January 7, 2016

Books

Welcome, and thanks for visiting this page!

I set out to read 26 NEW books in 2016 (one new book every two weeks).

This was my way of staying accountable and sharing some useful recommendations with friends.

I also extracted simple directives from each one that you can apply to your life.

P.S.: If you’d like to see my personal notes for any book in particular, let me know in the comments section.

2016

The One Sentence Persuasion Course by Blair Warren ☑

I finished off 2015 with a number of books on charisma, persuasion, and negotiation tactics. Based on that, this tiny book was one of the recommended reads in my Kindle suggestions; I was skeptical at first (given that it’s only about 30 pages long) but seeing excellent reviews and a price around $3, there wasn’t much to lose.
The author begins by introducing the topic and giving some brief reasoning/science behind persuasion. Without much unnecessary chatter, the reader is presented with the 1 sentence (or 27 words) that represents the basic truth behind every other book you will read on this subject. Simply put, it’s almost like a mantra that can be easily remembered any time you want to become a little more charismatic and persuasive. It may seem obvious once you find out what it is, but it’s something we often forget to do – this book alone will remind you how to be more likable, friendly, and trustworthy. I recommend it and personally find myself always going back through the highlights – especially before important meetings or when reaching out to people via email and LinkedIn.

Mastery by Robert Greene

I’ve read two of Greene’s other books (which I will review in the future) and really enjoyed his style of writing. Those unfamiliar with his work will be amazed by the extent of his research; the man reads hundreds of biographies of remarkable individuals throughout history and observes common character traits and patterns of behaviour. This book analyses what it takes to become a master at a particular skill or subject in general. Some of the notable individuals discussed here include: Mozart, Freddie Roach, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison , Albert Einstein , and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe just to name a few.
Greene describes the steps necessary to achieve mastery, hindrances to reaching one’s full potential, and constantly provides relevant examples of successful individuals.
Not only is this book entertaining and filled with great historical facts, but it may also change the way you see your personal and career development (like it did with me).

Overall, amazing piece of work and I highly recommend it!

How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman

We always hear about the importance of first impressions and how we only get one shot to make it count. This book is among my most highlighted and one I’ve taken extensive notes on; what sets it apart from others is the huge amount of practical advice, with tips and tricks that can slide under the radar of those around you but have an enormous impact on their perception of you. The author covers every small detail in an encounter, from the approach and introduction to the establishment of rapport and body language. Things such as stance, the tilt of your handshake, greeting, conversation framing, and even the position of your jacket are all discussed and explained. The slightest improvement of a few of those aspects in the first 10 seconds of meeting someone will have a drastic impact on the quality of the conversation and the long-lasting effect on the other individual. Highly recommend this book and looking forward to re-reading it in the future, give it a try!

Get it and drastically improve your first impressions on people.

22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout

This may be one of the best books on marketing ever written. After reading it, you’ll understand why so many successful companies struggle and will be able to trace it back to elementary mistakes described here. From studying business for four years in university, I’ve learned more about marketing and branding in a few hours listening to Al Ries and Jack Trout than every marketing class I’ve taken. There is a reason why it’s the #1 best seller on Amazon in its category and why you may hear so many successful businessmen recommend it. I suggest writing out out all the laws and quick examples for each one for reference in the future.

Make sure to get the original, 1994 version as it presents much better examples than the revised editions.

Maximum Influence: The 12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion by Kurt W. Mortensen

I would not recommend this book as there are better alternatives in my opinion, although it’s a decent introduction to the topic. Overall it’s poorly structured in terms of listing and describing the laws (unlike 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing mentioned above); furthermore, it lacks applicable advice or concrete examples to explain the subject better. I’ll save you some time and list the few new ideas I was able to extract from it:
– Great persuaders ask 3 times as many questions as the average salesmen (acting as a consultant rather than spit our straight facts)
– Without involvement there’s no commitment; it’s important to get people to start something (test drive, sample, taste, etc.)
– Employees work harder if their opinions/inputs are considered, even if final decision goes against it
– Emotional messages are perceived better than logical (ex: picture a homeless man with a sign that reads ‘I am hungry’ and another with ‘What if your parents were this hungry? – as you may suspect the latter will get more attention)
– A list of persuasive words, especially useful in copy writing (such as: discover, guarantee, benefit, proven, transform, etc.)

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

After listening a number of podcasts with Peter Thiel as a guest and finding him very intelligent I decided to pick up his book. Suffice to say I truly enjoyed it and finished it in a couple of hours. Peter’s extensive experience in business (notably from co-founding PayPal) and investing in start-ups provides a unique, insider point of view. This book discusses the significance of creating something completely new rather than working on marginal improvements to existing products. Likewise, Peter discusses corporate culture and the importance of assembling the right team from the start. There are many good takeaways in this book and a few ideas I’ve been personally preoccupied with, such as acquiring more technical skills or getting into business with individuals who have an engineering/programming background.

Overall, it’s an excellent book that will make you want to think bigger.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari

I used to dread my daily commute, until I began listening to this book. It’s one of the most comprehensive, yet compact, accounts of human history bringing back memories of encyclopedias I enjoyed as a kid. The author explains a large variety of topics such as creation, evolution, money, and how formation of larger groups through shared stories made sapiens stand out from the rest.
He also explores fundamental differences between religions and theistic/naturalistic beliefs, ideologies and political systems; in doing so, the author not only presents facts and events, but also provokes deep thought on possibilities and trends of the future. The writing style is engaging and captivating, where Harari often uses humorously constructed scenarios to demonstrate the ridiculousness of some past ideas that humanity held as universal truth. I rarely read non-business related books, but this one’s a keeper and one I’ll gladly re-visit in the future.

Not surprisingly, it’s also #1 best seller in its category.

Quiet by Susan Cain 

This book has forced my to do quite a bit of introspection and helped me better understand who I am as a person. It’s funny how you can go on with your daily life without thinking about why you do things a certain way, such as the motivations and impulses that dictate your actions. For example, I’ve learned the difference between shyness and introversion, temperament and personality, pre-dispositions and our ability to stretch like a rubber band in abnormal situations. Most importantly this book will help you understand your own preferred level of stimulation so you can organize your life around your optimal levels of arousal. Susan Cain presents a strong argument that by finding that sweet spot, you can better re-arrange your life to increase happiness and energy levels – something we never seem to have enough of.

There are many more gems in this book and I definitely recommend you grab a copy, you won’t regret it.

Upcoming Summaries:

Waking Up by Sam Harris ☑
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy ☑
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini ☑
How to Get Rich by Dennis Felix ☑
Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman ☑
The Millionaire Next Door by Mj DeMarco ☑
7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness by Jim Rohn ☑
Pre-Suasion by  Dr. Robert Cialdini ☑
Vagabonding by Ralph Pots ☑
The Secrets to Closing a Sale by Zig Ziglar ☑
God’s Debris by Scott Adams ☑
The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant ☑
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman ☑
How To Master The Art Of Selling Anything by Tom Hopkins ☑
Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss ☑
Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters by Alan S. Miller & Satoshi Kanazawa ☑

Currently Reading:

– Elon by Ashley Vancee
– 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
– The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz