Book Notes

I wish I had always written down the highlights and/or main points from the books that have impacted my life. I still don't often enough but below is my public attempt. If it hurts you not to see a book on my reading list that you know I'd love, please send a message to, I beg you.

The 3 Minute Rule : Brant Pinvidic

  • You only have 3 minutes to win your audience.

  • You don’t need to say everything that you think you need to say.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People : Sean Covey

  • Our cultural view of success has, unfortunately, shifted from Character Ethic (integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule) to Personality Ethic (social recognition for talents).

  • It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law.

  • Correct maps will infinitely impact our personal and interpersonal effectiveness far more than any amount of effort expended on changing our attitudes and behaviors.

  • Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.

  • When relationships are strained and the air charged with emotion, an attempt to teach is often perceived as a form of judgement and rejection.

  • The more people are into quick fixes and focus on the acute problems and pain, the more that very approach contributes to the underlying chronic conditions.

  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

  • Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.

  • Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won't be good leaders or team players.

  • Life is, by nature, highly interdependent. To try to achieve maximum effectiveness through independence is like trying to play tennis with a golf club -- the tool is not suited to the reality.

  • Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make. Dependent people cannot choose to become interdependent.

  • Always treat hour employees like you'd like them to treat your best customers.

  • That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.

  • Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.

  • Proactive people can carry their own weather with them.

  • No one can hurt you without your consent.

  • My criticism is worse than the conduct I want to correct.

  • The power to make and keep commitments to ourselves is the essence of developing the basic habits of effectiveness.

  • Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

  • Imagine you're at your own funeral. What would you hope your (1) family (2) friends (3) co-workers and (4) community say about you if they each got the microphone?

  • Leadership is communicating to another their worth and potential so clearly they are inspired to see it in themselves.

  • Effective people are not problem-minded, they're opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems.

  • The key is not to prioritize what is on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

  • Trust is the highest form of human motivation.

  • If you don't know yourself, if you don't control yourself, if you don't have mastery over yourself, it's very hard to like yourself, except in some short-term, psych -up, superficial way.

  • Integrity is conforming reality to our words.

  • When you defend those who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.

  • When you have a no deal as an option in your mind, you feel liberated because yo have no need to manipulate people, to push your own agenda, to drive for what you want.

  • With win/win accountability, people evaluate themselves.

  • The amateur salesman sells products; the professional sells solutions to needs and problems.

  • Let negative energy fly out open windows.

  • Four values for a balanced life: perspective (spiritual), autonomy (mental), connectedness (social), and tone (physical)

  • The person who doesn't read is no better off than the person who can't read.

  • What do we reflect to others about themselves?

  • Your economic security does not rely on your job, it relies on your power to produce.

  • Accomplish a daily private victory each day.

  • He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds.

  • Bad habits are like comfortable beds -- easy to get into but hard to get out of.

11/22/1963 : Steven King

  • A rare fiction book on my list. Steven King captivated me with this one and made me an eager time traveler every time I opened it. This book made me neglect my family and brought me to tears. There I said it.

A Life In Parts : Bryan Cranston

  • I admire Bryan Cranston for his roles as Tim Whatley in Seinfeld and Walter White in Breaking Bad. Other than that, I was generally unfamiliar with him. My goodness was this autobiography fun to consume in audiobook format. Cranston is such a talented storyteller and ends each of his mini-chapters with a great life lesson. More importantly, this book made me start jotting down hypothetical chapter titles for moments in my life.

  • When Cranston stopped doing odd jobs in order to go all-in on his acting career, it was because he realized that he needed to try to get good at what he loved as opposed to trying to love what he was good at.

The Alchemist : Paulo Coelho

Americana: A 400 Year History of American Capitalism : Bhu Srinivasan

  • An insightful history lesson that made me say, repeatedly, "Wow, the United States is really nothing but a gigantic startup."

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for New Kind of Entrepreneurs : Derek Sivers

  • When you're onto something great, it won't feel like a revolution. It'll feel like uncommon sense.

  • No business plan survives first contact with customers.

  • None of your customers will ask you to turn your attention to expanding. They want you to keep your attention focused on them. It's counterintuitive, but the way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them, and they'll tell everyone.

  • Proudly exclude people and say what you are not. By doing so, you will win the hearts of the people you want.

  • When one customer wrongs you, remember the hundreds (or thousands) who did not.

  • No matter what business you're in, it's good to prepare for what would happen if business doubled.

  • Don't promise a customer that you can do something that is beyond your full control.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants : Bill Bryson

  • This book is packed with simple explanations about the complexity of the human body that will both amaze and terrify you.

Dollars and Sense : Dan Ariely

Essentialism : Greg Mckeown

  • If we become overwhelmed by tasks, we lose our ability to make choices for ourselves.

  • Embrace “less but better” mentality. Understand there will be trade-offs.

  • Create room to escape and rest.

The Four Agreements : Don Miguel Ruiz

How Will You Measure Your Life? : Clayton Christensen

  • Motivation trumps money when it comes to job satisfaction

  • A good career needs to combine opportunities we expect with some that we don’t.

  • Your life is your business. Manage your resources well.

  • Family and friendships are sources of the most happiness.

  • Compromising your integrity can be a really slippery slope.

The Last Lecture : Randy Pausch

  • Because of this book, I now believe every person should read a book from an author who knows he or she is dying.

  • Take the road less traveled.

  • Appreciate small things.

  • Write thank you notes often

Never Split the Difference : Chris Voss

  • Negotiation isn’t “you win, I lose.” It's win-win.

  • Compromising means neither side get exactly what they want. Negotiating means both sides win with agreeable terms.

  • Use the Ackerman Method to negotiate for things like a new car. Decide on the price you’d be happy paying. Offer 65% of that amount. Then 85%. Then 95%. Then 100%.

Option B : Sheryl Sandberg

Primed to Perform : Neel Doshi

  • Company culture is what retains the best people.

  • People care about the 3 P’s (play, purpose, and potential.)

  • “Money is weak glue” to keep people around.

Startup Communities : Brad Feld

  • Great startup communities are at their best when its leaders and feeders understand their positions and empower each other.

Too Soon Old Too Late Smart : Gordon Livingston

  • Every person’s life has incredible depth that you can’t possibly know without asking intentional questions.

  • It’s time for a social shift in the United States by how we think about, treat, respect, and spend time with the elderly.

Talking to Strangers : Malcolm Gladwell

  • We statistically overestimate our ability to judge strangers

  • It’s human nature to default to truth, which makes spotting deception difficult.

  • What you see on peoples’ faces doesn’t tell the story.

Tools of Titans : Tim Ferriss

More to come. But, in the meantime, this book introduced me to Derek Sivers brain, for which I am forever grateful.

The War of Art : Steven Pressfield

  • There exists a “spirit of resistance” that attempts endlessly to keep you from achieving and “keep things as they are.”

  • The stronger the calling you feel towards something, the more you’ll experience resistance which keeps you from it.

  • Defeat the voice that says, “I’ll do it later.”

Venture Deals : Brad Feld

  • Venture Capital is complicated, sophisticated, and evolves...but you can be smarter than your lawyer.

  • Generally, deals come to power and economics.

Why We Sleep : Matthew Walker

  • Our body clock dictates our sleep patterns

  • Sleep deprivation leads to high blood pressure and heart disease.

  • Every animal needs sleep but they don’t all need the same kind or amount.

Zero to One : Peter Thiel

  • A motivating read thanks to Peter Thiel about how competition is for losers.

  • Strive to be 10x better than what is available.