“Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others.”
“How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives. Mystics and contemplatives have made this claim for ages— but a growing body of scientific research now bears it out.”
“My capacity for envy, for instance— the sense of being diminished by the happiness or success of another person— seemed like a symptom of mental illness that had vanished without a trace. I could no more have felt envy at that moment than I could have wanted to poke out my own eyes. What did I care if my friend was better looking or a better athlete than I was? If I could have bestowed those gifts on him, I would have. Truly wanting him to be happy made his happiness my own.”
“Our world is dangerously riven by religious doctrines that all educated people should condemn, and yet there is more to understanding the human condition than science and secular culture generally admit. One purpose of this book is to give both these convictions intellectual and empirical support.”
“Our conventional sense of self is an illusion; positive emotions, such as compassion and patience, are teachable skills; and the way we think directly influences our experience of the world.”
“Ceaseless change is an unreliable basis for lasting fulfillment. Realizing this, many people begin to wonder whether a deeper source of well-being exists. Is there a form of happiness beyond the mere repetition of pleasure and avoidance of pain?”
“If there exists a source of psychological well-being that does not depend upon merely gratifying one’s desires, then it should be present even when all the usual sources of pleasure have been removed. Such happiness should be available to a person who has declined to marry her high school sweetheart, renounced her career and material possessions, and gone off to a cave or some other spot that is inhospitable to ordinary aspirations.”
“But it is true as a matter of conscious experience. The reality of your life is always now. And to realize this, we will see, is liberating. In fact, I think there is nothing more important to understand if you want to be happy in this world.”
“The four foundations of mindfulness are the body (breathing, changes in posture, activities), feelings (the senses of pleasantness, unpleasantness, and neutrality), the mind (in particular, its moods and attitudes), and the objects of mind (which include the five senses but also other mental states, such as volition, tranquility, rapture, equanimity, and even mindfulness itself).”
“My friend Joseph Goldstein, one of the finest vipassana teachers I know, likens this shift in awareness to the experience of being fully immersed in a film and then suddenly realizing that you are sitting in a theater watching a mere play of light on a wall.”
“The traditional goal of meditation is to arrive at a state of well-being that is imperturbable— or if perturbed, easily regained.”
“In my view, the realistic goal to be attained through spiritual practice is not some permanent state of enlightenment that admits of no further efforts but a capacity to be free in this moment, in the midst of whatever is happening. If you can do that, you have already solved most of the problems you will encounter in life.”
“To most readers, this thought experiment will suggest that psychological continuity— the mere maintenance of one’s memories, beliefs, habits, and other mental traits— is an insufficient basis for personal identity. It’s not enough for someone on Mars to be just like you; he must actually be you. The man on Mars will share all your memories and will behave exactly as you would have. But he is not you— as your continued existence in the teleportation chamber on Earth attests. To the Earth-you awaiting obliteration, teleportation as a means of travel will appear a horrifying sham: You never left Earth and are about to die. Your friends, you now realize, have been repeatedly copied and killed. And yet, the problem with teleportation is somehow not obvious if a person is disassembled before his replica is built. In that case, it is tempting to say that teleportation works and that “he” is really stepping onto the surface of Mars.”
“Whatever the needs of the moment, I had a choice: I could do what was required calmly, patiently, and attentively, or do it in a state of panic. Every moment of the day— indeed, every moment throughout one’s life— offers an opportunity to be relaxed and responsive or to suffer unnecessarily.”
“My mind begins to seem like a video game: I can either play it intelligently, learning more in each round, or I can be killed in the same spot by the same monster, again and again.”
“Without continually resurrecting the feeling of anger, it is impossible to stay angry for more than a few moments.”
“The truth, however, is that you need not wait for some pleasant distraction to shift your mood. You can simply pay close attention to negative feelings themselves, without judgment or resistance. What is anger? Where do you feel it in your body? How is it arising in each moment? And what is it that is aware of the feeling itself? Investigating in this way, with mindfulness, you can discover that negative states of mind vanish all by themselves.”
“If you are injured and in pain, the path to mental peace can be traversed in a single step: Simply accept the pain as it arises, while doing whatever you need to do to help your body heal. If you are anxious before giving a speech, become willing to feel the anxiety fully, so that it becomes a meaningless pattern of energy in your mind and body. Embracing the contents of consciousness in any moment is a very powerful way of training yourself to respond differently to adversity.”
“as Aldous Huxley did in his classic The Doors of Perception, that the primary function of the brain may be eliminative: Its purpose may be to prevent a transpersonal dimension of mind from flooding consciousness, thereby allowing apes like ourselves to make their way in the world without being dazzled at every step by visionary phenomena that are irrelevant to their physical survival.”
Shout out to nateliason.com for doing this written summary
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Amazon
The Blue Zones Book Summary | Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest | Dan Buettner
The basic premise of this book is that there is no one ingredient to longevity. Aging is inevitable, as there is no ‘brake’ for slowing it down. The name of the game is to keep from pushing the accelerator pedal so hard that we speed up the aging process. The average American, however, by living a fast and furious lifestyle, pushes that accelerator too hard and too much.
This book is about discovering the world’s best practices in health and longevity and putting them to work in our lives. Most of us have more control in how long we live than we think. In fact, experts say that if we adopt the right lifestyle, we could add at least 10 good years and suffer a fraction of the diseases that kill us prematurely.
Accordingly Dan Buettner traveled the world with a team of scientists and researchers and identified the four places (Blue Zones) that had the highest concentrations of centarians (people living past the age of 100), to meet them and learn from them, and in doing so identified 9 lessons that were consistently found within the lifestyles of the oldest people on earth.
Here is a recap of his findings;
- Eat a Plant Based Diet Accented with Meat– Breads, garden fruits and vegetables. Only grass fed animal meat
- Put Family First– All family members are cared for. Children raised in multi-generational environment suffer lower rates of depression, suicide and stress
- Drink Goats Milk– May help protect against inflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s and heart diseases
- Celebrate Elders– Grandparents can provide financial support, childcare, love and wisdom. Also provide a balanced perspective of life’s brevity
- Walk 5 Miles a Day or More– Non impact cardiovascular
- Drink 2 Glasses of Red Wine Daily– Lowers stress and health benefits from artery scrubbing Flavanoids
- Laugh with Friends– Be sarcastic and social
- Embrace an Ikigai– A reason to get up every day, a clear roll and responsibility
- Rely on a Plant Based Diet– Goya has antioxidants and compounds that lower blood sugar
- Get Gardening– Source of activity and fresh vegetables
- Eat More Soy– Flavanoids in Tofu protect the heart and guard against breast cancer
- Maintain a Moai– A safety net of friends to share with and be close to
- Enjoy the Sunshine– Vitamin D maintains strong bones and skin
- Stay Active Daily– Walk a lot. Eating and socializing on floor mats require getting up and down off the floor several dozen times daily builds lower body strength and balance
- Plant a Medicinal Garden– Mogwort, ginger, turmeric in daily diet
- Have an Attitude– Be feisty and keep younger people in your company
Loma Linda, California (7th Day Adventist) Lessons
- Find a Sanctuary in Time– 24 hour Sabbath makes time for family, camaraderie and nature. Eliminate all distractions, electronics, and so on. Pause all work and responsibilities
- Maintain a Healthy Body Mass Index (BMI)– Correlates to blood pressure, blood cholesterol and cardiovascular disease
- Regular, Moderate Exercise– Regular low intensity exercise like walking reduces chances of heart disease and certain cancers
- Spend Time with Like Minded Friends– Share values and support habits
- Snack on Nuts– Adventists who consume nuts five times per week have about half the risk of heart disease and live about two years longer than those who don’t
- Give Something Back– Volunteer and focus on others
- Eat Meat in Moderation– Try using meat as a side dish instead of a main meal
- Eat an Early, Light Dinner– Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper
- Put More Plants in Your Diet– Adventist who ate legumes such as peas and beans three times per week had a 30 to 40 percent reduction in colon cancer. Adventist women who consumed tomatoes at least 3 or 4 times per week reduced their chance of getting ovarian cancer by 70 percent over those who ate tomatoes less often
- Drink Lots of Water– Drinking 5 or 6 daily glasses of water reduces the chances of having a fatal heart attack by 60 to 70 percent compared to those who drank considerably less
Costa Rica Lessons
- Have a Plan de Vida – Have a strong sense of purpose
- Drink Hard Water– Calcium reduces heart disease and stronger bones
- Keep a Focus on Family– Provides a sense of purpose and belonging
- Eat a Light Dinner– The earlier the better
- Maintain Social Networks– Frequently visit neighbors. Listen, laugh, and appreciate what you have
- Keep Hard at Work– Enjoy physical work in your daily chores
- Get Some Sensible Sun– Vitamin D fights against osteoporosis and heart disease
- Embrace a Common History – Traditions and traditional diets of maize and beans
Lesson #1 – Your Blue Zone
- Inconvenience Yourself– Opt for manual devices around the house: kitchen utensils and appliances, no remote control, manual garage door opener, manual can opener, lawn mower, rake and broom. Use the stairs
- Keep Moving– Don’t work out to workout. Make a list of physical activities you enjoy. Build activity into your everyday life. Walking everyday relieves stress and aids in digestion after a meal
- Make a Date– Get out and socialize. Combine with physical activities as opposed to sedentary ones
- Plant a Garden– Good physical activity with range of motion, relieves stress, and provides fresh vegetables
- Enroll in Yoga Classes– Make sure and practice at least twice weekly
Lesson #2 – Hara Hachi Bu
- Serve & Store– Make your plate, put away excess food, and then eat. Reduces intake by 14%.
- Make Food Look Bigger– A quarter pounder burger with more veggies will fill you just like a half pounder with less
- Use Smaller Vessels– Sell your plate wear and buy smaller plates and tall, narrow glasses
- Make Snacking A Hassle– Avoid purchasing tempting foods. Hide them if you have them
- Buy Smaller Packages– People consume 23% more food than needed when larger portions are available
- Give Yourself a Daily Reminder– Buy a scale and check it daily
- Eat More Slowly– Learn to recognize when you are 80% full and stop
- Focus on Food– No distractions like TV or computers that facilitate mindless eating. If you are hungry, stop and eat a meal
- Have a Seat– Eat purposefully, not on the go
- Eat Early– The biggest meal of the day should be eaten in the first half of the day. Reduces snacking urges and provides needed calories for more active hours
Lesson #3 – Avoid Meats & Processed Foods
- Four to Six Vegetable Servings Daily– At least two vegetable servings per meal
- Limit Intake of Meat– Limit servings to twice a week and no larger than a deck of cards
- Showcase Fruits & Vegetables– Put a plentiful fruit bowl in the middle of your kitchen with a note in the bottom that says ‘fill me’. Instead of hiding vegetables in the refrigerator compartment that says ‘produce’ put them front and center
- Lead With Beans– Make them the centerpiece of Lunch and Dinner
- Eat Nuts Everyday– Caution: a 1-ounce serving of nuts typically ranges from 165 to 200 calories
Lesson #4 – Grapes of Life
- Buy a Case of High Quality Red Wine– Maintain a stockpile
- Treat Yourself to Happy Hour– Include nuts as an appetizer and friends to socialize with
- Take It Easy– More than 2 glasses a day counteracts benefits
Lesson #5 – Purpose Now
- Craft a Personal Mission Statement– Why do you get up in the morning?
- Find A Partner– Find someone to whom you can communicate your life purpose, along with a plan for realizing it
- Learn Something New– Learning a musical instrument or a new language preserves mental sharpness
Lesson #6 – Downshift
- Reduce the Noise– Get rid of as many, or better yet all, TV’s and Radios you can. If you have them, keep them in one room only
- Be Early– Being 15 minutes early gives you time to rest and prepare for appointments or events
- Meditate– Create a clam and comfortable space in your home, and include meditation into your daily routine for at least 10 minutes
Lesson #7 – Belong
- Be More Involved– Take a more active role in organizations you have an interest in
- Explore a New Tradition– A new religious faith or belief group
- Just Go– Plan one hour per week for eight weeks of religious services
Lesson #8 – Loved Ones First
- Get Closer– Consider a smaller home to create an environment of togetherness. Large spread out homes segment family members. If you must have a large home, establish a family room
- Establish Rituals– Children thrive on rituals & enjoy repetition. Make one meal a day sacred, establish a tradition for a family vacation, have dinner with grandma every Tuesday night, and purposefully celebrate holidays
- Create a Family Shrine– Pick a wall and hang lots of pictures
- Put Family First– Invest time and energy into your children, play with them. nurture your marriage and your spouse and honor your parents
Lesson #9 – The Right Tribe
- Identify Your Inner Circle– Know the people who reinforce the right habits and who you can rely on in case of need. Look through your contact list and notate them. Family members should be first on the list
- Be Likeable– Don’t be a grump. Have frequent visitors and real social networks
- Create Time Together– Spend at least 30 minutes a day with members of your inner circle. Share a meal or take a walk together. Building a strong friendship requires some effort, but it is an investment that can pay back handsomely in added years
As you can see, there are some common themes among the blue zones, and at their core, they are all simple and logical steps to living a full and healthy life.
Shout out to RAYNER SMITH for doing this written summary
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
Smart Couples Finish Rich Book Summary | 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner | David Bach
Step One: Learn the Facts and Myths About Couples and Money
This chapter mostly focuses on debunking some pretty basic myths about money, such as the idea that love conquers money (money has nothing to do with love) and that it takes money to make money (compound interest can make big money for you). Mostly, it sets a psychological foundation for communicating about money within a relationship, enabling you to be able to talk about later topics while being on roughly the same page.
The exercise for this chapter is a basic financial knowledge quiz that both members of a relationship can take and talk over. The questions mostly relate to personal financial numbers, such as a couple’s current net worth and where the assets are. It gives a good indication of who possesses the financial knowledge in a relationship and what areas each person may be weak or strong in – and thus the two members can talk about these things and make sure that they’re both in the know, or have the opportunity to be.
Step Two: Determine the True Purpose of Money in Your Life
The focus of this chapter is squarely on figuring out your basic values. The chapter is dominated by an example of a couple digging through their personal belief structures to isolate what their core values are, a process that works wonderfully if you learn by example. An important distinction is made between goals and values here; goals are merely the expression of values, and as values are interconnected, so should goals be.
The exercise for this chapter revolves around listing the five central values in your life. The author encourages a relaxing situation before beginning to piece together your central values, and he also provides a lot of help in the process. Why would you want to do this? Once you’ve figured out your true values, you can use them as the basis for the rest of your life.
Step Three: Plan Together … Win Together
This step revolves around the development of a planning system that couples can share in, from a carefully designed record-keeping system to an assessment of long term goals. I felt that the suggestions in this chapter were pretty specific given how they’re supposed to be based on individual values (which can vary a lot), but they definitely do focus on the relationship between the two people and their relationships to money.
Key activities in this chapter include the development and implementation of a system to keep and maintain financial records and, from these records, the development of a plan that reflects the values you teased out in the second step. Bach provides a very steady hand in guiding these activities, which is reassuring for some but was a little too much for me.
Step Four: The Couples’ Latte Factor
This chapter focuses on everyday small purchases are what is keeping us from being rich. Bach uses another case study here to demonstrate the frivolous (but also somehow completely socially acceptable) daily spending of a family: lattes and bagels in the morning, takeout for lunch and dinner, video rentals and late fees, and so on. It really added up, and Bach argued that if one could just strip $10 a day out of this, one could really prepare for retirement
The exercise for this chapter is to use a notebook and for a single week record everything that you spend. At the end of the week, sit down with your spouse and review the notebook. It’s often shocking how much fat one can trim if you’ve never done this before (and sometimes even if you think you’re doing really well at it). The simple fact is that all of us can start saving money; if you buy frivolous things, just cut some of them out and suddenly you have money to start saving.
Step Five: Build Your Retirement Basket
Now that you’ve realized that you can save money, Bach introduces the idea of three “baskets” that you should put your money in. The first of these is the retirement basket. Bach argues vehemently that we should be putting (at a minimum) 10% of our gross salary into a tax-deferred retirement account. He discusses various mechanisms for doing this, including the usual 401(k), 403(b), and Roth IRA options, but mostly the focus is on the fact that you should be saving a healthy amount for retirement in some fashion. Even if the investment options are relatively poor, they’re still the best deal around because they’re tax deferred (meaning you can put money in without paying income tax, which effectively means you’re beating any money you might invest post-tax by about 30%) and many employees offer a match (meaning for every dollar you put in, your employer may contribute some, too).
The action plan here is obvious: see what retirement accounts are available to you and make sure that you’re seeing at least a 10% contribution into the account.
Step Six: Build Your Security Basket
The second investment “basket” is the security basket, which is basically a safety net against the unforeseen. Bach recommends a healthy emergency fund for starters, in an account that earns at least a 4% APY, and following that up with a will/living trust, good health insurance, a life insurance policy, disability insurance, and eventually a long-term care policy. The action plans here are obvious: get started with the emergency fund (if you can spare a latte a day and two take-out meals a week, I can get you an emergency fund with almost $4,000 in it by the end of the year), then investigate other insurances and make sure you’re well covered so that if an emergency strikes, your family has no worries.
Step Seven: Build Your Dream Basket
The “dream basket” is the third place you should put your money, after the retirement basket and the security basket. Bach recommends that you put at least 3% of your annual income towards your dreams, simply so you can see that bright horizon in the future and know you’re actually moving towards it.
Bach and I agree on one thing: it’s a lot easier to live within your means if you see that you are working towards your dreams instead of working for your immediate wants and desires.
Step Eight: Learn to Avoid the Ten Biggest Financial Mistakes Couples Make
Most of these big mistakes are pretty well known (having credit card debt, not having a prenup, and so forth) and relatively unsurprising, though it is a good idea for a couple to review them together just to make sure that they’re both on the same page.
However, I found the first “mistake” to be quite interesting: getting a 30 year mortgage is a big mistake. Here’s why: the higher interest rate and longer term of the loan eat so much of your money that it’s not worth getting a slightly lower payment each month. This is an interesting issue, one that I’m going to look at very carefully in the near future.
Step Nine: Increase Your Income By 10 Percent in Nine Weeks
The final step is the one with the alluring title; who wouldn’t want a 10% increase in their salary in nine weeks? The catch (and there’s always a catch with concepts like this) is that the 10% increase comes from requesting a raise from your boss. This section merely provides a week-by-week guide building up to the actual raise request, including such items as looking at what others in your field are getting paid and so on. I was actually expecting some investment advice here; this is just not the type of “investment” I was expecting.
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
Chapter 1: If you can talk well. A good conversationalist is one who has ideas, who reads, thinks, and who has therefore something to say–Sir Walter Scott.
- Nothing embarrass and bores the average man so much as a girl who has to be entertained.
- Good reading will not only broaden the mind and give new ideas, but it will also increase ones vocabulary.
Chapter 2: Put beauty in your life. Beauty is God’s handwriting. There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy, and not pain, around us–Emerson.
- What is the best education? Once asked of Plato. “It is, that which gives to the body and to the soul all the beauty and all the perfection of which they are capable.”
- There is no investment which will give such returns as the cute of the finer self, the development of the sense of the beauty the sublime and the true, the development of qualities, that are crushed out or strangled in the mere dollar chaser.
- If we sin to beautify the outer, we must first beautify the inner, for every thought and every motion shapes the delicate tracings of our face for ugliness or beauty. Inharmonious and destructive attitudes of mind will warp and mar the most beautiful creatures.
Chapter 3: Enjoying what others own. If you are not wealthy yourself, be glad somebody else is, and you will be astonished at the happiness that will result to your self–Rev Dr. Charles F. Aked. I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.
- The secret of happiness is in a cheerful, contented mind. “He is poor who is dissatisfied; he is rich who is contented with what he has, and can enjoy what others own.”
Chapter 4: Personality as a success asset. There is something about one’s personality which eludes the photographer, which the painter can’t reproduce, which the sculptor cannot chisel. The subtle something which everyone feels, nut which no one can describe, which no biographer ever put down in a book, as a great deal to do with one’s success in life.
- Secretiveness repels as much as frankness attracts.
- Be open with others.
Chapter 5: How to be a social success. The power to please is a great success asset. It will do for you what money will not do. It will other give you capital which your financial assets alone would not warrant. People are governed by their likes and dislikes. We are powerfully influenced by a pleasing, charming personality. A persuasive manner is often irresistible. Even judges on the bench feel its fascination.
- The best way to draw people to you is to make them feel that you are interested in them. You must not do this for effect. You must be really interested in them, or they will detect the deception.
- If you wear a bull-dog expression, if you go about looking sour and disagreeable, you must not wonder that you are not popular with your employees or other people. Everybody loves a pleasant face.
- There is only one way to win love, and that is to love.
Chapter 6: The miracle of Tact. Talent is something, but tact is everything. Talent is no match for tact; we see its failure everywhere. In the race of life, common sense has the right away.
- Tact is an extremely delicate quality, difficult to define, hard to cultivate, but absolutely indispensable to one who wishes to get on in the world rapidly and smoothly.
- The personality of a physician has a great deal to do with his success, and with the chances of his patients.
- There is no better discipline in the world than to force ourselves to be sociable and interesting to those for whom we do not care.
Chapter 7: I had a friend. Oh Friendship! Of all things the most rare, and therefore most scare because most excellent, whose comforts in misery are always sweet, and whose counsels in prosperity and are ever fortunate–Lilly.
- Life is to be fortified by many friendships, said Sydney Smith. To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence.
- True friendship says CC Colton, is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.
- I know lots of people who have plenty of friends, but they are not the kind that help or elevate them. They have chosen downward, instead of upward.
- Friendships must be cultivated. It cannot be bought, it is priceless. If you abandon your friends for a quarter of a century or more while you are buried in your pursuit of wealth, you cannot expect to go back and find them where you left them. Did you ever get or keep anything worthwhile without an effort equal to its value?
Chapter 8: Ambition. The youth who does not look up will look down, and the spirit that does not soar is destined to grovel. Whoever is satisfied with what he does has reached the culminating point, He will progress no more.
- No one ever amounts to much who does not take himself in hand and force himself to do the things that is best for him in the end, not the pleasantest or the easiest.
- Everything depends on ambition. The moment it becomes weak all the life standards drop with it. One must keep the ambition lamp ever trimmed and burning brightly.
- It is dangerous to dally with ambition killing influences.
- Nature allows us to keep only what is in constant use.
- When the desire, the ambition, comes fresh and strong with zeal and enthusiasm, it is easy, but after we have postponed it a few times, we find ourselves less and les inclined to make the necessary effort or sacrifice to attain it, because it does not appeal to us with the same emphasis as at first.
- Do not allow ambition to cool. Make up your mind that you cannot and will not spend your life being half satisfied.
- The expanding man is always dissatisfied with his accomplishments, is always reaching out for something larger, fuller, and completer.
- Men often fail because of impatient ambition.
- The heights of great men reached and kept, Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night.
- Anything that will give us a glimpse of ourselves, that will awaken us to our possibilities, is invaluable.
- Most people die with the largest percentage of their possibilities still undeveloped.
- Constantly ask yourself, If others can do them, why cant I?
