Book Summaries

Dave Asprey: The Bulletproof Diet Book Summary


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Put butter in your coffee.


That’s one of the major discoveries in Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet – discoveries that have made it one of the most talked-about healthy eating breakthroughs today.

The simplest way to explain the Bulletproof Diet is that it’s high in fat and vegetables, moderate in proteins and carbohydrates, and low in toxins and starch. But becoming bulletproof is more than that. It’s about understanding how your body works and how you can maximize its potential. It’s about learning why you should eat fats – as long as they’re the right ones – and why fasting can be OK for your body if you do it right.

This book summary will explain all that and much more. After reading them, you’ll know why people are really putting butter in their coffee, and why you should too.

In this book summary, you’ll learn

  • which coffees have dangerous mold on them;
  • why grass-fed meat is superior; and
  • how eating more fat can make you think more quickly.



A lot of people enjoy a cup of coffee before they run off to work in the morning, but they probably aren’t aware that coffee contains antinutrients: compounds that prevent your body from absorbing nutrients. They’re found in seeds, plants and beans and can be quite detrimental to your health.


Most people are exposed to low doses of these antinutrients, like mold toxins, daily. They are in nearly everything we eat but are difficult to detect and invisible to the naked eye.

Coffee beans naturally carry these mold toxins. In fact, one study of coffee beans grown in Brazil found that over 90 percent of the beans were contaminated with mold before they were processed. A further study found that nearly 50 percent of brewed coffees contain mold.

Mold has become such a big problem in the coffee business that several governments, such as South Korea and Japan, have implemented regulations that ban coffee with a high amount of toxins. The United States and Canada, however, haven’t set any such limits so it’s likely that coffee sold in those countries carries a greater degree of mold.

High levels of mold toxins can result in many serious health problems, including cardiomyopathy, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease and even brain damage.

So pay careful attention to the coffee you buy. Cheaper coffee isn’t just made from lower quality beans – it’s also more likely to contain harmful toxins.

And if you think drinking decaf will protect you, think again! It actually contains more mold than caffeinated coffee because caffeine naturally acts as an antifungal defense mechanism. It deters mold and other organisms from growing on beans.

To avoid mold-exposure, it’s best to buy your coffee from shops that use their own roasters, if possible. You should also try to buy single-origin coffee instead of blended coffee.


You don’t have to give up coffee entirely, however. If you drink it the right way, it’ll help make you bulletproof!


Caffeine actually has many health benefits: it blocks inflammation to the brain and regulates your insulin sensitivity, which helps in weight loss. What’s more, you can intensify these benefits when you drink your morning cup of coffee by adding in some unsalted butter from grass-fed cows.

Why would you do that?

You get 3.4 times more antioxidants out of your coffee when you switch out your milk for butter. This is because milk has a negative effect on polyphenols, the good antioxidant found in coffee – it makes them less likely to be absorbed.

Butter also contains butyric acid, which lowers inflammation and heals your gut.

Still not convinced?

A study on rats found that coffee combined with a high-fat diet led to decreases in body weight, fat and liver triglycerides.

Another reason to add fat to your coffee is that it helps you reach ketosis, a metabolic state where the body burns fat for energy instead of sugar.

Some people try to reach ketosis by avoiding carbs, but another trick you can use is to add C8 MCT oil, or medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil), to your coffee. It’s made from coconut or palm oil and has 18 times more medium-chain triglycerides than regular coconut oil.


Adding butter or MCT oil or even both to your coffee will help your body burn more fat as an energy source.

The author studied this by experimenting with his own diet. He tested himself the day after eating a sushi dinner with two cups of rice and found that his blood ketone level was 0.1. A ketone level of 0.6 indicates ketosis.

After drinking a cup of bulletproof coffee, however, his blood ketone level reached 0.7 within 30 minutes! People on low carb diets have to restrict their carb-intake for three days before they can reach the same level.


MCT oil is so strong that it allows you to reach ketosis even after consuming carbs. Be careful though! Increase your MCT oil intake slowly, or you’ll risk making yourself sick.


You can also become bulletproof by encouraging the growth of certain bacteria in your digestive tract. The microbes in your intestine – your gut biome – play an important role in your health and your diet has a big impact on them.


Studies of mice have provided a great deal of insight into the ways our bodies gain and lose weight. Your weight isn’t just determined by the calories you consume or burn – it’s also affected by the bacteria in your gut.

If bacteria from the guts of obese mice is inserted into thin mice, they overeat by ten percent and become more resistant to insulin. And like mice, heavy and thin humans also have very different gut bacteria.

People who are naturally thin have more bacteria from the bacteroidetes phylum, also called thin people bacteria.


You can generate more of it by eating foods that contain polyphenols. They’re found in brightly colored vegetables like peppers and carrots. Coffee is the richest source of polyphenols, however. Chocolate contains polyphenols too.


You should also eat more resistant starches, like white rice and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins. These starches can radically change your gut biome.


These starches are “resistant” because they’re more resistant to digestion. Your body can’t break them down, so you can consume them without causing your insulin levels to rise, which would result in blood sugar problems.

Because they can’t be broken down, resistant starches are still intact when they arrive in your colon. Several studies have found that helpful bacteria in the colon thrive on resistant starches and produce a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate when they’re digested. Butyrate is vital to a healthy gut and brain, which is another reason that butter is so good for you.


Resistant starches are also found in less common foods, like green banana flour, plantain flour and potato starch.


There’s a huge misconception that eating fat will make you gain weight, thanks to a man named Ancel Keys. In the 1950s, Keys argued that saturated fat causes heart disease. It was later revealed that he manipulated his research data to prove his theory correct, but the fallacy he spread is still alive and well today.

Think of it this way: a high-performance car needs high-octane fuel to reach high speeds, because high-octane fuel stores more energy per gallon than low-octane fuel. Your body and brain work the same way.

Instead of fuel, you need essential fats like omega-3s, which your body can’t produce on its own. Moreover, fat is crucial to our bodies: it’s in our brain and all of our cells and organs. Your body can’t function without high-quality fat.

Fat is also the basis for myelin, which lines your nerves and allows electricity to flow efficiently in them. You literally think more quickly when you have more myelin, because it allows your nerves to transmit messages faster. Your body also burns fat more efficiently and forms more healthy cell membranes when you consume the right fat and avoid excess carbs.


So what are the right kinds of fat?

Mary Enig, a nutritionist, developed two ways to understand fats. The first is to examine the length of the fat molecule. The shorter the molecule, the rarer and more anti-inflammatory it is. That’s why the Bulletproof Diet suggests you consume more short- and medium-length fats like MCT oil.

The second way to understand fat is to measure how stable it is. Stable fats like saturated fats oxidize more slowly because the molecules have less space for oxygen. Oxidation is the culprit behind inflammation and the effects of aging.

Bulletproof oils and fats include MCT oil, ghee, cocoa butter, krill oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, sunflower lecithin and grass-fed butter.


Like fats, different proteins also have different effects on your body – especially when it comes to your immune system, inflammation and muscle gain.

Protein is vital because it maintains your muscle mass and bone density. In fact, protein is so critical to your survival that your body has powerful mechanisms that keep you from eating too much or too little of it.

However, protein isn’t simple. A lot of people assume that all protein is healthy, and that assumption has allowed the processed-food industry to stuff their products with low-quality proteins like gluten and soy.

In fact, in one study of the nutrients from high- and low-quality meat, grain-fed meat was found to be so low in omega-3 fats that it didn’t even qualify as a meaningful dietary source!

So buy organic, grass-fed meat. It has more nutrients and fewer toxins than grain-fed or conventional meat. It also has more antioxidants, omega-3s, trace minerals and vitamins.

You should also look for fat that appears more yellow – this color indicates that it’s full of nutrients. Grass-fed meat has been shown to have higher levels of carotenoid, which makes its fat a darker shade of yellow.

Don’t assume that organic meat is just as good as grass-fed meat, however. Organic grain-fed meat is certainly better than conventional meat but it still contains mold toxins (from the food cattle eat) and hormones that contribute to obesity.

Excess protein can also cause inflammation because it’s more difficult to digest than carbohydrates or fats. It’s harder for the body to turn proteins into glucose, which provides you with energy.

That’s why you crave sweets sometimes: your liver needs glucose to process protein more efficiently. Bulletproof protein sources include wild fish with low concentrations of mercury (think haddock, anchovies, sardines and trout), grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured eggs, hydrolyzed collagen, gelatin, and clean whey concentrate.


One of the keys to becoming bulletproof is to avoid foods that harm your body. So stay away from kryptonite foods, like processed meals and sugar. They provide little to no benefit and they make you fat, sluggish and weak.


Processed food and other food that’s been chemically altered doesn’t satisfy your hunger. It actually makes you want to eat more.

These foods don’t satiate you because they don’t have enough macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins or fat. They might be tasty but that’s because of their chemical effect, not the food itself.


Monosodium glutamate or MSG is the most common artificial flavor in processed foods. It was created in Japan during World War Two to make food taste better. People added it to low-quality or even spoiled foods.


MSG causes your cells to send signals to each other so they become activated and overexcited. And when your cells die or get damaged, your brain sends signals requesting more energy, which triggers a headache, mood swings or craving for sweets – the fastest sources of energy.

When you give in to your craving for sweets, you only harm your body more. Did you know that sugar and cocaine trigger the same reward centers in the brain? A large amount of sugar can decrease the dopamine receptors in your brain, which makes it harder for you to feel energy and pleasure when dopamine is released. This process also happens to drug addicts!

Most people know what a “sugar crash” is but they don’t know where it comes from. A sugar crash doesn’t just throw off your focus and lower your energy – it lowers your blood sugar too. When you consume sugar, your blood sugar level rises until your body pumps in so much insulin that it decreases.

Eliminating sugar from your diet is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.


You can’t be afraid of hunger if you want to be bulletproof. Fasting can be very beneficial if you do it in a healthy way.

There are a few ways to fast effectively. Intermittent fasting traditionally meant eating all your food in a shorter period of the day, usually within six to eight hours. In recent years it’s become quite popular, and for good reason: it helps fat loss, prevents cancer and builds your muscles.


Alternate-day fasting, a form of intermittent fasting, has been proven to help prevent chronic diseases, reduce triglycerides, and cause significant improvements in several markers, such as LDL cholesterol.


The downside of alternate-day fasting is that it requires you to skip breakfast and refrain from eating until after 2:00 p.m., which is difficult when you have to work.

The author wanted to find an alternative to alternate-day fasting, which is how he developed the Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting – you start the day with a coffee and don’t need anything more till the afternoon.

Why? Because the fat in bulletproof coffee is very satiating. It also triples the influence of a major physiological mechanism called mammalian target of rapamycin, or mTOR, which increases protein synthesis in your muscles and helps build them.


As mentioned before, the Bulletproof Coffee diet also helps you go into ketosis, even if you’ve consumed carbs the day before. And you focus better and have higher energy when your body is running on ketones, because your blood sugar level remains steady during ketosis.

So if you want something to go with your coffee and butter, it’s best to eat a combination of protein and fat, like poached eggs or smoked salmon and avocado. Eating fat and protein together prevents food cravings by giving your body extra energy to break proteins down into amino acids.


Becoming bulletproof isn’t just about your diet, of course. Exercise is also crucial, although not all exercise is helpful.

You aren’t necessarily healthy just because you can do sports. After all, some athletes drop dead during marathons! Extreme chronic cardio exercise actually strains the heart and damages its muscles. Walking and bike rides, on the other hand, aren’t challenging enough to be good exercise.

Exercise is immensely beneficial when you do it right. Ultimately, exercise should be brief, intense, infrequent, safe and purposeful. If your exercise doesn’t meet these criteria, you aren’t maximizing its benefits.

Weight training is the best form of exercise, as long as you keep each workout under 20 minutes. Do it until your muscles fail. Try the seated row and the chest press, for example.

The more muscular you are, the more resilient you are to fatigue, diseases, pathogens and toxins.

Typical cardio workouts like running or cycling aren’t the healthiest way to exercise. Try high-intensity interval training instead: run the fastest you can for 30 seconds, then rest for 90 seconds. Repeat for 15 minutes.


Another benefit of high-intensity training is that your body will produce more of the performance anti-aging hormone HGH, which your body makes to keep you looking young. High-intensity workouts are actually the best way to produce HGH.

Exercising more isn’t always good for you, however. In fact, overtraining can be very harmful.

It’s critical that you give your body time to recover and rebuild muscle after you exercise, whether you’re weight lifting or doing high-intensity interval training. So rest from between two and ten days after each workout. Four to seven days is ideal.

Finally, if you’re not experienced with free weights, start with machines first, because pushing yourself to the point of muscle fatigue will increase your risk of injury.


Besides eating and exercising well, sleep is the last key to becoming bulletproof. A good night of sleep actually increases your ability to complete cognitive tasks by 50 percent!

Sleep also makes your skin healthier, keeps you looking young, optimizes your insulin secretion, improves your athletic performance and encourages healthy cell division.

You don’t have to sleep long hours to feel refreshed, either. In fact, studies have shown that healthy people don’t need more than six and a half hours of sleep a night.

Sleep is a crucial part of the Bulletproof Diet because there’s a direct link between the sleep you get and the food you eat. When you boost your health and make yourself bulletproof, you can sleep less and still get all the benefits of a good night’s rest.

One good way to improve your sleep is to eat fat at dinner. It can be grass-fed butter, animal fat, coconut oil or MCT oil. Fat is a long-burning fuel for your mind and body, so eating these fats before sleep gives you a stable stream of energy.

It’s also a good idea to eat fish or krill oil at night, because they contain DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid.


Studies have shown that fish oil containing DHA helps you produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of happiness and lowers the stress hormones that can interfere with sleep.


Finally, eating raw honey before you go to bed also improves the quality of your sleep.


The key message in this book:

The Bulletproof Diet isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about having a higher energy level and better focus too. If you consume the right fats and proteins, do high-intensity workouts, sleep right and fast intermittently, your body and mind will function as well as you look!

Actionable advice:

Prepare yourself for sleep.

If you want to get the best quality sleep, avoid the following activities in the two hours before you go to bed: bright lights, violent movies and exercise. Go to bed in the right mental frame and you’ll get much more rest.



Brian Tracy: GET SMART! Book Summary


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GET SMART! By Brian Tracy


Do you sometimes feel intellectually inferior to others? And, on top of that, do you feel as though there’s nothing you can do about it – as though some people are just more creative, or have better problem-solving skills when it comes to math and technology?

Well, think again. It’s actually far more likely that the brilliant people you admire are simply using more of their brain potential than you are. And they aren’t special. In fact, we can all learn to use our brain better. No one knows how to do this better than self-development guru Brian Tracy.

In this book summary, based on Tracy’s innovative ideas, you’ll learn how to turn your mind toward success. With the help of a few simple rules, you can stimulate your brain and fire up those extra neurons.

In this book summary, you’ll learn

  • why you should covet your neighbor’s shiny new Mercedes;
  • how to think slowly and positively; and
  • what poor mind-set led Borders books to bankruptcy.



Let’s imagine you have a bank account with a balance of one million dollars. Now imagine you can only access $20,000 of that million. That’d be a pretty frustrating situation, right? But, incredibly, that’s pretty much how little access you have to the wealth of brainpower inside your head. Recent studies have discovered that the average person only uses around 2 percent of their mental powers.

In other words, 98 percent of our potential power lies idle. But how much potential is this? Well, we all have around 100 billion brain cells, and each one of these cells is connected to about 20,000 other cells.


According to Tony Buzan, an expert on the brain, if everyone could use all of their brain cells, each person could generate more ideas than there are molecules in the universe!

Luckily, each of us is capable of tapping into this unused brainpower. To start, all we have to do is shift our perspective.

How we look at and interpret life is incredibly important to getting the most out of it. For example, someone with an optimistic perspective will see a world full of potential and good, while a pessimist will only see problems and negativity. Faced with constructive feedback, a pessimist may become overwhelmed with his failure, while an optimist will probably see it as a chance to learn and grow.

Unfortunately, our perspectives tend to be narrow and limited, as the following famous Buddhist anecdote demonstrates.

Six wise blind men are trying to describe an elephant. The first man touches the elephant’s ear and says that an elephant is like a thick blanket. The second touches a tusk and decides that the animal is sharp and pointy. The third touches the leg and concludes that an elephant is like a tree trunk. The fourth touches the side and believes it’s like a wall. The fifth feels the tail and imagines a rope. And the sixth man puts his hands on the elephant’s head, which reminds him of a rock.

They all have different perspectives, and though none of them is exactly wrong, each misses the full picture by focusing only on particular parts. We must broaden our own perspectives if we wish to avoid the same fate.

In the book summarys ahead, we’ll look at the ways you can shift your perspective to start thinking and living successfully.


When it comes to planning in life, there are two perspectives you can take: You can adopt short-term thinking and concentrate on maximizing pleasure in the here and now, or you can think and plan long-term. Long-term thinking centers on being a step ahead and considering the consequences of your actions – and then the consequences of those consequences, and so on.

So which is better? Well, an overwhelming majority of people who are happy and successful also focus on long-term thinking.

In 1970, Harvard professor Edward Banfield, looked at people from different socioeconomic backgrounds and observed that the people who earned more money were the ones who thought ahead – often years or decades ahead. These are society’s smartest people. Yet their smartness didn’t come from having sky-high IQs; it came from their perspective, most notably their ability to think about how each of their actions would get them closer to their ultimate goals.

And this is just as important today. According to Forbes magazine, there were 290 new billionaires in 2015, 66 percent of whom were self-made and had started off with next to nothing. To generate this wealth from a standing start, long-term planning is key.

To join the ranks of these bright individuals, you must think about where you’d like to be in five years and then figure out what you have to do now to get there. This involves taking stock of your work and personal life, as well as your health and financial independence, and then making important decisions based on this information.

But it’s always worth remembering: Just formulating a great plan is not enough; you also need to act on it.

For example, are you thinking ahead about enjoying a comfortable retirement? A huge number of Americans – 70 percent, to be exact – live from paycheck to paycheck. They don’t think about saving or investing for the future; they prefer to think short-term, focusing on which car or gadget they can buy right now. When these people reach retirement age, they’re in for quite a shock.

If you want to avoid this fate, you need an action plan. Set up a savings account immediately and, every month, deposit 10 to 15 percent of your income. Through the miracle of compound interest, relatively tiny investments made at a young age – even as little as $100 a month – can grow into massive amounts by the time you’ve retired. Every moment you delay or focus on short-term gratification will cost you in your old age.


Human thoughts are generally a bit like the bubbles in a glass of champagne – each one vanishes soon after it forms, along with countless others. Though there’s always plenty of mental sparkle and fizz, there is a definite lack of real substance.

Unfortunately, many of us let ourselves be dominated by these speeding, transitory thought bubbles. Rather than using our brain to think logically and sagely, we allow emotional, reactive thoughts to determine our actions. For example, when we get a ping on our phone, our brain compels us to instantly drop the task in hand and have a look. Or, when someone riles us up, our immediate, angry thoughts often lead us to lash out.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can use our brain more effectively.

According to Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, there are two types of thought processes. There is the impulsive type of thinking that we just described, and then there is the slower, more rational process of thinking where we weigh all the options and make considered decisions. When planning important long-term goals, utilizing this slower method of thinking will lead to better decisions.

The good news is that the slower method is pretty easy to engage; the longer you take to make a decision, the more chance you give your slow-thinking brain to come up with the best answer.

Here are a few simple tricks you can use to slow down your thinking.

One great tactic is to take 72 hours before making any important decision. This will give you ample time to carefully mull over the various options.

Nothing gets the slow brain in gear like a period of solitude. Spending 30 minutes to an hour every day in a quiet, secluded spot will give your mind the time it needs to think. Shut off all distractions, such as phones and music, and let your mind flow like a river. Left alone to contemplate, it won’t be long before your mind starts generating great ideas and solutions.

Finally, go through each stage of the author’s GOSPA model to think carefully when contemplating long-term strategy.

  • Goals: What results do you ultimately want to achieve over a specific long-term period. For example, what growth target do you want to aim for over the next five years?
  • Objectives: The smaller targets that will get you closer to your main goals. For example, what level of growth should you be striving for this year?
  • Strategies: How will you achieve your objectives? For example, what marketing strategy will generate the required growth?
  • Priorities: Identify the most effective actions that will make your strategy a success.
  • Actions: The everyday work that will ultimately get you to your goals.

Going through the GOSPA model, stage by stage, will allow your slow-thinking brain the space to reach the best decisions. Next time you need to think of long-term strategy, be sure to use it.


So far, we’ve talked mostly about how shifting perspectives can help your personal development. In this book summary, let’s look at how altering your mind-set can help you in the world of business.

Here’s a question for you: Why is it that 80 percent of new products flop and have to be withdrawn?

According to Forbes magazine, the main factor determining whether a business will make it is customer demand for their product or service. Quite simply, if no one is willing to use your product, you’ll fail.

So how do you ensure that customers want what you’re selling?

Intensive research is at the heart of all business success stories. If you don’t know enough about your potential market, you’ll fail. It’s as simple as that.

Asking others is a great way to start. There is no substitute for expertise; experts in your field will almost certainly be able to assess the quality of your idea, so be sure to ask them. You should also look for people who’ve already trodden a similar path. A simple Google search for your potential idea will probably bring up information on what people have already found out. You can even ask these pioneers face-to-face. In short, go out of your way to get all the facts.

Once you have a basic idea for a workable product, it’s time to find out whether people will actually buy it. But don’t only seek out evidence of your product’s greatness. This could lead to confirmation bias, where you fixate on only finding information that validates your idea. Instead, you need to behave like a scientist.


Create a hypothesis about what you think your product will bring to the market, and then try to disprove it.

For example, imagine you’ve created a new type of laundry detergent. Your hypothesis will be something like, “I think people will buy my new-fangled laundry detergent.” Next, you try and prove why your hypothesis is wrong. Go out and encourage prospective customers to pick holes in your product; ask them why they wouldn’t buy it, or why they should go with a rival brand. If they still seem interested despite your campaign against it, you might have found a winner.

Naturally, this approach requires complete honesty on your part. If your idea or product is more important to you than the truth, then you won’t find out what you need to know about it. So adopt a total willingness to fail and learn – and judge your darlings by their true merits.


We live in hectic times: Technology is developing at breakneck speed; information and new ideas can spread across the world in minutes; and competition – whether from a rival business or colleague – is fiercer than ever.

In this hyper-dynamic world, many of us become overwhelmed. Our lives feel like a constant struggle just to respond to and keep up with every new change. Naturally, if you spend your life treading water like this, you’ll never be successful.

So how can you escape this fate?

Goals. Those with clear goals to pursue have a better idea of what information is important and what to ignore. Also, as they know where they ultimately want to be, those with goals can more easily adapt in the face of change.

Despite their importance, real goals are pretty rare. Only around three percent of people have a set of clear, written goals to help them navigate through life. If you’re not among that three percent already, you should join them now.

First, grab some paper; goals are most effective when made visible.

Then begin by thinking about what you really want to achieve in the next year or so. Think of ten things you want to do. You may be able to achieve some of these goals pretty quickly, while others may take the full 12 months.


Write each goal down in a specific way: use the present tense, make them personal and ensure that they are positive. For example, let’s say you want to write a novel. You’d write that goal thus: “I complete my novel by 31st August, this year.” Or, if you want to give up junk food, you wouldn’t use negative wording – “stop eating junk food” – but empowering phrasing, such as “I am a healthy eater.”

Next, look at this list of goals and find the one that really stands out as something you want to achieve this year. Once you’ve found this goal, it becomes, in the author’s words, your “major definite purpose in life.”

Take out a fresh piece of paper, and come up with at least 20 things you can do to make this goal a reality. For your novel, these mini-goals could be “research potential editors” or “complete writing classes.” Make this list into a checklist and tackle the first task ASAP.

If you check something off your list every single day, it won’t be long before you’ve achieved your ultimate goal.


We all know that, in order to get an education, children need to go to school. But it’s also at school that people pick up a very bad habit – a habit that will cost them when they enter the world of work.

This terrible habit is play. From the moment we start school to the time we graduate, play is at the center of our childhood experience: we play in the morning, at recess, after school and on the weekends.

The problem is, this desire to play doesn’t stop when we leave school and start working. Studies have shown that the average employee only really works between 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m., and, even then, most of this short time is spent interacting with colleagues.

Unfortunately, this focus on play limits our ability. How?

The most important asset you have in your life is your “earning ability” – what others are willing to pay you for completing a task. Being a success depends on how quickly and effectively you get stuff done.

Therefore, if you want to join the ranks of the successful, you must spend every working hour actually working – not grabbing coffee with colleagues, wasting hours on the internet or endlessly checking your email or social media.


Of course, focusing on the work at hand is easier said than done. The temptation to play and procrastinate is deeply ingrained in all of us. But, luckily, there are a few surefire techniques that will help you succeed.

The Law of Three is one great method. The Law of Three argues that just three of your tasks will represent 90 percent of your results. The key, therefore, is to identify and focus all your work on these three things.


To find these three crucial tasks, write down all the things you have to do. You’ll probably come up with a pretty long list, but don’t worry. Next, ask yourself three important questions.

  1. If I were to only do one thing on this list today, which thing would generate the biggest result?
  2. If I were to only do two things on this list today, which thing would generate the second biggest results?
  3. If I were to only do three things on this list today, which thing would generate the third biggest results?


To help you identify the right answers, you should consult your closest colleagues or your boss. Out of all the tasks and duties you’re responsible for, which do they think are the three most important.


Once you have your three, your working day should be focused on achieving them; your other tasks simply don’t matter. That way, you’ll get the right stuff done, and you’ll grow your earning potential.


Our world is constantly evolving. In fact, we’re living in one of the most tumultuous times in human history.

Therefore, to be successful, you need to be aware of technological advancements. Just consider the cautionary tale of Borders, the massive book retailer that went out of business after the Kindle and the iPad revolutionized the print industry.

Borders was bankrupted by its obliviousness, and if you want to avoid a similar fate, you’ll have to use flexible thinking. Flexible thinking can be best described as the ability to quickly react and adapt in the face of dramatic change. Unlike the executives at Borders, flexible thinkers will grasp the importance of change and innovation and adapt accordingly.


But how do you develop the right mind-set for flexible thinking?

The best way to keep yourself from falling into a comfort zone is to conduct what the author calls zero-based thinking. To do this, you must constantly question the value of everything you do. More specifically, you should ask yourself a hard question: “If I got the chance to do this from the beginning again, would I?”


Ask this simple question in every area of your life: for example, are you friends with a coworker who, if you started working at the company today, you wouldn’t befriend? Maybe there is someone who you used to love hanging out with but who you now think holds you back. Or maybe you’ve made a business decision or career choice that you realize you shouldn’t have?

Whatever uncomfortable conclusions zero-based thinking turns up, you must be ruthless in undoing these “mistakes.” This isn’t easy; you’ll need to admit that you made the wrong choice, and, even more importantly, you’ll have to accept that your investments in these areas – whether it be time, capital or emotions – will be lost. You simply have to accept this, and cut your losses. Painful as it is right now, it’ll be better in the long run.

Luckily, as hard as it is to cut out the activities that no longer bring reward, the results are worth it. You’ll come out with more time, more energy and an enormous sense of relief.

What’s more, you’ll become more flexible. You’ll find yourself in a better position, ready to drop the things that slow you down and grasp the new opportunities that come up.


If you enjoy cooking, you know that a first attempt at following a new recipe can often lead to culinary disaster. But a good cook learns from these mistakes, tries again and might even end up with a new favorite dish.

Smart thinking works the same way: you have to take chances, make mistakes, learn from these mistakes and find creative ways to improve. This is the opposite of mechanical thinking.


Mechanical thinkers believe in extremes – things are either a complete success or a total failure, with no room for anything in between. They also tend to reject novel thought, due in part to a fear of failure. But this fear of incurring criticism and ridicule often leaves them stuck with old ideas and methods.

Naturally, these people are not very successful, since they rarely get out of their comfort zone or make changes. You can recognize a restaurant that is run by a mechanical thinker because such restaurants seem stuck in the past, with fading fixtures and the same dull, out-of-date menu.

Creative thinkers, on the other hand, hold the keys to success because they are constantly striving for improvement. Where mechanical thinkers fixate on the problems, creative thinkers focus on the solutions.

To start thinking creatively yourself, follow these simple steps.

Start by looking at what you do and look for a problem. For example, if you’re a business owner, think about what is holding your business back. Once you think you’ve defined your “problem,” your next step is to admit that, actually, you haven’t. Your conclusion is almost certainly too broad, so start breaking it down.

For example, you might have defined your problem as “not having enough revenue” – but think again. Maybe it’s because “not enough people are buying your product,” which leads to “people prefer your rival’s product,” and then “your product isn’t compatible with the latest technology.” Keep working until you come up with the real underlying issue.

Once you have your problem, it’s time to find a solution. Work hard and get the help of your team to find it. Once you have one, you can probably guess what you need to do next. Yes, that’s right: keep going and identify even more solutions.


Make a list of them, before finally deciding on which one you think will work best. Then, assign Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to this solution (these will show you whether your solution is working) and appoint someone to take overall responsibility. Then set a deadline for its implementation. Of course, there is a chance that your solution won’t work out, so develop a few back-up plans just in case.

By applying this structural approach to finding creative solutions, your business stands the best chance of staying ahead of the game and thriving in an ever-changing world.


What’s the secret of wealth? Why are some people rich while the rest of us remain poor? What’s their secret?

As surprising as it might sound, the rich don’t really have one. Anyone can become rich if they start thinking like a rich person. This is because of the Law of Correspondence, which states that the way you position yourself internally – that is, your outlook on and perceptions of life – will be reflected externally. For example, if you perceive yourself to be worthy, hardworking and an asset to the world, you’ll find yourself succeeding.


The Law of Correspondence really works: when the author was poor, he once witnessed someone in the same evening school as him rock up to class in an expensive, beautiful Mercedes. He wanted one immediately. So he started thinking like a rich person. He read up on billionaires, he found a better job and he worked longer and harder for his employers. Very soon, he’d earned enough in bonuses to be able to buy himself the very same Mercedes. He’d become a success because he started thinking like a successful person.

Like the author, if you want to be rich, then it’s time you developed a wealthy mind-set. To do this, you should start by analyzing what wealthy people do. Watch interviews with billionaires and read up on them. Especially, look for the habits that make them so successful.


Habits are probably the most important element to becoming successful. After all, they determine 95 percent of what you do. So focus carefully on developing powerful ones.

To make a good habit – for example, waking up very early – focus on one element at a time and endeavor to do it every single day. After 20 to 30 days, you’ll probably have made this habit a part of your life, and you can move on to the next one – say, carefully planning your tasks each week, or managing your investments to get the best results.

And even if you’ve developed a few good habits already, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels. Wealthy people are always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow, so you should be also. Keep researching and learning. Your wealthy mind-set depends on it.


The key message of this book summary:

There are good and bad ways to use your brain. You can have a distracted and unfocused mind that only wants to learn about things that reinforce your negative preconceptions, or you can have a sharp and creative mind. The latter sees the positive things in life and finds success by being inquisitive, adaptable and innovative. So stop procrastinating, use flexible thinking, write down your goals, change your perspective and adopt the mind-set of the rich.

Actionable advice:

See the chance in every challenge.

Take a moment to think about your biggest problem. Now, instead of thinking of it as a problem, try to think of it as a gift – an opportunity to learn something about yourself. Maybe it’ll provide insight into your behavior and provide a chance for you to change the future and be more successful. Remember the words of Henry Ford: “Failure and hardships are chances to start all over again and to make it better.”



Robert Greene: The Laws of Human Nature Book Summary

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The book is an instructive guide to human nature and people’s behavior, based on evidence rather than a particular viewpoint or moral judgment. “It is a brutally realistic appraisal of our species, dissecting who are we so we can operate with more awareness.”

Chapter 1: Master Your Emotional Self, The Law of Irrationality

Rational people, through introspection and effort, are able to subtract emotions from their thinking and counteract their consequences. Generates more mental space to be creative and focus on what’s within your control. Irrational people lack this awareness. Rush into action without considering consequences.

Bubbles are the result of an intense emotional pull on people. Stimulate our desire for instant gratification (easy money, fast results).

People of high rationality (Pericles, Marcus Aurelius Leonardo da Vinci, Margaret de Valois, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Mead, Warren Buffett), all share certain qualities–“a realistic appraisal of themselves and their weaknesses; a devotion to truth and reality; a tolerant attitude toward people; and the ability to reach goals they have set.”

Resistance training: resist reacting immediately. The longer you wait, the more mental space you have for reflection and the stronger your mind.

Accept people as facts: Stop judging people and wishing they would be something they’re not. View people as neutral–they are what they are–and you’ll stop projecting your own emotions onto them. Improves your own balance, calmness.

Deliberation + Conviction: “The horse and the rider must work together. This means we consider our actions beforehand; we bring as much thinking as possible to a situation before we make a decision. But once we decide what to do we loosen the reins and enter action with boldness and a spirit of adventure. Instead of being slaves to this energy, we channel it. that is the essence of rationality.”

Chapter 2: Transform Self-love into Empathy, The Law of Narcissism

We were all built for social interaction. Involving ourselves less with others atrophies our social muscle and has a negative effect on the brain.

