“You have to start somewhere. You don’t need perfect – or a lot of money or an investor – you need passion, drive, determination, focus, and execution.”Jaime Cross
Back in my days as a banker I spent one year working at a branch that was a pretty good daily commute. Those daily commutes were when I discovered my love for self-education. I remember listening to a Tony Robbins CD and he said when he was first getting started he read 700 books. I wasn’t a reader but I remember thinking, “If 700 books can get Tony Robbins to where he is, I’m going to read 700 books.” I’ve been an avid reader ever since.
I often think about how I will maximize my benefits of reading. What are the best habits and practices I need to have to get the most out of what I read?
What Am I Reading and Why Am I Reading It?
When I first began reading it was just a race to 700. I was focused on reading books on leadership, management and a variety of different business topic. But I’d finish one, put it on the shelf and start the next one. My thought was that if I can even retain a little from each book, if I read a lot of books, that’s a lot of new knowledge. Looking back I jumped around from topic to topic. Some of the first books I read were: Secrets of Power Negotiating, Good to Great, Raving Fans, and Man’s search For Meaning. I usually chose the books I read because they were mentioned in another book I was reading or someone suggested it. A lot of the time that is how I still choose books today, but I have more intent and focus on what I’m choosing to read now.
When I added Audible to my tools, that really gave me the ability to get through some books. I spend a lot of time on the road and whenever I’m in my truck I have an audio book playing.
Now, when I choose a book to read, I look for something that is applicable to me at the time. A book that I feel will help me in what I’m dealing with in business or life at that moment. I no longer read just to get on to the next book. I read with an intent to learn and apply what I learn in my life.
Learn Less, Study More…
Darren Hardy is an author I enjoy learning from. I remember him saying that we need to “learn less and study more. Learning is not the problem; lack of real study and implementation is.” I spend a lot of time taking about and reviewing things I’ve read with my brother-in-law, Sheldon. He studies Darren Hardy’s work a lot and he brought this topic up with me shortly after I had read it. He made me realize that this is something that would be beneficial to me. After our conversation I made some changes to my reading habits.
I take more time going through a book now to study the content and learn it better. If I find a book I really like, right after I finish reading it I’ll often turn to page one and start over.
I’ll often finish a book and then get it on Audible so I can listen to it as well. Or, if I first listed to it on Audible I’ll listen to it again and/or also get the hard copy to read.
Rather than flying through books now, I spend more time studying what I’m reading. That way, rather than hoping I’ll retain a little from each book, I feel that I can retain a lot more.
Highlight, Mark, Dog Ear
I take pride in my home library. In fact, when I started to use Audible I would often still buy the hard copy of the book so it would be in my library. As my library grew, those books were by pride and joy. I don’t lend my books out because I don’t want them to disappear like the neighbor’s borrowed tools. I keep them in good condition, organized exactly how I want them. I use to want every book in perfect shape. No markings, no dog eared pages. But I have found so much value in learning and accepting the fact that to get the most out of my books I need to mark them up, write in the margins, bend some corners, etc. When I read I have my ruler, my pen and my highlighter with me. They are just as important as having the book.
I find by marking things in the book I remember them better. But I also find that it helps me to find things a lot easier. I’ll often be on a call or in a coaching session when something pops into my mind from something I’ve read. My library is behind my desk and it’s usually quite easy for me to jump up, grab the book and quickly find what I’m looking for.
When it comes to using Audible it’s easy to clip a note in the app and then I’ll add my own notes to the clip.
When I read a quote that I like I’ll often add it to my blog as well. At JeffHeggie.com each Tuesday I post my “Book Quote of the Week.” I also add many of them to my Instagram page, www.instagram.com/entrepreneur.next.door/
Teach What You Learn
One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it.
I find that when I read with the intent of teaching I am able to learn the subject matter a lot better. So as you read, whether you are going to have to teach it or not, read it as if you will have to teach it. Learn it well. Learn it good enough to teach it. You’ll find that you’ll know it better, be able to apply what you’ve learned better and you’ll find yourself referring to it more often in conversations.
We had something we called our Education Plan at Kodiak Mountain Stone. We would ask one of our team members to read a specific book and then we would have a team meeting where they would teach what they had learned from the book and how it would be applicable to us in our business and personal lives. The conversations and things that would come out of those meetings were amazing. But it was always the team member that lead the meeting that got the most out of it.
A while ago I read the book Expert Secrets, by Russell Brunson. It was a great book and I loved what I learned from it. I’m preparing for a Mastermind Event coming up soon and knew there were a few things in the book that I wanted to review for it so I could include them in what I would be teaching. As I was going through the chapters that I wanted to review, I was seeing things in a completely different way. The fact that I was going to be teaching some of the concepts and they were a lot more applicable to my current situation, I was understanding things even better. So rather than just review what I was going to need for the Mastermind, I turned to the front of the book and started to read it all again.
Knowledge is useless if you don’t do anything with it. The sooner you can take the things you learn from your reading and apply them to an area of your life, the better you will understand and remember your new knowledge.
Hopefully these are some practices that can help you to get the most out of your reading. Give them a try. I’d love to hear what you think. Send me your comments in the form below!
You can check out my reading list HERE
“The FASTEST way to getting back on my feet is to find the right customer who will advertise for me through word-of-mouth referrals.”Julie Stoian
High performance is not about a specific type of person. It’s not about winning the genetic lottery, how long you’ve worked, the shade of your skin, how many people are supporting you, or what you’re getting paid. It’s about your performance habits — which you have complete control over.
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”
Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise. That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand. And beware: brands always mean something. If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.
- Avoid taking on someone else’s legacy
- If you are in the mood to buy a new business – wait. It can take a long time to change a business culture. Are you sure you wouldn’t be better off starting one from scratch?
- In business, someone who can stay cool and calm under pressure is an asset.
- There’s no rule book. the past is the past. We can’t preserve it
- small, compact companies are, generally better run
- Put people together in a way that will have them bouncing ideas off each other, befriending each other, and taking care of each other, and suddenly they are coming to you, not with gripes and problems, but with solutions and great ideas.
- Given the right conditions, exceptional people will reveal themselves
- There’s another thing about teams: they don’t last forever
- When the business lets you, shake things up a little
- The best manager is someone who cares about people and who is genuinely interested and wants to bring out the best in them
- A manager should basically be a considerate person who is as interested in the switchboard operator and the person who cleans the lavatories as he or she is in the fellow managers
- A self-disciplined employee will have the patience to conduct routine business routinely, the talent to respond exceptionally to exceptional circumstances, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two
- you can’t dictate attitudes from on high. All you can do is hire the right people and empower them to sort things out as they happen.
- If someone has paid you for something, and it goes wrong, being cagey or defensive will kill you stone dead
- If someone has a lousy experience at your hands, they will warn people
- If you are able to sort out your customers’ problems better than they expected, then they will be your loyal friend for life
- Befriending one’s enemy is a good rule for business – and life
- A brand always means something, and ultimately you can control the meaning of your brand only through what you deliver to customers
- Turnover can be huge, but it is the profit margin that matters
- I learned another key fact about running a business: try to have a plan B
- Publicity is absolutely critical. You have to get your brand out and about
- A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a full-page ad, and a damn sight cheaper
- it is sometimes better to follow a pioneer than be a pioneer
- Maintaining a consistent tone in the face of rapid growth was a key requirement
- You can’t restructure culture. If you’ve burnt people, if you’ve killed their enthusiasm or commitment, then changing office space or putting a few more dollars in their pocket will not unduly affect the culture that exists
- Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise. That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand. And beware: brands always mean something. If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.
- Don’t waste your precious time. Phone calls and emails can eat your day. Don’t let them. No one will think less of you for getting to the point.
- I advise every owner of a company to keep a notebook and jot down the things that need doing
- You must never forget that every change ushers in unforeseen consequences
- Success one day does not give you a free lunch every day thereafter
- We’ve started, so we’ll finish
- Never imagine that you are immune from big events. Make your small decisions in the light of the bigger picture, and you are at least pointing your craft in the right direction to ride out any storm
- One business mantra remains embedded in my brain – protect the downside
- Remember to communicate, and pay attention to detail
- Don’t be afraid of changing your bank if they are unreasonable. Banks are not for life. But don’t put it off till the last minute
- Out of recession, new ideas and new business often grow
- If you are a late entrant to the market, you need to be radically different to win over customers.
- If you rip off the customer, then you will destroy the integrity of the brand
- When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity
- You can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business
- It’s easy – too easy, in fact – to relinquish your responsibility for your idea to experts. This is almost always a mistake, because experts are only experts in their field. They’re not experts in your idea. At this stage, the only person qualified to assess your idea is you
- You need to flesh out your own ideas. You need to do your own research. You need to take responsibility for how you plan to turn an idea into action
- Keep a cool head. You’re in business to deliver change, and if you succeed, the chances that no one will get hurt are virtually zero. This is the rough and tumble of business. Be sportsmanlike, play to win, and stay friends with people wherever possible. If you do fall out with someone, ring them a year later and take them out to dinner. Befriend your enemies.
- Being a well funded company puts you at a tremendous advantage
- Never do anything that means you can’t sleep at night
- You can’t protect yourself against the unexpected, so you need to keep your house in as good an order as you can. If disaster strikes, you don’t want to find yourself doing twelve things at once and misprioritising them in public. It’s vital, therefore, that you take control of your internal business risks – the ones you can influence.
- I think it is counterproductive to be ruthless. You’ve got to treat people as you would yourself, or better
- You definitely should get the best people around you when confronted with a serious problem. Don’t try to deal with it all by yourself. Don’t be afraid to seek help and advice.
- If you drive down the retail price fast enough when you are the dominant player, you never allow anyone else to catch up because they can’t make enough money. It requires the dominant player to be brave, because it can mean cannibalizing your existing sales by dropping the retail price. (i.e. Apple and the iPod)
- Protect your reputation. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
- If you’re hurt, lick your wounds and get up again. If you’ve given it your absolute best, it’s time to move forward.
- The best, most solid way out of a crisis in a changing market is through experiment and adaption.
- Innovation is what you get wen you capitalize on luck, when you get up from behind your desk and go and see where ideas and people lead you.
- True leadership must include the ability to distinguish between real and apparent danger.
- You need to understand the challenges to your enterprise and face up to them. Equally, you have to resist the temptation to overreact at the first sign of trouble.
- Every business plan should include: “This company will have lots and lots of parties and social get-togethers.”
- The creator’s job is to find someone with expertise who understands the vision and is prepared to follow the path.
- If you can keep the business relatively small, people will know each other within the organisation and feel like part of the team.
- Decent leadership is about explaining clearly and unemotionally why a decision has been taken.
- Failure is not giving things a go in the first place.
- Only a fool never changes his mind.
- DON’T BRING ME YOUR PROBLEMS – BRING ME THE SOLUTIONS
- It is possible to turn a profit while making the world a better place.
- What can you do to make a difference?
- One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never! – Sir Winston Churchill
- Don’t forget to listen
- It is important to look for one’s strengths – to try to excel at what you’re good at.
- What you’re bad at actually doesn’t interest people, and it certainly shouldn’t interest you.
- So don’t let your limits knock your self-confidence
- Success for me is whether you have created something that you can be really proud of.
This list is at the end of a previous post, Review Notes from Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, but I wanted to add it here to keep it separate for reference.
Many of these top 17 books are some that I have already read. But for those that I have not, they are next on my list. If you’re interested in any of them click on their title or join Audible and listen to them. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
In addition to this list, there are a number of other great books listed in Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. Check it out, it’s a great book.
- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harai
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
- The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert Cialdini
- Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
- Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
- Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P Feynman
- The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Tim Ferriss
- The Bible
- The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- Watchmen by Alan Moore
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel with Black Masters.
“Any undertaking that includes accepting average will fail you sooner or later.”
– Grant Cardone
“Treating success as an option is one of the major reasons why more people don’t create it for themselves – and why most people don’t even get close to living up to their full potential…
If you don’t consider it your duty to live up to your potential, then you simply won’t. If it doesn’t become an ethical issue for you, then you won’t feel obligated and driven to fulfill your capacity.”
– Grant Cardone
“The easiest way to feed your beast is to spend time learning something new or learning how to be even better at something you’re already doing.”
Also Check Out: