Hello! I'm so glad you're here.

This is about saving you time and energy, two of the most valuable resources on the planet. I read a new book every week, so you don't have to! It is my intention to share my findings and discoveries from the books I've read every 4 months or so.

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*Clicking any of the book images will bring you to that book's Amazon page

Here is a summary of the 34 books I've read so far in 2017:

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau 

You can pretty much skip the first half completely and the second half is packed full of useful, practical, frugal steps to launch a business on a budget.

If I had to choose just one tip I liked the most, I'd say it was - "Become as big as you want to be - and no bigger."

Check out his podcasts and his blog - he’s a smart guy.

The 4 Hour Workweek
Tools of Titans

These are both written by Tim Ferriss.
The 4 Hour Workweek is an EXCELLENT book - highly practical, worth more than one read. My two biggest takeaways were:
  1. Prioritize every task in the day to decrease wasted time and energy, and
  2. Outsource the work you can. It’s very difficult to be a one-person show, and many entrepreneurs stay in this area for too long. Find some quality, low-cost help and you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you can be. (Read on for my review of Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker)
Tools of Titans was extremely long and honestly, kind of random. The vast majority of people didn't hold any profound, life-changing wisdom. If they did, it would have been nice just to pick the best advice to report on. Every single person interviewed takes up at least a couple pages of text. Highly repetitive.
  1. It's Dangerous to be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom
  2. Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History
  3. Theodore and Woodrow: How 2 American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom
  4. Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks its Own Rules
  5. A Nation of Sheep

These are all written by Andrew Napolitano, a former judge, attorney, law professor & media commentator. First, let's have a quick chuckle at the fact that he puts his own face on the cover of every book. Okay, back to work!

I gave every one of these books 5 stars on Goodreads, with the exception of Theodore and Woodrow. For a judge, he was not very objective in that book.

I highly recommend every American read It’s Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong - his second most recently published book of these 5. He breaks down all the ways a government can be dangerous when it’s given too much power. Stresses the importance of individual rights and freedom.

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough & John Helvar

    I found the most interesting part of this book to be how old some of the Nabisco products are. Oreos, Fig Newtons, and Animal Crackers were invented in about 1912. I learned an excessive amount of detail about leveraged buyouts and junk bonds. Give it a read if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

Big Game Hunting by Christopher Kai 

Don’t worry - it’s not about hunting. It’s about meeting “big game” AKA high-level people, including celebrities and public figures. My favorite thing about this book is its concise, practical nature. He gives you step by step tools to get you out there rubbing shoulders with the influences you want to have in your life. No more fear! Life is too short and time too valuable to waste wondering “what-if?”

    The author is highly responsive on his social media accounts - practice your “big game hunting” skills on him! Tell him Taylor sent you - and because of that, he should give me his $2,000 public speaking course for free! Hehe.

Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam

    The title is derived from the fact that less and less people are in bowling leagues nowaday. It examines social changes over time.

I had a hard time getting the message of this book. It’s jam packed with loads of interesting data and studies. I don’t exactly know what the author suggested us to do about it, but maybe I’m not quite ready for the depth of information he explored. This was recommended by my favorite living philosopher, Stefan Molyneux, so I’ll be giving it another read in the future.

The Brain Warrior's Way by Daniel & Tana Amen

There wasn't a whole lot of fresh, interesting, new data in here that I found. I can save you the trouble of reading it by telling you to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, get outside and get moving.

Built to Sell: Creating a Business that can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow

    This book humbled me, because it felt like it was so far beyond what my business has achieved, and caused me to second guess a lot of the decisions I made in starting and designing my business. It was like trying to drink from a fire hydrant, so I’ll be giving it another read in the future.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

This book was a gift from a friend and I honestly don't know what the point of it was. It was mildly humorous, but I learned nothing from it.

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracey

    This is one of my favorite books of all time - this was the second time I’ve read it. It was much more eye-opening the first time around, but still a classic. A quick read that tells you in full detail exactly how to prioritize and map out your days to maximize your success and productivity. Eating a frog is a metaphor for the hardest thing you have to do in a day. Always do the hardest thing first and you’ll have one hard thing done every single day!

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber 

In a nutshell, the author categorizes the 3 major traits of every entrepreneur. The entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. The entrepreneur part of yourself is the creative energy - the spontaneous thinker constantly dreaming up new products, services, and ideas. The manager is the organized part of yourself - the part that resists surprises and change and knows how to maximize efficiency and maintain order. The technician part of you is the worker - the one who gets their hands dirty and gets the "grunt" work done.

The author also goes into detail on exactly how to structure your business to achieve its maximum growth potential. I repeat - this is a MUST read for all entrepreneurs - and “wantrepreneurs” - I wish I’d read it before I started my business.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

    This is a classic I recommend re-reading regularly. It is an ancient Toltec belief system that consists of 4 simple, yet profound, concepts.

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best.
Imagine how different our world would be if we realized that our words hold SO much power and that how another person speaks or acts towards us says NOTHING about us - it’s about them. You can only control and concern yourself with your own words and behaviors. So, get out there and speak positivity and truth!
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

This is exactly the kind of book I love. Super practical, short, clear, concise. Great tips - explores the different ways you can influence/persuade others, and also ways to protect yourself from being manipulated by others using these same techniques. I'll definitely be reading this again - probably every year to keep it fresh in my mind. If I have to pick one tip to give you from this, it would be:
     - Be likable. Compliment people regularly and really LISTEN to what they say. This is going to help ALL of your relationships personally and professionally.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy O'Nassis: The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming

    This was an interesting book I read as a part of a book club I’m in locally with a few girlfriends. The author presents Jackie as inhumanly innocent, but her life is still fascinating. Death seemed to follow her and she struggled with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) for 31 years.

The Key Poses of Yoga by Ray Long
I wouldn't define these poses as the "key" poses of yoga - but it was definitely helpful to learn the key muscles and see exactly how they look in the different postures. Our knowledge of anatomy can always deepen.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries 

    A little heavy on the anecdotes, so I’ve pulled out the 3 things I was most grateful to learn from this book. Not only is this book written for entrepreneurs/wantrepreneurs, but it’s also perfect for “intrapreneurs” - employees looking to apply their creativity to new projects/ventures within the organization they work for.

  1. Validated Learning - If you try something and it doesn’t work, prove that you learned something from it by trying something different next time.

  2. Minimum Viable Product - Launch your prototype product as soon as possible - don’t be a perfectionist! You need to be sure you have an interested market before you waste too much time and energy perfecting a product no one wants.

  3. Smoke Signal Marketing - Advertise your product or service before it’s even available. Be sure people want your product - and not from their words, but from their wallets.

    1. Examples:

      • Charge $1 for an ebook about the product, to be sure people are interested. If they won’t invest $1, you may need to reconsider your model.

      • Don’t process any payments - when they go to purchase the product, they’ll get a message along the lines of “We’re so sorry this is not available yet, we’ll be sure to contact you the moment it becomes available.”

The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science by John Yates AKA Culadasa

Mr. Yates - Stop over-complicating meditation. We don't need 413 big pages of text to figure it out. Read Soul-Centered by Sarah McLean instead. Much shorter and more practical. This is mainly a theological book - there are a couple meditations at the end. If you've read about meditation before, you probably won't find much new in here.
Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine
A lot of self-development books have a similar theme. So, it can be difficult to "wow!" me. Stressed the importance and the benefits of positivity, but I still prefer Barbara Fredrickson's book entitled Positivity. Hers is wildly more practical. This is more informational. They have a cool personality test you can use to evaluated your Positivity Quotient (PQ) - mine was surprisingly low!

Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few by Robert Reich

    I read this book by request of one of our channel sponsors. I was surprised to find a few things I agree with this author on. Mostly, we disagree as much as black and white. He repeatedly states that the argument for a free market is not even worth having - but never fully explains why he thinks that. All I could tell is that he’s against having a free market, which in my opinion, is dangerous. Anyone who thinks more regulation, more taxation, and more government is the solution to our problems concerns me. I’d be happy to have a discussion with him, I’m open to being wrong!

Smart Talk: The Public Speaker’s Guide to Success in Every Situation by Lisa B. Marshall

    I liked a lot of the advice she gave, unfortunately - none of the techniques she gives you are easy to remember. So, unless you carry this book around with you, it's really not very practical. If you read it often enough, that might help. Instead, I recommend you join your local chapter of Toastmasters.

  1. Our Oriental Heritage (The Story of Civilization, Vol 1/11)
  2. The Age of Napoleon (The Story of Civilization, Vol 11/11)
Both of these are by Will Durant, his wife Ariel helping write The Age of Napoleon.

This is an 11 volume series of the history of human civilization, recommend by Tai Lopez. I found Our Oriental Heritage to be more interesting than The Age of Napoleon. I especially loved reading about India and the history of yoga. I felt like there was so much more information than necessary in both of these, especially Napoleon. It's important to check in with history from time to time because, as the saying goes, history tends to repeat itself.
The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

I found this book to be over-rated. Here was my biggest takeaway:
  • The 3 Types of People that are most useful to having a product/idea/service take off like a social epidemic. The author states you're either one of these types of people naturally or you're not. I don't really buy in to that.
    1. Connectors (High-level Networkers)
    2. Mavens (Experts/Geniuses)
    3. Salesmen (High-level Persuaders)
You can really just read the title of the book and get the point. It was significantly longer than necessary and largely impractical. I learned a lot of interesting things about Sesame Street, haha...
Unbroken: An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand

This was so inspiring - it is amazing what we can survive and endure. This guy went from being a thief as a young kid to being an Olympic level runner all the way to ending up in a variety of Japanese POW camps and prisons during WWII. Not very practical, but interesting nevertheless!

The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone

    This is an interesting book only if you’re interested in Airbnb or Uber. I found it mildly interesting, but WAY too long to get the idea across to the every-day reader. More details than I deemed necessary unless you’re an investor in either of the companies. After reading this, I’m at the same place I was with both companies prior to reading it - a big fan of Uber and a non-fan of Airbnb. My opinion was based on personal experience, upon reading the book I found myself agreeing and identifying with the creators of Uber (Travis Kalanick & Garrett Camp) and disagreeing with/confused by the creators of Airbnb (Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia & Nathan Blecharczyk.) I much preferred this author’s previous book The Everything Store about Amazon and Jeff Bezos.

Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker
I was inspired to read this book from The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss - and I'm so very glad I did! As a new entrepreneur, I can use all the help and knowledge I can get when it comes to hiring and retaining staff. A must-read for all business owners. He discusses all the different types of virtual assistants you might need for your business to grow, how to go about finding them - and managing them. He talks about the pros and cons of sending your work overseas or keeping it in the US. Great information in here - I plan to read it again as I organize my tasks into more clearly defined roles.

The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism by Ayn Rand

    I absolutely adored this book. The title speaks for itself. I wish Ayn was alive today so I could pick her brain. When she started saying anarchy was naive and that we need a small government with a monopoly on force, she lost me a little bit. I think I might agree with her, but I’ll have to give this one a second read. I’m currently reading Atlas Shrugged, another one of her books. Her novel, The Fountainhead is my favorite book of all time, and I don’t even like fiction!

Why Sell Tacos in Africa? by Robert Oberschneider

    This book covers the importance of blue-sky markets. The metaphor is a taco stand in Africa - hard to find, so if you open a taco stand there, you’re pretty much guaranteed 100% of the local, taco-loving market. Be ahead of the competition, beat them to the race and by the time they show up, you’ll be so far ahead of them, it won’t matter if they out-compete you. You’ll have been successful enough to move on to the next blue-sky market. Get ahead of the trends.

Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits by Kevin Roose

    This was one that caught my eye at the library - turned out to be mildly interesting, but mostly a waste of time. Explores the Wall Street crash of 2008 from the point of view of a few young bankers during the aftermath.

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