Book Review – Anything You Want

Summary

Derek Sivers a musician disrupts the music industry and creates CD Baby after being turned away from music distributors as “only record labels are allowed to deal with us, we dont work directly with the artists”. Sivers creates CD Baby to sell his music. Anything You Want describes 40 lessons learned during this time.

My Takeaways

A short book meant to be read in about an hour, I really liked it, I think because its so short it really cuts to the chase without any of the usual bumf. I like Sivers cynicism of how he didn’t really want to have a business or expand as rapidly as he did. With the book being so short I dont have a huge amount to say about it, being able to get though it in an hour does anything I think really matter you may as well just pick it up and see for yourself.

Favorite Quotes

“Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy. Don’t” – Derek Sivers

“Don’t be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams.” – Derek Sivers

In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have.” – Derek Sivers

“If you think your life’s purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt, you’ll overlook the little day-to-day things that fascinate you.” – Derek Sivers

“any business that’s in business to sell you a cure is motivated not to focus on prevention” – Derek Sivers

Closing Words

A short blog post for a short book, I would recommend this book as a must read, I really enjoyed it, I enjoyed Sivers humor and had an interest in what he had to say. Buy it, read it, if you like it great, if not you’ve only lost an hour.

Book Review – Atomic Habits

Summary

Atomic Habits by James Clear is one of those books you see recommended by everyone and after reading I can see why. I started reading the book in November last year but, most of my reading stopped in December and have only gotten around to finishing it off now. The books like its title suggests is about habits. How habits are created, how to form good habits, how to stick with new habits, how to break bad habits. It describes a process of forming or breaking habits. Atomic Habits describes a process of breaking habits down into tiny “atomic” increments where it takes only a short time to complete (5-10 minutes max). An example would be teaching yourself piano, rather than learn a whole song learn only a few keys, practice these keys daily until the become second nature then move on to the next keys. While slow at first eventually you will be able to play a whole song, the process of learning and practicing these small increments each day compounds until it’s a habit of yours that you play piano.

My Takeaways

I enjoyed the book although I have found the topic of habits interesting and have had previous exposure to the topic when reading about getting a better nights sleep. I hope James Clears words stick when I am trying out something new I have a tendency to dive in head first, obsess over a topic then burn out, either because I am not seeing progress quick enough or I don’t have the skills required to get where I want to be. Adopting some of the methods described in Atomic Habits will allow me to see more projects/activities though to the end. I read the book on my kindle I would say it would be better in print form as there are a few tables within the book that I found hard to digest on my e-reader.

Favorite Quotes

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” – James Clear

“Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.” – James Clear

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement” – James Clear

“Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement.” – James Clear

Closing Words

Would I recommend the book? I would if you have an interest in habits and like to do many hobbies or activities but struggle to keep them up or see them through to where you wish to be.

Book Review – How to Win Friends and Influence People (in a Digital Age) – Dale Carnegie

With my second review comes a decision to format each book review article in the same way. This should provide commonality across them as they grow in number and provide me with a clear format on what I should be including a set amount of information. So each review from now on will begin with a summary, my takeaways then finally some of my favourite quotes. So lets yet into it 🙂

Summary

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a pretty old book, first published in 1937 its sold over 30 million copies and is listed as one of the best selling and most influential books of all time. The version I have recently finished is an updated version that reframes Carnegie’s original topics and fames them around using social media and the Internet, things that were pure imagination back in the 30’s. The book goes though a number of key principles of communication, self expression, leadership and how your or business actions in certain situations can go different ways depending how you take them and react either in good or bad ways. It poses a number of scenarios in story format of ways in which businesses or people have addresses situations and the consequences of such actions advising you as the reader on the good and bad things so should you find yourself in a similar situation you are better equiped though your learnings of the book.

My Takeaways

I have heard about this book a bunch of times over the years, its much shorter than I thought it would be. Its more of guidelines on how to be a nice person more than anything else and how just being a good person generally leads to great things somewhere or another. After reading it, what is hyped as one of the must reads of ones life time I didn’t really think it was that great, maybe this was the first book back in the 30’s to say these mantras to live by, but I feel like I’ve read them all a dozen times now over the years in other self-help/growth books and blogs.

The version I read was published in 2011, adding the digital age to the title kind of means it gets outdated fast, with tech and the technology industry moving at a blistering pace it speaks about Facebook back then not the raging behemoth it is now and doesn’t even mention Instagram, I guess that this update needs updated again.

Favourite Quotes

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” – Dale Carnegie

“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.” – Dale Carnegie

“By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.” – Dale Carnegie

Closing Words

Would I recommend it yea, probably I would ask a question on how many self-help books the reader has already read, if only a couple, crack on but if you have read a fair number your have likely already heard most of the teachings but its short enough to blast though in a week or so.

Book Review – 5am Club – Robin S. Sharma

“Living the same week a few thousand times and calling it a life. I need to tell you that too many among us die at thirty and are buried at eighty.” – Robin S. Sharma

5am Club a book by Robin S. Sharma speaks about the benefits of waking up at 5am everyday before the rest of the world rises. The self help book takes the form of a story where 2 people meet a homeless man at a conference in New York, the homeless man turns out to be a world eccentric business mogul and billionaire Stone Riley. Stone takes it upon himself to teach his new found friends the ways for the 5am club as the travel the globe on his private jets learning they ways to bulletproof your life and achieve greatness through rising at 5am.

The book speaks of the 20/20/20 concept where you wake at 5am, perform 20 minutes of intense exercise, 20 minutes of self reflection such as meditation or journaling and 20 minutes of growth through reading and learning, the idea of doing this at 5am gives you 1hr of pure self care without distraction before everyone else starts to begin their days. It also touches on subjects that we as humans are meant to rise with the sun like our ancestors of old and that the human mind and body is at the most productive at first light rather than burning the midnight oil before going to sleep.

“All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” – Robin S. Sharma

The book doesn’t shy away from delivering hard truths, it bluntly states that most people lack the ability to rise at 5am that the temptation is just to much to fall back onto the pillow and go back to sleep and that waking at 5am is a true mind over matter battle that only the most dedicated can achieve. The books discusses issues on social media and our inability to escape news and current affairs keeping us in an endless trap glues to our smart phones scrolling though social media for a quick happiness fix when all it really does it leave us hungering for more.

“Limitation is nothing more than a mentality that too many good people practice daily until they believe it’s reality.” – Robin S. Sharma

The story itself following the three protagonists around is somewhat shallow, you can predict what going to happen next quite easily, although I do understand the story is only present to provide a framework for delivering a larger methodology but I felt it quite corny at times.

Ironically my major takeaway from the book is not that waking at 5am will solve all of your problems but the fact that implementing small but good habits and sticking to them overtime can result in a great amount of self improvement and a level of increased happiness.

I enjoyed the book, I might read another of the authors publications in time, but I won’t be rushing out to the pick it up straight away.

Listening Faster – Audiobooks at x2 speed

Over that last few weeks I have begun listening to audiobooks at x2+ speed, after each book is completed I increase the speed by 0.5 to find my max digestion speed. As it stands my current speed is at x2.15, I still have no problem taking in the information or understanding what’s being said. I’ll admit when I first started at x2.0 speed it sounds a bit strange but after 10-15min my brain had adapted and was processing the information normally. But why I hear you ask?

Consuming information and media is a fundamental part of life, whether your listening, watching or reading we all do it, it’s how we grow as a person via our learnings and life experiences, if you can consume and learn more, it can set you apart from another who is consuming only minimal amounts and not learning much at all.

If I said to you that you could easily get through 5-6 audiobooks per month with only an hour a day of listening, would this not peak your interest? Over the course of a year you would amass a total completed list of 72 audiobooks!

How? Audiobooks are recorded for all ages and capabilities, the default playback speed has to suit everybody regardless of the speed they themselves can read or digest information. In a digital age of social media and instant gratification the speed I can process information is much faster than the likes of my Dad, while he is tech savvy enough not he’s not been around technology and the Internet throughout all of his teens and adult life like I have, he’s much more comfortable reading the paper than flicking though Reddit and news sites. Due to the bombardment of information I am used to I can process information quicker, and more efficiently than my Dad can and no doubt the kids of today the true digital natives can do it better and faster than me.

Finding your limits, when you read a book to yourself or think to yourself what speed does your internal monologue go at? I am sure its much faster than you can read aloud. The aim of listening to audiobooks at an increased speed it to find where your limit is, when your internal monologue can no longer keep up, once this point is reached drop the speed one or two points below this value and continue listening. Being at x2.15 at the moment I am having no trouble I can see myself reaching around x2.5 before I need to look at tapering off.

Honestly give it a go, audio books, podcasts anything you just need to sit and listen to, its weird at first listening to someone speak in fast forward, by your mind soon adapts the situation and handles it as the new normal.