Give people the same level of indulgence that you give yourself. Tone down your incessant interior monologue and pay deeper attention to those around you. Be eager to hear someone else’s point of view and give them your full attention. Mirror back the things they said.

Understand the value systems of other people and how it differs from your own. Allows you to enter their spirit and perspective when you might otherwise turn defensive.

Chapter 3: See Through People’s Masks: The Law of Role-playing

The harshness of life makes people turn inward. Recognize this level of self-absorption and how little you actually observe.

Detecting hostility or negativity early on increases your strategic options and room to maneuver–lay a trap, win them over, create distance.

Depth: “Cloak yourself in some mystery, displaying some subtly contradictory qualities. People don’t need to know everything about you. Learn to withhold information.” Coupled with some selective absence (not always being visible), this makes people want to see more of you.

Chapter 4: Determine the Strength of People’s Character, The Law of Compulsive Behavior

“It is not spirits or gods that control us but rather our character.”

Character is deeply ingrained in us (our layers), compels us to act in certain ways, often beyond our awareness/control. Layers include: genetics, early childhood, later experiences/habits.

“Train yourself to ignore the front that people display, the myth that surrounds them, and instead plumb their depths for signs of their character.” Patterns from their past, quality of decisions, how they solve problems, how they delegate, how they work with others.

“If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Lincoln

We each face insecurities. But this can be turned to a positive if channeled correctly. It’s about examining the deepest layers of your character, realizing your true potential, and redirecting this energy.

Chapter 6: Elevate Your Perspective, The Law of Shortsightedness

When you face an obstacle, slow things down, take a step back. You lack perspective in the present, but as time passes you gather more information and the truth reveals itself.

“Alarmed by something in the present, we grab for a solution without thinking deeply about the context, the roots of the problem, the possible unintended consequences that might ensure. Because we mostly react instead of think, our actions are based on insufficient information.”

Avoid lazy, non-consequential thinking (action A leads to result B), the world is more complex than that. “You want depth of thinking, to go several degrees in imagining the permutations, as far as your mind can go.”

“And in life as in warfare, strategists will always prevail over tacticians.”

Having a clear sense of your long-term goals allows you to withstand emotional overreactions of those around you.

“The years teach much which the days never know.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Chapter 7: Soften People’s Resistance by Confirming Their Self-opinion, The Law of Defensiveness

Influence does not come from charming people with your own ideas. Instead, put the focus on others. This validation will lower their defenses and open their minds.

Play the long game by asking for advice. People love the attention and the opportunity to talk about their wisdom and experience. Then you can initiate series of small favors. They will continue to work on your behalf because stopping would call their initial evaluation of you (and their own intelligence/judgment) into question.

“He who goes away pleased with himself and his own wit is also greatly pleased with you.” Jean de La Bruyère

Confirm people’s self opinion to lower defenses and instill a feeling of inner security. What matters most is how people perceive their own character. We all have these ideas of who we are and the values that represent us, but we also struggle with self doubt. Providing people this validation lowers their guard and opens their own mind.

Look at people’s interpretations of situations, ideas, philosophies, films, books for signs of who they are.

Autonomy: “No attempt at influence can ever work if people feel in any way that they are being coerced or manipulated. They must choose to do whatever it is you want them to do, or they must at least experience it as their choice.”

Pick your battles: let the small changes go to bring down people’s guard for more important/larger items.

If you need a favor, do not remind others of the good things you have done for them in the past. Remind them of the good things they have done for you. Helps confirm their self-opinion.

Never follow praise with a request for help. Flattery is a setup and requires passage of time.

The Flexible Mind: Ideal state of mind retains flexibility of youth with reasoning powers of adult. Soften rigid mental patterns that you hold.

Recognize that you are not as good as the idealized image you hold of yourself. This awareness allows you to stop seek validation of others. Instead establishing your own independence and concern for the welfare of others (rather than getting lost behind the illusion you have of yourself).

Chapter 8: Change Your Circumstances by Changing Your Attitude, The Law of Self-sabotage

“Freedom comes from adopting a generous spirit–toward others and toward ourselves. By accepting people, by understanding and if possible even loving them for their human nature, we can liberate our minds from obsessive and petty emotions.”

Power of attitude to alter your circumstances: “You are not a pawn in a game controlled by others; you are an active player who can move the pieces at will and even rewrite the rules.”

“You do not need to be so humble and self-effacing in this world. Such humility is not a virtue but is rather a value that people promote to help keep you down. Whatever you are doing now, you are in fact capable of much more, and by thinking that, you will create a very different dynamic.”

The more tolerant you are towards others, the smoother your interactions and the more they are drawn towards you.

Measure people by their authenticity and the depth of their soul.

Chapter 9: Confront Your Dark Side, The Law of Repression

Learn to harness your own shadow by developing deeper awareness and channeling it. It’s a source of authenticity and energy.

Authenticity = self-awareness. The ability to laugh at yourself and admit shortcomings, maintain playfulness and spontaneity. No need to make a great show of your originality. The authentic individuals is someone who has managed to integrate child and adult, dark and light, unconscious and conscious.

Great art expresses depths of human nature (traumas from early years, emotions we try to forget). Powerful reaction triggered by repressed feelings.

Being too nice becomes a habit which can turn into timidity, lack of confidence, and indecision.

Subtract the shadow (assertive, ambitious side) of powerful, creative people and they would be just like everyone else.

“You pay a greater price for being so nice and deferential than for consciously showing your shadow.”

  1. Learn to respect your own opinions more than others, especially in your area of expertise. Trust your internal compass and your own ideas.
  2. Assert yourself more and compromise less. Do this at opportune times.
  3. Care less about what people think of you.
  4. You will have to offend or hurt people who block your path, have poor values, or who attack your character. Fuel your shadow in these moments.

Chapter 10: Beware the Fragile Ego, The Law of Envy

To combat envy…

  1. Practice gratitude by downward comparison.
  2. Move closer to what you envy and you’ll begin to see flaws (nothing is as perfect as it seems).
  3. Build confidence in yourself–your ability to learn and improve.

“People who are lazy and undisciplined are much more prone to feeling envy.”

Euthymia: Focus on yourself, your own sense of purpose, and your plans. Satisfaction comes realizing your potential, not earning praise or attention.

Pursue more moments where you experience dissolution of your ego and happiness is derived from beyond you and your achievements (observing beautiful landscapes or contemplating immensity of universe).

Chapter 11: Know Your Limits, The Law of Grandiosity

Recognize the role of luck. With success, raise your vigilance, keep your feet planted.

“The power you will build up in this slow and organic way will be more real and lasting. Remember: the gods are merciless with those who fly too high on the wings of grandiosity, and they will make you pay the price.”

Fantastical grandiosity: flake from one project to the next, believing they can try their magical touch at anything or become anything they want. Big talkers with vague vision.

Practical grandiosity: sense of proportion, recognize your limits, role of luck. Ability to focus deeply on a single project. Look for challenges just above your skill level. Cultivates intense connection/state of flow in your work.

Chapter 12: Reconnect to the Masculine or Feminine Within You, The Law of Gender Rigidity

Depth: Your character has natural depth and dimension. Bring out the masculine (adventurous, exploratory) or feminine (empathetic, sensitive) undertones to be more authentic and draw people in.

To become more creative, blend the analytical with the intuitive.

You lose depth and become rigid when you overidentify with certain gender roles (i.e. hyper masculinity). Power is in the golden mean between masculine and feminine. If you achieve this, mind will recover its natural fluidity.

Defy expectations…expand the roles you play so you’re not easy to categorize. This fascinates and draws people in so you can alter perceptions at will.

As children we had more fluid sense of self…wider range of emotions, open to more experiences, but as we defined our social self, we closed ourselves off this freer-flowing spirit.

The muse lies within. Move closer to the part of you that you’ve closed off (blending mind/soul to achieve depth). Here’s where creativity and a fascination in your work is found.

Chapter 13: Advance with a Sense of Purpose, The Law of Aimlessness

Operating with a high sense of purpose = a force multiplier. Greater connection to cause, higher morale, translates into greater force.

Humans crave a sense of direction…seeking a sense of purpose has a gravitational pull that no one can avoid. Keep watch over whether people have false (external sources, belief systems, conformity) or noble (sense of mission that you feel personally, intimately connected to) purposes.

Strategies for developing a high sense of purpose:

  1. Discover your calling – reflect on inclinations in your earliest years, examine moments when activities felt natural or easy, figure out the particular form of intelligence that your brain is wired for (mathematics, logic, physical activity, words, images, music). This will not appear to you overnight, it demands hard work and introspection.
  2. Use resistance – “Frustration is a sign that you are making progress as your mind becomes aware of higher levels of skill that you have yet to attain.”
  3. Lose yourself in the work – “peak experiences” where you are immersed in your work with a profound sense of calmness and joy. Create more, consume less. Design an environment where you have higher likelihood of achieving this experience.

Chapter 14: Resist the Downward Pull of the Group, The Law of Conformity

“When people operate in groups, they do not engage in nuanced thinking and deep analysis. Only individuals with a degree of calmness and detachment can do so.”

To combat this, develop ability to detach yourself from group and create mental space for independent, rational thinking.

Create a shared sense of purpose: Make people feel like a integral part of a group and you satisfy a deep, rarely met human need.

Infect people with productive emotions: Phil Jackson focused on communicating calmness so team wouldn’t overreact (rather than normal pep talks that overexcited/angered players).

Chapter 15: Make Them Want to Follow You, The Law of Fickleness

“Authority is the delicate art of creating the appearance of power, legitimacy, and fairness while getting people to identify with you as a leader who is in their service.”

Twin pillars of authority: far-reaching vision and empathy. Without these, group will sense lack of direction and constant tactical reactions to events.

Elevate your perspective and presence of mind above the moment and you’ll tap into visionary powers of human mind. Once you have a vision, work backwards with a flexible plan to reach your goal.

Bring out your natural complexity and stir conflicting emotions: make yourself hard to categorize, forces people to think of you more and results in larger presence. Blend prudence and boldness, spiritual and pragmatism (Martin Luther King Jr.), folksy and regal (Queen Elizabeth I), masculine and feminine.

Balance presence and absence: you cannot project authority with an ordinary presence. If you appear too available or visible, you’ll seem banal. Social media might make you relatable, but also makes you seem like everyone else.

“Silence is a form of absence and withdrawal that draws attention; it spells self-control and power.”

Create more, consume less: “The world needs constant improvement and renewal. You are here not merely to gratify your impulses and consume what others have made but to make and contribute as well….Add to the needed diversity of culture by creating something that reflects your uniqueness.”

Leonardo da Vinci’s motto in life was ostinato rigore, “relentless rigor.”

“We distinguished the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter the one who makes no demands on himself…” José Ortega y Gasset

Chapter 16: See the Hostility Behind the Friendly Facade, The Law of Aggression

Put your opponents in a position where they feel rushed and impatient, makes them more emotional and less able to strategize.

Sophisticated aggressors cloak their maneuvers and play on emotions. People don’t like confrontation or long struggles so they’re intimidated and worn down by this. Primary motivation of aggressors is gaining control over environment and people. By seeing through their insecurities and anxieties and they will no longer be able to intimidate you.

Aggression is wired into us, but you have to learn how to channel it productively. What sets humans apart is aggressive energy, intelligence, and cunning. This powerful energy made us bold, adventurous and relentless (mentally and physically) in childhood.

Aggression stems from underlying insecurity, deep wound, reverberating feelings of helplessness or anxiety. Aggressors have less tolerance for these types of feelings which become their triggers.

“The more clearly you see what you want, the likelier you are to realize it.”

“Almost nothing in the world can resist persistent human energy. Things will yield if we strike enough blows with enough force.” (Painstaking perseverance: Edison, Marcie Curie, Einstein)

Preserve your bold spirit: losing this means losing a deep part of yourself. Recover the fearlessness that you had as a child. Speak up and talk back to people if they are insensitive or suggest poor ideas. Start small then you can demand more from people and apply this growing boldness to your work.

Carefully channelling anger into your art (film, music, book, product) strikes a deep chord with people because it provides them an outlet. In our day to day we’re too careful and correct about communicating our own anger.

“In your expressive work, never shy away from anger but capture and channel it, letting it breathe into the work a sense of life and movement. In giving expression to such anger, you will always find an audience.”



Stephen Covey: The 8th Habit Book Summary


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THE 8TH HABIT By Stephen R. Covey



Consider your own voice. Not your singing voice or your speaking voice, but your voice – the significance, the endless potential and greatness of you. Have you found it?

Finding your voice at work, whether you’re a regular employee or a top leader, is not necessarily easy. And if you’ve already managed to find it, there’s still no guarantee that you’ve managed to consistently use it. In The 8th Habit, the author gently pushes you to find your voice. He fills you in on how to take action and find it, and, importantly, how to inspire the people around you to find their voices as well.


In this book summary, you’ll discover

  • how to develop the four intelligences that’ll help you find your voice;
  • that freedom of choice allows you to unfold your true potential; and
  • the key to building mutual trust.




Ever feel like you don’t make much of a difference? Or that what you do doesn’t really matter? Many people seem to feel this way. But why?


Well, many organizations can’t keep up with the constant changes of our modern world. And therein lies the problem.


We currently live in the Information/Knowledge Worker Age, the successor of the Industrial Age. Many organizations find it difficult to accommodate the shifting approaches to work that this new era gave rise to, and they still operate with an Industrial Age mindset, governed by a domineering top-down style.


This kind of control functions poorly in the current age, which is all about unleashing the potential of our workers.


Consider the value of quality in today’s IT industry. An outstanding programmer, for instance, is 1000 times more productive than an average programmer. During the Industrial Age, such disparities between individual levels of productivity were impossible.


It’s therefore necessary to abolish the controlling top-down approach, as it limits employee potential. We must produce the kind of quality we expect of today’s businesses.


Most importantly, employees should be encouraged to find their own voice.


Everyone wants to be great at their job, but only those who find their voice and make a habit of using their strengths can enjoy true success. Finding that inner voice is known as the 8th habit. So how do you do it?


It starts with treating employees respectfully so that they can make their own choices, use their creativity and feel significant in their workplace. Everyone must be able to find their own voice and, in turn, inspire others to find theirs.




Did it ever occur to you that your greatest gift is your freedom of choice? Each of us is born with this freedom, along with the gifts of intelligence. The combination of these gifts equips us to find our own voice.


Freedom to choose is precious. While we can’t always control what happens to us, we can always choose how we react to life’s challenges. When used wisely, you can use it to broaden your horizons and regain control of your life.


The principle of freedom is applicable to every part of your life, including your work. For example, if your boss is treating you like a doormat, do something about it! It’s easy to forget that you have the power to choose how you react – but you do. So, why not choose to talk to your boss directly about it?


Now let’s look at the gifts of intelligence.


There are four kinds of intelligence, each of which we can improve and cultivate. By working on your intelligence, you’ll discover your strengths, and that discovery will guide you to your voice.

Physical intelligence allows our body to function and regulate itself without our conscious input. An example of this would be our heartbeat.


Mental intelligence is our ability to think abstractly and analyze things, people and situations.


Emotional intelligence enables us to empathize, so that we can communicate with and relate to others in an effective, friendly way.


Finally, spiritual intelligence is something most people don’t spend much time thinking about, but is of great value nonetheless. In fact, it’s the very basis of the other forms of intelligence; it’s the true north of our moral compass, the imperative that drives us to seek meaning in life.




Think about the leaders and managers in your organization. Are they effective? Are you yourself a good leader? Every organization has leaders – and yet, as we all know, some are far better than others. What exactly is it, then, that makes a good leader?


A good leader is able to play not one but four leadership roles.


If you’re a leader who wants to help others find their voice and recognize their own potential, you must lead your employees, rather than managing and controlling themDoing this is central to any leader’s purpose.

Filling the four roles listed below will get you well on your way.


First, you’ll need a vision and strategy that establishes a direction for your employees.

Second, you’ll need to set an example by executing your own ideas in a disciplined fashion. Third, be passionate about what you do so that through your enthusiasm you can establish a shared organizational culture. Finally, you should be able to manage and maintain structures inside your organization.

Now you’ve started down the path of leadership, but to become a truly great leader, you must also enlist your four intelligences.

We employ our intelligences in order to achieve individual greatness; a leader should apply the same paradigm to her company, a tactic that will make many common problems disappear. Think of the four intelligences as body parts of the company: if one is missing or neglected, it will undermine the structure as a whole.

Imagine a company that ignores the need for spirit – something like a shared organizational culture, for example. A dearth of communal spirit could lead to a lack of trust, which in turn could mean that some employees feel totally excluded and alone.




Do you ever think, “I’m sure things will get better soon. I’ll just have to wait and see”? If so, you’re not the only one. It’s not uncommon for us to sit around and wait for change. But things rarely change in this way. And as you have the freedom to choose, you’re in the perfect position to rectify your attitude!


In order to discover your voice, you must choose to change your motto so that “wait and see” becomes “take action.”


Picture, for instance, that you despise your job because your boss is a total control freak and rejects all the ideas you have. You consider quitting; however, you can’t afford to lose your job. So you decide to just grin and bear it from Monday to Friday.


But there is another way.


You could acknowledge that you’re not a victim. You have a choice. The vast majority of the time, you can choose to change something about your situation. All it takes is some initiative and responsibility. When you adopt this mindset and start using your voice, you’ll see that even if your boss is your leader in a formal sense, you still have the power to make a real difference in your own job.

If something is really out of your hands, though, you can decide how to react to the situation. Sure, there are certain external things that you just can’t control or influence. Say, for example, that your boss wants to hire someone who rubs you the wrong way, but your job position doesn’t allow you to interfere with hiring decisions. Even in cases like these, you can still choose not to let it bring you down. And if there in fact is something you would like to change and that clearly is part of your role, then take the reins and do it!




You’ve heard it before – but for good reason: if you want to be successful, it’s not only about having talent and drive but about who you are as a person. And a large part of how you measure up as a person is your ability to inspire trust in others.


But how do you ensure that people trust you professionally and personally? By sticking to your word, being friendly and knowing when to say sorry.


The following simple rules will help you do these things. Once you start doing them consistently, you’ll soon see what a positive impact they have.


First, be sure to always make good on your promises. If you are not 100 percent sure you can deliver, don’t make a promise! Failing to follow through is the quickest way to lose other people’s trust.

Next, being kind and friendly to others – simply saying “thank you,” “please” and asking, “can I help?” – can make all the difference. Also, watch your words about people who are not in the vicinity, as gossiping is toxic and detrimental to instilling trust. Instead, use warm and friendly words. It will go a long way.

Furthermore, being able to say sorry is also incredibly impactful; a genuine apology can earn you back whatever trust you’ve lost in your less-than-admirable moments.

Remember, though, that trust is not a one-way street. Sometimes all you need to do is trust another person. In fact, the verb to trust nicely sums up what you’re trying to do when you attempt to help others find their voice. If you genuinely trust someone, you show them that you notice their potential and their value. Granting them this trust will show them their own potential, too.


Building a foundation of trust and trusting others in your work and personal life will improve all of your relationships. And the great thing is, it’s not hard: it just takes a bit of effort.




Think of the last time you tried to resolve a conflict with someone. How did it go? Did you talk incessantly at each other or did you try to understand your interlocutor’s perspective first?


It’s sometimes easier said than done, but the best way to quell a conflict is to truly listen to the other person.


Most of us think we’re already pretty good at listening because it feels like we do it all the time. However, there is a big difference between listening as we usually do and empathetic listening.


Say you’re trying to decide on a logo for your project and your colleague is presenting their point of view. In order to really listen, try to see what your colleague is seeing and why they are seeing it that way. Try to perceive it from within your colleague’s frame of reference.


It’s useful to bear in mind that conflict and misunderstandings are often caused by differences in semantics. All of us have our own way of using words and even a single word can hold different meanings and connotations for different people. Therefore, to better hear and understand your colleague, try to grasp what they mean when they use particular words.


After you’ve truly listened to your colleagues’ idea, you can begin explaining your point of view and looking for a third alternative that fits for both of you. After both parties have offered their view, an ideal solution might simply crop up, as the conflict may have only arose because you didn’t understand the other person properly.


Sometimes, however, a compromise is necessary. This doesn’t mean that one side loses; rather, there should be mutual understanding and open-mindedness, the natural result of talking to one another and understanding differing opinions. This will make a third alternative far more palatable – maybe even make it the best solution from all perspectives.




What’s it like in your company? Do all the workers know the core values of the organization? Are they aligned with them? If you’re a leader and can’t answer yes to these questions, your company might be suffering.

If your employees aren’t familiar with the organization’s core values, it’s very likely that the business itself stands on a shaky foundation.

For example, imagine asking the CEO of a company about the values of her organization. She might mention that cooperation is a key tenet. Maybe there was even a company training that aimed to help employees cooperate more frequently and in a better way. But workers within the company don’t seem to cooperate all that well. Upon closer inspection of the issue, you may discern that although the company’s core value is cooperation, there’s also a great deal of competitiveness, caused by a reward system for top performing employees. And these two values work against each other.

This kind of approach makes for serious misalignment and confuses employees. Some employees might opt for cooperation because it makes them happier and more efficient; others may choose to be competitive because it pushes them to achieve better results and promises rewards.

So how do you deal with this as a leader? Start giving feedback to ensure that your employees are aligned with the company’s values.

Not a single person or organization is on track all the time, so don’t fret. Don’t punish your employees for this, but provide feedback that helps them get back on target and achieve the desired goal.

For instance, how about arranging a monthly team meeting? This would give you an opportunity to let your employees know what you appreciated that month, as well as what could be improved. It will give your employees the chance to offer feedback, too.




Who controls the planning and evaluation of tasks in organizations? The leaders, right? This is often the case. But if leaders run an overly tight ship, they often do more harm than good, both to the staff and to the company itself.

Many workers aren’t really passionate about their jobs, which usually leads to sloppy results. Employees lose motivation when they don’t have enough freedom or responsibility. Usually the manager takes care of all the planning and evaluating; the workers are expected to do as they’re told.

If, however, workers share responsibility and control with their leader, they’ll start to feel more motivated and, as their full potential and talents start to bloom, eventually find their voices. When a leader cedes a little control, workers are empowered and supported, because they feel trusted.

Consider a cleaning company with a lot of unmotivated workers whose only task is to clean a large building daily. How could they be motivated? A simple idea to motivate them and help them find their voice is to allow them to make some important decisions – and then evaluate their success. Staff might try out different products, for example, such as different vacuum cleaners, and then evaluate which ones work the best.

Having a slightly more hands-off approach may not feel like the right thing to do, as leaders are traditionally the ones who hold the power. But the most important thing is to do the best work possible and inspire the workers to find their own voices in the organization. If you can do this, you, your employees and your company will all reap the rewards.



The key message in this book:


If you want to thrive in any part of your life, you must find your voice and inspire others to find theirs. Leaders in business are in a prime position to do this, and by instilling trust, communicating effectively and relinquishing some control, they can benefit the entire company.


Actionable advice:


Don’t be afraid to give up some power.

As a leader, try handing over some responsibility and control to your staff. When employees are empowered, have more say in their tasks and are allowed to make their own decisions, they grow both personally and professionally, which makes the company as a whole more effective.



50 Words to Your Dreams Chapter 34 Spirituality by Michael George Knight



Spirituality is the relationship you have with your essence of being, call it your spirit, your soul or your inner life, its all one of the same. Spirituality is a practice people perform in a variety of ways through quieting the noise of the world and mind through meditation or yoga, or attending a church service or visiting a holy place of worship. Some people use drugs to connect with themselves, some people use dance and some people use both. A practice of spirituality for one is going to different from person to person. Spirituality is not an event or a destination arrived at, it is a journey within bridging your outer life with your inner life.


I believe our natural essence is spirit and we are spiritual being having a human experience on this planet we call earth. By being spirit first and body second, we have in our essence an unseen, often untapped deep reservoir of spiritual knowledge and power. Through the vast history of teachers and practitioners of spirituality we have the knowledge and know-how to tap into our spirit and release its power. Nothing external comes close to the power of inner peace and inner wisdom. You can’t buy it, you can’t steal, you can’t borrow it. All you can really do is remove the mental blocks that stand in its way.





The answers is you, not the world. Your thoughts, your actions, your habits and the biggest one of all, your ego. These are the top four mental blocks blocking you from your inner peace. You have conditioned yourself your whole life to think a certain way, which has created patterns of thought in your mind like grooves on a vinyl record. Playing the same inner loop of thoughts day in and day out. Which in turn is creating the same daily actions and with repetitive actions you form habits. Habits become automatic and you start deriving your identity, aka ego from what you do, not what you are, which is a spiritual being having a human experience.

To start the process of uncovering your inner peace is a simple process of removing the barriers. Barrier one is your thoughts. Your thoughts aka your internal mental movie that is streaming 24/7 like Netflix is always running in the background. Practice muting the movie from time to time by setting aside time in the day, preferably in the morning for meditation. If you are new to mediation, use a guided meditation app on your phone. Muting the stream of thoughts in your head connects you to your inner peace which is always present, always silent, always patient.

Barrier two is your actions. Simply put, ask yourself, are my actions bringing me closer to inner peace or further away. Is this job, relationship, friendship, food, drink, addiction, tv show bringing me inner peace or blocking my peace? Your actions are not just the major determining factor in how your life turns out but the major determining factor of your spiritual life. Its called a spiritual practice because it’s a doing not just a state of being.

Barrier three is your habits. The habits you have formed over your life is what makes your life. Show me a highly enlightened spiritual being and I’ll show you their highly enlightened spiritual habits. From what they do and most importantly what they don’t do. Habits to inner peace is more about dropping the habits that is leading you away from inner peace rather than acquiring habits to inner peace, as inner peace is always present, you just have to unwrap it.

Barrier four is the major block stopping you from inner peace and this is your ego. A beautiful quote by Marianne Williamson to illustrate: Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.” Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.” Your ego filters your reality through your identity. Your ego has been built unconsciously by yourself over your lifetime to protect your self-esteem and self-importance. Your ego more than not is the major reason you don’t connect with yourself of a spiritual level as your ego is not identifying you as a person who is spiritual and thus is blocking you from connecting to your inner peace.




  • A man of awareness and understanding moves from the periphery to the center to the periphery. From the marketplace to the monastery, from being extrovert to being introvert – he continuously goes on moving because these two are his wings. They are not against each other. (Osho)
  • A meditative mind is at ease because it’s not trying to acquire anything (Adyashanti)
  • A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe. (Wayne Dyer)
  • A scholar tries to learn something everyday; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily. (Alan Watts)
  • All structures (forms) are unstable, even the seemingly solid material ones, peace arises within you. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings, I observe how all endings become beginnings. (Wayne Dyer)
  • As soon as you honour the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with sense of quality, care, and love even the most simple action. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • As you become aware, a miracle starts happening; many things that you used to do before simply disappear. (Osho)
  • As you go about your life, don’t give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and your mind. Keep some within. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you. (Epictetus)
  • Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Awareness is not something to be cultivated; it is already there, it has just to be awakened. Awareness grows slowly, but it grows. One just has to be patient. (Osho)
  • Be still. It takes no effort to be still; it is utterly simple. When your mind is still, you have no name, you have no past, you have no relationships, you have no country, you have no spiritual attainment. There is just the presence of beingness with itself. (Gangaji)
  • Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in the practice: the degree of peace that you feel within. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning. (Lao Tzu)
  • By the practice of deep listening and gentle speech we can help remove the wrong perceptions in us and in them and this is the basic practice in order to bring peace. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  • Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you. (Unknown)
  • Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace. (Dalai Lama)
  • Doing one thing at a time means to be total in what you do, to give it your complete attention. This is surrendered action, empowered action. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Drop reactions. And allow more and more responses. (Osho)
  • Each mindful step is a step toward freedom. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  • Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true. (Adyashanti)
  • Enlightenment is intimacy with all things. (Zen Master Dogen)
  • Enlightenment is understanding that there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, and nobody you have to be except exactly who you’re being right now. (Neale Donald Walsch)
  • Everything is passing, enjoy its momentariness. (Mooji)
  • For most people, their spiritual teacher is their suffering. Because eventually the suffering brings about awakening. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • He who knows himself is enlightened. (Lao Tzu)
  • Hold on to the center. Man was made to sit quietly and find the truth within. (Wayne Dyer)
  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, you are the one getting burned. (Zen Proverb)
  • I stopped looking for the light. Decided to become it instead. (Unknown)
  • If there were no illusions, there would be no enlightenment. It is through the world and ultimately through you that the unmanifested knows itself. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • If we have no peace; it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. (Mother Teresa)
  • If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else. (Marvin Gaye)
  • If you suffer it is because of you, if you feel blissful it is because of you. Nobody is responsible only you and you alone, you are your hell and your heaven too. (Osho)
  • If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation. (Lao Tzu)
  • In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. (Deepak Chopra)
  • Just think of the trees: they let the birds perch and fly, with no intention to call them when they come and no longing for their return when they fly away. If people’s hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the way. (Zen Proverb)
  • Life is available only in the present moment. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  • Many people think that being spiritual means being positive, but being spiritual means being conscious and aware. To become conscious is a much different thing than to become positive. To become conscious and aware, we must become authentic. Authenticity includes both positive and negative. (Teal Swan)
  • Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. (Saint Francis de Sales)
  • Nobody can bring you peace but yourself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • Non-resistance, non-judgemental, and non-attachment are three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Now is the only reality. All else is either memory or imagination. (Osho)
  • One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. (Carl Jung)
  • Open hearts always recognize each other. Open hearts do not judge the universe. When you dive into an open heart, you fall into infinity. (Suchi Kumar)
  • Our civilization which is lost in doing knows nothing of being, it asks being what you do with it. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Our whole spiritual transformation brings us to the point where we realize that in our own being. We are enough. (Ram Dass)
  • Peace is its own reward. (Mahatma Gandhi)
  • Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be (Wayne Dyer)
  • People say walking on water is a miracle, but to me walking peacefully on Earth is the real miracle. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  • Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. (Dalai Lama)
  • Silence is telling you everything you need to be happy, but you keep interrupting. (Michael Jeffreys)
  • So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Spirituality must be lived, not just studied. All the books in the world will not help us if we do not live what we learn. (Unknown)
  • Stop looking for your soulmate. Start looking for your soul, mate. (Unknown)
  • Sure sign of spiritual growth, you want more freedom and less stuff. (Lisa Villa Prosen)
  • The equivalent of external noise is the inner noise of thinking. The equivalent of external silence is inner stillness. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • The experience of inner peace is my true gauge of all accomplishments. (Wayne Dyer)
  • The gap between your expectations and reality is your suffering. (John St. Augustine)
  • The more unconscious you are, the further away you are from yourself. The more conscious, the nearer you reach to yourself. (Osho)
  • The present moment is all you ever have. There is never a time when your life is not ‘this moment’. Is this not a fact? (Eckhart Tolle)
  • The quieter you become, the more you can hear. (Ram Dass)
  • The spiritual journey is one of continuous learning and purification. When you know this, you become humble. (Sogyal Rinpoche)
  • The whole Eastern methodology can be reduced to one word: witnessing. And the whole western methodology can be reduced to one thing: analyzing. Analyzing, you go round and round. Witnessing, you simply get out of the circle. (Osho)
  • This too, will pass. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know. The less I care about the approval of others, the more approval I receive. (Wayne Dyer)
  • Through allowing the ‘isness’ of all things, a deeper dimension underneath the play of opposites reveals itself to you as an abiding presence, an unchanging deep stillness, an uncaused joy beyond good and bad. This is the joy of being, the peace of god. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • To die consciously you must live consciously. To live consciously you must have the courage to go inside yourself to find out who you really are, to understand that behind all of the masks of individual differences you are a being of beauty, of love, of awareness. (Ram Dass)
  • We are actors in a play who have forgotten they are in a play. (Swami Premodaya)
  • We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness. People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  • We are not our bodies, our possessions, or our careers, who we are is divine love and that is infinite. (Wayne Dyer)
  • We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. (Plato)
  • We must never allow our bodies to dominate our spirits and that no matter how long our time on earth may seem, it is but a grain of sand when compared to the eternity of the soul. (Migene González-Wippler)
  • We suffer because we desire, if you could give up desire you won’t suffer. (Buddhism)
  • We’re all just walking each other home. (Ram Dass)
  • What you are looking for is within, your truth is within, your peace is within. (Maharaji)
  • When anybody laughs, he has no mind, no thought, no problem, no suffering. (Papaji)
  • When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. (Lao Tzu)
  • When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • When you are in the present without thinking, you are for the first time spiritual. A new dimension opens, that dimension is awareness. (Osho)
  • When you make friends with the present moment you feel at home no matter where you are. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • When you teach a child that a bird is named ‘bird,’ the child will never see the bird again. (Krishnamurti)
  • Wherever you are, be there totally. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. (Carl Jung)
  • Work on yourself, have compassion for yourself, allow yourself to be beautiful and all the rest will follow. (Ram Dass)
  • You are just living in a small corner of your being the tiny conscious mind. It is as if somebody has a palace and has completely forgotten about the palace and has started living on the porch and thinks this is all. (Osho)
  • You work on yourself, spiritually, as an offering to your fellow beings. Because, until you have cultivated that quality of peace, love, joy, presence, honesty, and truth, all of your acts are coloured by your attachments. (Ram Dass)


That’s a wrap on

50 Words to Your Dreams

Chapter 34: Spirituality

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Joel Fuhrman: Eat to Live Book Summary


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Joel Fuhrman: Eat to Live Book Summary


Atkins, South Beach, paleo – do these names sound familiar? If so, you’re probably one of the many people who’s tried losing weight with the help of some kind of diet.

More than ever before, we struggle to maintain an optimal body shape in a world of readily and widely available food. It should thus come as no surprise that we’re constantly bombarded with countless weight-management programs promising rapid weight loss and instantly improved health.

While Eat to Live might appear to be just another dieting book in a never-ending series of dieting books, family physician and nutritional researcher Joel Fuhrman has actually produced a guide that aims to completely revamp the way we nourish ourselves. The book introduces readers to the benefits of a plant-based, high-nutrient diet intended as a lifelong dietary regimen that will result in excellent health and a prolonged life – hence the book’s title, Eat to Live.


In the following book summary, you’ll learn all about the problems associated with the typical modern diet, as illustrated by the American example.

You’ll also discover what a diet that provides optimal nutrition is composed of, based on what nutritional science and many current case studies suggest.

Finally, you’ll be introduced to a practical dietary plan that includes specific recommendations and recipes.


Even though Americans have access to a wide variety of healthy, nutritious food, they instead make unhealthy dietary choices, choosing to eat junk food like pizza, burgers and french fries.

Indeed, the typical American diet mainly comprises processed and high-caloric foods, such as refined carbohydrates (like pasta, bread and bagels), fat (oils) and animal protein (meat and dairy).

In fact, as research shows, the average American gets 62 percent of his or her calories from processed carbohydrates and extracted oils, 25.5 percent from fiberless dairy and animal produce, and just 5 percent from fruits and vegetables, excluding potatoes.

Consider, for example, that the human stomach can hold about one liter of food. Since food like french fries, cheese and meat are dense in calories, a stomach full of any of them contains approximately 3,000 calories. By contrast, a full stomach of much healthier foods, like greens, beans or fruit, would contain just 200 to 500 calories.

But aren’t calories useful? Don’t they provide the energy we need to survive?

While it’s certainly true that these high-calorie foods deliver energy to the body, they hardly contain any of the nutrients that are vital to optimal health.

All foods contain calories and nutrients: calories come from carbohydrates, proteins and fat; nutrients come from vitamins, minerals and water. Although nutrients contain almost no calories, they’re essential to the proper growth and development of the human body.

But just because a food contains many calories – as is typical in the modern American diet – this doesn’t mean that it necessarily supplies a lot of nutrients to the body. For example, one tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 calories. While this is more than 5 percent of the typical daily calorie consumption, it actually provides almost no vitamins or minerals.


Given that the majority of Americans are obese, it’s surprising that most of the population still prefers a diet rich in calories and poor in nutrients.

What’s behind this behavior? Simply put: widespread societal myths that lead many people to believe they’re actually making healthy food choices.

Indeed, America has derived very biased and narrow conclusions from its knowledge of other countries’ diets.

For example, many Americans have grown up believing the myth of the healthy Mediterranean diet.

According to this myth, the famously good health of the people of Crete was due to their consumption of large amounts of olive oil, pasta and white bread.

But this is just one side of the story: the Cretan diet also used to include large quantities of vegetables, fruits, beans and fish. Furthermore, Cretans used to perform gruelling physical activities every day. In other words, they were healthy in spite of a calorie-dense diet of pasta, bread and olive oil, not because of it.

Moreover, since the 1950s, the picture has changed dramatically. Nowadays, Cretans eat a lot more meat, fish and cheese, and they’re far less physically active than they used to be.

The result? Cretans are now as overweight as Americans.

Myths like this one are rife in American society. For example, the majority of Americans continue to believe that animal protein, as found in meat and dairy produce, is beneficial to their health because it helps people grow taller much faster.

However, many studies of animals have revealed that slower, not faster, growth goes hand in hand with a longer life. What’s more, current research unequivocally shows that a quicker development and earlier puberty increase the likelihood of developing many different kinds of cancer in adult life.


While prevalent myths about food have a huge influence on today’s American diet, they’re not the only determining factor. There are also certain deep-seated interests whose aim it is to preserve America’s current food culture.

Take the United States Department of Agriculture: its original role was to promote the meat and dairy industries. Today it still clings to its institutional roots, promoting animal products to the extent that it allocates over $20 billion in price supports to the beef, veal and dairy industries. However, it offers no such financial support for the production of fruits and vegetables – at least, not the ones cultivated for human consumption.

Then there’s the incredible amount of misinformation in the marketplace. For instance, in one case, newspapers printed sensational reports on new research with the headline: “High-fiber diet does not protect against colon cancer.”

Given that more than 2,000 research papers demonstrate exactly the opposite, how could the news media make such a claim?

Basically, one study focused very narrowly on investigating the links between fiber supplements and cancer, which in no way indicates that a true high-fiber diet – one based on vegetables, fruits and whole grains – doesn’t prevent colon cancer.

The effect of misinformation can be seen also in the popularity of the Atkins Diet. This is a ketogenic diet that prescribes an increased intake of animal products and a decreased consumption of carbohydrates. The problem is that Atkins is extremely dangerous: it can cause a shift in electrolytes that can lead to a (potentially fatal) irregular heartbeat.

In fact, one sixteen-year-old girl died suddenly while on the Atkins Diet, and many other sudden deaths have been linked to similar forms of ketogenic diets.

The prevalence of food myths and the influence of dominant actors might explain the very gradual awareness of the fact that the contemporary American diet is a crucial factor in the population’s current state of poor health.


According to the latest research, the state of the population’s health reveals that there is something wrong with the well-being of American people.

Even though today’s Americans are lucky to have an unprecedented level of material wealth, they suffer from obesity and a number of other chronic diseases.

In fact, almost 75 percent of all Americans are considered obese. Furthermore, the current trend indicates that, by 2048, all American adults will be obese. This is a very disturbing development, as obesity has been linked to premature death due to heart attacks and a variety of potentially fatal diseases, such as cancer.


What’s behind this unwelcome development? As a huge number of reputable scientific studies show, the development of serious diseases is the direct effect of a diet that comprises a high consumption of animal products, refined foodstuffs and sugar.

Consider, for example, one large-scale nutritional study that investigated the link between diet and disease – the China-Cornell-Oxford Project (the results of which were published in the book The China Study). This study examined a number of regions of China with different, well-established dietary habits, and its remarkable results suggested a strong link between disease and the consumption of animal protein. In fact, instances of cancer and heart attacks were found only in the regions where animal products were part of the established diet, while the regions where very few or no animal products were consumed were nearly cancer free.


Furthermore, these findings are backed by the Physicians’ Health Study, which linked diets that include an excessive amount of dairy consumption to a variety of diseases. For instance, the study demonstrated that daily consumption of 2.5 servings of dairy increased the risk of prostate cancer by 30 percent.


Given the dangers associated with a diet rich in animal products, it makes sense that people should seek an alternative diet based on the best nutritional wisdom available.

Ideally, it’s a plant-based diet because most of the nutrients essential to good health – all the important vitamins, mineral and phytochemicals – can only be found in high concentration in plant-based foods.

For example, consider that 100 calories of broccoli provides 2.2 mg of iron, 46 mg of magnesium and 118 mg of calcium. In contrast, 100 calories of steak provides 0.8 mg, 6 mg and 2 mg of these minerals, respectively.

Much like E=mc² is the key formula in physics, H=N/C, or Health=Nutrients/Calories, is the key formula in nutrition. This proportion is known as nutrient density, and the higher the ratio in any given food, the better the nutritional value.

For example, dark leafy vegetables – like spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli – and other greens, beans, legumes and fruits are the most nutrient-rich foods. In terms of the nutrient density scale, such foods score between 50 and 100 points, while whole grains score 20 and refined sweets 0.

Although many people seem to think they wouldn’t get enough calories from a diet based solely on plants, a plant-based diet actually delivers approximately 1,000 to 2,000 calories per day. Also, some people believe that they require more calories because they exercise a lot, but they should remember that their bodies will tell them if they need to eat more.

Moreover, plant-based foods also contain a more-than-sufficient amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein for a healthy diet.

Spinach is of 51 percent protein, while a cheeseburger or meatloaf are only 20 percent protein. This means that you’d need to eat a lot more calories of these less nutritious foods to get the same amount of protein that spinach provides.

Furthermore, seeds and nuts contain healthy fats in sufficient quantities, in particular the essential fat omega-3.


Although science has only begun to investigate the benefits of a plant-based diet, recent examples and personal experiences emphasize just how beneficial whole, natural foods are to human health.

One clear benefit is that such a diet can lead to weight loss as it prevents overeating. That’s because there’s a complex system of receptors in the digestive tract that tells the brain when the stomach is full. This occurs when the stomach is filled with sufficient nutrients – which happens quickly when fruits and vegetables are eaten – and when it’s filled with a lot of fiber, which is readily found in natural foods.

Take Scott, for example, who had difficulties controlling his weight since he was very young. Before he started to consume foods rich in nutrients, he weighed over 500 lbs, and left his house on only a handful of occasions per year.

Now on a plant-based diet, Scott has lost 333 lbs and reduced his body fat from 62 percent to 10 percent.

Another benefit of this diet is that plants contain many substances that curtail the development of diseases.

Indeed, as the chairman of Harvard’s influential Department of Nutrition stated: “The most compelling evidence of the last decade has indicated the importance of protective factors, largely unidentified, in fruits and vegetables.” A tomato, for instance, contains over ten thousand of these “protective factors,” known as phytochemicals.

Consider the effect of a plant-based diet on the development of cancers. Cancer develops as a result of damage to our DNA. Studies have demonstrated that the nutrients in plants are able to diminish and, in some cases, even reverse this damage. Furthermore, other studies have seen equally positive effects of plant-based nutrients for people who suffer from migraines, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and other illnesses.


Since the Eat to Live plan is not a typical short-term diet, there’s no portion control. Rather, the plan is based on consuming as many greens, beans and fruits as the dieters like. In fact, they’re encouraged to eat as much of these foods as they can.

In particular, raw and steamed greens can be consumed in abundance. They are considered superfoods as they have the highest nutrient density. The greens with the highest nutrient density scores are vegetables such as kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, broccoli and cabbage.

One advantage to eating these foods is that the body uses more energy to digest them than they provide. In other words, they have a negative caloric effect.

The Eat to Live plan advises consuming more than one pound of raw and one pound of steamed vegetables per day.


Secondly, beans and legumes have a number of positive health benefits. Beans contain high amounts of resistant starch, a substance connected with weight loss, digestive health, lower blood levels and diminished risk of heart disease and cancers.

Nutritional science has also linked legumes, regardless of whether they’re brown beans, peas or soy, to long life in various countries. And so, it’s recommended that dieters eat at least one can of beans and legumes a day.

Finally, a minimum of four fruits should be consumed daily, as they’re essential for the success of the Eat to Live diet. Fruits are especially good for those people with a sweet tooth because fruits generally are sweet and thus sustain the motivation to continue with the diet.



If greens and fruits are considered the most beneficial foods, nuts and seeds are a close second. Lowest in priority are all other foods.

That’s because seeds, nuts, starchy vegetables and whole grains provide healthy fats but also have many calories.

For instance, a recent study found that seeds and nuts are linked to the prevention of heart attacks and cancer. Nevertheless, they are extremely rich in calories, so should be used only in moderation, and complemented by physical activity.

It’s also true that starchy vegetables, like potatoes and squash, can be valuable additions to a healthy diet, but they are also very calorie dense, which means that some people find it hard to lose weight when including them in their diet.

Apart from the above foods, all other foods are optional and should be avoided, or at least they should constitute only 10 percent or less of all consumed calories.

Optional foods are those that don’t contain any healthy substances required by the body. They contain none of the important vitamins, mineral or phytochemicals that are readily provided by a plant-based diet. The only exception is vitamin B12, which is found only in animal products. Dieters should take a supplement to obtain this vitamin.

Thus, foods like sweeteners, oils and salt should be avoided altogether, or their consumption should be limited to very small amounts, as they are obviously detrimental to health. In addition, consuming more salt than foods naturally contain has been linked to stomach cancer and hypertension.

Finally, while it’s common for people to receive negative signals from their bodies when they start the Eat to Live diet, these are merely signs of detoxification that indicate that their body is beginning to repair and get better. If dieters are disciplined and stick to the plan, these initial effects will pass after some time.



If you base your nutritional choices on the Eat to Live plan, you’ll maximize your health. Also, you won’t have to worry about counting calories or preparing sophisticated meals.

The only thing you’ll have to ensure is that you follow one basic rule of thumb: your diet should comprise mostly greens, beans and fruits.

More specifically, it’s recommended that you stick to the 90 percent rule: you should consume at least 90 percent of your calories from unrefined plant-based foods in order to reap all possible health benefits. This means that you’re allowed to eat just one small cookie or around half a bagel daily.

Furthermore, meals should include massive portions of greens. Dieters should keep in mind that their success is determined solely by eating more of the right foods. In contrast to other diets, the Eat to Live plan requires no sophisticated formulas.

Another way in which this diet is easy to implement is that meals can be easily prepared on a daily basis. Again, there’s no need for sophistication: recipes can be simple and easy, yet still extremely effective. At first, you might find your meals lacking in taste, but after a while your taste buds will reset and your appreciation of the taste of fruits and vegetables will increase.

For example, the author eats a large bowl of fruits for breakfast, and a salad made of beans, peas or broccoli for lunch.

Moreover, dieters are encouraged to think of the salad as the “main dish.” Eating a lot of salad will fill you up, and it ensures that your intake of nutrients is maximized while consumption of calories is minimized. Again, you can be creative with this salad, as there’s room for variety in the diet: for instance, iceberg lettuce in the morning, mixed baby greens for lunch, and romaine for dinner.

With just a few simple recommendations, the Eat to Live plan promises to provide a solid foundation for sustained weight loss and optimal health.



The key message in this book:

Optimal health can be achieved by following a plant-based diet based mainly on raw and steamed greens, beans and legumes, and fruits. The diet doesn’t rely on portion control or excessive exercise, both of which often only yield temporary positive effects. Instead, by following this diet as a lifelong plan, dieters can expect to sustain weight loss and superior health.

Actionable advice:

Optimal health is earned, not inherited.

Remember, optimal health has nothing to do with your genes. It depends on the food choices you make for yourself every day. Make sure that you treat this knowledge as a piece of personal empowerment.

Eat more of the right food.

Think twice the next time you’re thinking about eating a candy bar. The pleasure you take from it will be over in a second, while the calories go directly to your waist. Think about eating as much vegetables and fruits as you like instead: they contain the healthy ingredients your body needs to function at its best.

Keep it simple.

Focus on the essentials – greens, beans and fruits – and make sure you base your diet on them. Use a can of beans with your salad, make a simple vegetable soup or a basic fruit salad. With time and experience, the meals you prepare will become more sophisticated.



Jon Hanson: Good Debt, Bad Debt: Knowing the Difference Can Save Your Financial Life Book Summary

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Jon Hanson: Good Debt, Bad Debt Book Summary

  • Debt keeps you working.
  • Debt takes more than just your money.
  • Injudicious use of debt is a character problem.
  • Introduction: Are You Using Debt, or Is Debt Using You?
  • Debt for consumption is bad debt, since what you have borrowed for is gone.
  • Debt that enables you to safely set up a cash flow or return in excess of its cost is good debt.
  • Your burn rate controls your fate-spending determines your ending.
  • The worst debt is any debt or spending that consumes the last 10 to 15 percent of your monthly income – this keeps you from saving and investing for your future.
  • You will never obtain financial freedom while addicted to debt and consumer spending. Wealth comes from accumulation, which is the exact opposite of consumption.
  • Good debt is an outcome, not a type of debt.
  • The classic “good debt” uses – real estate, education, or business – are generally better than any of the consumer categories, though many people go broke borrowing in these so-called good debt categories.
  • Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Available credit can be like a powerful handgun. In the hands of someone trained and competent, it provides protection; a home intruder would have littles chance. In the hands of the untrained the gun may lead to the user’s own death.
  • Management not cure. The process is to wisely use debt to position yourself in planning for retirement and continual education as you move through life.
  • What Good Debt Is
  • The wise use of good debt increases your net worth. Good debt helps you make money; the use of good debt adds to current earnings, net worth, or foreseeable earning ability. On the other hand, bad debt decreases your net worth. Bad debt consumes your money without a countervailing return. Payments on bad debt reduce cash flow. Compare:
  • Good Debt
  • Earn its keep
  • Increases your net worth or cash flow
  • Secures a discount that can be converted to cash or net worth.
  • Creates a leveraged position with a strong margin of safety
  • Examples: debt for real estate at a safely leveraged level, debt for education that can be sold in the marketplace, debt for a business you are competent to operate.
  • Bad Debt
  • Is typically for consumption or rapidly depreciating goods.
  • Decreases your net worth or cash flow.
  • Absorbs future earnings.
  • Examples: car loans that rob your retirement fund; continuous credit card debt.
  • Debt Indicates Character
  • Character is the combination of qualities or features that distinguish you from others.
  • Develop the character traits of good personal finance habits.
  • Character is the ability to follow through on a worthwhile objective – even after the emotion that was present when the objective was proposed is gone.
  • Debt becomes a weapon that we unwittingly turn against ourselves.
  • In The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley and William Danko discovered that average self-made millionaires save or invest 15 to 20 percent of their disposable income.
  • The past is the past – unless of course you still owe for it. Many can’t start up the hill of financial freedom because they are carrying a backpack full of debt.
  • Confused thinking causes confused spending.
  • Money Magazine writes that recent studies by economists from New York University have found that a willingness to plan is closely linked to wealth accumulation.
  • Income of almost any size when strained through well-trained habits can create wealth.
  • Money will just make you more of what you already are.
  • Life is truly asynchronous. What you do today may not have an immediate effect but may have a very large effect later in life.
  • Ready?
  • Here are the things you need to do for financial success:
  • Understand the debt effects – debt takes more than just your money.
  • Manage emotions – deflect media influence.
  • Work from a plan – monitor burn rate.
  • Delay gratification – track and tabulate expenses.
  • Save/invest for your future – what if you live?
  • Chapter One: The Debt Effects: The Invisible Hand of Debt
  • The culture of spend, spend, SPEND is necessarily created by merchants to keep their coffers overflowing. It has been said that more than 60 percent of the economy is based on consumer spending, in part financed by consumer credit. For those who collect the money, this spending culture is rewarding. For those doing the spending, it is enslaving.
  • Not everyone has the moral or intellectual stamina to set into action a purposeful plan for the future. Yet only those who develop a plan and follow it will succeed.
  • Those who live in a constant state of “want” become salves to their own passions. Many go further – voluntarily putting on the shackles of debt – not only spending all they earn but also borrowing into their future for today’s excesses. When we use debt to acquire products or services, it is not really a payment for the product or service, but a claim on future earnings.
  • In its early stages, debt causes no pain. On the contrary, the insidiousness of debt lies in the very fact that the use of debt gives its victims temporary pleasure.
  • Debt – the Equal Opportunity Enabler
  • Credit to the untrained appetite distorts reality. It provides the emotions with vast avenues to explore. Credit allows emotions to trump math – stretching our purchases far into the future and reducing the “right-now cost” to a few dollars a month. Soon the emotions subsides and you are left with the reality of the math.
  • Debt Takes More Than Just Your Money
  • What holds us back from financial success? The most evident of my four debt effects, loss of cash flow, is easy to see; the others may operate invisibly. Capital seeks opportunity to expand and grow, as it is good for the individual owner of the capital and the consumer.
  • The Four Debt Effects: The Four Thieves, or How the Invisible Hand Operates
  • Always remember that debt takes more from you than just money.
  • There are four major debt effects:
  • Loss of Freedom
  • Loss of Cash Flow
  • Loss of Time
  • Loss of Opportunities
  • Loss of Freedom
  • “Working while carrying a load of debt is like a prison work-related program. You are released each day to work, but the balance of your time is spent in a mental prison.
  • Many people never realize the drudgery of their lives! If we can agree that entry into this cycle is voluntary, then it would follow that leading this lifestyle is also voluntary.
  • Having a job is like taking a mortgage out on your life. Unless you are born wealthy, you must arrange your escape from drudgery at an early age. Born without wealth, you are at least a part-time servant and are unable to do whatever you want. It is up to you whether you remain in this voluntary servitude or arrange your affairs to carry yourself to financial freedom.
  • Most of us unknowingly choose servitude when we buy into the popular culture of “you can have it all.” You can – when you have earned it. Spend the first ten to twenty years of your working career saving and investing 15 to 20 percent of your income rather than choosing to spend 15 to 20 percent of your income to service bad (consumer) debt. If you begin now, you will earn and deserve your freedom.
  • Financial freedom is a lack of necessary worry or concern about money.
  • When you are debt-free, the real freedom is not just what you can do, but what you don’t have to do. You are free from the invisible hand of debt.
  • Loss of Cash Flow
  • If you are spending 15 percent of income on bad debt, the first goal is to get that down to 10 percent, then 5 percent, and eventually nearly zero. Do this while redirecting the cash flow to savings and investments, and eventually this fund alone can replace your job. This won’t happen in a short time, but with diligence over ten to twenty years, the results can be amazing.
  • You must have capital to capitalize!
  • Many sacrifice their true passions to debt. Soon most of their money is allocated to “reparations” or repaying for past spending. Their passions dull into complacency and are soon forgotten. They lose simply by giving debt too large of a vote in their future. Remember, the past is the past, unless of course you still owe for it. It is hard to move forward while paying backward.
  • Loss of Time
  • If you’re in debt, you must be somewhere other than where you’d like to be.
  • People who are deeply in debt – bad debt. They essentially have spent their time in advance, for they are obligated to be at their jobs to repay their debts. They have spent their time in advance of it arriving. This is what I mean by the term mortgaging your life.
  • Freedom from debt and time with family and friends have begun to edge out weight loss as the number one New Year’s resolution.
  • Many people desire free time more than additional money.
  • Loss of Opportunities
  • When you see a great opportunity for financial gain, it is unlikely that you will be able to take advantage of it, because you will be financially unable to do so. The first rule of all enterprise is to know a solid value when you see it. The second rule is to be able to act on an opportunity when it arises.
  • Funds already spoken for must remain silent when opportunity knocks.
  • For Whom Am I Working?
  • Many people work hard to have luxuries – only to become slaves to those luxuries. In The Art of Money Getting, P.T. Barnum wrote, “Debt robs a man of his self-respect and makes him almost despise himself.” You may well ask, Do I have my possessions – or do they have me?
  • The notion “I don’t make enough” is more popular than the supremely accurate notion “I have poor spending habits.”
  • Those choosing to live hand-to-mouth will always be a financially inferior class compared with those who take time to plan, save, organize, and invest.
  • Financial immaturity is the major reason that people do not plan for the future.
  • Plan, Plan, Plan
  • It is up to you to plan, study, and seek a wise and prudent life. If you don’t know how to become financially competent, you must ask until you do know. What a terrible cost silence imposes on ignorance. A Chinese proverb says, “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask is a fool forever.”
  • You are responsible for your choices. Recast your habits and you will change your life permanently.
  • Soren Kierkegard wrote, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
  • If you don’t change the way you think and act now, your financial future will look pretty much as it does today. But, if you take steps now, you can change the ending.
  • Your biggest investment should be in your future. Your future is enriches by applied knowledge of your daily burn rate, retirement, education, reading, and study. A definite purpose, a desire, to have a certain future must be at the center of your plan.
  • It’s easier to maintain the status quo than to strive for your dreams.
  • Are you getting any rest being broke? For the most past, being poor is more tiring than treading the path to wealth. And the path to wealth is much less depressing. If you have a mind to improve your lot in life, keep in mind that inaction will wear you out!
  • When you use debt to pay for something it is not a payment in full, but merely a claim on your future time and earnings.
  • Good Debt
  • Earns its keep
  • Increases your net worth or cash flow
  • Secures a discount that can be converted to cash or net worth
  • Creates leverage position with a strong margin of safety
  • Examples: debt for real estate at a safely leveraged level, debt for education that can be sold in the marketplace, debt for a business you are competent to operate.
  • Bad Debt
  • Is typically for consumption or rapidly depreciating goods
  • Decrease your net worth or cash flow
  • Absorbs future earnings
  • Examples: Car loans that rob your retirement fund, continuing credit card debt
  • Bad debt is money owed for trinkets, nonessential essentials, an excess of items, and other consumer junk. For example, a nonessential essential could involve paying $599 a month for a Lexus.
  • Bad debt usually begins to pile up when we allow emotional spending or spending without regard to consequences. Without a spending plan in place and clear guidelines, we accumulate bad debt quickly.
  • Plastic Crack
  • Credit cards are the crack cocaine of the credit industry.
  • The quick high or feeling of power from spending without earning is addictive – it’s a difficult to break.
  • Carrying credit cards is like carrying a concealed weapon. In responsible hands, they benefit the owner; in the hands of the foolish, they are deadly. Couple with unbridled emotion, credit cards can eviscerate any rational financial plan.
  • Bad debt is further defined as spending for debt that reaches into the last 10 to 20 percent of your monthly or weekly income.
  • What could you do with all of the bad debt payments you have made over the past ten years?
  • Paradebt
  • There is another category I call paradebt or “almost debt.” This is the cumulative effect of all your nonessential monthly spending.
  • Paradebt involves services like cable TV. There are voluntary monthly obligations that can be cancelled at any time. Realize that they are short-term debt. A debt is a debt. A debt is a debt is a debt.
  • Bad debt can build up deposits in your cash flow arteries, and soon you could have a financial stroke.
  • Good Debt
  • By definition, good debt builds wealth. You will have slower financial growth without good debt, although, you could argue, much safer growth. Good debt allows you to leverage your savings and increase your net worth through wise investments.
  • Good debt is debt on assets that provides a cash flow exceeding the amount of the debt service.
  • Owning debt, not owing debt, is a way to become wealthy.
  • Usually if young adults are broke and confused, it’s a sign that the parents are broke and confused or missing in action.
  • In its early stages, debt cause no pain. On the contrary, the insidiousness of debt lies in the very fact that it gives its victims temporary pleasure. Sign and drive! No payments until next year! EZ payments!
  • Chapter Two: Emotional Hostages: How Do I Get Free from Me?
  • Without the sizzle, few steaks are sold
  • Most every bad debt decision starts wrapped in the warm glow of emotion. Emotions is the spoonful of sugar that helps you swallow a lot of things that aren’t good for you. The main ingredient in all advertising is sugary emotion.
  • Sizzle or sex appeal is the basis of most advertising. The implied message is the real message. It is not what you get – but what you think you get.
  • What advertiser would dare show the underbelly of the beast? Reality is a tough sale and reality is not what they sell.
  • Without emotional appeal, advertising would be pretty difficult.
  • Clearly the path past your reasoning is paved with juicy emotions. It seems that juicy emotions distract the blood flow away from your reasoning capacity.
  • In most instances’ advertisers must distract you from a plan that is better for you than what they are trying to get you to do.
  • Your attention is easily gained when you are not on a mission.
  • Either you edit what comes into your mind or the media and advertises do.
  • Unless you are born very rich – to become wealthy you must have a period of sacrifice.
  • The type of sacrifice I am talking about produces the great feeling you get when you promise yourself to do something and then actually do it. This is the definition of resolve: promising yourself that you will do something and refusing to quit until it is finished.
  • If you choose not to make a choice, you still have made a choice.
  • It costs more to put on an appearance of wealth than to take the steps to actually become wealthy. Wealth is not instant. Delayed gratification is the proper prescription here. This is especially true when you count the cost of financing the appearance of wealth.
  • No one is worthless, anyone can at least be a good example.
  • It’s a lot easier to learn from some poor sap’s experience than to volunteer for that tour of duty yourself!
  • In a financial transaction, every unbridled emotion has an equal and opposite dulling effect on common sense.
  • People give up of there assets to feed their ego.
  • You are strong if you can conquer others; you are mighty if you can conquer self. The battle for control of your emotions is with yourself.
  • People become slaves to their own desires.
  • Even when debt is not accruing, we may engage in McSpending – promiscuous spending that we don’t realize counts until later when we calculate the cost. These are the small amounts of spending we don’t often account for. The five or ten dollars a day of petty cash leakage can add up to more than half a million dollars over twenty or thirty years. McSpending can be anything from the $3.50 Starbucks coffee to expensive lunches, while our IRA or retirement account lags.
  • When you notice that enough money has passed through your hands and that just 5 or 10 percent of it would by now have grown to a fortune, then you are ready to begin learning. The best lessons in life can be learned but not taught. Sadly, they can be ignored too.
  • Being emotionally successful means knowing and applying fundamentals. Fundamentals are principles that act in a consistent manner independent of your understanding, action, or inaction.
  • The fundamental of compound interest will work for you or against you regardless of your understanding. Money is no respecter of persons; it works equally for or against all who will give it employment. With consumer debt, aka bad debt, compound interest charges work against you. With prudent investments, compound interest will work for you. Compound interest, like gravity, operates either for or against you.
  • Since you may implement only what you are aware of, your awareness will determine your level of success. If we agree with the old adage that your attitude controls your altitude, then I hope that you’ll agree with me when I say that your awareness controls your possibilities.
  • Fundamentals are principles that are time tested and proved by common sense. They will endure beyond our lives and those of our descendants.
  • You can explain away your word, but not your actions. Are your actions consistent with your words? This is a constant source of grief for many people. Can you daily reconcile your words with your actions?
  • Seek wisdom, discipline, and discernment.
  • Have your noticed that the word rationalize has the sound of “rational lies”? People lie mostly to themselves. They think “someday,” “when I,” “then I will,” and other delusions. These are all mild sedation for the mind trying to ration lies to itself to explain away actions or inactions. “Someday I’ll” or “I’ll try” is the cheap drug people use to excuse themselves from sincere effort. Brian Tracy says, “I’ll try is excusing failure in advance.”
  • Here are a few fundamentals for debt and emotion control:
  • Get paper-trained! When you think about decisions, always do it on paper. High emotions lower financial acuity. If it doesn’t make sense on paper, it probably doesn’t make sense in practice. Planning is often the highest-return thing you can do.
  • Learn to discern when emotions are swaying your decision-making ability.
  • Think of rationalize as “rational lies.” Who are you lying to? Probably yourself.
  • Be consistent. Keep your actions consistent with your words. Improve your words and actions.
  • Self-select. Set your priorities and purpose or someone else will set them for you. You must self-select or take leftovers.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
  • Many work to acquire luxuries, and then become slaves to those luxuries. We are born free yet entrap ourselves in a web of debt and time obligations that make us voluntary salves or at least pitiful employees of our creditors.
  • When you allow yourself to be led by your emotions, you are not in control.
  • Freedom is found in self-discipline.
  • Freedom is found is restraint. Only through conscious choice can we begin to control our outcomes. You must self-select.
  • Chapter Three: Burn Rate: Spending, Not Income, Determines Wealth
  • Just as work tends to expand to the time allotted, spending, without restraint, expands to the amount of money available – or even beyond. It is hard to see spending as a problem while all of your existing needs and many desires are being met. Truly, we can’t see the problem for the solution. The tendency to confuse income with wealth is near an epidemic level among Americans. Income is like a moving river; wealth is like a lake or reservoir. Stored income is wealth; spent income may not even bring fond memories.
  • If you consistently spend all you make, you will never be set financially.
  • Many confuse needs or necessary expenditures with desires. Each of us has desires that far exceed our actual needs.
  • Defining Burn Rate
  • Your burn rate is the actual amount of money you spend each month to stay in the same place – your status quo. This includes all fixed costs of living and the impulse buying you do now and then. Your burn rate is the sum total of your financial obligations, plus spending on food, shelter, and any extravagances. Simply said, burn rate is all the money spent that does not increase your wealth. Burn rate is what is consumed and gone forever. Taxes are a major part of your burn rate, together with food, shelter, and transportation.
  • Meet LERI
  • You could also think of your burn rate as your fixed cost of existence. Only the portion of income in excess of your burn rate can be available to build wealth or attain freedom from toil. There is no secret to becoming wealthy – you must lower your burn rate or increase your income, preferably both. This is easy to remember as the acronym LERI – Lower Expenses or Raise Income.
  • You must take the difference between burn rate and income and invest it wisely. It is only the portion of your income above burn rate that is available for wealth building or retirement.
  • As your income rises, resist the temptation to ratchet up your lifestyle.
  • We are all given free will, before debt, to choose where our resources will be spent. Once we have debt and large monthly expenses the four debt effects begin to rule. We experience loss of freedom, loss of cash flow, loss of time, and loss of opportunities.
  • If you are forty years of age, every $100 a month you continuously burn costs you over $132,000 at age sixty-five.
  • Burn rate is what you consume as in burn up.
  • If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep becomes your downfall.
  • Many people have a form of wealth (income), but deny its power through lack of discipline and unbridled desire. These are the self-deluded pretending to be wealthy. I call them “goldbrickers,” as they try to project wealth on the surface, but when they are scratched you find the goal is really only gold paint on a common brick.
  • We grow obese from shoving too much food down our pie holes – we grow poor from overspending and debt accumulation.
  • Determine to deserve success.
  • Your burn rate as a percentage of income is the most accurate predictor of your eventual success or failure.
  • Most millionaires earned their money, delayed gratification, and controlled their burn rate.
  • Wealth will only make you more of what you already.
  • Here are some U.S. Bureau of Census statistics that are commonly batted about by inspirational and financial speakers when they discuss where many folks of retirement age find themselves:
  • * Ninety percent are partially or totally dependent on government or family.
  • * Five percent are self-sufficient.
  • * Four percent are well off.
  • * One percent are fabulously wealthy.
  • As you get older, you many notice that you begin to value time more than money. This will be especially true once you begin to accumulate wealth.
  • A job is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
  • Try saying to your friends, “I choose to have less now so that I can have more later!” Hard work alone cannot create wealth. Wealth is dependent on accumulation.
  • It is how much you have left over after expenses (or burn rate) that matters.
  • Money is indifferent to who owns it.
  • We must have capital to capitalize. It is you burn rate, not your income, that will determine your fate.
  • Success comes from long obedience in the right direction.
  • Jim Rohn says, “With sight you see things – with insight you see answers to things.”
  • Lower your burn rate. Get control of emotional spending. Make some very important mature life choices. No matter the amount of your income, wealth can be obtained, or even maintained, only through the amount you don’t spend.
  • Don’t lose all your money, hard work alone won’t make us successful; we must accumulate capital and knowledge also.
  • Chapter Four: Delayed Gratification: Don’t Wait to Get It
  • Cicero wrote, “Not to have a mania for buying things is to possess a revenue.”
  • Delayed gratification; spend less than you make; provide for your own future; put back more than you make; provide for your own future; put back more than you take; continue your own self-education; maintain personal responsibility and self-government.
  • We have more people with poor spending habits than we have poor people.
  • The very essence of delayed gratification is to stay the course until we meet with success uncommon to those who cannot delay their desires.
  • While burn rate may be a mathematical and easily definable concept, the control of it is largely an emotional concept. The best ways to manage burn rate and delayed gratification are:
  • * Measurement – Some us practice politically correct record keeping – we do not really want to know the truth. Continued deception is easiest if you do not have an accurate accounting.
  • * Control of your emotions – This means delayed gratification.
  • * A plan to follow – Continuous education is the key.
  • * Delaying allows accumulation – a key element of wealth building.
  • Delayed gratification is a math problem that is often distorted by emotions and desires distracting you from seeing a simple answer.
  • How you spend your money is a moral concept as well as a practical test of wisdom. I think most of our ill-conceived spending begins in these four broad areas, all variations of Homo Consumerati:
  • * Immature Consumerati
  • * Emotional Consumerati
  • * Selfish Consumerati
  • * Ignorant (by choice) Consumerati
  • Immature Consumerati
  • These are the people who do not see that their actions and how they live their lives (spend) have a large impact on their families and the world around them. This type of spendthrift does not grasp the basic concepts of money: that we must spend less than we make, that our ability to earn is not unlimited, that time is not on our side.
  • Emotional Consumerati
  • This is the area that gets most of us. Our senses get excited and we believe, at least for the time it takes to spend, that having “things” will make us happy.
  • Anything we do repeatedly that gives us pleasure begins to take control over us.
  • Selfish Consumerati
  • Their luxury sports car is more important than having the home paid for, the retirement plan set, or their kid’s education funded.
  • The Selfish Consumerati are interested only in what immediately benefits them personally.
  • Ignorant Consumerati
  • Ignorance is like immaturity in that you may be unaware of it.
  • The average twenty-first-century American family will handle more than $2.8 million over a forty-year period (based on 2002 figures; the actual amount will go up, adjusted for inflation). In seems ironic, given the amount of money we handle, that most people will end up broke and dependent on the government or others for their retirement.
  • The sooner we take charge of our personal finances, the better off we will be in our inevitable and inescapable old age.
  • All capital comes from the labor of the savers/investors of the Econowise. Labor comes in the form of brain work or back work. Capital comes from labor, and stored labor is capital: stocks, bonds, notes and mortgages, real estate, and cash savings.
  • It is ironic that people will borrow money to make an appearance of wealth even though the payments for all of our toys, properly redirected, could lead us to actual wealth. With easy credit we begin to train an unnatural appetite that can lead us down the path to slavery. If you will delay gratification and begin to redirect your income to positive pursuits, eventually your wise money handling will allow you to afford the things you desire without pledging your future income to own them.
  • This is a classic Consumerati move – make sure you are always heading uphill pulling a wagon full of debt.
  • The Consumerati are very concerned with keeping up appearances.
  • The Consumerati deceive themselves into thinking that “things” will make them happy. But what they find are only pleasures as shallow as the moment and despair as long as the payments.
  • You choose to deceive yourself, to tell yourself that you will take care of your future later. Later is sooner than you think.
  • The ancestors of the haves and the have-nots are the dids and the did-nots, respectively.
  • Discipline delayed is discipline denied.
  • While we wait to develop good habits, the poor habits become stronger and far less likely to ever be replaced.
  • Pay as You Go
  • Statistically, only 3 to 5 percent of the population will retire without being at least somewhat dependent on others. The reason that people do not retire wealthy usually has little to do with the lack of income or monster salary, and has everything to do with their spending habits. Perhaps we should not follow the lead of the 95 percent that are heading for failure.
  • Spend less than you make.
  • I agree with Ben Franklin’s words, “It is the eyes of others and not our own eyes which ruin us.” We live in fear of what the Joneses will say. Many retire with little or nothing to show for their years of toil except junk and worn-out trinkets. A wonderful life awaits those who rise above what others think.
  • The Consumerati: they consume all they have and mortgage their futures by borrowing all they can. They are left with little to show for it in the end.
  • Reality Math
  • Take your net worth, divide it by the number of years you have worked, and that is how much you are working for per year. This is your reality income.
  • No matter if you make $100,000 a year, only what adds to your net worth is yours.
  • It is a function of what you spend more than what you earn. If you have a net worth of $150,000 and have worked for twenty years, you are in fact working for $7,500 per year. The rest has been burned.
  • Delayed gratification and your burn rate will determine your wealth more than income – even a very high income.
  • Chapter Five: I Don’t Know About My Past: But My Future Is Spotless!
  • Use your past as a reference library – not a place to live!
  • It’s never too late to be what you might have been. (George Eliot)
  • Bad habit programming is hard to delete from your personal operating system.
  • Your environment really does affect your life.
  • Mark Victor Hansen says, “You are not born a winner or a loser, you are born a chooser.”
  • There is wisdom in many counselors.
  • The choice we have when faced with life’s adversities is always to become bitter or better.
  • This is your life, not a test run. Change is within the grasp of everyone.
  • Many spend their time and money buying things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.
  • “He who controls the past commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past.” as George Orwell said.
  • Chapter Six: What If You Live? Make Work a Stage of Life – Not a Life Sentence
  • Financial success is a function of simple math and delayed gratification. There is dangerous ground between knowing and doing – the great purgatory of inaction. It is here where dreams die, life becomes ordinary, and we train ourselves to accept far less than our potential by always seeking but never coming to an understanding that life is as much doing as thinking.
  • If you wish control (your financial life), start sooner on your investment plan, not later.
  • At the beginning of every spending situation, they ask, “Does this take me nearer or farther away from my goals.?”
  • Most people put off thinking about retirement because they know that they won’t like the answers to the questions they know they must ask.
  • Two-thirds of Americans dreams of retirement, while only one-third actually take steps to move in that direction.
  • Our chances for success are better with a simple system that we always follow rather than a complex plan that we sometimes follow.
  • John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Mutual Funds, says, “Simplicity gives us the power to do less of what doesn’t matter.”
  • Sticking to the fundamentals of money handling will lead us to success. There is no such thing as a new fundamental.
  • Thrift is the great educator. To apply thrift to your life, you must plan – you must have a written program to follow. Without such a plan, life is very inefficient and costly. To apply thrift is to understand timing and value. Thrift assumes forethought and careful reasoning. A large income is not necessarily an indicator of wealth. An income of almost any size strained through well-trained habits in time will create wealth.
  • It is one thing to admit to your financial shortcomings, yet quite another to escape the consequences.
  • You Are Probably Closer Than You Think
  • Practical thrift, the right ordering of your finances, the practice of delayed gratification, and monitoring and control of your burn rate may be all that is separating you from the financial life you desire.
  • Your burn rate will determine your fate. Spending determines your ending.
  • The fundamentals of money and debt do not discriminate. Money will perform equally well for all who will give it employment. A young person who beings to automate deposits into an investment monthly, biweekly, or weekly will end up with wealth far exceeding that of the average American.
  • Set up an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck or checking account each month to purchase shares of a mutual fund or bond fund. Begin today.
  • Self-Taxation
  • We should tax ourselves, not for vice, but for our futures.
  • The best way to “collect” the tax for you from yourself is like what the government does, first and often, and by electronic transfer from your paycheck or checking account to a prudent investment. The automation of the deposits is key. This is how the government acquires large piles of taxpayer money to redistribute. Take the concept and make it work for you.
  • If you are waiting for someone else to take care of you, it’s not going to happen.
  • Without the withdrawals from our wages, the government could not exist. Only your blood (cash) transfusions keep the government pumping.
  • We must tax ourselves over and above government’s demands. Then we must invest the proceeds for our future.
  • If the government pays itself first from our checks, shouldn’t we at least do the same?
  • To Be a Millionaire, You Must First Be a Thousandaire
  • Certainly having the first $100 in savings won’t be too exciting. Even becoming a multithousandaire won’t change your life, but by steady stick-to-it-iveness you will eventually become a one-three-, four-, or five-hundred-thousandaire. Then you will notice that things can be a little easier.
  • Longfellow wrote, “Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.”
  • Youth suffers from inexperience, while old age suffers from youth’s inaction.
  • Many of us are only a few feet from success.
  • Why Aren’t Most People Successful?
  • If success is so easy, why don’t more people succeed? Jim Rohn replies, “Because it’s easy to and it’s easy not to.” The fundamentals of success are easy to apply – it is also easy not to apply them. It is human nature to stay the course, to bend toward the status quo – even if that course is not working.
  • Sometimes we stick to what is familiar to us even if it is fiscally imprudent. Plainly, many are comfortable in their bondage.
  • Samuel Smiles wrote, “Society at present suffers far more from waste of money than from want of money.”
  • Orison Marden said, “Don’t risk your life’s superstructure upon a day’s foundation.”
  • Held hostage by their desire to look successful, they eat their seed corn. No seed, no planting – no harvest.
  • Sadly, many of us offset every increase in income with new spending without regard to the possibility of outliving our money.
  • We live thirty years longer than folks did one hundred years ago. The old witticism “If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself: for our purposes could be “If I had know I would live his long, I would have saved or invested more money.” Many allow Parkinson’s second law – “Spending always rises to meet the income available” – to keep them broke throughout their lives.
  • In every discussion of retirement or money, remember when to start saving: now! Sooner is better – but more sooner is best.
  • To be successful, we must avoid the great disconnect between knowing and doing. Some of us read and study for years, thinking a little more knowledge is all we need to reach the Promised Land. Those who hold knowing or awareness to be equal to doing are forever lost. Some never turn graduation day into application day, when we apply what we have learned.
  • “One talent fully developed is worth more than ten talents on a shelf”, says Dr. Marden.
  • There are no secrets to wealth and happiness. The answers lie in a few fundamentals: discipline, deferral, and discernment chief among them.
  • The best situation is to find work you love and can make money at – and fix your consumption to fit your income.
  • A kids’ riddle. “Two frogs sat on a log, and one decided to jump. How many frogs are left?” (Answer: two. Just deciding to do something doesn’t count. You need to actually jump.)
  • Tom Hopkins say, “Most people are seven times more concerned with losing what they already have than with getting more.”
  • “True maturity is when you realize no one is coming to help.”
  • The savings habit will save you. Inconsistency will kill you.
  • When we are making little progress or even regressing, we often allow ourselves a free pass by not documenting reality. The freeway of your mind has many exits and distractions. The reality of plans on paper makes it less likely that we will exit at Fantasy land when we need to be in Reality City.
  • We choose each day to be a salve of the past or master of our future (financially).
  • Burn rate determines fate; your spending will determine your ending. For most readers, spending habits will be their downfall.
  • Many people have a money-getting plan without a spending plan – they run roughshod over any true success they are so near by refusing to prioritize and control spending.
  • According to Brian Tracy, wrote, “Wealth is the number of days you can exist without working.”
  • Income is like a moving river; wealth is like a lake or reservoir. Stored income is wealth; spent income may not even bring fond memories.
  • Chapter Seven: Real Estate: Buy Five Houses – Get One Free!
  • We often don’t see opportunity because it is wrapped in difficulty or unattractive packaging.
  • Your eventual success or failure in real estate will hinge on your ability to find and recognize a bargain.
  • You don’t G-E-T if you don’t A-S-K!
  • Real estate always has bargains available, they may just be hard to see. Remember, it is a people business – not just real estate. It is this human element of real estate that gives opportunity for great profit. The fact is, you buy real estate from people, it gets used or rented by people by people, and when you sell it, you must entice another human or entity (controlled by people) to pay money to you.

  • Circles of Debt
  • The circles-of-debt chart applies to all types of good debt, whether for education, real estate, or business investment. The value of any leveraged investment should safely exceed the market for the item.
  • The Key: Use Force If Necessary
  • The key to making money in real estate is to force inflation or an increase in value. This forced inflation can come by way of either sweat equity (you improve the property by making physical improvements) or finding a bargain.
  • You will always do better to make your money buying at a discount. Excellent negotiating skill plus the ability to rally the troops to do improvements could be the best combination.
  • Funds already spoken for must remain silent when opportunity knocks.
  • Up Debt Creek Without a Paddle
  • Most people get into bad debt by thinking emotionally instead of critically.
  • The trip up Debt Creek is an emotional trip.
  • The Key to Success: Buy Right – Get a Good Deal on the House
  • The first mortal sin in real estate is paying too much. The second is not recognizing a good deal when it is right in front of you. The third sin is not getting along famously with people. You need people to buy real estate.
  • Chapter Eight: Driving Your Life Away: Are You Driving Your Retirement into the Ground?
  • Debt for a car is bad debt. It is a loan on something that decreases in value. It only takes your money.
  • Event if you pay cash for your car, truck, or SUV, it still depreciates.
  • Cars are commodities. For nearly two-thirds of Americans, cars represent a payment that is included in their burn rate. Until you can pay cash for your vehicles, the best advice is to keep the expense moderate.
  • Cars are at best a commodity, a part of your burn rate. While they are part of your burn rate, excessive debt for cars is bad debt, by definition. This is debt that is robbing you of your future.
  • Few of us want to admit that our probable lack of retirement savings has to do with our spending habits.
  • Few things in life fade as quickly as the “new-car high.” To some, it can be addictive, requiring even more investment to get “high” the next time.
  • “Buy less and drive it longer. Invest the difference.”
  • A new car may bring short-term happiness but can never bring joy, which I have defined (at least financially) as complete satisfaction that you are doing the best you can with what you have. This is good stewardship – it is maximizing the benefit of your income.
  • Depreciation impacts us only when we sell.
  • Generally, many of us will spend more when we don’t convert the cost to an actual cash outlay.
  • Do not allow yourself to be swept away emotionally by new cars. Make a decision to watch your net worth grow instead of changing the scenery in your driveway every year or two.
  • Chapter Nine: Do I Have Records? My Pulse Began to Quicken
  • Poor record keeping will cost you money. This is an irrefutable fact.
  • Napoleon Hill, writing on failure in his 1928 The Law of Success, says, “Defeat often talks to us in a ‘dumb language’ that we do not understand. If this were not true, we would not make the same mistakes over and over again without profiting by the lessons that they might teach us. If it were not true, we would observe more closely the mistakes which other people make and profit by them.”
  • Accurate record keeping will increase your creative ability, not decrease it.
  • I Don’t Want to Know
  • Perhaps you fall into the category of folks who would rather not know exactly where they are financially.
  • If you have economic cancer of the bone, wouldn’t it be better to know? The earlier you detect something like this, the better the chance for remission or even full recovery. Most of us need a transplant, not of economic marrow, but of economic thinking.
  • Denial or delusion is not only unhealthy – it can be financially devastating. Find out where you are financially.
  • If you make $48,000 a year and are able to invest $5,000 a year, you are far better off than Doctor Lotta Bucks making $273,000 a year and saving or investing nothing. It is not the amount you make; it is the amount you do something wise with. Wealth is not about income; it’s about accumulation and investment.
  • Without good records, you are flying with no fixed point of reference.
  • Budgets
  • Don’t start with a budget; start with an actual tabulation of what you are currently spending. You will need a budget for forecasting likely expenses, but it is your goals and desires that keep spending in line. You know the big stuff: rent or mortgage, transportation, Insurance, and so on. The problem is probably in the petty cash leakage. It’s easy to saw through $300 to $600 or $1,000 a month in small, insignificant things. The preceding numbers are based only on $10 to $34 a day. Whether in cash or charge, it adds up if you are looking for retirement or special project money.
  • The Latte Factor: money that you just spend but really don’t think about. It can add up to a fortune over time.
  • Once you have a few months of expenses in your record system, you will automatically have a budget. It may not be a good one, but it will be an actual budget, not a budget of where you think you are.
  • Working from actual spending is less frustrating than working from what you think you should be spending.
  • Get some type of system. It has often been said that system is an acronym for save yourself time, energy, and m
  • Everyone should have a system. Whatever your system is, make sure that it can catch everything down to the quarter you flip into the bum’s hat.
  • Tabulation beats speculation as to where the money went.
  • Only with accurate accounting can you safely increase and monitor your net worth and cash flow.
  • Your core desire to be successful will outlast and outperform any budget or list of goals you make. When you know why, how, and what “success” will mean to you, this is your most powerful tool. Your “why” must be bigger than you “how.”
  • Chapter Ten: You Married Who? The Ultimate Good Debt – Maybe
  • “Marriage may make or mar your entire life. It can build you up or tear you down. It can ennoble every phase of your character, or it can make you a cringing failure. It is a perilous mistake that so few men or women receive any sort of correct instruction about the problems of married life.”
  • A good marriage adds to your life, much like good debt. An ill-conceived marriage, much like bad debt, may drain your emotions daily. Just as your financials statement may be improved, so may your marriage balance sheet. Marriage has a cost in both time and resources. A good marriage creates a dynamic return where the benefits far exceed the costs. A good marriage is your highest-returning good debt.
  • Currently 50 percent of marriages – end in divorce – the other 50 percent end in death.
  • Whom you marry will greatly affect your financial future.
  • Financial problems can be a black cloud over many marriages. How a husband and wife handle their finances is not the only test of character in a marriage – but a very practical one.
  • Marriage counselors tell us that the number one cause of conflict in marriage – even more than issues of personality and kindness – is finances. An often-quoted statistic says that 80 percent of divorces are a direct result of financial difficulties.
  • 85 percent of the satisfaction you ever know comes from your relationships with others, and the relationship with your spouse is the key.
  • “Take the daughter of a good mother,” is nineteenth-century advice not to be ignored!
  • If you always do common things you will have a common life.
  • When dating, men and women alike display themselves in the showroom, where everything is quite lovely. The sale is made and everything is fine, until a service or warranty issue arises. Then often we find the sales department has overpromised and the service department will not honor the promises of the salesperson. Perhaps we should ask early, “Will I service what I sell?”
  • A financially healthy marriage will encourage open discussions of spending, saving, investing, borrowing, tax planning, bequeathing, and charitable giving.
  • Chapter Eleven: Debt Warfare: When Push Comes to Shove
  • Save or Pay Off First?
  • The question always arises should I save and then pay off debt? Or just go all out on debt and then save? The first thing I recommend is to pay off credit cards and put them in a drawer and leave them alone.
  • Common Sense and Principle Reduction
  • List your bills from smallest monthly payment to the largest payments.