Chapter 9. Education by Reading. Books are the windows through which the soul looks out–H.W. Beecher.
- Most of us manage somehow to find time for the things we love. If one is hungry for knowledge, if one yearns for self-improvement, if one has a taste for reading, he will make the opportunity.
- Where the heart is, there is a treasure. Where the ambition is, there is time.
- It’s not the number of books, says Professor William Matthews, “which a young man reads that makes him intelligent and well-informed, but the number of well chose ones that he has mastered, so that every valuable thought of them is a familiar friend.”
Chapter 10. Discrimination in Reading. Cultivate the habit of reading something good for ten minutes a day. Then minutes a day will in twenty years make all the difference between a cultivated and an uncultivated mind, provided you read what is good. I mean by the good the proved treasures of the world, the intellectual treasures of the world in story, verse, history, and biography–Charles W. Eliot, Ex-President of Harvard University.
- Read books that make you look up, which inspire you to be a little bigger man or woman, to amount to a little more in the world.
- Read books that make you think more of yourself and believe more in yourself and in others.
Chapter 11. Reading to Spur Ambition. I know of nothing else which will enlarge ones ideals and lift one’s life standards more than the study of the lives of great and noble characters, the reading of biographies of great men and women. Abroad, it is impossible for me to avoid the society of fools. In my study, I can call up the ablest spirits., the learnedest philosophers, the wisest counsellors, the greatest generals, and make them serviceable to me–Sir William Waller.
- Cotton Mathers “Essay to do Good” influenced the whole career of Benjamin Franklin, we are told.
Chapter 12. The Self-Improvement Habit, A great Asset. A boy is better unborn than untaught–Gascolgne. It is ignorance that wastes, it is knowledge that saves, an untaught faculty is at once quiescent and dead–N.D. Hillis. The plea that this or that man has no time for culture will vanish as soon as we desire culture so much that we begin to examine seriously into our present us of time–Matthew Arnold.
- Education as commonly understood, is the process of developing the mind by means of books and teachers. When educations is neglected, with by a reason of lack of opportunity, or because advantage was not taken of the opportunities afforded, the one remaining hope is self-improvement.
- Opportunities of self-improvement surround us, the helps to self-improvement are abundant, and in this day of cheap books, free libraries, and evening schools, there can be no good reason for neglect to use the facilities for mental growth and development which are so abundantly supplied.
- The trouble with a great many people is they are not willing to make present sacrifices for future gain.
- The secret of power is use. Ability will not remain with us, force will evaporate the moment we cease to something with it.
Chapter 13. The raising of values. Destiny is not about thee, but within, Thyself must make thyself.
- Of course it hard and painful, and it takes lots of stamina to undergo the processes that produce the finest products, but would you prefer to remain a rough bar of iron or a horseshoe all of you life?
Chapter 14. Self Improvement Through Public Speaking.
- Do not be afraid to rise to put a motion or to second it or give your opinion on it. Do not wait until you are better prepared. You never will be.
- The hardest thing for a public speaker to overcome is self-consciousness.
Chapter 15. What a Good appearance will do. The apparel oft proclaims the man–Shakespeare. As a general thing an individual who is neat in his person is neat in his morals–H.W. Shaw.
- Two chief factors in good appearance cleanliness of the body and comeliness of the attire.
- Cloths don’t make the man, but good cloths have gout many a man a good job.
- From every point of view it pays well to dress well.
Chapter 16. Self Reliance.
- The greatest service a teacher can render a pupil is to train them to depend on themselves, to trust his own powers. If the youth does not practice self-reliance, the man will be a weakling, a failure.
- Power is self developed, self-generated. We cannot increase the strength of our muscles by sitting in a gymnasium and letting another exercise for us.
- Where ether is no struggle, there is no growth, no character.
- Self reliance has the best substitute for friends, influence, capital, a pedigree, or assistance. It has mastered more obstacles, overcome more difficulties, carried through more enterprises, perfected more inventions, than any other human quality.
Chapter 17. Mental Friends and Foes. We can make our minds art galleries of beauty or chambers of horror, we can furnish them with anything we please.
- Ideas, thoughts, like everything else, attract what is akin to them. The thoughts which dominate in the mind will tend to drive out their opposites. Optimism will drive out pessimism. Cheerfulness will tend to drive out despondency, hope, discouragement.
Shout out to BRIAN WILLETT for doing this written summary
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
Steve McClatchy has taken time management and priorities to a different level. He presents the material in his book in a unique way with stories and illustrations that really make the points he is conveying. This is one of the best books I have read this year so far. I highly highly recommend this book.
The book starts out with the first Chapter titled: Two forms of human motivations: Gain and Prevent pain. Either gain or prevent pain pushes you toward completing every decision and activity you pursue. And although it could be a combination of both, one is always in the majority. You have 51 percent or more of one of those motivations driving you to do that specific task. The most important difference between the two is the results they produce.
Tasks that you are driven toward by Gain produce more significant positive results in your life and your business than tasks that are driven toward by prevent pain.
Gain tasks are focusing on something you want. You are figuring out how to produce results that you desire in your life.
Prevent pain tasks such as paying the bills and doing laundry. Cleaning laundry isn’t something we desire out of life. We do it to prevent pain of not having any clothes to wear.
Prevent Pains Tasks are: (Have To’s; One thing they all have in common: if neglected, someone else will eventually bring it to your attention)
Have to do’s. Sure you can choose not to do them, but you will have face the consequences of not doing them.
Simply prompt us to do what we have to do.
No matter where you are in life and the responsibilities you have or don’t have, you can always fill up your day with prevent pain tasks. There is always something to repair, maintain, clean, feed, keep up with, pay for, care for. The reason that prevent pain tasks go on an on is that they never actually go away; they just eventually repeat. EX: You don’t really cross off doing dishes off your to do list; you just move it to the bottom because the next night, you will have to wash them again.
Tasks such as putting gas in your car, checking email, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, never end, they are never finished.
Prevent Pain tasks come with varying degrees of urgency. You have to complete them, such as assignment for work, according to deadlines.
Others such as housecleaning, have a little more flexibility in terms of timeline, its your responsibility to get them done some time or deal with the consequences of failing to complete them.
There is nothing special about prevent pain tasks. Making good grades in school, doing the laundry, meeting the minimum expectations at work, all of these things will not differentiate you from anyone else. The only way you can differentiate yourself is doing Gain Tasks.
Gain Tasks (Are never urgent)
Urgency is a great human motivator. But when it comes to results, urgency alone can’t deliver. It is not a great criterion for deciding what is most important or what will produce the most significant results in your life.
Gain Tasks can always wait. There are no deadlines or reports due for it. You don’t owe it to anyone.
Your only motivation to do a Gain Task is to improve your life in some way. It is never an urgent situation.
You don’t have to do Gain Tasks.
Motivation to complete a Gain task comes from the opportunity to gain improvement and results in your life, not from fear of the consequences that may arise if you don’t do it. No one will ever ask you about it or follow-up on it. Theres only one reason why you would do it: because you want to, not because you have to.
Nothing bad will happen, but nothing good will ever happen either if you don’t complete gain tasks.
You wont move toward that goal or enjoy improvement. Your life will stay the same for as long as you let it.
The reason to complete a Gain Task is because you desire the results that task will bring.
Whenever we are motivated by a Gain, we are thinking about the results our time and effort will bring us in our lives, in our relationships, and in our business.
You cant delegate a Gain task to anyone else.
The nature of a Gain task or goal is only you can do it. No one else can do it for you.
You cant delegate your goals and dreams to another person.
Examples of Prevent Pain:
Taking out the trash
following up on voice mails
daily personal grooming
fixing broken things
caring for pets
Examples of Gain Tasks:
Pursuing an advanced degree
Getting a certificate in something
Writing a book
buying an income property
closing a big deal
Consumption goals: Short term reward for the hard work you have done. (vacation, night out, a concert, major purchase such as purse or watch)
Creation Goals: When you reach these goals your life will be better.
Creation goals have a lasting, longer term impact and you will remember them as being significant.
Although fun and uplifting, consumption goals have a more fleeting impact.
Prevent pain tasks versus Gain tasks: Prevent Pain tasks are maintenance where Gain tasks are for improvement.
The best way to combat burnout and stress and achieve a feeling that your life is balance between what you ahem to do and what makes you feel alive is to continuously seek improvement in some area of your life.
The author goes on to explain that your to do list should be prioritized by A, B, C tasks.
A tasks: Goals, Leadership, Improvement
B tasks: Important maintenance responsibilities (a report, paying bills, taking inventory)
C tasks: Maintenance: dishes, laundry, grooming
Your brain is hardwired to prioritize survival over improvement. Prevent Pain over Gain. You brain is not necessarily a mechanism designed for success, fulfillment, happiness, and growth, it is a mechanism designed for survival.
It will always at attend to what you need for protection and survival first. To take risks and make choices that lead to Gain, you have to override your brains natural instinct.
Procrastination and Motivation:
Motivation exists when there is a distance between where you are and where you want to be.
Two categories of motivation are fear and desire. We fear the pain of consequences of not doing something we have to. We desire the results brought out by gain and improvement in our lives.
Energy and motivation to do prevent pain tasks come from pursing gain tasks.
Procrastination is how we use fear to do something we don’t want to do.
Problems with procrastination: Lower quality products are produced, we have less control and convenience over it, stress comes from it.
Procrastination is not as much as of a time management problem as it is a decision-making problem.
Nothing about prevent pain tasks sets us apart from anyone else. The results you get everyday are not determined by the “have to” tasks.
Everything we do everyday can be broken down into three categories: Habits, To Do items, and calendar events.
Habits: Mostly influence parts of our life such as hygiene, health, eating, repeat spending, relaxing chores, emails, and routine tasks. We doth have to write them down, because we wont forget to do them.
To do Lists: maintenance tasks that you don’t want to forget. Updating a file, sending out an email, checking in with a client, going to dry cleaners, grocery shopping, paying a bill.
Calendar: For things that are time specific: events, appointments, and anything you gave to be on time for, whether its business or personal.
Use your calendar for Gain:
Anything on your calendar you will defend and protect. You wont skip.
Use your calendar to give your goals the attention they deserve.
Without the strong self-identity that comes from pursuing gain, your ego will try to compensate by cementing with and comparing you to people around you.
To live without goals is to love without passion for anything, and that will only lead to burn out. Working toward creation is what ends the burnout and the competition.
Your work too hard to just prevent pain everyday.
This is a little bit of a unique book summary, but I hope you see the points the author is conveying. I included the major points of emphasis that I really liked throughout the book.
Summary of the summary and notes:
Identify where you spend most of your time. Preventing Pain or Creating Gain.
Be sure to create Creation Goals and Tasks and be sure they are on your calendar. The important stuff goes on your calendar and that should include your Gain Tasks.
Make better decisions and don’t procrastinate
Your brain will go into survival mode before it goes into improvement mode. Change this natural tendency.
To your success and your future.
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau
- The way of the side hustle: defined as a moneymaking project you start on the side, usually while still working a day job. In other words, it’s a way to create additional income without taking on the risks of going full throttle into the world of working for yourself.
- But a side hustle isn’t just about putting extra cash in your pocket. In today’s environment, where the idea of a business having any sense of loyalty to its workers has all but disappeared, the side hustle is the new job security. It affords you the ability to decide.
- When you receive multiple paychecks from different sources, you are no longer dependent on the whims of a single employer. More income means more options. More options mean more freedom.
- Money does grow on trees – you just have to plant the right seeds, in the right soil.
WHAT YOU NEED AND WHAT YOU DON’T
- There are very few prerequisites to side hustling. To be successful in using this model, mostly you need.
- The right frame of mind.
- The willingness to act.
- You don’t need much money.
- You don’t need much time.
- You don’t need a business degree, or any kind of specialized education.
- You don’t need employees, assistants, or business partners.
- You don’t need experience starting a business.
- Side hustle skills are not taught in school.
- The only way to master side hustle skills is by doing.
WEEK 1: BUILD AN ARSENAL OF IDEAS
- A side hustle has many benefits, but it all starts with an idea. This first week of hustling will teach you how to generate business ideas that actually work.
Day 1: Predict the Future
- A side hustle isn’t just about money in the bank, as helpful as that can be. A side hustle really can change your life. When you build something for yourself, even as you continue to work your day job, you become empowered. You gain confidence. You create security, both in the form of that extra cash and also in the fact that you’re opening up future opportunities for yourself.
- A side hustle is like a hobby, with one big difference: most hobbies cost money. A side hustle makes money.
Day 2: Learn How Money Grows on Tress
- Once you understand that money really does grow on trees, the next step is to learn to plant the right seeds. The seeds for a money tree consist of moneymaking ideas. For your tree to bear fruit, you’ll need to put in the work to turn those ideas into action.
- Almost every hustle idea that’s worth pursuing shares three qualities. You want your idea to be feasible, profitable, and persuasive.
- A side hustle is something that makes you money, not costs you money. If you don’t see how you could make money from the idea, preferably in a short amount of time, it’s probably not a good idea.
Day 3: Brainstorm, Borrow, or Steal Ideas
- IDEAS CAN BECOME ASSETS
- Everywhere you look, hustle ideas are all around you. Many of these ideas can be exchanged for money. In creating your side hustle, the goal is to turn your idea into an asset, something that has real value and produces income for you over time.
- BRAINSTORM AT LEAST THREE QUALIFIED IDEAS
Day 4: Weigh the Obstacles and Opportunities of Each Idea
Day 5: Forecast Your Profit on the Back of a Napkin
- THE PROFIT EQUATION
- The secret to turning a profit for any business or venture, boils down to one basic principle: don’t spend more money than you take in. With this principle in mind, the projected profit for just about any hustle can be calculated by the following simple equation:
- EXPECTED INCOME – EXPECTED EXPENSES = PROJECTED PROFIT
- DON’T WAIT TO FIGURE OUT HOW A SIDE HUSTLE WILL MAKE MONEY
- There’s an old joke about a bar in Silicon Valley, the original hub of the startup scene. A bar opens and is wildly popular – sort of. A million people walk into it, but don’t buy anything. The bar then declares massive success, and the founders “exit” by selling their company to a group of investors. It’s a good joke that reflects a very bad business experience. It doesn’t matter how many people walk into your bar; what matters is how many people buy something.
- Your side hustle absolutely must have a clear plan to make money. Don’t set aside this requirement and decide that you’ll “figure it out later.” That’s fine for a hobby, but not for a hustle.
WEEK 2: SELECT YOU BEST IDEA
- Day 6: Use the Side Hustle Selector to Compare Ideas
- FEASIBILITY: The ability to begin turning the idea into action in a short period of time
- PROFITABILITY: The potential to make money from this idea, also in a short period of time.
- PERSUASION: Not only is this a good idea, it’s a good idea now.
- To narrow our list even further, let’s add two more qualities to the mix:
- EFFICIENCY: How quickly can this be executed?
- MOTIVATION: How excited are you about this idea?
Day 7: Become a Detective
- As you move forward with an idea, take a look at what other people are doing. Then, do it better – or at least differently.
- Your reconnaissance mission doesn’t need to be complicated. You just want to learn two things:
- Who else is offering the same thing or something similar
- How your idea will be better or different.
Day 8: Have Imaginary Coffee with Your Ideal Customer
- There’s one person out there who fits the profile of your target customer. What can you learn from them?
- Every side hustle has a target customer, a specific type of person that its product or service is designed for. Sometimes these target customers are called “avatars,” but you can also just think of them as your people. And the better you can understand those people – who they are, what they need, and where their pains points are – the better equipped you’ll be to serve them.
Day 9: Transform Your Idea into an Offer
- Once you have a great idea and an ideal customer you need to transform the idea into an offer. An offer has a promise, a pitch, and a price.
- To have a real-world side hustle, you need to transform your idea into an offer. At a bare minimum, an offer tells people exactly what they will get for their money – and it also usually makes clear how much money is required to get it.
- THE PROMISE: how your hustle will change someone’s life
- THE PITCH: why they should purchase or sign up now
- THE PRICE: what it costs to purchase or sign up (and how to do it)
- See if you can shift your idea into a simple (yet specific) offer.
- Your Idea, Your Promise, Your Pitch, Your Call to Action
- Now put it all together in a couple of brief and catchy lines. Your Offer
Day 10: Create Your Origins Story
- Like a comic book superhero, your side hustle needs a history. Don’t just tell ‘em the facts; tell them a story.
WEEK 3: PREPARE FOR LIFTOFF
Day 11: Assemble the Nuts and Bolts
- Resourcefulness is your most valuable skill as a side hustler. Get a head start on sourcing everything you’ll need to launch your project sooner rather than later.
- Get a bank account that’s just for your side hustle.
- Similarly, get a separate credit or debit card you use only for expenses associated with your hustle.
- Pay for everything you can up front.
- Set aside at least 25 percent of your hustle income for taxes.
- Be fast with invoicing.
- Whenever possible, insist on a written agreement for service work.
- Legal structure.
- Right from the beginning, set up a very simple accounting system.
- If at all possible, set aside a dedicated hustle workspace.
- Once you’re making money, pay yourself first.
Day 12: Decide How to Price Your Offer
- Pricing can be challenger even for experienced hustlers. Use to cost-plus model and follow two simple guidelines to be way ahead of the curve.
- The first thing to know is there’s usually a range of possible prices you could successfully charge. You want it to be low enough that you don’t turn away or lose customers, but high enough that you can still make money. Assuming you want to maximize profit, your long-term goal is to find a sweet spot at the higher end of what people are willing to pay.
- Selling a Product
- With cost-plus pricing applied to a product, you first figure out how much it will cost to provide the product, and then you simply add on a markup (a dollar amount or a percentage) that serves as your profit
- Selling a Service
- If you’re providing a service, there aren’t many hard expenses associated with the work. Naturally, this doesn’t mean that she should a charge a low price. Clients pay for skill and expertise, as well as the time you spend on all the tasks.
- To set an introductory price for a new service, start by deciding on your minimum acceptable hourly income.
- One good rule of thumb is that your minimum accepted hourly income should be at least what you make per hour in your day job, and probably more. Since you’ll be working on the project in your spare time, the income you earn needs to be worth the leisure time you’ll be giving up.
- PRODUCT: Minimum acceptable profit per item or per sale.
- SERVICE: Minimum acceptable hourly income or flat rate.
Day 13: Create a Side Hustle Shopping List
- Your hustle will probably require specific tools, resources, and deliverables. Learn to find, gather, or create everything on your shopping list.
- Every side hustle requires some setup work: a list of things you need to either source, acquire, or prepare to bring your offers into the world.
- Successful side hustlers create or obtain a recipe to take their hustle from idea to implementation. For each step of that process, there will be “ingredients” – the tasks you need to tackle, the resources you need to acquire, or the deliverables you need to produce – in order to complete your recipe for success. The more you can simplify your idea and break down the creation process into clear, specific steps, the easier it will be to get up and running quickly.
CREATE YOUR SHOPPING LIST
- Just as no two recipes are exactly the same, the recipe for every side hustle is different. Your ingredients may vary from those in these three plans, but here are some common ones.
- Website, Social Media Profiles, Scheduling Tool, Workflow, Payment System.
Day 14: Set Up a Way to Get Paid
- You’ve got a lot more than just an idea now-you’re well underway to a real-life side hustle. Before proceeding, make sure you’ve also got a real-life way to get paid real money for it.
- If you don’t have a way to get paid, you don’t have a hustle.
- Simple Payment Systems, Paypal and Shopify
Day 15: Design Your First Workflow
- First create a list of everything that needs to happen along the way. This list is called a workflow. A workflow is simply a series of activities or processes that must occur to complete a project. In the case of hustles, it’s everything that needs to happen for customers to make a purchase and receive whatever they’ve paid for.
- Create your master list of tasks, actions, and next steps. The more detailed, the better.
Day 16: Spend 10 Percent More Time on the Most Important Tasks
- Do more of what’s important, and less of what’s not.
- Two general areas, providing more value and making more money, should be your primary focus as you prepare to launch your hustle.
- Focus Area #1: Change Your Customer’s Life
- Focus Area #2: Make More Money
- Spend 25 minutes a day doing one thing to grow your hustle
- You need to work smart, not just hard.
- Doing this first thing in the morning.
WEEK 4: LAUNCH YOUR IDEA TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Day 17: Publish Your Offer!
- When’s the best time to get your offer out and see what happens? Usually before you’re ready.
- THE BEST TIME TO START WAS YESTERDAY
- By now, you’ve heard me say it more than once: start your hustle before you feel completely ready. Why start sooner rather than later? Well, there are several reasons. The first is proof of concept, the validation that you’re on to something. Even when you feel confident, you never know for sure if your idea is going to work until it comes to life. Therefore, the sooner you can begin to learn how customers respond to it, even if the data is incomplete, the better.
- Done is better than perfect.
- Create a Facebook page before making a website.
- Launch in Beta
Day 18: Sell Like a Girl Scout
- Even with a great product or service, and a great offer to make your pitch, magic money doesn’t usually fall from the sky. Channel your inner Girl Scout and make some sales!
- If you’re resistant to sales or marketing in general, remember two things:
- You’ve put in a lot of work on your hustle. You’re proud and excited of what you’ve made. You owe it to yourself to take the next step to set yourself up for success.
- The people who need your hustle want to be marketed to! They are waiting to hear about it. If you don’t make it through the noise and reach them, they’ll never have the chance to find out what you’ve made.
- Lead with benefits, back them up with features.
- Even the best salespeople sometimes get benefits and features mixed up. Here’s a good rule of thumb: benefits are the ways in which a product will improve someone’s life; features are the details that demonstrate how, Both are important, but if a customer doesn’t believe that your offer will make their lives better, a long list of features won’t help. Always lead with benefits!
- You don’t want a drill, you want a hole.
- The drill is just the means to that end.
- Always think about what people really want and why they want it. With that information in hand, it’s much easier to figure out how to offer them the tools that will help them get it.
Day 19: Ask Ten People for Help
- Don’t be an army of one.
- Even though a side hustle can be a solo undertaking, you’re not alone out there, or at least you shouldn’t be. As you launch your new hustle, you’ll want to reach out to a few key people for help.
- Don’t “spray and pray.” Instead, be specific
- Just as you’ll be much more successful when focusing on a specific customer group, you’ll also likely see far better results from asking specific people to help you reach those customers.
Day 20: Test, Test, and Test Again
- When you’re beginning a new hustle, you don’t usually know which approach will be the most effective. To find out, try different things and keep a record of results.
- You don’t need to test everything. You just need to test the things that matter most. Start with the big stuff! Here are the big three:
- Your product or service (what you offer)
- Your offer (how you present it)
- Your price (how much it costs)
Day 21: Burn Down the Furniture Store
- Deals, discounts, and special offers are your not-so-secret weapon to encourage customers to purchase. There’s a very good reason that so many stores “go out of business” every three months.
- Human beings are conditioned to respond to deals. Everyone loves getting something for less. Offering some kind of sale or special offer is perhaps the most effective not-so-secret weapon you have in your side hustle arsenal.
Day 22: Frame Your First Dollar
- Always celebrate your early achievements. There’s more work to be done, but small victories can be disproportionately satisfying.
WEEK 5: REGROUP AND REFINE
Day 23: Track Your Progress and Decide on Next Steps
- As you learn more about how customers respond to your hustle, take note of the most crucial metrics – then take action on what you learn.
- Track what matters, ignore what doesn’t
- Think about how you track other things in your life, including your health and personal finance. At any given time, do you have an approximate idea of how much money is in your checking account? (Most people do.) What about your health – how do you feel right now? (It’s another easy question.) For each of these areas you could collect all sorts of other data, but by answering these two simple questions the big picture is easy to discern. That’s how it should be with your hustle: at any given time, you should know its general health and well-being. This isn’t hard when you keep up with your metrics in three key areas:
- Profit (income minus expenses)
- Growth (number of new prospects, customers, or clients)
- Time (how many hours per week you spend starting and operating the project)
- At the end of the day, you’re really just looking to answer one simple question: Is your hustle profitable? Yes, there’s more than one way to measure success, but your side hustle should make money.
Day 24: Grow What Works, Let Go of What Doesn’t
- As your hustle grows, there are countless options to expand. Don’t get distracted – identify what’s working and do more of that.
THE POWER OF ITERATION
- Regrouping and refining are the superhero skills of side hustle success. Consider this quote from Bill gates: “Headlines are misleading. Bad news is a headline, and gradual improvement is not.” Tracking, testing, and refining are all about achieving gradual improvement. You might not make a lot of fanfare when you gradually improve an existing hustle, but you’ll probably make more money.
- Iteration means “the act of repeating a process.” Usually with the goal of improving each step along the way. As you continue to develop and improve your hustle, follow these two basic rules of iteration:
- If it works, do more of it.
- If it doesn’t work, abandon it and move on.
Day 25: Look for Money Lying Under a Rock
- One of the easiest ways to grow a hustle is by horizontal expansion. If everything’s going well, consider adding another version of it to better serve your customers.
Day 26: Get It Out of Your Head
- Every business has key systems. As a side hustler, yours are probably stored in your head-and that’s not always wise. To make significant improvements (and save more time) as you expand your hustle, systemize wherever you can.
- The two most important workflows for most hustles are sales and service. Basically, you want to document how you sell to people and how they receive what they purchase.
Day 27: Back to the Future
- You’ve come to the end of the road…or is it the beginning? Side hustles create opportunity and freedom. Once you’re up and running, your options are unlimited.
- Here’s the thing about a good side hustle. It can help support your life, but it doesn’t have to be your whole life. In fact, thanks to the project they’ve built, most side hustlers are able to enjoy more of their life.
- Always remember that a hustle is different from other startup ventures or businesses. You don’t have to listen to the advice of experts or follow conventional wisdom. You don’t have to “scale.” You don’t have to hire employees or assistants, virtual or otherwise. There is no single “right way.” There’s only the right way for you.
- The side hustle economy is here to stay. It’s a social revolution that can improve out collective well-being and broaden our cultural approach to work. From security to extra income to confidence to fun, there are many benefits to a hustle. And when you start quickly and keep costs low, there’s very little risk. What will your story be?
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
Amusing Ourselves to Death Book Summary | Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business | Neil Postman
The Medium is the Metaphor
Throughout history, different cities have been the representations of American culture. To Postman, that city is now Las Vegas.
The shape of someone’s body doesn’t matter when they’re sharing ideas in writing, radio, or smoke signals, but it matters greatly in television.
The idea there is “news of the idea” was created by the telegraph, which first made it possible to move decontextualized information over great distances at great speed. But “news of the day” is a figment of our imagination, it exists only because of communication speeds.
Religion saw how giving an image to an idea or set of ideas was problematic, thus the prohibition against it in the ten commandments. The medium matters, it changes the message.
Every new medium of communication changes communication, whether that’s painting or hieroglyphs or the alphabet or television. Each medium creates a new orientation for thought, expression, and sensibility.
This applies beyond communication, the clock created the idea of “moment to moment” by quantifying time into minutes and seconds.
Plato wrote that with the invention of the alphabet, there would be a shift from the ear to the eye as the tool for language processing. And that it would finalize thoughts, make them written in stone, instead of being more fluid as they are in speech.
Media as Epistemology
Postman has no problem with the junk on TV, rather that’s the best part of TV. The problem is when entertainment masquerades as important and informative media.
In oral cultures, parables and proverbs were necessary tools for codifying and remembering ancient wisdom and ideas. They were easily transferrable and laid the foundation for thought itself.
Major new mediums change the structure of discourse. Books demand that you sit still and pay attention for long periods. Television’s demands on you are much different.
Television pollutes public communication and its related discourse, it should only be considered a source of entertainment.
One problem with writing: once it’s put in words and recorded, you feel bound to it, it becomes harder to adjust your ideas later.
Literacy was extremely high in the US colonies, some of the highest in the world.
In the 1830s, “pamphlets” were popular and used to spread ideas and news and gossip, since they were more ephemeral than books, but they also became irrelevant much faster.
The Typographic Mind
In the Lincoln Douglas debates, Douglas talked for 3 hours, the audience breaked for dinner, then Lincoln talked for 3 hours, and Douglas had a 1 hour rebuttal. And people stuck around for that!
It’s hard to say nothing with a written english sentence, but a spoken one says nothing all the time.
In a pre-television word, the name of a famous person would bring ideas to mind. But in post television world, it brings a face to mind. What do you think of when you hear Clinton, Nixon, Elvis, probably first their face.
The Peek-a-Boo World
Pre-telegraph, information could only move as fast as a train, or about 35mph. There was little relation between states, even cities.
But then the telegraph came along and made the country into one neighborhood, but a neighborhood where everyone is still strangers with some superficial facts about each other.
Context-free information: How often does the information that you get in the morning radio, television, or newspaper, make you alter your plans for the day? Or give you anything useful besides something to talk about? When the telegraph came along and made information transmission fast and cheap, it multiplied the information we had available to us, and created a significantly higher noise:signal ratio.
“What steps do you plan to take to reduce the conflict in the Middle East? Or the rates of inflation, crime and unemployment? What are your plans for preserving the environment or reducing the risk of nuclear war? What do you plan to do about NATO, OPEC, the CIA, affirmative action, and the monstrous treatment of the Baha’is in Iran? I shall take the liberty of answering for you: You plan to do nothing about them.”
Burning a book is seen as a vile form of anti-intellectualism, but the telegraph demands that it’s contents be burned, it is not meant to last.
Adding visual context to meaningless information gives it the illusion of relevancy, but the image does nothing to make it valuable.
“Where people once sought information to manage the real contexts of their lives, now they had to invent contexts in which otherwise useless information might be put to some apparent use.” Crosswords, trivial pursuit, jeopardy, cocktail parties.
Pseudo-context: a structure invented to give fragmented, irrelevant information a seeming use. But its only value ends up being as entertainment.
The Peek-a-Boo World: All of these electronic advances created this world where now this event, now that, pops into existence and vanishes again. A world without coherence or sense, but one which is endlessly entertaining.
Questions about how television shapes our culture have disappeared as television has become our culture. We rarely talk about television, rather what is on television.
The Age of Show Business
The average length of a shot on network television is only 3.5 seconds, so that your eye never rests and always has something new to see.
The problem isn’t that television presents us with entertaining subjects, rather that all subjects are presented as entertaining.
“Now… this” is commonly used to indicate that what one has just heard or seen has no relevance to what they’re about to hear or see. It acknowledges that in this speed-up electronic media world, almost everything being reported has no context and no meaning.
What does music have to do with the news? Why is it there? To entertain, to create a mood.
The average length of a news story is only 45 seconds, but it’s not possible to convey the whole depth of an important story in such short a time. It’s meant to entertain, to be trivial.
You can learn about an event, but rarely about the underlying more important details. How many people actually know anything about North Korea, or Islam, or other subjects being reported on beyond the specific events being discussed?
Much of television “informing” us is disinformation. Information that’s misleading, that creates the illusion of knowing something, but which in fact leads one away from knowing. When the news is packaged as entertainment, it’s the inevitable result. It gets trivialized.
Television is the soma of Brave New World.
Television has even influenced other media. USA Today is modelled on the television style, short stories that are highly visual, put in street receptacles that look like television sets.
Reach Out and Elect Someone
The television quickly became the primary way of presenting political ideas. First, by requiring that it be used in political campaigns. Second, by being forced to package ideas into television commercials in order to get them in front of people.
We no longer learn who is best at being president or governor or other leader, rather, who has the best image via television.
“We Americans seem to know everything about the last twenty-four hours but very little of the last sixty centuries or the last sixty years.”
A student’s freedom to read is not seriously impacted by someone burning a book on Long Island. But television does impair our ability to read, by shortening our attention spans and accommodating us to constant entertainment. Television doesn’t burn books, it displaces them.
Teaching as an Amusing Activity
“Sesame Street” teaches students to love school only if school is like Sesame Street, and in doing so it undermines education. It doesn’t encourage kids to love school or learning, it encourages them to love television.
According to Cicero the goal of education was to free the student from the “tyranny of the present,” give them a greater historical context. But television aims to accommodate us to the present.
A perplexed learner will change to another station. This means that there must be nothing that has to be remembered, studied, applied, or endured.
51% of viewers cannot recall a single item of news a few minutes after viewing a news program on television, and we can only retain 20% of the information in a fictional televised news story. 21% can’t remember any items within one hour of broadcast.
The danger of education as entertainment is that students will learn that learning should be a form of entertainment, and that anything worth learning can take the form of entertainment, and ought to.
The Huxleyan Warning
Only through a deep and unfailing awareness of the structure and effects of information, through demystifying media, is there any hope of gaining some measure of control over television, the computer, or any other medium.
“For in the end, he was trying to tell us that what afflicted the people in Brave New World was not that they were all laughing instead of thinking, but that they didn’t know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.”
Shout out to nateliason.com for doing this written summary
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
- Advance and conquer while others contract and retreat.
Whenever things take a turn for the worst, most say “I refuse to participate”, “Nothing has really changed, let’s just get back to basics”, “There is nothing I can do, I just have to wait it out”. What you should say instead is “Every resource I have goes to advance and conquer while others contract and retreat”. This attitude is about being the absolute best at what you do regardless of the external situation. It’s about unreasonable amounts of activity, way beyond what’s considered normal. You should restructure your day to focus on the most important thing for every business – SALES. For example, how would you go about your day, if you had 24 hours to live unless you close a deal? This is an extreme example, but if you sit back and think about this just for a few seconds, you will come up with a straightforward course of action that will put you way out of what’s considered normal, way out of your comfort zone and that will result in a sale or more. Your approach would be different from if you were living as if you have 50 years left to live.
- Power base reactivation.
Everyone has a power base, we simply don’t all acknowledge or utilize it. It’s way harder to build a business completely from scratch, instead of using a place where we already have power with people we know. The people you know – family, friends, relatives, schoolmates, past employers, existing employees and even your enemies – are all part of it. The people you know either have the money you want or know people who do.
- Past client reactivation.
You will need to use everything available to you, including your past clients. They are the people to whom you have sold and provided a service before, but with whom you are not actively working at this time. This is a gold mine, as they are extremely likely to do business with you, or point you to other people who will. Contacts turn into contracts, and the more contacts, the more contracts.
- Be unreasonable.
Quit being reasonable – don’t settle for just getting by. Do not rely solely on e-mailing or mailing your potential clients, get out of your comfort zone and call or visit them personally. Rather than just accepting what the situation is, think about solutions, get uncomfortable and take unreasonable amounts of action. The discomforts you experience now will guarantee that you’ll be comfortable in the future. Any attention is better than no attention. Don’t forget add-on sales, second money is always easier than first money. These add-on sales will allow you to maximize the time, energy and effort that you’ve already put forth.
- Converting the unsold.
According to a study, 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact, but only 10% of salespeople call beyond three times (10% of sales). Some people even have a 3 calls rule – they don’t buy anything unless the salesperson calls them 3 times about it. It indicates that you have firm belief that you have the right product for this person. The most successful people failed more times than you’ve tried. The person who willingly swings the bat has a better chance at success than the person who refuses to swing. When someone tells you no, they are saying no, for now.
- Ask for referrals.
During your time of doing business, you have probably received a call from a client, introducing you to someone who wanted or needed your product or service. However, that has happened to you, not because of you. Your goal should be to control this process – to ask existing customers for referrals. Activate and multiply your existing clients to create new ones.
- Delivering at “wow” levels.
If you think about whether someone delivered you a truly “wow” service within the last 90 days, nobody will probably stand out. Nowadays, people are accustomed to poor or mediocre service, so if they get something just a little bit above average, they will certainly notice the difference. Use this to your advantage, the more you wow, the less you have to promote because others will do it for you.
- Price vs value.
Your competitors are probably always lowering the price, and your customers never seem to have the money for your product. The real issue here is not the price, but the value of your product. You must do a great job of building value and make your customers feel confident that your product will solve their problems in order to get the price you need to stay solvent. Make sure they are aware of the cost of NOT purchasing your product, of staying where they are. The money will be directed toward what people perceive as value, not the lowest price. Selling on the price of the product is an indication of a poorly trained individual or organization.
- Effective marketing campaigns.
Most businesses reduce their advertising and marketing budgets during periods of contraction. Do the opposite, now is the time to hammer your business into the marketplace with cost-effective marketing plans that let the world know who you are, what you do and what you have to offer. Nothing will provide you with more protection than the ability to generate revenue – something that’s done by taking massive action, effectively marketing, staying in front of customers and getting the job done. The promotion you conduct today sets in motion a selling cycle that will result in new business when you need it six months into the future.
- The power schedule.
It is critical to have a very tight, disciplined schedule when you’re trying to grow your business, to keep yourself and your company focused and productive. Any production, output, effort or action done in sufficient quantities on a regular basis is better than no production. Make it clear to the world every day that you have things to do and people to see. Schedule the most important actions that needed to be done today and do everything you can to complete them rather than leaving your day to chance. People procrastinate because they lack a commitment to a power schedule and a sense of urgency. When you have other places you have to be and don’t have time for these things, then you just don’t do them.
- The most important skill needed to advance and conquer.
You need to learn how to sell. You can plan and organize until you are blue in the face, but if you can’t sell your products, what does it matter how organized you are? Most businesses don’t have a line of people waiting for their products, they actually have to generate interest, sell their product and close the deal.
The most needed and protected people in the workforce are those who can sell and bring in the money. There is no shortage of money, but there is a shortage of action and follow-through. A financial plan is the expansion consideration, not the contraction (budget) consideration.
- The unreasonable attitude.
The economy you have is only limited by the amount of unreasonable action you take to create it and your attitude is going to determine how much of said action do you take and how effective it is. It is always a challenge to remain positive, but if you maintain an optimistic outlook even when things are tough, you will have a significant advantage and a better chance at advancing and conquering. While bad attitudes never show up on a profit and loss statement, they always have something to do with the bottom line. Change your thought process. Drop the arrogance, your old beliefs, and any limitations on what you are willing to do, and get going on producing your economy.
More often than not your old beliefs are negative and enforce what you should not do more than what you should. Am I calling this client too much? Am I justified in asking for a referral? Thoughts like these paralyse you from taking action and becoming successful. Most of what we worry about never happens, so why should we waste so many time worrying about it instead of focusing on changing the situation? To become successful, you need to eliminate all the worry, doubt, and fear of negative consequences that could happen if you act.
Shout out to timochenko.com for doing this written summary
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository