: “Liabilities take money from your pocket.”
  • A house could be either an asset or liability, depending upon which direction the cash flows.
  • Fake Assets Are Real Liabilities
  • Billions of people invest in fake assets. A 401(k) is a fake asset because cash keeps flowing out of your pocket… for years. An Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, is a fake asset because takes money out of your pocket… for years.
  • A government pension is a fake asset because it is taking money out of your pocket… for years.
  • A mutual fund is a fake asset. So are stocks, bonds, ETFs, and savings. They are all derivatives. Mutual funds are loaded with fees, fees that make the rich richer. And you poorer.
  • Insiders know, mutual fund investors put up 100 percent of the money, take 100 percent of the risk, yet gain less than 20 percent of the profits.
  • Chapter Fifteen: Who Took My Money: How retirement, pensions, and fake assets are causing the poor and the middle class to grow poorer.
  • Since 2008, the four biggest Central Banks have printed over $9 trillion to save the world economy. Where did all that money go? Who got the money? Did you? And why are so many pensions going broke?
  • Threats to the World Economy
  • Rising interest rates
  • China
  • A Strong U.S. dollar
  • Pensions
  • Five reasons why the poor and middle class lose
  • Reason #1: Gamblers Run the Casino
  • During the 1950s and 1960s, only gamblers invested in the stock market. It was considered unethical for a financial advisor to recommend stocks to their clients.
  • In the 1950s to 1960s, my poor dad and my rich dad were savers. Saving money was safer than the stock market because after 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement, the U.S. dollar was backed by gold. The U.S. dollar became the reserve currency of the world, or “good as gold.”
  • In 1971, Nixon put the final nail in the coffin of the gold standard. The dollar and all government money became debt. Gamblers took over the government casino. Debtors became winners and savers became losers.
  • Learn to use debt to acquire assets.
  • Printing money made the working poor and middle class poorer because fake money creates inflation and inflation makes life more expensive.
  • The House of Cards Collapses
  • In 1998, the foundations of global central banks and U.S. government printed an estimated $9 trillion, to save themselves and their friends.
  • In 2018, the world is in another giant bubble economy. Stock, bond, and real estate prices have made millions of gamblers very rich.
  • Between 1971 to 2018, gamblers were the winners.
  • Between 1971 and 2018, the poor and middle-class workers who worked hard to earn fake money, saved fake money, and invested it in fake assets run by fake fund managers educated in our finest business schools became today’s biggest losers.
  • Three Giants Bubbles
  • GIANT BUBBLE #1: 1998: Thailand bust 1999: Long-Term Capital Management bust 2000: bust
  • GIANT BUBBLE #2: 2008: Real estate derivatives bust
  • GIANT BUBBLE #3: Bubble Top year?
  • Robert suspects that, between 2019 and 2025, many amateur gamblers who are rich today may become tomorrow’s biggest losers.
  • Is the Golden Age of gamblers coming to an end?
  • As the saying goes: “Gambling: the sure way to get nothing for something.”
  • Here are the four additional reasons how retirement, pensions, and fake assets cause the poor and middle class to become poorer.
  • Reasons #2: Inflation
  • “Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.” Herbert Hoover
  • “If there were no government-guaranteed student loans, college tuition would be much lower.” Gary Johnson
  • Concern for the Coming Generations
  • Baby Boomers in the United States had an easy life. We grew up during biggest economic boom in world history.
  • Their children and grandchildren – Gen X, the Millennial generation born after 1982, and the Gen Z internet-generation born after 1995 – have a very hard road ahead. Not only are many Millennials unemployed or underemployed, but many start their adult lives burdened by onerous student loan debt. They also inherit a massive national debt, a financial disaster left behind by their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
  • “By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, and important part of the wealth of their citizens.” John Maynard Keynes
  • “The way to crush the bourgeoisie (middle class) is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.” Vladimir Lenin
  • “Inflation destroys savings, impedes planning, and discourages investment. That means less productivity and a lower standard of living” Kevin Brady
  • Remember: The banking system is based on printing money. It is known as the fractional reserve system. That means, for every dollar a saver saves, the bank is allowed to lend out a “fraction” of that money. If the fractional reserve is 10 percent a bank may lend out $9 to debtors for every $10 of savers’ money. When the $9 goes to the debtor’s bank, the debtor’s bank may lend out $8.10. The sad truth is, there is only $1 of real money in savings. That is why if savers panic, banks may not be able to give the savers back their money.
  • Reason #3: Real Assets Make the Rich Richer
  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is a billionaire. Do you think he became a billionaire because he receives a billion-dollar paycheck?
  • Although Bezos’ salary of $1.7 million a year may (technically) be low, there’s a reason he’s called the richest man in the world. His net worth is skyrocketing, mostly due to the fact that he owns about 80 million shares of Amazon stock.
  • Every month, a portion of the billions of dollars from millions of workers’ 401(k)s and retirement plans flow from their paychecks into shares of Amazon stock. Jeff gets richer although his salary may stay the same.
  • Lesson: “Cash” and “flow” are the two most important words in the world of money. Every month, retirement cash flows from the Moms and Pops of the world into the pockets of the Jeff Bezoses of the world.
  • Reason #4: Crashes Make the Rich Richer
  • When the market crashes – and it always does – the poor and middle class are wiped out. When markets crash, the rich simply borrow money and buy back workers’ shares at bargain basement prices.
  • Reason #5: Rubber Chicken Dinners
  • How do the rich get richer if pension funds are going broke? The name of the game is “assets under management.”
  • Everyone talks about the benefits of compounding interest, but few mention the danger of compounding fees.
  • Treat agents as partners, not as real estate brokers.
  • If a house is a rental property and putting money in your pocket, the house is an asset. If the house is your home and taking money from your pocket, then it is a liability. And that is what rich dad’s son and I learned.
  • Assets put money (cash flow) into your pocket.
  • Liabilities take money (cash flow) out of your pocket.
  • When your banker tells you your house is an asset, he is not lying. He’s just not telling you the truth. What he does not tell you is that your house is the bank’s asset, not yours.
  • The same could be said for your saving, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and retirement plan. They are all fake assets because the cash flows to the ultra-rich via compounding fees and expenses.
  • All you have to do is follow the money, and you will see who the cash is flowing to. As legendary investor John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Funds, said, “[Investors] put up 100 percent of the cash, took 100 percent of the risk, and got 33 percent of the return.”
  • And if the mutual fund crashes, the investor loses 100 percent. If the mutual fund makes money, investors receive 20 percent of the reward, the owners of the mutual fund receive 80 percent.
  • Chapter Sixteen: Fishing in Clean Water: Fake News…and Transparency
  • In a capitalist government, a democracy wants citizens like you and me to be partners, investing in projects the government needs done.
  • A communist government is centralized, and most capital projects are run by government bureaucrats. In China, for instance, most of the rich are friends of bureaucrats, or “princelings,” children of bureaucrats.
  • In the United States, “a free-market economy” means that ordinary people and citizen entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate in projects the government wants and needs done via tax incentives.
  • Tax Incentives for Housing
  • For example, the government needs entrepreneurs to provide housing. This is why “depreciation” is a tax incentive for real estate investors.
  • Tax Incentives for Jobs
  • The government also wants people to provide jobs. That is why entrepreneurs in the B quadrant with over 500 employees pay less in taxes.
  • Big business attracts small business, which means more jobs, and more jobs mean more housing, more schools, more government service employees, and more taxes to city and state govenments.
  • Tax Incentives for Energy
  • Tax Incentives for Food
  • Incentives – not Loopholes
  • Tax and tax incentives are the engine of capitalism.
  • Failure is the other side of the success.
  • You need to go to school to be a doctor or lawyer, a tradesman, or a highly paid employee. But you do not need to go to school to become a rich entrepreneur or investor.
  • What the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and middle class do not.
  • Infinite ROI: Return on Information
  • There are many doors to financial heaven. And even more doors to financial hell.
  • It is information that makes the rich richer… not money. Information that is not taught in schools.
  • Pictured below is what is taught in schools.

  • This is what students are taught in schools. Notice where the cash flows from and to.
  • Debt is a loaded gun. A loaded gun can protect you and a loaded gun can kill you.
  • Chapter Seventeen: The End of The U.S. Dollar? Booms, Busts, Crashes… Collapse?
  • The difference between communism and capitalism
  • Communism: Communism is based on centralized government.
  • Capitalism: Capitalism is based upon centralized banks.
  • Central banks do not like gold because banks cannot print gold. Central banks do not like Bitcoin and blockchain because people’s money does not need central banks. Central banks print government money. Government money has no integrity. God’s money and people’s money have more integrity than central bank money.
  • The Real Issue
  • The real issue of government money is the word: confidence. As long as people have confidence in our governments and central banks, fake government money such as the dollar, yen, yuan, pesos, and Euro are safe.
  • The last snowflake is confidence. The moment confidence is gone, government money is toast, the dollar collapses, and the avalanche comes tumbling down the mountain, decimating everything in its path.
  • Rich dad’s favorite definition of money was: “Money is an idea, backed by confidence, representing work truly done, and is exchangeable.”
  • In the hands of an idiot… debt turns into disaster.
  • The game the Big Banks and Wall Street plays is, “Heads I win. Tails you lose.”
  • From its creation in 1913, the most important Fed mandate has been to maintain the purchasing power of the dollar; however, since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95 percent of its value. Put differently, it takes twenty dollars today to buy what one dollar would buy in 1913.
  • Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero. (Voltaire 1694 – 1778)
  • Central Banks have become more powerful than governments by virtue of their ability to create massive amounts of money without any legal restrictions or limitations on the amount.
  • Doctors and medicine are fake health… and that inner spirituality is real health.
  • Millions of people were seeking financial relief not a cure. Most people want the easy road to wealth… which is why most people never achieve great wealth or relief from real money worries.
  • Your spiritual health is found in your illness.
  • Your spiritual wealth is found in your poverty.
  • Your spiritual happiness is found in your sadness.
  • LESSON: Being present with your pain, your weakness, your darkness, and the Judas in you… is where your real spirituality is found.
  • Chapter Nineteen: How to soar with eagles… in a world run by chickens take control of your life
  • How Eagles Learn to Fly
  • STEP 1: “Wake up.”
  • When it comes to money, we have all been brainwashed. Brainwashed means taking on ideas that are not your own. Brain washed people are willing to die or fight for an idea.
  • Brainwashed people become upset when they hear things like:
  • Savers are losers
  • Your house is not an asset.
  • The rich don’t work for money.
  • The rich use debt as money.
  • The rich do not pay taxes… legally.
  • They become upset. A few become angry. They become emotional because they have been brainwashed. They become upset – “triggered” – by ideas that contradict their fragile beliefs.
  • STEP 2: Eagles teach their kids about money. Chickens do not.
  • Most family fortunes are gone in three generations. The first generation earns it, the second enjoys it, and the third generation loses it.
  • Dynasty wealth, wealth that is passed on from generation to generation. Rich dad also said, “Most poor and middle-class parents only want their children to get good jobs.”
  • STEP 3: Eagles make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. Chickens do not.
  • STEP 4: Eagles cheat… they ask for help.
  • STEP 5: Eagles invest in what they love. Chickens do as they are told.
  • STEP 6: Eagles invest for infinite returns. Eagles invest with OPM, other people’s money. Chickens are the other people.
  • LESSON: Tax breaks for the Bs and Is are similar, yet slightly different in different parts of the world. The lesson is that having a smart tax accountant and tax attorney can be the smartest thing an eagle can do.
  • Chickens do not have bookkeepers, tax accountant, and tax attorneys.
  • LESSON: Eagles spend money to increase income – on education (courses and seminars) and for professional advice from bookkeepers, accountants, and attorneys.
  • LESSON: Chickens who work hard and who work hard to keep expenses low so they can save money pay the highest taxes and receive the fewest tax breaks from the government.
  • LESSON: Chickens spend money and the money never comes back.
  • Why Chickens Lose
  • Chickens do as they are told and turn their money over to “financial experts,” such as financial planners and fund managers to invest for them. The problem is that chickens learn nothing when the expert wins and learn nothing when the expert loses their money.
  • Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
  • Fuller often said, “Free the scholar so he can return to his studies.”
  • Fuller’s words – “Integrity is the essence of everything successful”
  • Fuller also said, “If success or failure of this planet of human beings depended on how I am and what I do… How would I be? What would I do?”

Gretchen Rubin: The Four Tendencies Book Summary

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How do you respond to expectations? While this might seem like a straightforward question, we can gain tremendous knowledge if we venture to explore it in greater depth. In fact, this question can be rewarding not only in terms of the self-insight it can offer, but also by deepening our understanding of other people.

In this book summary, you’ll discover that the way people respond to expectations, both their own and those posed by others, fits into Four Tendencies: UpholdersQuestionersObligers and Rebels. You’ll learn what exactly it means to fit into each of these categories and how better understanding our own tendency can help us improve our productivity, and how we relate to others.


This book summary aren’t about pigeonholing people into limiting categories, rather it’s about providing the insight that allows us to reach our full potential.

You’ll also learn

  • which tendency is most likely to be a snitch;
  • why you shouldn’t let a Questioner choose your washing machine; and
  • what can be the only way to make an Obliger exercise.



One day, the author Gretchen Rubin was chatting with a friend over lunch and the conversation turned to exercise. Her friend was reflecting on the fact that when she was on the track and field team at school, she had no trouble finding the time to run, but now, forget about it!

“Not having the time” is a common excuse for why we can’t get something done, but if you really want to get to the bottom of why some tasks are so hard to accomplish, you need to understand The Four Tendencies.


The Four Tendencies are all about how we respond to the two kinds of expectations we face every day: the outer expectations that come from work and society, and the inner expectations we set for ourselves.


The first of the Four Tendencies are Upholders. These are people who excel at meeting both inner and outer expectations.


The second is Questioners, who are people who meet inner expectations but question and struggle with outer expectations.


The third is Obligers, people who deal well with outside expectations but struggle with their own.


And the fourth is the Rebels, who push against both inner and outer expectations.


In the case of Rubin’s friend, who excelled at running when she had a coach and a team, but doesn’t find the time on her own, this is a typical scenario for an Obliger, someone who needs outside accountability.

As we’ll see in the book summarys ahead, none of these categories are inherently bad or meant to make you feel boxed in or doomed to lifelong problems. They’re meant as tools for gaining insight into your nature, and the nature of those you work and live with, so that you can be a more confident and productive individual.


First of all, you should know that the author, Gretchen Rubin, slots right into the Upholder category, so she might be a little biased toward this one!

At first glance, Upholders can appear to be an ideal category since they are generally very reliable and productive people. Since they respond well to both the expectations placed on them by other people and the expectations they place on themselves, they get their work done efficiently and make time for themselves.

In other words, an Upholder is the kind of person who has no trouble getting to work on time and getting a full eight hours of sleep.


To make sure they take care of the work given to them, as well as their personal tasks, Upholders are fond of schedules, to-do lists and having a clear understanding of what’s expected of them.

Upholders find great satisfaction in meeting expectations and following rules, which means that these people are the kind that find it gratifying and liberating to have a disciplined life. In fact, a good motto for Upholders is “discipline brings freedom.”

This Tendency doesn’t come without its challenges though, as anyone who’s lived with an Upholder will attest.

They can, for example, be so ready to follow the rules that they neglect to ask questions and end up blindly adhering to rules and directions that are harmful or just plain wrong. These are also the kind of people who are most likely to be a snitch and the least likely to embrace change.

Upholders can also experience what’s known as tightening, which is the opposite of how others experience a new habit. When you begin a new healthier diet, you might stick to it for a few days before it slowly falls by the wayside as you revert back to your usual comfort foods. An Upholder, however, can casually start a new habit, but over time it’ll tighten and become stronger and more controlling over their life.



Upholders often have easy interactions with doctors and managers, since they’ll readily take orders and aim to please.

If you’re trying to manage an Upholder, the best piece of advice is to make sure you give clear and precise instructions. Once they have a clear understanding of the priorities and what’s expected of them, Upholders can then be left to take care of business. They’re generally self-starters, so they don’t require a lot of micromanagement.

However, they can have trouble delegating duties and adjusting to changes in routines. So if you see work piling up, or if there’s been an adjustment to procedures, you might want to check in to see if they need help.

Upholders make great bosses and managers, but there are some things that can really get them frustrated.

People in all of the Four Tendencies can have problems understanding why everyone else isn’t like them. So Upholders can get frustrated and impatient with people who fail to meet expectations – they don’t understand why some people can’t just put their mind to a task and get it done.

This also means they can get upset and hostile when a mistake is made, which includes becoming defensive or beating themselves up for a mistake they make themselves. Making an error is such a potent fear that Upholders will avoid accepting a good opportunity, like a promotion, if they sense there’s a chance they might fail.

For the spouse or partner of an Upholder, dealing with these characteristics is a matter of understanding and tolerance.

Remember that all Upholders want to meet expectations, so you can help by, for example, avoiding making spontaneous changes or casually suggesting a plan that hasn’t been thought out. This is because Upholders are eager to please, so they might latch onto a bad idea and think they need to see it through to the bitter end.


“I’m willing to help out, but you have to convince me why it’s worth my time.” Does this sound familiar? It’s a typical attitude of the second of the Four Tendencies, the Questioner.


Questioners do a fine job of setting and meeting their own expectations, but they resist the expectations of others and feel a strong desire to question everything.

The statement that best defines a Questioner is, “I do what makes sense, even if it means ignoring rules or other people’s expectations.” Unlike Upholders, a Questioner isn’t going to follow your instructions just because you’re the boss, or even if it’s a procedure people have been following for years. They want to know why you made this rule and whether or not it’s fair.

As you can imagine, Questioners can be exhausting to deal with at times, but their nature can make them tremendously valuable.

Since Questioners are skeptical of rules and procedures, they’re great at spotting the ways in which a procedure can be improved. Questioners are always thinking there’s a better way to do something, which makes them a perfect fit for an organization that wants to stay on the cutting edge.

“Why are we using this software?” “What’s the benefit of this policy?” “Why do we need weekly meetings?” These are the kinds of challenging questions they ask, which can be of great benefit to any company – as long as the management is looking for novel ideas and doesn’t consider questions to be an act of insubordination. As such, some organizations may see a Questioner as not being a “team player.”

Furthermore, the nature of a Questioner can be a hindrance when it results in analysis paralysis.


The main reason for questions is to make sure the right decisions are being made, and even something as simple as buying a washing machine can result in days of research to identify the best machine. But sometimes this can result in the Questioner being overwhelmed and unable to make any decision at all – in other words, they will experience analysis paralysis.


Have you ever been driven nuts by a kid who constantly follows up every answer with, “but why?” Then you already have some experience in dealing with a Questioner.

The key to dealing with a Questioner is to be precise with your reasoning and justification when you want to give them a task.

If you want your Questioner partner to buy bread on the way home, don’t just send a text that says, “Pls pick up bread, thx!” While it might take some extra effort on your part, you’ll be preventing a lot of hassle by being exact and asking him to pick up crusty sourdough bread because your mom is coming over tonight and it’s her favorite, and also because it will go perfectly with the soup you’re making. With this justification, you’ll be sure to avoid any follow-up questions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Questioners don’t like being questioned!

If this sounds like a perfect irony, you’re right – but the fact remains that Questioners tend to feel insulted when someone questions their motives or reasoning. This is likely because they’re so thorough in their decision-making that they feel their choices should be seen as unquestionably logical.

However, Questioners do like to share their knowledge, so you can avoid hurting their feelings by phrasing your question appropriately. So, instead of “Why are you doing that?” ask something like, “How did you come to this conclusion?”

While Questioners can be great at any job, there are some scenarios they’d do best to avoid.

Many Questioners find success in research-heavy roles and auditing jobs that suit their inquisitive nature and their knack for improving efficiency. But jobs that require a lot of decisions, like designing a home, are best left to people who don’t have a tendency to fall into analysis paralysis. These are jobs that are best left to people who excel at making quick decisions.


Do you know someone who always puts others ahead of themselves? Someone who has no problem working overtime to help his boss but feels uncomfortable asking for any time off?

These are the signs of an Obliger, a person who excels at meeting outside expectations but struggles with meeting inner expectations.

Some of the everyday tasks an Obliger will have trouble with are exercising, taking an online course or doing much of anything that requires self-motivation.

Conversely, they are quite effective at meeting the demands of others. In fact, since Obligers are the largest of the four groups, they are the dependable rocks of society. Even so, they struggle mightily to give themselves the same respect they give others.

However, there is a reliable way to fix this unhealthy imbalance, namely by turning internal expectations into external ones. By doing this, Obligers can create the kind of outside accountability they need to take action.

Let’s say you live alone and have trouble keeping the place clean unless you’re expecting company. For some people, all it takes is to imagine there are people on the way over and they can start cleaning; for others, they’ll invite people over for the very purpose of creating the accountability they need to spruce up the place.

Another method is the threat of being charged a fee. Some Obligers find the motivation they need to exercise regularly because their gym will charge them if they don’t show up to their appointments.

But money isn’t always enough; the necessary accountability is only achieved when there’s also the threat of letting a real person down. Obligers can get pretty creative in this regard, such as by exchanging their exercise gear with another person. This way, if you don’t show up with the gear, the other person won’t be able to exercise. This is exactly the kind of accountability many Obligers need to do something good for themselves.


If the last book summary sounded very familiar to you, you may also be familiar with people telling you that you simply need to be “more selfish.” You may also feel a sense of shame at needing to come up with these outside sources of accountability in order to take care of yourself.

Indeed, the Obliger category may be the most difficult of the Four Tendencies.

Over two-thirds of Obligers report feelings of frustration over their inability to devote any time to themselves. Feelings of low self-esteem are also common, which can be made worse by ignorant Upholders who call Obligers lazy for not exercising.

This frustration can erupt into Obliger-rebellion, which is when an Obliger snaps after one too many times of being taken for granted, treated unfairly or shamed with accusations of being lazy or pathetic. In these moments, they might quit their job or break up with a partner.


Other Obligers might get through their difficult times through small acts of defiance, like being deliberately late to work or refusing to prepare for a presentation. But these often only serve to self-sabotage the Obliger more than anything else, since they’re fireable offenses.

Since they often have the most problems, it makes sense that knowing about the Four Tendencies might also benefit the Obligers the most.

Many people benefit from simply discovering these categories and seeing how they all make sense. With this information, they now know that it’s part of human nature and not some personal defect. They can start setting up external accountability and begin making life better.

Many Obligers have had to deal with bosses and therapists who don’t listen to their requests for accountability and tell them to “grow up and learn how to be accountable for yourself.” If only it were that easy!

As more people who fall into different categories discover the Four Tendencies, they’ll also be able to make life easier for Obligers. They’ll see that they aren’t, in fact, lazy, and that they need a certain amount of oversight.


Last but not least is the fourth tendency: the Rebel, whose motto could be “You can’t make me, and neither can I.” Because not only does the Rebel resist meeting outside expectations, they resist their own expectations as well.

Rebels are all about individuality, and they want everything they do to be a reflection of their unique self. As such, anything that could be considered an expectation gets rejected.

If this sounds rather extreme, keep in mind that Rebels are the smallest group of all four tendencies; it’s also true that this group loves to defy assumptions and prove people wrong.

But even though Rebels hate being bossed around, they’re willing to work hard. It’s all a matter of framing things in a way that makes Rebels feel like they are the ones making the decision.

If you’re the parent, teacher or boss of a Rebel, you know it can be a challenge dealing with their attitude. If you send an email to a Rebel with the title “Please read!” you shouldn’t be surprised if it’s immediately deleted.

You don’t want to give a Rebel any sort of direct order, but if you give them the necessary information, explain the potential consequences and offer them the freedom to make their own choice, you stand a good chance of getting your desired outcome.

So, provide them with the details of the current situation, the consequences of the different choices available and then walk away; this will give them the space to make their own decision. If the Rebel has an audience staring at them and waiting for the decision, this will still feel like they’re being bossed around.

Instead of “Let’s meet up next week,” try something like, “Let’s meet up when you feel like it. I have next week off so that works for me.”


Just like Obligers, Rebels can have trouble taking care of themselves and meeting their inner expectations. While it might be for different reasons, such as not wanting to be a conformist, the result can be the same.

Even if a Rebel wants to exercise and eat a healthy diet, they can be frustrated with their inability to stick to routines and do what’s good for them.

Being an authentic individual is at the top of a Rebel’s priorities, so the secret to meeting expectations is for them to align their identity with their goals.

For example, if you’re a Rebel who has trouble staying in shape and eating healthily, make being a great chef and fitness geek a central part of your identity. Once this takes hold, a well-made meal and yoga will become part of who you are.

Other Rebels have used play-acting to get around these Rebel barriers. So, if you need to pay the bills, even though every fiber of your being says that doing so is the worst kind of conformist nonsense, just put on the accountant hat and pretend you’re someone else for the time it takes to get it over with.

Another way to get in the healthy frame of mind is to get your Rebel mind going against the corporations that want you to eat junk food, smoke cigarettes and drink booze. So, if you’re trying to set inner expectations related to quitting these vices, you can always use the anti-corporation angle.

One method that has proven quite reliable to setting inner expectations in a Rebel is the bet.

This has worked well for the loved ones of Rebels, and all it takes is saying something like, “I bet there’s no way you can quit smoking.” Rebels love a challenge and they love to prove someone else wrong, so this bit of reverse psychology is surprisingly reliable.


You may think that the only job for an Upholder would be one that enforces rules, since they’re so eager to meet expectations, but this is a shortsighted look at what the tendencies tell us.

It’s true that our tendency can help us better understand our strengths and weaknesses, but you shouldn’t see these categories as limiting anyone to certain roles.

The author was at a dinner with a few Upholders who all agreed that their type were the ones who would make the best business leaders, since they would put the interests of the company ahead of their own. But if it were a group of Questioners, they’d probably agree that their group makes the best CEOs.


The truth is, any type can produce a great leader, and if you want to be successful, it only helps to know more about yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses. And this is precisely how the Four Tendencies can be useful to each and every one of us.

No one type is better than any other, since they all have strengths and weaknesses, and being familiar with these will allow you to understand yourself, your partner, coworkers, boss and family members.

If you’re an Upholder who’s dating a Questioner, the Four Tendencies can help you understand your attraction. There’s a good chance you like that they ask the questions you don’t feel comfortable asking yourself.

In work and in life, knowing the characteristics of the Four Tendencies can be extremely helpful. Here’s a little cheat-sheet to keep in mind:

Upholders want you to tell them what needs to be done; they value self-reliance and performance.

Questioners want you to justify what needs to be done; they value justification and purpose.

Obligers want you to hold them accountable for what needs to be done; they value teamwork and duty.

Rebels want you to let them decide what needs to be done; they value freedom and individuality.

Just as no one type is more successful, no one type is happier than another, either. What does bring more happiness is understanding ourselves better.


The key message in this book:

The key to happiness is to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, collectively known as your Tendency. Once you can recognize these aspects of yourself, you can start to adjust to and compensate for them. No one is perfect, and we can make life much easier on ourselves by avoiding pitfalls and playing to our strengths.

Actionable advice:

Make your signage work for all four types.

Is the kitchen or bathroom at your workplace a mess? Don’t make a sign that bosses people around, since it’s going to make the Rebels in your office want to be deliberately messy. Instead, make a sign that gives them information, consequences and choices. It could read:  “A messy workplace is a sign of disrespect and can negatively affect morale. Please be professional and help us keep the area clean.” This allows a Rebel to make their own choice.



50 Words to Your Dreams Chapter 44 Discipline by Michael George Knight


Discipline can be described as doing what you know you should do, when it ought to be done whether you feel like it or not. We all know what we should do but we don’t apply self-discipline to push through the excuses to get it done. Excuses are easy, everyone has them.

They are cheap just like opinions, it’s discipline that throws excuses to the curb and gets the job done. David Goggins says “Don’t talk about it, be about it. The number one discipline that you need for success is never giving up and never stop taking action.


Discipline is the surest way to make your dreams a reality. The discipline of taking action on your highest priorities, not your lowest. Discipline of waking up early and getting after it, discipline of self-education, discipline of reading, discipline to get your body in optimal shape so it can provide you with the strength and energy you need to live an energetic life. Disciple to eat and drink that the right stuff. Discipline to stay on the health track instead of the dirt road to sickness. Discipline of putting yourself out there and dealing with rejection and setbacks while continuing to move forward no matter what. No one who has ever achieved anything worth wild hasn’t applied discipline in their life, no one! Remember Disciplined Action x Time = Success.



Discipline never goes away because discipline is a choice acted upon, and guess what we make choices every minute of every day. Seemly small inconsequential choices of what to do next. The choice of what to do next is a never escaping choice that we are presented with in the now, which is always our present moment. It’s your discipline or lack of discipline that is going to determine if your next actions are goal achieving actions or tension reliving actions. Discipline is minute by minute, action by action, thought by thought.



Schedule discipline into your tomorrow today. How simple, yet difficult for most. Most things in life are simple but difficult. Simply prioritize your top 3 goals in life. Break them down into daily actionable steps for achievement and schedule those action steps into your tomorrow. Create time in your tomorrow’s schedule to take disciplined goal achieving actions. Simple yes, but most won’t. Schedule a workout, schedule a meeting with a client, schedule time to meal prep for health, schedule time to learn, schedule journaling, schedule anything and everything that will move the needle to goal achievement. If you are struggling to make time in your schedule, time to look at your life and pull out your imaginary eraser. Erase your biggest distractions and self-distractions you use to procrastinate on your top 3 goals. Drop TV, drop the internet, drop socializing, drop anything that is taking you away from dream realization and success. Reprioritize your sleep patterns if needed to either wake up early or stay up later, if that’s what it takes to work on your goals. As Jocko Willink says, “Discipline equals freedom.”




All your habits you have are the result of your habitual thinking, habitual inner dialogue, habitual self-programming and your habitual activity. Constantly doing the same things to create your identity which shapes and molds your behavior. What you do ultimately comes down to the self-identity you carry around in your head. To create a new identity will require you to drop the old you to create the next and better you. New actions require new thinking and new empowering self talk. The simplified formula is New Actions x Time = New Habits. Taking new actions requires will power and a large amount of discipline, but taking repeated actions and converting actions into habits and then into a new identity takes less will power and less discipline over time. Because what was once hard has now become easy due to habit and identity change. New disciplines creates new habits which in turn creates a new identity and ultimately a new you. Remember discipline is what gets the plane up in the air, habit is what keeps the plane flying in the air.




  • A lack of personal discipline in one area nearly always shows up in other areas. (Larry Winget)
  • A new discipline immediately changes the direction of your life, like a ship turning in mid-ocean and heading toward a new destination. (Jim Rohn)
  • Achieving success when we have dedication, commitment, and self-disciple is almost a certainty. (Tom Hopkins)
  • Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion. Affirmation with discipline creates miracles. You must have both affirmation and discipline. You need faith behind your works. (Jim Rohn)
  • Concentrate on one thing, the most important thing, and stay with it until it’s complete. (Brian Tracy)
  • Consistency builds discipline, disciplined actions done consistently create success. (Grant Cardone)
  • Discipline comes through self-control. This means that one must control all negative qualities. Before you can control conditions, you must first control yourself. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Discipline is the ability to give yourself a command and then follow it. (Bob Proctor)
  • Discipline is the bridge between thought and accomplishment, the bridge between inspiration and value achievement, the bridge between necessity and productivity. (Jim Rohn)
  • Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure. (Jim Rohn)
  • Discipline requires work a daily commitment steeped in action in order to achieve your goals. That’s my problem with goal setting. Too much focus on the goal and not nearly enough focus on the daily commitment or the action necessary to achieve the goal. (Larry Winget)
  • Every error defeated by disciplined activity paves the way for our future success. And that is how the life puzzle is completed, a single victory at a time. (Jim Rohn)
  • Having self-discipline makes a tremendous difference a difference too great to measure. It’s not something you’re given, not something you inherit, self-discipline is something that you acquire by yourself. (Tom Hopkins)
  • He who conquers others is strong. He who conquers himself is mighty. (Lao-Tsu)
  • I learned to discipline myself to do things I didn’t want to do. (Edward James Olmos)
  • If we do not discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us. (William Feather)
  • If you want to achieve anything in life, it is not enough to merely wish for it. You must develop that kind of 4:30am discipline that distinguishes you from others. (Armstrong Williams)
  • In fact, discipline actually gives us more freedom than we’d have without it. (Dexter Yager)
  • It is one thing to praise discipline, and another to submit to it. (Miguel de Cervantes)
  • It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through. (Zig Ziglar)
  • It’s just a matter of understanding what’s necessary and discipline yourself to do it. (Arthur Lydiard)
  • Only through the consistent application of discipline can we prevent the negative tendencies of life from destroying our plans. (Jim Rohn)
  • Possessing the ability to do the most productive thing possible at most given moments requires a high degree of self-discipline. (Tom Hopkins)
  • Self-discipline is the most important quality for assuring long term success. The ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. Your ability to discipline yourself to pay the price of success in advance and to continue paying it until you achieve the goal is the true mark of the winning human being. Sacrifice in the short term is the price you pay for long term security. (Herbert Gray)
  • Self-discipline is when your conscience tells you to do something and you don’t talk back. (W K. Hope)
  • Start a little earlier, work a little harder stay a little later, discipline yourself when you don’t feel like it and persist. You build your self-discipline, self-discipline is the basis for self-confidence. (Brian Tracy)
  • Teenagers look at discipline as a drag and a burden. Adults have discovered that it’s the doorway to freedom. It freed you to succeed. (Dexter Yager)
  • The formula for success; a few simple daily disciplines practiced everyday. Eliminate the errors and replace them with the disciplines practiced. (Jim Rohn)
  • The mechanism of the mind is a profound system of organized power which can be released by one means: strict self-discipline. (Andrew Carnegie)
  • The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline. (Bum Phillips)
  • There’s trained and untrained, which are you? (Movie; Man on Fire)
  • Through discipline comes freedom. (Aristotle)
  • To develop self-discipline is to take possession of your mind with such strength that your emotions and appetites are brought under control. (Tom Hopkins)
  • We all must suffer the two pains, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret, regret weighs tons, discipline weighs kilos. (Jim Rohn)
  • Will-power and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Without discipline, it is nearly impossible to be successful. (Unknown)
  • You will only become truly prosperous when you have disciplined your mind. (James Allen)


That’s a wrap on

50 Words to Your Dreams

Chapter 44: Discipline

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Michael Pollan Cooked A Natural History of Transformation Book Summary

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COOKED By Michael Pollan



What makes us human? Is it that we can speak and sing? Other animals can also do these things. Or is it that we are empathetic – probably not, as other animals show empathy, too.

The one thing that makes us human is a curious combination of fire and pot: humans cook.

This seemingly simple act has played an enormous role in shaping our history. By learning how to cook, humans as a species have thrived, achieving things we would never have been able to achieve had we stuck to a basic foraging diet.

This book summary walk you through humanity’s kitchen, examining the pots and pans, and ovens and grills that together have helped create history.

In this book summary, you’ll discover

  • why there’s a connection between cooking less and eating poorly;
  • why consuming a cooked egg is healthier than eating a raw one; and
  • how yeast transformed society’s relationship with grain.



Some people think that raw food diets represent a return to nature – a healthier way to live. But such logic is off base. If we didn’t cook food, we’d spend a ton of time just chewing it.

For humans to live well consuming just raw food, we would need a much larger gut and more powerful jaws. Our apelike ancestors did have these traits, but they came with a trade-off.

Primatologist Richard Wrangham hypothesized that before early humans began to cook, they spent over half their day chewing their food.


We can witness this today with chimpanzees that like to eat meat but don’t cook. When a chimpanzee eats raw meat, it has to chew for a long time, technically leaving it little time to hunt – not nearly enough time to properly support a carnivorous diet.

Regarding expended calories, eating hard-to-digest food is costly. For many species, the calories expended in digestion are nearly equal to the calories needed to move around.

Here’s where cooking food makes a difference. Cooking alters the composition of food both physically and chemically, making it more nutritious and easier to digest.

When we cook a protein-rich food like meat, the heat works to unravel the structure of the meat’s proteins, unlocking the energy within. These now weaker protein structures are easily digested by the enzymes in the human stomach.

When you boil an egg, for example, 90 percent of the cooked egg is digestible. A raw egg, in contrast, is only 65 percent digestible by the human gut. The same rule applies to many other foodstuffs: the more food is cooked, the easier it is for your gut to absorb the nutrients stored in the food.

Another benefit of cooking is that it makes food safer to eat. Some plants, like the root cassava, a staple of South American cuisine, is toxic when raw. Once cooked, it is safe to eat, nutritious and easily digested.

Cooking also works to preserve food. Thus raw meat that would spoil quickly remains edible for a longer period once it’s cooked.


Lots of people would gladly add bacon to just about anything. But why has bacon become so popular?

The recent obsession with this cured pork product is inspired by the human affinity for a unique taste also present in mushrooms, meaty broths and dried anchovies.

It’s called the fifth taste, or umami. Here’s how umami was discovered.


For some time, scientists held that there were four tastes the human tongue could register: bitter, sweet, sour and salty. Since 1908, however, Japanese researchers have recognized a fifth taste – umami.

At the turn of the century, chemist Kikunae Ikeda was studying the snowy crystals that form on dried kelp, or kombu. The Japanese use kombu as an ingredient for soup stock, among other dishes.

To his surprise, Ikeda made a curious discovery. What he found was glutamate, the taste of which didn’t quite fit into existing taste categories – so Ikeda coined the sensation as umami, roughly translated as “pleasant savory taste.”


It wasn’t until 2001 when US scientists studying taste receptors on the human tongue found one specifically for glutamate, thus cementing the idea in the West of umami as a fifth taste.

But while glutamate is the basis of many distinctly flavored foods, when consumed on its own, it’s neither tasty or flavorful. Rather, umami happens when glutamate is combined with other flavors.

Umami is also associated with the texture of certain foods. For instance, liquids such as soup broth that contain flavorings consistent with umami tastes can feel thicker on the tongue.

So while glutamate is key to the expression of umami in food, two other molecules also influence umami flavors. Inosine is found in fish; guanosine in mushrooms. You’ve probably experienced umami when you add fish sauce to a steaming bowl of Vietnamese phở or porcini mushroom stock to a creamy risotto.

Traditional Japanese soup stock uses foods that contain all three of these molecules – a veritable umami explosion!


Just 20 percent of the money households spend on food is directed to the people who produce the food. So where does the rest of that money go?

America’s “food-industrial complex” consists of more than just massive farms. This system is made up of food manufacturers, advertising executives and marketers, which, decades ago, worked to create a surplus of industrially-processed food. This quickly became the basis of the American diet.

After World War II, the food manufacturers that supplied rations to US troops abroad needed a market for their products. As a result, canned dinners, dehydrated potatoes and instant coffee became the staple for convenience foods in 1950s America.

Praised as innovative, convenience foods also created problems. As people gave up cooking fresh foods, diets became less healthy overall. Why exactly?

Processed ingredients, ready-made meals and “fast foods” are usually less healthy than fresh food. It’s far cheaper for a company to create processed foods by piling sugar, fat and salt onto a base of corn or soybean material than it is for a farmer to grow whole, natural foods. Processed food is thus both big business and big money.

Aside from being unhealthy to eat, processed food poses another problem for society. Because it’s so easy to obtain and consume, we eat more processed foods than whole foods because it’s more convenient.

Popping a frozen pizza in the oven is far easier than making the dough and tomato sauce yourself. And if you had to mix the ingredients for every soda you guzzled, you’d probably drink far less!

In fact, the connection between the abandonment of cooking and unhealthy eating is so pronounced that time spent in the kitchen is inversely correlated to obesity levels.

In 2003, Harvard economists performed a study that looked at how people cook in different cultures. They found that the more time people spend preparing food in the kitchen, the less obese they were overall.

What’s more, the economists discovered that the time people spent in a kitchen cooking was a better indicator of obesity level than was income or a country’s percentage of women in the workforce.


Whether eating out or cooking at home, the sandwich remains the most common American meal. And what’s more important for making a sandwich than the bread?

Bread has become a staple of the American diet for many reasons. When humans learned to make bread, they tapped into massive energy stores previously locked up in grasses and grains.

Our paleolithic ancestors used to eat the seeds of wild grasses – the only part of the plant that the stomach can immediately digest. Those same early societies began cultivating the seed plants for food, harvesting bigger, more nutritious seeds. With time, they found that by mashing, roasting or soaking the seeds, the food was more filling and sustaining. This seed mush was also cooked on a hot surface as a sort of unleavened bread.

Later, in Egypt around 4000 BC, a simple bowl of seed mush left in a warm place started to bubble, its contents expanding with air. Wild yeasts in the mush had begun the process of fermentation. A curious cook put the fermented dough in an oven, thus creating the first loaf of leavened bread.

This discovery was a culinary game-changer. Bread is far more nutritious than the sum of its parts; the processes of fermentation and baking releases nutrients inaccessible in raw ingredients. While a diet of raw wheat flour could sustain a person for a short time, a person can live on baked bread.

Nutrient density isn’t the only reason bread became a staple. Bread represents a smart use of energy.

Grasses such as wheat, barley, oats and spelt cover some 65 percent of the earth’s surface, absorbing the sun’s rays and transforming them into energy through a process called photosynthesis. These grasses are food for the animals we in turn eat.

Yet animals at the end of this food chain miss out on a lot of that original plant-based energy. When one animal eats another animal, only 10 percent of what the prey has consumed is accessible to the predator as energy. The other 90 percent has essentially been used by the prey.

Think of it this way: it’s as if you had ten pounds of wheat to eat, but threw nine pounds in the trash!

Consuming sources of energy lower down on the food chain, such as plants and seeds, is thus far more efficient. This is why there are more herbivores in nature than carnivores.


Americans get around 20 percent of their calories from wheat, which in itself isn’t problematic. However, 95 percent of the wheat we consume comes in the form of white flour, which has little nutritional content.

In fact, eating white flour isn’t much different than eating pure sugar.

The human craving for white bread is nothing new – but the industrial methods by which white bread is produced certainly are.

For ancient Greeks and Romans, white bread was a prized commodity. Back then, when spoiled food and disease were common, whiteness was an indicator of cleanliness and wholesomeness. White bread was also both sweeter and easier to chew than whole grain bread, an important consideration at a time when dental hygiene wasn’t widely practiced and people often lost their teeth early in life.

Although white bread was prized in ancient societies, the transition to pure white bread came in the nineteenth century with the invention of roller mills. These machines completely separated the “undesirable” germ and bran from a wheat seed, leaving just the starch behind.

Removing the germ and bran, or the color and texture of a wheat seed, also removed the most nutritious parts of the seed where vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are found.

The results of our growing taste for and consumption of white flour were evident at the beginning of the twentieth century, as communities showed increased signs of malnourishment, diabetes and heart disease.

Because of increasing health problems, the government encouraged industrial bread producers to begin fortifying white bread with nutrients. In the 1940s, companies such as the Continental Baking Company and Wonder Bread began adding B vitamins to white bread.

Gradually companies started to add bran back to bread, creating “whole-grain” loaves. Yet the result still isn’t nutritionally comparable to bread made with whole wheat. Even worse, many of these whole-grain loaves are loaded with additives and sugar to make them taste sweet like white bread.


If extra-terrestrials came to study humans on earth, they might conclude that we are some type of superorganism, as hundreds of different species cohabitate each human body.

These countless organisms perform essential functions without our even being aware. We really are superorganisms composed primarily of microbes.

Some nine-tenths of the cells in your body are those of microbial species, and the vast majority live in your gut. As a result, 99 percent of the DNA in your body is microbial DNA. When you think about it that way, you’re basically a vehicle for colonies of microscopic species.

With that in mind, perhaps you’d like to know what they’re up to?

The main role of microbes is to serve as external digesters, breaking down food so your body can better absorb nutrients.

Microbes are also essential in the process of fermentation. The list of foods we love that wouldn’t exist without microbes includes cheese, coffee, bread, beer and chocolate to name a few.

Nearly every culture on the planet uses the process of fermentation in one way or another to create edible foods.

Yet as we sterilize more and more of the food we eat, we’re losing the potential health benefits that microbes can provide. Modern medicine has encouraged the overuse of antibiotics, which indiscriminately kill off microbes in the stomach, good and bad.

And those bright green pickles at the supermarket? They’re sterile, which is a shame. Naturally fermented foods have been shown to improve digestion, counteract inflammation, strengthen the immune system and even fight cancer, all by increasing the microbial diversity of the gut.

For centuries, humans have known that fermented foods are healthy. For example, when Captain Cook embarked on a two-year sea voyage, he took along a supply of sauerkraut to feed his crew and combat scurvy. We now know why this worked, as sauerkraut is packed with vitamin C.


When the fruit of the durian tree drops to the ground and begins to rot, it’s only a matter of time before visitors of all shapes and sizes gather to reap the spoils. Among them are tigers, wild pigs and rhinos, all seeking the spontaneously fermented alcohol that this process produces.

Alcohol is the most popular fermented food, not just across cultures but also the animal kingdom. While humans are the only animals that make alcohol – although there have been reports of monkeys in China fermenting fruit to drink the alcoholic result – many animals have it made for them.


For instance, the bertram palm in Malaysia produces a daily supply of fermented flower buds for the pen-tailed tree shrew. The little rodent slurps from each flower as it flits from palm to palm, pollinating the trees.

In studies, chimps and rats have also been found to be liquor enthusiasts, although their drinking habits differ. If you put a chimp in an all-you-can-drink situation, that’s precisely what it’ll do.

Rats, on the other hand, act more like humans, enjoying an aperitif before dinner and another at day’s end. They then proceed to get ludicrously drunk together about twice a week.

Other species also drink socially, and the reason for this behavior is simple: a single drunk animal is an easy mark for predators.

While we all seem to enjoy a drink, a taste for other fermented foods is often culturally determined.

Korean kimchi, Icelandic pickled shark and aged French cheese are all fermented foods with strong flavors for which people acquire a taste as children. Outsiders who encounter these foods later in life often have a strong positive or negative reaction to them.

One powerful example comes from World War II, when American troops were ordered to burn down a series of warehouses in Normandy, thinking they contained stinking corpses. In reality, their culturally unadapted noses had misidentified huge stores of typically pungent Camembert cheese.


The key message in this book:

Cooking is more than a hobby, a chore or lively career path. It’s a defining trait of the human race. However, the more we’ve placed cooking in the hands of corporations, the less wholesome and pleasurable our food has become.

Actionable Advice

Try your hand at fermentation.

Have a go at baking a fresh loaf of bread, pickling a jar of vegetables or even making mead from honey. Even the simplest act of fermentation can elucidate the mystery of this natural process, all the while filling you with wonder at its infinite possibilities.



Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond Book Summary

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Summary of Value Investing: From Graham To Buffett And Beyond


The book is comprehensive guidelines on stock evaluation and differences among methods used by generations of investors under the basic concept “Value investing”. Value investing is buying stock at a discount price below its intrinsic value. A gap between purchased price and intrinsic value is “Margin of safety” that helps to absorb risks and mistakes in the valuation process.

Some highlights separate value investors from speculators:

– Value investors operate in their circle of competencies. They tend to choose securities of companies that they can easily learn about and have a low (reasonable) price

– Most of value investors are micro fundamentalists. Their research on promising investments has a bottom-up approach – they start by looking at stock one by one.

Process of investing includes answering five important questions: What securities? -> Their intrinsic values? -> Margin of safety? -> Price to buy? -> When to sell? The book emphasizes the second question.


When screening a potential investment, there are four types of variables investors can consider: Fundamental, technical, combined variables and market capitalization.

1/ Fundamental variables focus on economics of the business, not market opinions about it, e.g.: ROE/ROI, growth in EPS/sales/assets and profit margins. Historical data shows that firms with in low level of those ratios tend to provide higher returns in the future.

2/ Technical variables are totally opposite to fundamental ones when their concentrations are trend lines and market momentum. This is not what value investors pay much attention to.

3/ Combined ones mix the above two types of variables together, they are ratios such as P/E, P/CF, P/B, P/S and dividend yield. Again, firms having low results in those ratios seem to provide higher return than those with high variables.

4/ Market capitalization concerns sizes of companies and their likeliness to outperform. In general, small companies tend to offer more bargains than big firms do.

With the development of Internet and spread of value investing philosophy, it is not easy to spot a promising investment nowadays. However, as the author wrote, investors can consider some circumstances when opportunities are likely to emerge. Small or spin-off companies can give precious chances to invest because they are often obscure securities, probably missed by professional investors.  That does not mean those companies are not good, just their financial statements are a bit confusing and/or ambiguous. Plus, the size of those firms is small has discouraged professional investors from rigorous research on those securities.

Under the same logic, investors can consider boring businesses that are making slow growth and modest profits. They are unlikely to attract much attention from the market, thus, any of their positive changes in operations, management, etc. are unnoticed.

In addition, investors can think of stock that is undesirable by the market, and thus, mispriced. Those are securities of businesses having financial distresses, overcapacity, and legislation punishment or lagging behind markets. Some problems lead to a dead-end but some only exist temporarily. Market’s lack of ability to estimate the impact of businesses’ trouble and its overreaction sometimes result a deep discount on stock price, which is an opportunity for value investors to purchase.

Of course, those opportunities need to go hand in hand with low/reasonable stock prices and profitable catalysts in order to benefit investors in the future.


The authors did not include Discount Cash Flow (DCF) model and multiple-based method in their consideration despite the two are very popular in stock evaluation and are commonly taught at business schools. Because DCF, which requires the estimation of future cash flows in the next 10 years and beyond, seems to be risky if not impossible to implement without mistakes. No one can accurately predict what will happen in the business, industry and economy in next decades. Meanwhile, this method depends on the accuracy of variable; any small changes in value of underlying assumptions can cause a big change in calculated intrinsic value.

Multiple-based method, using combined variables as we mentioned above to estimate intrinsic value, also has several problems in it. Typically, investors tend to take earning, EBITDA or EBIT of their target companies multiplied by variable of comparable firms on stock market. In other word, they are pricing securities based on someone’s else uncertain projection for another company. Secondly, we all know that it is hard to find a 100% comparable companies to have enough confidence in the multiplication results. Finally, this method fails to employ fundamental economics of the companies like profit margin, competitive advantage, etc.

Two broad categories of methods mentioned in the book are Value of Assets and Earning Power Value (EPV):

2.1 Value of assets

Graham & Dodd’s net-nets

Intrinsic value = Current asset (book value) – liabilities (book value)

Comment: The underlying of this formula is that companies are in a non-viable or declining industry that they are going to sell assets and get out of business soon. The formula assumes that only current assets, which are liquid and marked to the market, are valuable when companies are going out of business. This way of calculating intrinsic value is simple. However, nowadays it is hard or even impossible to find stock at that low price because Graham’s idea has been out for decades and computers make any calculations become easy.

Book value

Intrinsic value = Total assets (book value) – Liabilities

Comment: The authors did not mention much about this method but they said its result of intrinsic value is hard to beat. It is still a conservative and simple way to estimate value but it is anyway more open than the net-nets.

Liquidation cost and reproduction cost

Idea behind liquidation costs supposes that the company under consideration is operating in a declining industry which is the same in the above two methods. Nevertheless, this method gives some values to properties, plants, and equipment (PPE) while still assumes that intangibles and highly specialized assets have no value at all.

On the other hand, reproduction means company is in a viable, going industry so it will be last for a long time. However, this kind of industry is highly competitive and having no barrier to entry. Therefore, value of the company, or stock, will depend on how much a new comer has to spend in order to operate in the market. With this way of calculation, we give some values for intangibles because new comers must pay some time and money to build brands, R&D or customer relations in order to have a position in the industry.

Picture below illustrates how to apply liquidation and reproduction costs into estimating value of stock. “/” means “or”. For some items on the balance sheet, there is more than one way to estimate their values. Sometimes, it is helpful to ask for valuation from industry experts.

2.2 Earning Power Value (EPV)

Intrinsic value=  EPV= Adjusted current earning x 1/R – Debt (interested bearing) + cash in excess of operating requirement

(R: cost of capital)

The important assumption of this method is that current earning level will last forever. It eliminates any potentially growing earning, however, according to the book, can be applied in both non-viable and viable industries, even growing industries.

Firstly, we have to figure out what type of earnings to use. In this case, it is the EBIT after tax. There are four adjustments needed to make:

– Rectify any accounting misrepresentations that are unconnected to normal operations. For instance, there is a year when company spent high “one-time” charges. We find average ratio of those charges bear to reported earnings before adjustment and have them averaged out

– Add back depreciation/amortization expenses and subtract maintenance capital expense (maintenance capex)

Maintenance capex can be calculated based on capital expenditure , which is reported in cash flow statement, and growth rate in sales. Capital expenditure consists of growth capex and maintenance capex.

We have:

Growth capex= (average, perhaps in 5 yrs) PPE/Total sales  x  Increase or decrease in sales (in term of dollar)

Maintenance capex = Reported capital expenditure – growth capex

– Take into account business circle: reduce reported earnings company is at its peak, and vice versa, raise earnings if company is in a trough; thus, we could smoother the earning trend.

– Any other adjustments

To estimate R, we base on Weighted Asset Cost of Capital, using after-tax cost of debt and cost of equity


Three scenarios happen when we calculate value of assets and EPV to measure intrinsic value of a specific company

– EPV < value of assets

– EPV = value of assets

– EPV > value of assets

In any cases, however, we will employ EPV as a benchmark for the intrinsic value. Depending on each case, EPV will be adjusted a bit.

When EPV is smaller than value of assets, it is possibly attributable to two reasons. Firstly, the industry is having excess overcapacity so the number of products consumed is less than of produced. Secondly, management of the company may not be effective in using assets to generate incomes.

When EPV is equal to value of assets, there is no doubt that we can use either one as intrinsic value. In this scenario, the industry is supposedly competitive and management is average.

Finally, EPV is larger than value of assets due to some reasons. The industry is not so competitive with barriers of entry somehow exist. Or, the company is possessing competitive advantages that help it employs assets efficiently and generates high profits. Another factor may be the high quality of management in the company. We will look into competitive advantage in the next chapter.

Whichever scenarios happen, we have to check back and forth between numerical results and information that supports those results. If a company is on the verge of bankruptcy but has EPV higher than value of assets, perhaps something is wrong. On the other hand, if we are sure about our techniques and EPV is still high, we must explore what factors that help the company gain superior returns and whether those factors are strong and sustainable.

When EPV > Value of Assets

When EPV is bigger than value of assets, the company is creating a special value called “Value of franchise” which explains why EPV is high.

Value of franchise

In order to create value of franchise, the company must possess strong and sustainable competitive advantages. Those advantages can be found in or out of the company’s control.

External favoured condition such as exclusive license provided by government can generate some advantages.

Internal factors are those that influence revenue and cost-the two components to calculate profit. First, from the revenue side, company’s products that are in high demand in the market will produce large revenue. High demand maybe a result of consumption purchasing habits as in Coke’s case. Revenue also endures if the cost of switching to alternative is expensive to customers. In some certain industries, customers are resist of any change in product used, for instance, office software. They do not want any change because it is expensive, complicated and risky. Thus, strong customer loyalty is an important factor that contributes to a success of a company. Second, in the cost side, the lower operating cost the higher profit company can earn. Hence, many companies want to save cost or use money efficiently. They can do it if they have special production techniques or products that competitors cannot match. They also may gain exclusive knowledge in making things efficiently by having technology or human-based skills. Third, cheap resources, especially labour and capital, can save significant costs. Finally, economies of scale: high fixed cost and minimal variable cost can make unit production costs reduce as long as sales increase.

However, an economy of scale does not work in some cases. If firms with same sizes of operations competing against each other, then they will have same economies of scale but the market at the moment does not need to absorb such a huge amount of product; thus, competition is tense between big firms in this case. Another scenario that diminishes economies of scale is when technology changes so fast and affects profitability of companies in the certain industries. Because the firms always need to spend money investing in business, cost advantage is short-lived. Furthermore, companies with economies of scale should use their power effectively by employing aggressive pricing power so that they could make full use of price opportunities.

Value of growth

Some firms with value of franchise possess another value called “Value of growth”, when growing in earning is bigger than incremental cost of capital to support the growth. To many value investor, this value of growth is uncertain because of 2 main reasons so they are not willing to pay for it. First, it is difficult to forecast specific growth rate in earning in the future. Second, that growth must be profitable. It is uncertain that for how long growth in earning can remain to be bigger than incremental cost. Thus, in case of suspiciousness, investors can buy stock at its full EPV and consider value of growth as margin of safety.

Thus, we have a formula:

PV of Cash flow/ EPV= Margin of safety

In which     PV = Invested capital x (ROC-G)/(R-G)

EPV= Invested capital x ROC/R

ROC= Return on capital = ROE or ROIC

(ROIC=Operating earnings /operating asset (Debt +capital))

G= Growth in sales or in earning (or both)

Therefore, as long as ROC>R, increase in growth can generate additional value.


Diversification in constructing a portfolio is a way to reduce risks caused by volatility in stock prices. To value investor, however, they usually have more concentrated portfolios. According to them, risks do not come from volatility in stock prices but is the possibility of losing money. Volatility, in contrast, creates great chances for investors to buy discount stock. They also argue that correlation of securities in a diversified portfolio is hard to predict. Strength or weakness of correlation depends on many factors and that may be changed due to events or crises.

Value investors are confident in their concentrated portfolios partly because they tend to operate within the boundaries of their competences and invest in companies they can understand. Moreover, they are careful in choosing stock and sure that there is an adequate margin of safety. Large margin of safety is a good solution to limit risks. To build up their confidence, they look for credible confirmation of their opinion. Knowledgeable insiders and famous investors’ action are two sources to look at. In addition, value investors need to ask themselves critical questions: why not other investors in the market pile in to move up prices of bargain stock? Is there a value trap when the price is never going to increase?

To build a concentrated portfolio, investors can impose a limit that they will not buy a security if they are not willing to invest a meaningful amount in it (approximately 5% of portfolio). This position limit will help them to be cautious in selecting and evaluating a security since the money involved is large.

In case of excess money but there is no investment opportunity available, investors can spread it among existing investment or put it in index funds. Index funds, in general, will give investors greater return than hard cash.



50 Words to Your Dreams Chapter 43 Persistence by Michael George Knight

Chapter 43: Persistence


Persistence is continuing a course of action in spite of difficulties and opposition. Persistence is not sexy, is not easy, is time consuming, repetitive and monotonous. Persistence with you taking action on your goals, working on them each day, week, month, year and grinding is what it takes to reach your success. Remember, many small blows of the axe will fall the largest oak. It’s not what you do once in a while that counts, it’s what you do persistently that counts.


Persistence and grinding is what makes winning worth it. Only through consistent action and perseverance do our dreams start to shape in front of our eyes. Remember, it takes 10 years of persistent work to create an overnight success. Persistence is the key that unlocks all of your dreams. Failure to persist and you persistently fail.



Think for a moment of all the greatest wonders of the world that man has built. From The Great Pyramid of Giza, The Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, The Colosseum, The Burj Khalifa and many more wonderful engineering masterpieces man has built. Now without the magic of persistence none of these wonders would not have been built. The persistence to overcome obstacles, the persistence to overcome criticism, the persistence to overcome lack of resources, the persistence to work without seeing results right away. The best and greatest achievements, feats and records only come about through constant applied persistence. Becoming so singly focused on one task that nothing can stand in your way. Become the type of person that doesn’t give up and become the type of person that persist in spite of external circumstances.



Persisting until is the only thing you can do to achieve your dreams. The only other choice is failure, which only occurs when you stop persisting and give up on your dreams. Remember failure is usually feedback to start again more intelligently. Persist until you did what you set out to do. Persisting is what sets the doers apart from the rest who tried, failed and stopped trying. Let the below illustrate how persistence directly correlates with the chances of success.

“I won’t” – 0%

“I can’t – 10%

“I don’t know how” – 20%

“I wish I could” – 30%

“I want to” – 40%

“I think I might” – 50%

“I might” – 60%

“I think I can” – 70%

“I can” – 80%

“I am” – 90%

“I did – 100%



  • 97% of the people who quit too soon are employed by the 3% that never gave up. (Unknown)
  • A constant hammering on one nail will generally drive it home at last. (P.T. Barnum)
  • A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. (Elbert Hubbard)
  • Adapting and adopting a form of non-destructive ruthlessness, you will gain the freedom necessary to achieve effective execution of your life’s tasks. (Chin-Ning Chu)
  • Almost every great achievement has been created by many years of concerted effort. (David Deangelo)
  • Ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. (William Eardley IV)
  • As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time. (Denis Waitley)
  • Back your goals and plans with persistence and determination. Never consider the possibility of failure. Never think about quitting. Decide to hold on, no matter what happens. And as long as you refuse to quit, you must eventually be successful. (Brian Tracy)
  • Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things. (Randy Pausch)
  • By endurance we conquer. (Ernest Shackleton)
  • Commitment is the driving force that makes it impossible to rest until you have accomplished your goals. (Jack Collis)
  • Consistency is the key, it’s not what you do once in a while, it’s what you do consistently that shapes your destiny, consistency creates excellence. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential. (Winston Churchill)
  • Determination motivates people to incredible feats of creativity. (Zig Ziglar)
  • Do you know what dogged determination is? It’s getting a heart grip on something and refusing to let go until you’ve mastered it. Dogged determination is the true mark of a winner. (Dexter Yager)
  • Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence. (Ovid)
  • Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Energy and persistence conquer all things. (Benjamin Franklin)
  • Everything comes if a man will only wait. I have brought myself by long mediation to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment. (Benjamin Disraeli)
  • Failure cannot cope with persistence. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used. (Richard Byrd)
  • Genius, when you look more closely at it usually turns out to be the result of uncommon dedication to a task. (Orison Swett Marden)
  • Good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who don’t give up. (Unknown)
  • Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. (Samuel Johnson)
  • How long should you try? Until (Jim Rohn)
  • I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature. (John D. Rockefeller)
  • I will persist until I succeed. (Og Mandino)
  • If the goal is worth achieving, it is worth working for patiently and persistently. (Brian Tracy)
  • If you want to be rich, never give up. People tend to give up. If you have persistence, you will come out ahead of most people. More importantly, you will learn. When you do something, you might fail. But that’s not because you’re a failure. It’s because you have not learnt enough. Do it differently each time. One day, you will do it right. Failure is your friend. (Jordan Belfort)
  • If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up. (Norman Vincent Peale)
  • Impossible, when spelled out, stands for ‘I’m possible’ (Unknown)
  • Intelligence accounts for only a fraction of the reason for success. Grit has value for people at all levels of ability. (Zig Ziglar)
  • It’s not the stronger one who wins. It’s the one who was the most persistent. Never give up. (Doe Zantamata)
  • It’s the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance, sweeps away all obstacles. (Claude M. Bristol)
  • Keep going, no matter what you do, no matter how many times you screw up and think to yourself, “there’s no point to carry on”, no matter how many people tell you that you can’t do it – keep going. Don’t quit. Don’t quit, because a month from now you will be that much closer to your goal than you are now. Yesterday you said tomorrow. Make today count. (Unknown)
  • Keep pushing through to achieve what you need to do. Go as far as you can see, and then you’ll see farther. (Unknown)
  • Living your vision is a commitment. It demands time and dedication. (Lewis Howes)
  • Majority of men meet with failure, because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Most of the important things in the world have been accompanied by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. (Dale Carnegie)
  • No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. (Calvin Coolidge)
  • Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe dedicated. (Russell Warren)
  • Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you. (J. Gitomer)
  • Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. (Thomas Edison)
  • Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities. It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. (Thomas Carlyle)
  • Persistence is a unique mental strength; a strength that is essential to combat the fierce power of the repeated rejections and numerous other obstacles that sit in waiting and are all part of winning in a fast-moving, ever-changing world. (Bob Proctor)
  • Persistence is actually self-discipline in action. (Brian Tracy)
  • Persistence is simply another word for faith. If you didn’t have faith, you would never persist. (Earl Nightingale)
  • Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. (Ray Knoc)
  • Promise yourself you’ll never give up. (Jim Rohn)
  • Remember, the easy road often becomes hard, and the hard road often become easy. (Robert Kiyosaki)
  • Show me a really great triumph that is not the reward of persistence. (Orison Swett Marden)
  • Some give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before. (Herodotus)
  • Sometimes it appears that there’s a hidden guide someplace whose duty it is to test men and women through all sorts of discouraging experiences. Those who pick themselves up and keep trying after getting knocked down, arrive. It’s an uncanny things, but it works. And this hidden guide lets no one enjoy great achievement without passing the persistence test, it seems. And those who can’t take it simply don’t make the grade. (Earl Nightingale)
  • Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go. (William Feather)
  • That which we persist in doing becomes easier not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased. (Stephen R. Covey)
  • The last dejected effort often becomes the winning stroke. (W.J. Cameron)
  • The longer you hang in there, the greater the chance that something will happen in your favour. (Jack Canfield)
  • The major difference between the big shot and the little shot is the big shot is just a little shot who kept on shooting. (Zig Ziglar)
  • The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. (Chinese Proverb)
  • The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. (Thomas Edison)
  • There is no substitute for persistence! It cannot be supplanted by any other quality. (Napoleon Hill)
  • To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor. (Oliver Wendell Holmes)
  • Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting. (Napoleon Hill)
  • We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are. (Tobias Wolff)
  • We often have to try different approaches to the same problem, to reformulate the question, to refine the experimental conditions. Persistence and patience in pursing the goal is important. (Adrienne Clark)
  • When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place (Unknown)
  • When you reach that place where most people would give in and give up, keep giving it another shot. (Karen Salmansohn)
  • Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfilment. (George Clason)


That’s a wrap on

50 Words to Your Dreams

Chapter 43: Persistence

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Chris Voss: Never Split the Difference Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It Book Summary

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Chapter 1: The New rules
The open-ended question is a powerful negotiation tool
Calibrated questions are queries that the other side can respond to but that have no fixed answers
It buys you time
Humans all suffer from cognitive bias: unconscious and irrational brain processes that literally distort the way we see the world
The framing effect: people respond differently to the same choice depending on how it is framed
Loss aversion: people are statistically more likely to act to avert a loss than to achieve an equal gain
People want to be understood and accepted
Listening is the cheapest yet most effective concession we can make to get there
When individuals feel listened to, they tend to listen to themselves more carefully and openly evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings
In addition, they tend to become less defensive and oppositional and more willing to listen to you and other points of view
The concept is called tactical empathy
This is listening as a martial art, balancing the subtle behaviors of emotional intelligence and the assertive skills of influence to gain access to the mind of another person
Contrary to popular opinion, listening is not a passive activity. It is the most active thing you can do
Life is negotiation
Negotiation serves two distinct vital life functions:
information gathering
behavior influencing
In this world, you get what you ask for, you just have to ask correctly
Chapter 2: Be a Mirror
In negotiations, you should engage in the process with a mindset of discovery
Your goal at the outset is to extract and observe as much information as possible
It is really not that easy to listen well. We are easily distracted, we engage in selective listening, hearing only what we want to hear, our minds acting on a cognitive bias for consistency rather than truth
To remedy the schizophrenic in your head and the other person’s head, your sole and all-encompassing focus in the beginning should be the other person and what they have to say
This true, active listening along with the other tactics will disarm your counterpart and make them feel safe
It begins with listening, making it about the other people, validating their emotions and creating enough trust and safety for a real conversation to begin
Going too fast is one of the mistakes all negotiators are prone to making
Your most powerful tool in any verbal communication is your voice.
You can use your voice to intentionally reach into someone’s Brain and flip an emotional switch
When people are in a positive frame of mind they think more quickly and are more likely to collaborate and problem solve instead of fight
Mirroring, also known as isopraxism, is essentially imitation
It’s a neural behavior in which we copy each other to comfort each other
Biological principle: we fear what is different and are drawn to what’s similar
Being right isn’t the key to a successful negotiation, having the right mindset is
4 steps to mirroring:
Use late-night FM DJ voice
Start with I’m sorry
Silence (at least 4 seconds)
The language of negations is primarily of conversation and rapport
A way of quickly establishing relationships and getting people to talk and think together
Key lessons: a great negotiator aims to use her skills to reveal the surprises she is certain to find
Don’t commit to assumptions
Instead, see them as a hypothesis and use the negotiation to test them rigorously
Negotiation is not an active battle, it is a process of discovery
The goal is to uncover as much information as possible
Slow it down
Put a smile on
Positivity creates mental agility in both you and your counterpart.
Mirrors work magic
Repeat the last 3 words or the critical 1-3 words of what someone has just said
Mirroring is the art of insinuating similarity which facilitates bonding
Chapter 3: don’t fear their pain, label it.
Instead of denying or ignoring emotions, good negotiators  identify and influence them
Emotions aren’t the obstacles, they are the means
Empathy is paying attention to another human being, asking what they are feeling, and making a commitment to understanding their world
Tactical empathy is understanding the feelings and mindset of another in the moment and also hearing what is behind those feelings so you increase your influence in all the moments that follow
Empathy is a classical soft communication skill but it has a physical basis
When we closely observe a persons face, gestures, and tone of voice, our brain begins to align with their’s in a process called neural resonance
Labeling is a way of validating someone’s emotion by acknowledging it
Give someone’s emotion a name and you show you identify with how that person feels
Neutralize the negative, reinforce the positive
The fastest and most efficient means of establishing a quick working relationship is to acknowledge the negative and defuse it
The best way to deal with negativity is to observe it without reaction and without judgement
Then consciously label each negative feeling and replace it with positive, compassionate, and solution-based thoughts
Clear the road before advertising the destination
Label your counterparts fears to diffuse their power
Use labels to reinforce and encourage positive perceptions and dynamics
For good negotiators, “no” is pure gold
That negative provides a good opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don’t want
“No” starts the negotiation
The right to veto
People will fight to the death to preserve their right to say no, so give them that right and the negotiating environment becomes more constructive and collaborative almost immediately
There is a deep and universal human need for autonomy
People need to feel in control
There are three kinds of yes:
The connection built up with another person is useless unless the other person feels they are equally as responsible if not solely responsible for creating the connection, and the new ideas they have
Everyone you meet is driven by two primal urges:
The need to feel safe and secure
The need to feel in control
BookStart With No
One sentence email: have you given up on this project?
Chapter 5: trigger the two words that immediately transform any negotiation
Trigger a “that’s right” epiphany with a summary
In business, “that’s right” leads to the best outcomes
Don’t compromise
The win-win mindset is usually ineffective and often disastrous
At best, it satisfies neither side
No deal is better than a bad deal
We don’t compromise because it’s right, we compromise because it is easy and because it saves face
We compromise to be safe
Don’t settle and never split the difference
You’ve got to embrace the hard stuff
That’s where the great deals are and that’s what great negotiators do
Deadlines: make time your ally
Time is one of the most crucial variables in any negotiation
Deadlines are often arbitrary, almost always flexible, and hardly ever trigger the consequences that we think or are told they will
Deadlines are the boogie man of negotiations, almost exclusively self-inflicted figment of our imagination unnecessarily unsettling us for no good reason
You shouldn’t hide your deadlines because when it is over for one negotiator, it is over for both sides
Adding a deadline means you’re negotiating with yourself, and you always lose
We are all irrational and all emotional
While we may use logic to reason ourselves towards a decision, the actual decision making is governed by emotion
The most powerful word in negotiations is “fair”
We are mightily swayed by how much we feel we’ve been respected
Prospect theory: people are drawn to sure things over probabilities
Loss aversion: people will take greater risks to avoid losses than to achieve gains
Anchor their emotions in preparation for a loss and acknowledge their fears
Let the other guy go first most of the time
Establish a range
Pivot to non-monetary terms
When you do talk numbers, use odd ones
Non-rounded numbers seem more thoughtful, serious, and permanent to your counterpart
Surprise with a gift
Unexpected conciliatory gestures are hugely effective because they introduce a dynamic called reciprocity
The other party feels the need to answer your generosity in kind
How to negotiate a better salary:
Be pleasantly persistent on non-salary terms
Once you’ve negotiated a salary, make sure to define success for your position as well as metrics for your next raise
Spark their interest in your success and gain an unofficial mentor
Ask: what does it take to be successful here?
If someone gives you guidance, they will watch to see if you follow their advice. They will have a personal stake in seeing you succeed.
People take more risks to avoid loss than to realize a gain. Make sure your counterpart sees there something to lose by inaction
Chapter 7: Create the illusion of control
Negotiation is coaxing, not overcoming. Co-opting, not defeating
Most importantly, successful negotiation involves getting your counterpart to do the work for you and suggest your solution himself
Giving your counterpart the illusion of control by asking calibrated questions, by asking for help, is one of the most powerful tools for suspending unbelief
Only use what and how in calibrated questions
Aggressive confrontation is the enemy of constructive negotiation
Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or tiny pieces of information
These require little thought and inspire the need for reciprocity
Chapter 8: guarantee execution
Yes is nothing without how
A gentle how no question invites collaboration and leaves your counterpart with a feeling of having been treated with respect
A deal is nothing without good implementation
Your carefully calibrated how questions will convince them that the final solution is their idea
Ask: how will we know we are on track and how will we address things if we find we are off-track?
When they answer, you summarize their answers until you get a “that’s right”
Then you’ll know they’ve bought in
7/38/55 Rule: only 7% of a message is based on words, while 38% comes from the tone of your voice, and 55% from the speaker’s body language and face
There are three kinds of yes: commitment, confirmation, counterfeit
The Rule of Three is simply getting the other guy to agree to the same thing three times in the same conversation
It is tripling the strength of whatever dynamic you’re trying to drill into at the moment
The reason this works is because it is really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction
Liars tend to use more words and speak with third-party pronouns to distance themselves from the lie
Liars also tend to speak in more complex sentences to try and win over their suspicion counterparts
The Pinocchio Effect is when the number of words grows along with the lie
Liars are more worried about being believed, and work harder, perhaps too hard, at being believable
Using your own name creates the dynamic of forced empathy. It makes the other side see you as a person
Humanize yourself. Use your name to introduce yourself
Say it in a fun, friendly way
Let them enjoy the interaction too and get your own special price
Chapter 9: Bargain hard
To be great at the bargaining table, you have to add to your strengths, not replace them
The Black Swan Rule: don’t treat others the way you want to be treated, treat them the way they need to be treated
For anger to be effective it has to be real
The key for it is to be under control because anger reduces our cognitive ability
In bare-knuckle bargaining, the most vital principle to keep in mind is never to look at your counterpart as an enemy
Chapter 10: find the black swan
He believes that in every negotiation, each side is in possession of at least three black swans
Three pieces of information that, were they to be discovered by the other side, would change everything
To uncover these unknowns, we must interrogate our world, put out a call and intensely listen to the response, ask lots of questionsread nonverbal clues and always voice your observations with your counterpart
Negotiation is more like walking on a tightrope then competing against an opponent
Focusing so much on the end objective well only distract you from the next step and that can cause you to fall off the rope
Concentrate on the next step because the rope will lead you to the end as long as all the steps are completed
Your counterpart always has pieces of information whose value they do not understand
Black swans are leverage multiplier. They give you the upper hand
In theory, leverage is the ability to inflict loss and withhold gain
Where it is your counterpart wants to gain and where do they fear losing?
Discover these pieces of information and you’ll build leverage over the other side perceptions, actions, and decisions
The party who feels they have more to lose and are the most afraid of that loss has less leverage
To get leverage, you have to persuade your counterpart that they have something real to lose if the deal falls through
In any negotiation, it’s not how well you speak, but how well you listen that determines your success
Understanding the other is a precondition to being able to speak persuasively and develop options that resonate with them
We trust people more when we view them as being similar or familiar
People trust those who are in their “in” group
Belonging is a primal instinct, and if you can trigger that instinct, you’ll immediately gain influence
He hopes this book gets you over the fear of conflict and encourages you to navigate it with empathy
If you’re going to be great at anything, you’re going to have to do that
You’re going to have to embrace regular, thoughtful conflict as the basis of effective negotiation and of life
The adversary is the situation, and that the person you appear to be in conflict with is actually your partner
Don’t avoid honest, clear conflict
When someone seems irrational or crazy, they most likely aren’t
Search for constraints, hidden desires, and bad information
Get face time with your counterpart
10 minutes of face time often reveals more than days of research
“When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion. You fall to your highest level of preparation”
People who expect more, and articulate it, get more
Themes / Main Ideas:
Calibrated questions, mirroring, and labeling are effective tools for tactical empathy
In this world, you get what you ask for, you just have to ask correctly
Emotions aren’t the obstacles, they are the means
People want to feel like they’re in control and will fight to preserve their autonomy
Don’t settle and never split the difference. No deal is better than a bad deal.
Emotions are the means. People want to feel heard and respected.
Negotiation is coaxing, not overcoming. Co-opting, not defeating
“Yes” is nothing without “how”. A deal is nothing without good implementation
Don’t treat others the way you want to be treated, treat them the way they need to be treated
Negotiation is more like walking on a tightrope then competing against an opponent. It is a discovery process to be taken one step at a time.
In any negotiation, it’s not how well you speak, but how well you listen that determines your success
You’re going to have to embrace regular, thoughtful conflict as the basis of effective negotiation and of life. Don’t avoid honest, clear conflict.
People who expect more, and articulate it, get more



Stefanie Sacks: What the Fork Are You Eating? An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate Book Summary

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It’s not difficult to eat healthily. You know you’re not supposed to eat tons of hamburgers or greasy fries. Instead, your plate should be piled with plenty of green vegetables and low-fat foods.


Simple, right? Well, of course not. For one, choosing to consume lots of so-called healthy foods may mean you’re gobbling tons of nasty additives or unhealthy ingredients. Do you know where and how that fresh carrot you just nibbled was grown? Did the farmer use pesticides, for example?


To truly eat healthily, you need to get to the heart of the food industry’s attempts to hide what they put on or in the food you eat. This book summary explain what to look for on packaging and in ingredient lists, to ensure you eat only what nature intended.


In this book summary, you’ll also discover


  • which animal waste product tastes like vanilla;
  • why some of the worst additives are government approved; and
  • what a food diary can tell you about yourself.


When you shop at your local grocery store, are you worried you might buy something that could be dangerously unhealthy? After all, the government maintains regulations to protect consumers.


But just how effective are those regulations?


Not very. Food safety in the United States has a bad track record, with regulations that have been historically careless when it comes to keeping dangerous food off our collective plates.


In 1914, for example, the government amended the Pure Food and Drug Act, making it illegal to mislabel food that contained dangerous additives or colorings. Yet this act went largely unenforced. Thus, a product like “Bred Spread,” a strawberry jam substitute that contained coal tar and no natural strawberries, remained on store shelves.


The negligence didn’t stop there. In 1958, the Food Additive Amendment was supposed to make mandatory that companies prove additives used in food products were safe. Although the law seemed straightforward, companies nonetheless found a loophole: the law only applied to new additives.


Additives already used in the market, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), were classified as GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe,” even though companies didn’t have to provide any evidence to support this claim.


Some people suffer from an ailment called monosodium glutamate symptom complex, a reaction to foods with MSG, which can include chest pain, headache, nausea and difficulty breathing. While there is plenty of scientific data to question the safety of MSG in food, it isn’t enough to change the additive’s GRAS classification.


So it pays to think twice about whether government food regulations keep you safe. A better strategy is to be aware of the ingredients that could be harmful to you. Let’s learn how you can do this.



The first step to eating healthier is knowing which foods are safe and which additives you should avoid. Let’s start by looking at two of the most dangerous: artificial flavorings and colors.


There are two types of flavorings: natural flavors and artificial flavors. You might be surprised to learn that both come from a laboratory. The difference is that natural flavors are at least generated from the essential ingredient. “Natural strawberry flavor” is thus derived from a real strawberry.


Artificial flavoring, however, can come from anything. The chemical used to create artificial vanilla flavoring can be extracted from cow dung!


Avoiding natural and artificial flavorings altogether can be challenging as such additives are found in most processed products. Yet there are still good options in the market.

One brand is Annie’s, a food company that makes products flavored with real ingredients rather than laboratory-based flavorings.


The other additive to avoid is artificial coloring. Artificial coloring was first invented in the nineteenth century, with scientists extracting the additive from coal tar. Today, most artificial coloring is made from petroleum.


The reason many companies prefer to use artificial coloring over natural coloring is because artificial colors are more vibrant and long-lasting. There are hundreds of varieties of artificial colorings, but only three colors make up 90 percent of what is used in the market today: Yellow #4, Yellow #5 and Red #40.


How artificial coloring affects our health is a debate that still rages in many scientific and health communities. There is even evidence to suggest that artificial coloring can cause cancer, neurological damage or gene mutations.


For this reason, despite continued use throughout the United States, artificial coloring has been banned in the European Union. A McDonald’s strawberry sundae in the European Union is colored with real strawberry coloring, for example, while in the United States, the company uses Red #40.


Overall, the best advice is to seek out food made with natural coloring alone. But artificial flavors and colors are just a small sample of what the food industry uses in its products. What else is out there?



Humans have been preserving foods for thousands of years. By using natural methods such as freezing, salting and smoking, we were able to keep food fresh during harsh winters or long voyages.


But over the years, methods have changed – and companies now use chemicals to preserve foods.


For instance, to prevent food from going moldy, companies use chemicals called antimicrobials. To prevent spoilage, they use antioxidants. But while such chemicals can make a McDonald’s french fry stay “fresh” for a month, many of these additives are harmful.


Antimicrobial benzoates are used to prevent acidic food from spoiling, for example. But when sodium benzoate is added to a beverage containing vitamin C, it can create benzene, a chemical compound that has been linked to leukemia.


This is why it’s important to read a product’s ingredient list and try to avoid artificially preserved products.


You should also be wary of foods that are artificially sweetened, as most artificial sweeteners are made primarily from oil. Studies that have looked at artificial sweeteners like saccharin have suggested that such products can potentially lead to reproductive problems, genetic damage and even cancer.


But in addition to artificial sweeteners, you should, in general, pay attention to the amount of sugar you eat.


Sugar comes in three different categories: liquid, brown and white, which is the most processed. Each category can be derived from sugarcane, sugar beets or corn.


The bottom line is that sugar is highly addictive, and its overconsumption has resulted in a worldwide epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity. What’s more, the potentially dangerous effects of eating sugar made from genetically modified organism (GMO) sources are not fully known.


So when you cook at home, you might consider substituting less-processed sweeteners, like maple syrup, for processed sugar.


What we’ve learned in past book summarys has addressed direct additives, or ingredients added directly to your food. In the next book summary, we’ll look at concerns over indirect additives.



Chances are you probably don’t want to eat something that can also kill an insect. Or how about consuming some antibiotics with your lunch? If you’re not careful, this is exactly what you’re doing.

Most vegetables while growing are treated with pesticides. Such chemicals kill unwanted pests, but they also tend to remain on and in the vegetables you buy then eat.


In the United States alone, some 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are used on crops each year. While these chemicals have been tested as safe, it’s the people who produce the pesticides who often do the testing. What do you think: would an interest in profits outweigh a company’s interest in health?


In 2011, for example, green beans used for baby food tested positive for a toxic pesticide considered too dangerous even for use in home gardening.


Of course, eating vegetables is important for a healthy, balanced diet. So when you can, choose organic vegetables instead, and use apps like Dirty Dozen Plus, which can point you in the direction of healthier, safer foods.


When eating meat, it’s important to consider the antibiotics and hormones some farmers give the animals they raise. Many farms put profits before the welfare of animals and feed livestock hormones and antibiotics so they grow bigger and stronger more quickly.


While the use of hormones has become a fact in the meat industry, it also has been linked to causing premature puberty in girls, an increased risk of breast cancer in women and a lower sperm count in men.


To avoid eating antibiotics and hormones along with your steak, you have two options: forgo the steak altogether to become vegetarian, or ensure that the meat you eat is certified organic, which allows you more insight into how the animal was raised and what it was fed.


Sadly, most people do better research when buying a car than buying food. Let’s explore how you can become more knowledgeable overall about what you put on your plate.



When you shop for food, how do you choose which products to buy? Many people simply look at a product’s nutritional value, selecting those with packaging which claims “30 percent reduced fat” or similar.


But there are better ways to shop, and importantly, many packaging claims are simply misleading.


The nutritional “daily value” listed on a product’s packaging is often based on an “average” daily intake of 2,000 calories, a detail you might miss. And considering today’s unhealthy, overweight population, this number may no longer be an accurate average.

The nutritional information given on packaging is also based on a recommended serving, which is often different than the total amount contained in the package. A consumer who eats an entire package of chips may be eating two or three servings, thereby doubling or tripling the number of calories listed from a “recommended” serving.


Other nutritional claims, such as “50 percent less sodium than the leading brand,” are simple marketing ploys. While there are regulations in place to verify such claims, fact checks are done only after a product is released, meaning false information can end up on the supermarket shelf. So take these claims with a grain of salt!


You should also be aware of misleading claims about animal welfare and additives.

Many companies say their products are “additive-free,” “artisan,” or contain “no antibiotics.” These statements are unverifiable, and should be considered meaningless.

Eggs from “free-roaming” chickens can mean any number of things.


The best option for obtaining the true nutritional value of a product is to look for clearly regulated labels such as USDA Organic, Whole Grain or Rainforest Alliance Certified. To use these labels, a product has to meet clear standards and regulations.


So now you have the knowledge to eat healthily! It’s time to put what you know to use.



Starting a new relationship with food is not an easy task, as it requires you to reevaluate what you decide to put in your shopping cart and eventually on your plate.


Here are a few simple steps to get you started. Start by identifying which of the food products you buy are safe and which contain too many additives. Then you can determine whether you can swap out the problematic product with a healthier alternative.


For example, maybe you can find a brand of crackers that lists ten simple ingredients instead of 26 mysterious ingredients and additives. Chances are the healthier ones will taste just as good!


Don’t worry too much if there are products that you love and for which you can’t find a healthier alternative. This isn’t about getting rid of everything you enjoy! It’s okay to compromise and keep that bag of Skittles for now if you can’t live without them.


It’s important to note that you shouldn’t throw away food. There are always people and organizations that need food; anything you decide to get rid of should be donated to those in need.


With this in mind, go through your pantry then your freezer, followed by your refrigerator. After doing so, make sure you clean up and put things back to prevent food from spoiling or being forgotten.


Don’t be fooled by diet products, either. You might be tempted to keep them, thinking they are a healthy alternative. But the truth is that many diet products are no better than the regular product. Ice cream is ice cream no matter what, so it’s better to treat yourself to a tasty Ben & Jerry’s than it is to eat a bland “diet” alternative.


So now that you’ve started your healthier journey, how do you stay on the right path?



Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution, only to have it fall apart in weeks? Here are some tips to stay on track and continue making healthy eating choices.


First, acknowledge bad eating habits and think about how you can change them for good.


You can start a food journal to make note of everything you eat and drink. This way you can truly account for what you’re eating, and make a note of how you feel afterward.

Many people are surprised to find out how many alcoholic beverages and sweets they consume.


Based on your food journal, you can pick three realistically achievable changes you’d like to make to your diet. You can think of these as roadblocks on your way to eating healthily for the long term.


With these roadblocks in mind, you can start planning how to overcome them. Often this will involve making just small, subtle changes to your everyday routine.


For example, if your food journal reveals that you routinely skip breakfast, a meal that is vital for a good diet, you can try setting your morning alarm ten minutes earlier. This should allow you time to make a healthy breakfast, and keep you from being tempted by that sugary donut at work.


After all, planning ahead is the best way to make a lasting change!


Before heading to the store, take 15 minutes to create a shopping list, planning when and what you’ll cook. Be smart about your purchases, and only make one or two big shopping trips per week. And by purchasing mostly perishable items, you’ll be more likely to use them and not let them go to waste.


Chances are you won’t be able to cook every day, but try to make as many of your meals as you can. For other days, try to plan ahead and have quick staple dishes ready for balanced meals, like turkey meatballs and a simple green salad.


And it’s fine if there are nights when a pepperoni pizza hits the spot. Don’t worry; enjoy it!



The key message in this book:

It’s not difficult or expensive to nourish yourself in a healthy manner. But you need to know what’s in the food you’re eating to understand what you have to change and how to change it. With this knowledge, you can outline a plan to improve your eating habits with minor yet important adjustments.


Actionable advice:

Eat a healthy breakfast.

Before you skip another breakfast, stop to realize the consequences. Without breakfast, you will continue to make more and more unhealthy food choices throughout the day.


Rethink your pantry.

Take the chance to restock your pantry with better food choices. Don’t just look at a package and ask, “What are these ingredients?” Choose instead a healthier product with fewer additives and artificial flavorings.



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