  • List your bills from smallest balance to the largest.
  • This covers basic debt reduction and not all the expenses you will commonly have.

  • Right now the best investment you can find is buying back your self-imposed consumer debt.
  • Most folks have some discretionary income to spend which could be used to fight debt.
  • Certainly the cost of higher education can be a good debt, buy only if application of what you learn can be sold in the marketplace for a profit.
  • Once the past is paid for you can build for the future. This concept of debt warfare is just another twist on LERI – Lower Expenses and Raise Income. Lower expenses, raise income, and do something wise with the difference.
  • If you consider each of your dollars a little dollar soldier, then only those you have not sent over to the enemy can work for you. Conversely your dollar soldier’s children cannot multiply to your benefit “under the command of a foreign army”? This is when the supermajority of your dollar soldiers [income] is already obligated to debt and is not producing a return for you. Consider a coup by killing off debt to regain control of your soldiers and keep them marching under your own flag.
  • Conclusion
  • Failure is God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you are headed in the wrong direction.” (Oprah Winfrey)
  • At their core, the concepts of Good Debt, Bad Debt are easy to understand but hard to apply.
  • Financial success is rather simple, and that daily actions decide the realities of tomorrow. There are few things, aside from health, that affect as many areas of your life as do you finances.
  • Understanding the concepts of the debt effects, emotional management, burn rate, and delayed gratification can change your life. If you understand and apply these principles in your life, you will finish far ahead of the majority of people in this consumption-driven society.
  • It is disingenuous to imagine ourselves millionaires while not even taking steps to first be thousandaires.
  • Remember Longfellow’s words, “Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.” This is how most of us fail, by ignoring the small things, the simple daily duties of life that are really the building blocks of our greater ambitions.
  • I have tried to impart one simple message: think! Think about how today’s actions will affect what you can do in the future.
  • What to do is simple; carrying it out over twenty years or more is where it is difficult.
  • The good investment is getting rid of bad debt.
  • If what you owe for can easily pay its way by being sold, or hopefully from cash flow it produces, then it is good debt.
  • Whenever debt is used for greed, impatience, or an appearance of wealth, it rarely becomes a blessing.
  • While greed and impatience may get a pass once in a while, debt employed to make us appear to be something we are not is always bad debt, and generally has consequences far above the interest paid.
  • The less encumbered we are, the more free we become, and freedom is all wealth can really buy. It seems that we sell our brains or brawn in the market, but what we are really selling is part of our humanity – our remaining time on this earth.

Harvey & Marilyn Diamond: Fit for Life Book Summary

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What Is Fit For Life?

Harvey Diamond’s Fit for Life is a diet plan developed by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.

The diet is formulated on the concept that eating a certain combination of food promotes good health. It also prohibits eating certain types of food altogether.

The diet primarily encourages eating whole grains and gradually eliminating refined grains and other processed food from your diet.

Food and exercise are the two important aspects of healthy living. You are what you eat, so when you decide to get Fit for Life, you should research the many diet plans which are currently on the market.

We have compiled a complete analysis of Fit for Life to help you understand the science behind the program along with the food combining chart and meal plan.

Fit For Life Competitors

How Did Fit For Life Start?

The Fit for Life diet plan is inspired by the Nature Cure movement and rooted in Orthopathy or Natural Hygiene.

It was started by Harvey Diamond and his wife, Marilyn Diamond who also authored the book, ‘Fit for Life‘. The diet is based on the couples’ exploration of the principle of food combining as explained by the theories of Herbert M. Shelton.

The Diamonds also categorized food as either ‘dead food’ (highly refined) which harms the body or ‘living food’ (raw vegetables and fruits) which rejuvenate and cleanse the body.

Based on this principle, they came up with the Fit for Life program.

The Basic Ideas For Harvey Diamond Fit For Life Diet Plan

This diet is all about the good and bad combinations of food. ‘Dead’ food should be completely avoided.

Diamond believed that the wrong combination of food can cause the food to ‘ferment’ in the stomach. Here are the main points of the diet plan.

Dairy products can cause allergies and should be consumed rarely, if at all. They are not considered to contribute valuable nutrition.

Water should never be consumed during meals because it would dilute digestive juices.

Fruits should be eaten raw and fresh. They should be eaten alone without other food.

It is ill-advised to combine proteins with carbohydrates during meals.

The dietary principle involves consuming predominantly ‘live’ food with high water content.

When animal protein is eaten, it must not be eaten with complex carbohydrates. Fit for Life recipes Harvey Diamond offers lets us see what this diet offers each day.

Fit For Life Harvey Diamond – Breakfast

A typical breakfast in Fit for Life meal plan would consist of carbohydrates. They can be eaten alone or with vegetables.

Carbohydrates should not be consumed with animal protein foods such as milk, butter, or cream.

They should also not be consumed with fruits. There should be a profusion of whole grain (bread, muffin, bagel) in the servings. Fit for Life’s food combination chart gives us an idea of the foods that should and should not be combined.

Fit For Life Recipes – Lunch

Lunch can be enjoyed in two different ways: by combining protein with vegetables or combining carbohydrates with vegetables. Combining proteins and carbohydrates in one meal is strongly discouraged.

For example, you could have carbohydrates in whole wheat bread with bean sprouts, grated carrots and add some lettuce, or steamed brown rice with stir-fried vegetables.

Protein foods will have vegetable salads with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or red kidney beans and sunflower seeds. You might relish a steaming cup of lentil soup with a variety of vegetables and a drizzle of light oil-based dressings instead of milk or cream.


Fit For Life Food Combining Dinner

While breakfast and lunch are carbohydrate-loaded meals, Fit for Life diet recommends high-protein dinners. Diamond advises against animal proteins (except for organic eggs and fresh fish).

Some of the Fit for Life recipes for dinner include vegetarian chili with beans and lentils, or assorted vegetable and legume curry or stew.

Other stable dishes are stir-fried tofu with Asian vegetables, raw salad vegetables, and steamed asparagus.

Dairy Products In Fit For Life

Drinking milk or eating other dairy products such as butter, cheese, yogurt, pudding, cottage cheese, etc. is prohibited by Fit for Life diet program.

The reason is that the human digestive tract is not designed to digest dairy products properly. This could lead to a number of problems such as allergies, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), or even Crohn’s disease.

To alleviate this problem, Diamond offers a supplement. The USDA asserts that dairy products are the main source of calcium and recommends adults to have up to 3 cups of dairy products per day.

Dairy also supplies protein.


Fruits In Fit For Life Meal Plan

Fruits must be eaten alone or consumed as juice but never with other food. The diet also suggests that fruits be consumed early in the morning, not in afternoon.

This is because fruits have digestive enzymes with cleansing properties. It is very beneficial to eat them and activate the digestive system, according to Livestrong.

Fit For Life Book

The Fit for Life book by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond explains the diet and lifestyle. This diet became popular in the 1980s and was a New York Times bestseller, selling millions of copies.

Through the book, Diamonds urged people to reject chemical additives and hydrogenated vegetable oil (popularized at that time as an alternative to butter). They advocated for veganism to increase energy levels.

Fit For Life Claims

Fit for Life Harvey and Marilyn Diamond claim that following their diet plan Fit for Life, will cause weight loss and prevent obsessions with counting calories and exercising vigorously.

A reasonable exercise schedule with the Fit for Life meal plan can help you get Fit for Life. In fact, Diamond claimed that mixing different foods can cause fermentation which would kill valuable nutrients and enzymes.

In the 2000s, the Diamonds launched FFL’s Weight Management Program which uses genetic predisposition, metabolic typing, and “analyzation” to create a Personalized FFL.

This Fit For Life meal plan can be used for each individual throughout his or her life. In this version, there was no more talk of ‘dead’ and ‘living,’ but the emphasis was on enzyme-rich or enzyme-deficient foods.

They promptly began selling enzyme supplements called as nutritional supplements.

Fit For Life Ingredients

The Harvey Diamond Fit for Life diet recipes is mostly made of unprocessed whole foods.

The strategies of combining certain groups of food are not proven to improve health and have no strong scientific basis. The diet chiefly consists of:

  • Whole grain foods
  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh fish
  • Organic eggs
  • Vegetable oils and seasoning
  • Food with high water content

Does Fit For Life Work?

This diet focuses on lifestyle changes and eating habits. Because Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond and Merilyn Diamond was published several decades ago, several happy people have lost weight.

However, it remains unknown whether or not these people succeeded in losing weight because of the authors’ insights or merely because of restrictions on their calorie intake.

Many have nothing but praise for the book and the authors but there are many others from the realm of nutrition and health have reservations about supporting this diet which promises weight-loss.

There are people who still consider it a fad, albeit one that has stood the test of time.

Fit For Life Benefits And Results

Though widely known as a diet for weight loss without causing adverse effects, Fit for Life is much more than just a diet program.

It is actually a healthier way of living. Unlike the many crash diets that cause you to lose weight drastically but bounce back to your original weight in a trice, Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond does not cause this yo-yo effect.

After the initial days of perpetual hunger pangs, you will get used to (and even look forward to) short and frequent snack breaks. Healthy eating and proper hydration result in weight loss.

Details On Fit For Life And Weight Loss

The fundamental principle of this diet plan states that just by eating more amounts of the right type of food, you can alter your life, get into shape, and live happily.

The plan entails adhering to your body’s natural cycles of digestion, assimilation, and excretion and eliminating highly refined grains from your diet.

Fit For Life 24

This is a premier all-week and all-day fitness center that offers free nutrition programs with a low membership fee of barely $10 per month.

The center offers the most diverse fixed and free weights and has the widest variety of equipment which includes flat benches, squat racks, and many more.

Fit for Life 24 is the go-to fitness center for those who yearn to be Fit for Life.

How To Diet With Fit For Life

The first step is to divide your day into three phases or time pockets. When you adhere to this natural cycle of life, your body works best and everything else falls into place. Noon to 8 pm is the time for eating food and its digestion.

8 p.m. to 4 a.m. is the time for assimilation when your body absorbs and uses. 4 a.m. to noon is the elimination of waste. Once you follow this pattern, you can get Fit for Life.

The Good And The Bad FFL Food

FFL promotes eating fruit by itself earlier in the day when your stomach is empty. You must wait 30 minutes before you consume any other food.

Proteins should be eaten as a main course in combination with a large helping of vegetables as a side dish. Starches can also be eaten as a main course with vegetables.

Oils, animal fats, and dairy products cause indigestion, weight gain, and are likely to ferment in the stomach. Seed oils and nut butter are preferred.

Non-starchy fruits and vegetables with high water content and fiber such as zucchini, squash, cucumber, collards, lettuce, cabbage, parsley, okra, beet greens, kale, asparagus, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and broccoli are recommended.

Garlic, leeks, shallots, radishes, and onions are considered irritants and should be used sparingly.

Fit For Life Food Combining Chart

The idea behind combining varieties of food is to complement nutritive values. Diamond strongly believed in this.

It is the basis for the Fit for Life food combining chart. Although the concept itself was around for decades, the Fit for Life book by Harvey Diamond served to popularize it.

This chart is a perfect guide for people who wish to learn which food combinations will work for them. Health Authority has a food combination chart.

The Fit for Life diet plan works around the food combining chart and natural body cycle.

Consequently, there is a restriction on what can be eaten and at what time of the day. The diet eschews the consumption of dairy products, animal protein, and processed food.

The diet also advocates certain combinations of food.

Diamond believed that when food was properly combined to promote good digestion, it will result in weight loss and also body energization.

Side Effects Of Fit For Life Diet Plan

One of the most obvious side effects is the overwhelming pangs of hunger.

The diet requires you to start the day with a bowl of serving of fruits. With a breakfast of a bowl of fruits, you will be counting minutes for the mid-morning snack, a whole wheat bagel or another bowl of fruit.

There are specific kinds of food which can be in combination, so the choice is quite limited. As a result, this diet can leave you feeling perpetually hungry, tired, and constantly looking forward to the next meal.

Fit For Life Diet Plan Warnings

The first complaint of skeptics is the lack of sound scientific backing for some of the diet’s rules. Eating healthy whole grains and fresh produce is a welcoming start, but there are many claims which lack proof.

This is probably because the authors lack expertise in this field. They don’t have the educational qualification, or training, or personal experience to validate their claims in the book.

This amounts to dishonesty and there was a lawsuit in this regard. There is no sound scientific proof for many of their claims.

Reception To Fit For Life Diet Plan By Scientists

Health experts and nutritionists have scant regard for the book by Diamonds and have dismissed it as sheer quackery. Not only are Harvey Diamond’s credentials widely disputed, but many of the book’s claims have also been questioned by the scientific community.

The ideas propounded in the FFL diet have heavy leanings to alternative medicine, especially on theories of how our bodies work. Some of the ideas are not acceptable by conventional medicine and others totally contradict scientific research.

Fit For Life Alternatives

The diet plan is similar to many plant-based, low calorie, high-protein diets and discourages the consumption of processed food.

This was a revolutionary idea at that time but there are several current meal plans and diets where people are more aware and conscious of their health and food habits.

The following diets could be regarded as alternatives to the FFL diet plan:

The Seven-Day Hay Diet

This is based on combining certain foods and avoiding foods which can increase acidity levels in your system and hinder the digestion process. It is good for detoxifying and weight loss, says Livestrong.

Three- Day Fruit And Vegetable Diet

According to Livestrong, this is a detox diet that is prescribed to cleansing your system. Vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and can help reduce the risk of heart problems, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. This is followed only for three days, then a normal diet is resumed.

Two-Week Vegan Meal Plan

This is for those who are considering turning vegan or for die-hard vegans who want to try new delicacies. This collection of vegan recipes from the PETA website is a treat. There are ready-to-eat meals offered along with the conventional stove-top, steaming hot ones.



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