Reading great books is the best way to gain experience without having been there yourself. Warren Buffet is a great example of a reader. His partner Charlie Munger said, “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. Thousands of business books are published each year, most of which are destined for inventory write-off. However, there are a handful of business books that have literally changed the world. Read below for what I think are the best business books and why you should read them.
-Christian Mackin / CEO
Learn what it takes to implement a strategy that will work!
Explore how teams approach product development.
Discover how different tools for successful Rapid Product Development are used.
Learn how Fortune 1,000 Companies outsource design engineering.
See how letting go of the details lets you hold on to the big picture.
Discover how an India Design Center can accelerate product development.
Learn to accelerate development and usher in the Growth Phase.
Explore cost saving systems for sustaining engineering.
Discover where investment pays off and loss begins.
Learn how Fortune 1,000 Companies staff Onshore and Offshore engineering departments.
See how One-Way Video Interviews are changing recruiting today.
Discover how remote virtual staffing can bring top talent to your business.
Leadership & Management
Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares provide startups the tools for generating explosive customer growth. This book explains that most startups don’t fail because they can’t build a product, they fail because they can’t get traction.
Building a successful company is difficult. Smart entrepreneurs understands that the key to success isn’t the originality of your offering, the brilliance of your team, or how much money you raise. It’s how consistently you can grow and acquire new customers. This book talks about 19 marketing channels and a framework to choose the marketing channel.
Traction is the best way to improve your chances of startup success.
Why you should read this book?
You will learn about 19 channels you can use to build a customer base, and how to pick the right ones for your business. It draws on interviews with more than 40 successful founders, where you’ll learn, how to:
Test different channels so you can find the ones that will get you traction
Define your goal and critical path
Actively work to overcome your traction channel biases.
Learn about 19 channels in details
“Traction” is an ultimate start up guide for getting customers!
“Anyone–founders, managers, and executives–trying to break through to new customers can use this smart, ambitious book.”
—Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup
“Here is the inside scoop, the latest, most specific tactics from the red-hot center of the internet marketing universe. From someone who has done it. Twice.”
—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
“A common question I get is: ‘How do I know if my business is getting traction, or how do I get traction for my business, or how do I get users?’ Traction answers all of these questions and more.”
—James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself
“The entrepreneurs who walk out of our offices with term sheets walk into them with Traction. It’s a pragmatic guide to solving the entrepreneur’s number one challenge.”
—Fred Wilson, partner of Union Square Ventures
“The question every founder asks after shipping is always: how do I get traction? This book actually answers it.”
—Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of reddit
“Traction is a critical guide for entrepreneurs looking to grow and scale their businesses.”
—Patrick Vlaskovits, bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur
The main concepts covered in this book are 19 channels that we can use to market our startup and a Bull’s eye framework which helps us identify which channel to use using different types of tests. Author first introduce you with those 19 channels and then talks about the framework for decision making to use the channels. After that author explains each channel in details in every chapter of the book.
Traction trumps everything.
Traction is basically quantitative evidence of customer demand. So if you’re in enterprise software, [initial traction] may be two or three early customers who are paying a bit; if you’re in consumer software the bar might be as high as hundreds of thousands of users.
The number one reason that we pass on entrepreneurs we’d otherwise like to back is they’re focusing on product to the exclusion of everything else. Many entrepreneurs who build great products simply don’t have a good distribution strategy. Even worse is when they insist that they don’t need one, or call [their] no distribution strategy a viral marketing strategy.
Traction teaches you about the nineteen channels that you can use to build a customer base and provides a three-step framework to figure out which ones will work the best for your business. It doesn’t matter how you implement them, the lessons and examples will help you create and sustain the growth your business desperately needs. Understanding and determining the right marketing channel is the key to successful marketing.
The Power of Habit
“The Power of Habit”, by Charles Duhigg explains “Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business”. “The Power of Habit”, focuses on habits of individuals, habits of successful organizations and habits of society. Learn how habits work, how to create new habits and which habit matters most.
Recognizing a habit is a formula our brain automatically follows such as: when I see CUE, I will do ROUTINE in order to get REWARD. We can often improve our habits by being aware of how we are conditioned and having a plan to alter our routine. “The Power of Habit” is a well written exploration of how to use the power of habits to create the life we want.
Why you should read this book?
Don’t underestimate the power of habits. More than 40% of the actions people perform each day are not conscious decisions but habits.
In The Power of Habit, explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.
Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.”—Financial Times
A flat-out great read”—David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
You’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.”—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.”—The New York Times Book Review
Cue: see cover. Routine: read book. Reward: fully comprehend the art of manipulation.”—Bloomberg Businessweek
A fresh examination of how routine behaviors take hold and whether they are susceptible to change . . . The stories that Duhigg has knitted together are all fascinating in their own right, but take on an added dimension when wedded to his examination of habits.
There’s been a lot of research over the past several years about how our habits shape us, and this work is beautifully described in the new book The Power of Habit.”—David Brooks, The New York Times
A first-rate book—based on an impressive mass of research, written in a lively style and providing just the right balance of intellectual seriousness with practical advice on how to break our bad habits.”—The Economist
I have been spinning like a top since reading The Power of Habit, New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg’s fascinating best-seller about how people, businesses and organizations develop the positive routines that make them productive—and happy.”—The Washington Post
At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.
Understanding and changing our habits can also help to shape how we can predict and shape behavior. “The Power of Habit” provides a basic framework on how can make a change.
- Identify the routine – It’s the behavior you want to change
- Experiment with rewards – Rewards are very helpful as it satisfies cravings
- Isolate the cue – The cue triggering it
- Have a plan!
When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.
Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort.
Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.
The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.
Part One: The Habits of Individuals
The Habit Loop: How habits work?
Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often. This effort-saving instinct is a huge advantage. This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
Habits aren’t destiny. As the next two chapters explain, habits can be ignored, changed, or replaced.
The Craving Brain: How to create new habits?
Claude Hopkins was best known for a series of rules he coined explaining how to create new habits among consumers. The psychology was grounded in two basic rules: First, find a simple and obvious cue. Second, clearly define the rewards. Habits are so powerful: They create neurological cravings. Most of the time, these cravings emerge so gradually that we’re not really aware they exist, so we’re often blind to their influence. But as we associate cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving emerges in our brains that starts the habit loop spinning. Cravings are what drive habits. And figuring out how to spark a craving makes creating a new habit easier.
The Golden Rule of Habit Change: Why Transformation Occurs?
A Golden Rule of habit change that study after study has shown is among the most powerful tools for creating change. Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine. That’s the rule: If you use the same cue, and provide the same reward, you can shift the routine and change the habit. Almost any behavior can be transformed if the cue and reward stay the same. The Golden Rule has influenced treatments for alcoholism, obesity, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and hundreds of other destructive behaviors, and understanding it can help anyone change their own habits.
HOW IT WORKS: USE THE SAME CUE. PROVIDE THE SAME REWARD. CHANGE THE ROUTINE.
Part Two: The Habits of Successful Organizations
KEYSTONE HABITS, OR THE BALLAD OF PAUL O’NEILL: Which Habits Matter Most?
If you focus on changing or cultivating keystone habits, you can cause widespread shifts. However, identifying keystone habits is tricky. To find them, you have to know where to look. Detecting keystone habits means searching out certain characteristics. Keystone habits offer what is known within academic literature as “small wins.” They help other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious.
Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. “Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage,” one Cornell professor wrote in 1984. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.”
STARBUCKS AND THE HABIT OF SUCCESS: When Willpower Becomes Automatic?
For Starbucks, willpower is more than an academic curiosity. When the company began plotting its massive growth strategy in the late 1990s, executives recognized that success required cultivating an environment that justified paying four dollars for a fancy cup of coffee. The company needed to train its employees to deliver a bit of joy alongside lattes and scones. So early on, Starbucks started researching how they could teach employees to regulate their emotions and marshal their self-discipline to deliver a burst of pep with every serving. However, if a worker knows how to remain focused and disciplined, even at the end of an eight-hour shift, they’ll deliver the higher class of fast food service that Starbucks customers expect.
“Sometimes it looks like people with great self-control aren’t working hard— but that’s because they’ve made it automatic.”
THE POWER OF A CRISIS: How Leaders Create Habits Through Accident and Design?
Good leaders seize crises to remake organizational habits. NASA administrators, for instance, tried for years to improve the agency’s safety habits, but those efforts were unsuccessful until the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986. In the wake of that tragedy, the organization was able to overhaul how it enforced quality standards. 6.40 Airline pilots, too, spent years trying to convince plane manufacturers and air traffic controllers to redesign how cockpits were laid out and traffic controllers communicated.
In fact, crises are such valuable opportunities that a wise leader often prolongs a sense of emergency on purpose.
HOW TARGET KNOWS WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE YOU DO: When Companies Predict (and Manipulate) Habits?
“Consumers sometimes act like creatures of habit, automatically repeating past behavior with little regard to current goals,” two psychologists at the University of Southern California wrote in 2009.
The habits were unique to each person. Target wanted to take advantage of those individual quirks. But when millions of people walk through your doors every day, how do you keep track of their preferences and shopping patterns? You collect data. Enormous, almost inconceivably large amounts of data.
Part Three: The Habits of Societies
SADDLEBACK CHURCH AND THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT: How Movements Happen?
A movement starts because of the social habits of friendship and the strong ties between close acquaintances. It grows because of the habits of a community, and the weak ties that hold neighborhoods and clans together. And it endures because a movement’s leaders give participants new habits that create a fresh sense of identity and a feeling of ownership. Usually, only when all three parts of this process are fulfilled can a movement become self-propelling and reach a critical mass.
THE NEUROLOGY OF FREE WILL: Are We Responsible for Our Habits?
Habits are not as simple as they appear. As I’ve tried to demonstrate throughout this book, habits— even once they are rooted in our minds— aren’t destiny. We can choose our habits, once we know how. Everything we know about habits, from neurologists studying amnesiacs and organizational experts remaking companies, is that any of them can be changed, if you understand how they function. However, to modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives. You must know you have control and be self-conscious enough to use it— and every chapter in this book is devoted to illustrating a different aspect of why that control is real.
What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.They succeeded by transforming habits. Our takeaway from this book is “Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.”
“Work Rules” written by, Laszlo Bock, head of People Operations at Google, writes “Give people slightly more trust, freedom and authority than you are comfortable giving them. If you’re not nervous, you haven’t given them enough.”
“Work Rules” provides insights from inside Google. Gives the reader a look at the culture that drives the inventiveness of a forward thinking company. Learn how to recruit, motivate and manage talented people the way Google has done. Discover the ideology of the “Work Rules” for hiring high quality people and creating an environment that makes candidates want to join.
A “high-freedom approach” to managing people is key!
Why you should read this book?
Laszlo Bock, head of People Operations at the company that transformed how the world interacts with knowledge shares his experiences in Google and says- “We spend more time working than doing anything else in life. It’s not right that the experience of work should be so demotivating and dehumanizing.”
WORK RULES! shows us how we should strike a balance between creativity and structure, leading to success you can measure in quality of life as well as market share. Read it to build a better company from within rather than from above; read it to reawaken your joy in what you do.
“WORK RULES! offers a bold, inspiring, and actionable vision that will transform the future of work. It should be mandatory reading for everyone who leads, manages, or has a job.” —Adam Grant, author of Give and Take
“Laszlo Bock’s book is a dazzling revelation: at once an all-access backstage pass to one of the smartest organizations on the planet, and also an immensely useful blueprint for creating a culture of creativity. It should be given to every leader, every entrepreneur, every manager, every student, and every human being who wants to understand how to build a successful, cohesive, high-performing workplace.” —Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
“Laszlo Bock has written a remarkable book that reveals the secrets of becoming a talent powerhouse. He shows the many benefits of a high freedom culture with a mission that matters. And along the way, he topples pillar after pillar of conventional wisdom on hiring, training, assessing, and compensating the people who power your organization. If you’re looking for forehead-smacking insights along with an array of savvy new practices, WORK RULES! is an essential read.” —Dan Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human
“WORK RULES! is spectacular. I spent weeks with it, because I wanted to take such careful, detailed notes. I plan to share it with our entire Quiet Revolution team-and I’m sure that all company founders will do the same.” —Susan Cain, co-founder of Quiet Revolution and author of Quiet
“WORK RULES! is an exceptional book aimed at any manager who wants great ideas for encouraging success from their team… an instant classic for the management shelf.” —Ram Charan, coauthor of Execution and advisor to boards and CEOs
“With a clear-eyed, data-driven look into today’s workplace, Bock reveals the non-traditional practices that can fundamentally transform businesses of all kinds.” —Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
“The finest book on organizational culture that I have ever read. WORK RULES! is the essential playbook for creating high-performance cultures that liberate people to do their most important work.” —Tom Gardner, founder and CEO, Motley Fool
“WORK RULES! is more than a must-read business book. It’s a handbook for high-performance teams that win.” —John Doerr, managing director, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
The insight is the heart of WORK RULES!, a compelling and surprisingly playful manifesto that offers lessons including:
- Take away manager’s’ power over employees
- Learn from your best employees-and your worst
- Hire only people who are smarter than you are, no matter how long it takes to find them
- Pay unfairly (it’s more fair!)
- Don’t trust your gut: Use data to predict and shape the future
- Default to open-be transparent and welcome feedback
- If you’re comfortable with the amount of freedom you’ve given your employees, you haven’t gone far enough.
“A billion hours ago, modern Homo sapiens emerged. A billion minutes ago, Christianity began. A billion seconds ago, the IBM personal computer was released. A billion Google searches ago… was this morning.” —HAL VARIAN, GOOGLE’S CHIEF ECONOMIST, DECEMBER 20, 2013
“The most talented people on the planet want an aspiration that is also inspiring. The challenge for leaders is to craft such a goal.”
“If you believe people are good, you must be unafraid to share information with them”
“What managers miss is that every time they give up a little control, it creates a wonderful opportunity for their team to step up, while giving the manager herself more time for new challenges.”
Chapter 1: Becoming a Founder: Just as Larry and Sergey laid the foundation for how Google treats its people, you can lay the foundation for how your team works and lives
The fundamental lesson from Google’s experience is that you must first choose whether you want to be a founder or an employee. It’s not a question of literal ownership. It’s a question of attitude. WORK RULES… FOR BECOMING A FOUNDER
- Choose to think of yourself as a founder.
- Now act like one.
Chapter 2: “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast”: If you give people freedom, they will amaze you
Once you’ve chosen to think and act like a founder, your next decision is about what kind of culture you want to create. What are the beliefs you have about people, and do you have the courage to treat people the way your beliefs suggest? My personal and professional experience is that if you give people freedom, they will surprise, delight, and amaze you. WORK RULES… FOR BUILDING A GREAT CULTURE
- Think of your work as a calling, with a mission that matters.
- Give people slightly more trust, freedom, and authority than you are comfortable giving them. If you’re not nervous, you haven’t given them enough.
Chapter 3: Lake Wobegon, Where All the New Hires Are Above Average: Why hiring is the single most important people activity in any organization
Hiring is the most important people function you have, and most of us aren’t as good at it as we think. Refocusing your resources on hiring better will have a higher return than almost any training program you can develop. WORK RULES… FOR HIRING (THE SHORT VERSION)
- Given limited resources, invest your HR dollars first in recruiting.
- Hire only the best by taking your time, hiring only people who are better than you in some meaningful way, and not letting managers make hiring decisions for their own teams.
Chapter 4: Searching for the Best: The evolution of Google’s “self-replicating talent machine”
Larry and Sergey, with input from Urs Hölzle (one of our first ten hires and now our SVP of Technical Infrastructure), laid the foundation for Google’s hiring system. It started with a desire to hire only the smartest people. Later we refined the process because IQ alone doesn’t make someone creative or a team player, but it was a great starting point. WORK RULES… FOR FINDING EXCEPTIONAL CANDIDATES
- Get the best referrals by being excruciatingly specific in describing what you’re looking for.
- Make recruiting part of everyone’s job.
- Don’t be afraid to try crazy things to get the attention of the best people.
Chapter 5: Don’t Trust Your Gut: Why our instincts keep us from being good interviewers, and what you can do to hire better.
The goal of our interview process is to predict how candidates will perform once they join the team. We achieve that goal by doing what the science says: combining behavioral and situational structured interviews with assessments of cognitive ability, conscientiousness, and leadership. WORK RULES… FOR SELECTING NEW EMPLOYEES
- Set a high bar for quality.
- Find your own candidates.
- Assess candidates objectively.
- Give candidates a reason to join.
Chapter 6: Let the Inmates Run the Asylum: Take power from your managers and trust your people to run things
Googlers don’t restrict themselves to creating products. They also involve themselves in deciding how we run the company. WORK RULES… FOR MASS EMPOWERMENT
- Eliminate status symbols.
- Make decisions based on data, not based on managers’ opinions.
- Find ways for people to shape their work and the company.
- Expect a lot.
Chapter 7: Why Everyone Hates Performance Management, and What We Decided to Do About It: Improve performance by focusing on personal growth instead of ratings and rewards
Google’s revenues and headcount have grown roughly 20 to 30 percent in each of the past five years. We do our best to hire people who have a proven aptitude for learning, and then do everything we can to help them grow as fast as they can. Making sure our people are developing is not a luxury. It’s essential for our survival. But the fundamental concepts we’ve had to evolve make up a language that translates to just about any company. WORK RULES… FOR PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
- Set goals correctly.
- Gather peer feedback.
- Use a calibration process to finalize ratings.
- Split rewards conversations from development conversations.
Chapter 8: The Two Tails: The biggest opportunities lie in your absolute worst and best employees
Studying your strongest people closely and then building programs to measure and reinforce their best attributes for the entire company changes the character of your company. If you also are able to get those who struggle the most to be substantially better, you’ll have created a cycle of constant improvement. WORK RULES… FOR MANAGING YOUR TWO TAILS
- Help those in need.
- Put your best people under a microscope.
- Use surveys and checklists to find the truth and nudge people to improve.
- Set a personal example by sharing and acting on your own feedback.
Chapter 9: Building a Learning Institution: Your best teachers already work for you.… Let them teach!
A learning organization starts with a recognition that all of us want to grow and to help others grow. Yet in many organizations, employees are taught and professionals do the teaching. Why not let people do both? WORK RULES… FOR BUILDING A LEARNING INSTITUTION
- Engage in deliberate practice: Break lessons down into small, digestible pieces with clear feedback and do them again and again. Have your best people teach.
- Invest only in courses that you can prove change people’s behavior.
Chapter 10: Pay Unfairly: Why it’s okay to pay two people in the same job completely different amounts
In a misguided attempt to be “fair,” most companies design compensation systems that encourage the best performers and those with the most potential to quit. The first and most critical principle requires you to turn your back on received practice— and it might feel uncomfortable at first. WORK RULES… FOR PAYING UNFAIRLY
- Swallow hard and pay unfairly. Have wide variations in pay that reflect the power law distribution of performance.
- Celebrate accomplishment, not compensation.
- Make it easy to spread the love.
- Reward thoughtful failure.
Take away from this book is the ten steps to transform your team and your workplace are:
1. Give your work meaning.
2. Trust your people.
3. Hire only people who are better than you.
4. Don’t confuse development with managing performance.
5. Focus on the two tails.
6. Be frugal and generous.
7. Pay unfairly.
9. Manage the rising expectations.
10. Enjoy! And then go back to No. 1 and start again.
The 7 Habbits of Highly Effective People
Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” reveals a simple formula for how to adapt to change and how to take advantage of the opportunities that change can create. As explained by Stephen R. Covey, the seven habits of effectiveness helps with the character development. He centers his ideals around a principle centered approach and uses this approach to solve both personal and professional problems.
His simple approach can be broken down in 7 Habits:
- Be Proactive
- Begin with the End in the mind
- Put First Things First
- Seek to understand,rather than being understood
- Think Win/Win
- Sharpen the Saw
Discovering the key habits of effective people can unlock the chains that may be holding you back from being more effective in both your personal and professional lives.
Why you should read this book?
One should read this book to learn the 10 things listed below:
- The importance of understanding the difference between principles and values.
- From experiences all over the world with this material, one can see the universal nature of the principles undergirding this material.
- One can see the organizational implications of the 7 Habits, although, in the strict technical sense, an organization does not have habits. Its culture has norms or mores or social codes, which represent habits. An organization also has established systems, processes, and procedures. These represent habits.
- You can teach all 7 Habits by starting with any one habit. And you can also teach one habit in a way that leads to the teaching of the other six. It’s like a hologram where the whole is contained in the part and the part is contained in the whole.
- Even though the 7 Habits represents an inside-out approach, it works most successfully when you start with the outside challenge and then take the inside-out approach.
- Interdependence is ten times more difficult than independence.
- You can pretty well summarize the first three habits with the expression “make and keep a promise.” And you can pretty well summarize the next three habits with the expression “involve others in the problem and work out the solution together.”
- The 7 Habits represents a new language even though there are fewer than a dozen unique words or phrases. This new language becomes a code, a shorthand way of saying a great deal.>
- Integrity is a higher value than loyalty. Or better put, integrity is the highest form of loyalty.
- Living the 7 Habits is a constant struggle for everyone. Everyone falters from time to time on each of the seven and sometimes all seven simultaneously. They really are simple to understand but difficult to consistently practice.
“Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is as relevant and timely today as it was when it was first published 25 years ago. Whether you lead a large organization in a Fortune 500 company or are just getting started in business, the principles discussed in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provide enduring and universal truths for effective, values-based leadership. The 7 Habits is a must read for anyone who seeks to understand how to inspire and motivate others. It remains one of the most important business books of our time.”—KEVIN TURNER, COO of Microsoft Corporation
“Fundamentals are the key to success. Stephen Covey is a master of them. Buy his book, but most important, use it!” —ANTHONY ROBBINS, author of Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within
“The lessons outlined in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are an important guide to success. This book is one of the top-selling books of all time for a reason. The success I’ve had in swimming and in life is credited to a similar proactive, goal-setting approach— Dream, Plan, Reach. Through my Foundation’s programming, we recognize the power of dreams and stress the importance of —KEVIN TURNER, COO of Microsoft Corporation >
“Fundamentals are the key to success. Stephen Covey is a master of them. Buy his book, but most important, use it!” —ANTHONY ROBBINS, author of Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within
“The lessons outlined in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are an important guide to success. This book is one of the top-selling books of all time for a reason. The success I’ve had in swimming and in life is credited to a similar proactive, goal-setting approach— Dream, Plan, Reach. Through my Foundation’s programming, we recognize the power of dreams and stress the importance of executing a detailed plan to propel you toward your goals.” —MICHAEL PHELPS, Olympic Swimmer, Gold Medalist
“The 7 Habits have taught me profound truths that transcend because they are based on principles. They have helped me see what I cannot see. In every situation I can use the principles and paradigms associated with each habit, think over and reset the north direction of my life.” —JUAN NINO, Project Management, Global Auditor & Project Start Up Lead, Halliburton, Mexico
“Covey’s masterpiece, if it hasn’t changed the world, has influenced millions of readers who can and will make our planet more peaceful and prosperous and prepared and purposeful.” —WARREN BENNIS, author of On Becoming a Leader and Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is by now one of the best-selling books of all time.” —Fortune
“When I look back and think of all the training events that shaped my knowledge, and very importantly my values and principles, I always think back to that one week in 1987 when I attended the 7 Habits workshop with Stephen Covey as my trainer. What a powerhouse he was; what a fascinating tour we made together through those 7 Habits. It has been the one training event that made the single biggest contribution to shaping my professional and personal life.” —PETER F. SMIT, Senior Vice President, the Hershey Company, President Asia, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Singapore
“The 7 Habits have guided many of us on our journey through the world of business. Simple but incredibly effective. A great guide for any aspiring leader!” —MEG WHITMAN, CEO of HP
Habit 1 says, “You’re the creator. You are in charge.” It’s based on the four unique human endowments of imagination, conscience, independent will, and, particularly, self-awareness.
Habit 2 is the first or mental creation. It’s based on imagination— the ability to envision, to see the potential, to create with our minds what we cannot at present see with our eyes; and conscience— the ability to detect our own uniqueness and the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which we can most happily fulfill it. It’s the deep contact with our basic paradigms and values and the vision of what we can become.
Habit 3, then, is the second creation, the physical creation. It’s the fulfillment, the actualization, the natural emergence of Habits 1 and 2. It’s the exercise of independent will toward becoming principle-centered. It’s the day-in, day-out, moment-by-moment doing it.
Habit 4, Think Win/ Win is the habit of interpersonal leadership. It involves the exercise of each of the unique human endowments— self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and independent will— in our relationships with others. It involves mutual learning, mutual influence, mutual benefits.
Habit 5, in the field of interpersonal relations, is Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication.
Habit 6, Synergy is the essence of principle-centered leadership. It is the essence of principle-centered parenting. It catalyzes, unifies, and unleashes the greatest powers within people. All the habits we have covered prepare us to create the miracle of synergy.
Habit 7 is personal PC. It’s preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have— you. It’s renewing the four dimensions of your nature— physical, spiritual, mental, and social/ emotional.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.“ – ARISTOTLE
“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” – HENRY DAVID THOREAU
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – GOETHE
“There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.” – SAMUEL JOHNSON
Part 1: PARADIGMS and PRINCIPLES
The more aware we are of our basic paradigms, maps, or assumptions, and the extent to which we have been influenced by our experience, the more we can take responsibility for those paradigms, examine them, test them against reality, listen to others and be open to their perceptions, thereby getting a larger picture and a far more objective view.
Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world. The power of a paradigm shift is the essential power of quantum change, whether that shift is an instantaneous or a slow and deliberate process.
Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value. They’re fundamental. They’re essentially unarguable because they are self-evident. One way to quickly grasp the self-evident nature of principles is to simply consider the absurdity of attempting to live an effective life based on their opposites.
The 7 Habits: An Overview
Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness… or ineffectiveness. For our purposes, we will define a habit as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, the what to do and the why. Skill is the how to do. And desire is the motivation, the want to do. In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all three.
Part 2: Private Victory
HABIT 1: BE PROACTIVE- Principles of Personal Vision
Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.
Test the principle of proactivity for thirty days. Simply try it and see what happens. For thirty days work only in your Circle of Influence. Make small commitments and keep them. Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
HABIT 2: BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND – Principles of Personal Leadership
To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction. Habit 2 is based on principles of personal leadership, which means that leadership is the first creation. Leadership is not management. Management is the second creation, which we’ll discuss in the chapter on Habit 3. But leadership has to come first. Leadership deals with the top line: What are the things I want to accomplish? In the words of both Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
HABIT 3: PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST – Principles of Personal Management
Effective management is putting first things first. While leadership decides what “first things” are, it is management that puts them first, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Management is discipline, carrying it out. Discipline derives from disciple— disciple to a philosophy, disciple to a set of principles, disciple to a set of values, disciple to an overriding purpose, to a superordinate goal or a person who represents that goal. In other words, if you are an effective manager of yourself, your discipline comes from within; it is a function of your independent will. You are a disciple, a follower, of your own deep values and their source. And you have the will, the integrity, to subordinate your feelings, your impulses, your moods to those values.
Part Three PUBLIC VICTORY
HABIT 4: THINK WIN/ WIN – Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
Win/ Win is not a technique; it’s a total philosophy of human interaction. In fact, it is one of six paradigms of interaction. The alternative paradigms are Win/ Lose, Lose/ Win, Lose/ Lose, Win, and Win/ Win or No Deal. Win/ Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/ Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. With a Win/ Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan.
Win/ Win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others. Win/ Win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way.
HABIT 5: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD – Principles of Empathic Communication
Communication is the most important skill in life. We spend most of our waking hours communicating. Habit 5 is something you can practice right now. The next time you communicate with anyone, you can put aside your own autobiography and genuinely seek to understand. Even when people don’t want to open up about their problems, you can be empathic. You can sense their hearts, you can sense the hurt, and you can respond, “You seem down today.” They may say nothing. That’s all right. You’ve shown understanding and respect. Don’t push; be patient; be respectful. People don’t have to open up verbally before you can empathize. You can empathize all the time with their behavior. You can be discerning, sensitive, and aware and you can live outside your autobiography when that is needed.
HABIT 6: SYNERGIZE – Principles of Creative Cooperation
What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself. It is not only a part, but the most catalytic, the most empowering, the most unifying, and the most exciting part.
The creative process is also the most terrifying part because you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen or where it is going to lead. You don’t know what new dangers and challenges you’ll find. It takes an enormous amount of internal security to begin with the spirit of adventure, the spirit of discovery, the spirit of creativity. Without doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness. You become a trailblazer, a pathfinder. You open new possibilities, new territories, new continents, so that others can follow.
Part Four RENEWAL
HABIT 7: SHARPEN THE SAW – Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
Habit 7 is taking time to sharpen the saw. It surrounds the other habits on the Seven Habits paradigm because it is the habit that makes all the others possible. The self-renewal process must include balanced renewal in all four dimensions of our nature: the physical, the spiritual, the mental, and the social/ emotional. Although renewal in each dimension is important, it only becomes optimally effective as we deal with all four dimensions in a wise and balanced way. To neglect any one area negatively impacts the rest.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People create optimum synergy among these dimensions. Renewal in any dimension increases your ability to live at least one of the Seven Habits. And although the habits are sequential, improvement in one habit synergetically increases your ability to live the rest.
The takeaway from this book is – “The more proactive you are (Habit 1), the more effectively you can exercise personal leadership (Habit 2) and management (Habit 3) in your life. The more effectively you manage your life (Habit 3), the more Quadrant II renewing activities you can do (Habit 7). The more you seek first to understand (Habit 5), the more effectively you can go for synergetic Win/ Win solutions (Habits 4 and 6). The more you improve in any of the habits that lead to independence (Habits 1, 2, and 3), the more effective you will be in interdependent situations (Habits 4, 5, and 6). And renewal (Habit 7) is the process of renewing all the habits.”
The Lean Startup
“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries, takes a straightforward approach to why most startups fail and how most failures are preventable. Eric Ries’ approach is to recognize that a startup exists to make a profit but to also serve a need for a customer. Both needs to be fulfilled to be successful. According to “The Lean Startup” companies should follow the process of Build, Measure and Learn!
He is a firm believer in MVP – Minimum Viable Product, which is the smallest product a business can create and learn from.
To be successful a company must meet milestones – establishing the baseline, turning the engine and pivot (or preserve).
“The Lean Startup” is a revolutionary approach that is changing the way companies are built and how new products are entering the marketplace.
Why you should read this book?
As a society, we have a proven set of techniques for managing big companies and we know the best practices for building physical products. But when it comes to startups and innovation, we are still shooting in the dark. We are relying on vision, chasing the “great men” who can make magic happen, or trying to analyze our new products to death. These are new problems, born of the success of management in the twentieth century.
This book attempts to put entrepreneurship and innovation on a rigorous footing. We are at the dawn of management’s second century. It is our challenge to do something great with the opportunity we have been given. The Lean Startup movement seeks to ensure that those of us who long to build the next big thing will have the tools we need to change the world.
“The Lean Startup isn’t just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business; it’s about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do. I imagine Lean Startup principles applied to government programs, to health care, and to solving the world’s great problems. It’s ultimately an answer to the question How can we learn more quickly what works and discard what doesn’t?” —Tim O’Reilly, CEO, O’Reilly Media
“Eric Ries unravels the mysteries of entrepreneurship and reveals that magic and genius are not the necessary ingredients for success but instead proposes a scientific process that can be learned and replicated. Whether you are a startup entrepreneur or corporate entrepreneur, there are important lessons here for you on your quest toward the new and unknown.” —Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO
“The road map for innovation for the twenty-first century. The ideas in The Lean Startup will help create the next industrial revolution.”
—Steve Blank, lecturer, Stanford University, UC Berkeley Hass Business School
“Every founding team should stop for forty-eight hours and read The Lean Startup. Seriously, stop and read this book now.” —Scott Case, CEO, Startup America Partnership
“The key lesson of this book is that startups happen in the present— that messy place between the past and the future where nothing happens according to PowerPoint. Ries’s ‘read and react’ approach to this sport, his relentless focus on validated learning, the never-ending anxiety of hovering between ‘persevere’ and ‘pivot,’ all bear witness to his appreciation for the dynamics of entrepreneurship.” —Geoffrey Moore, author, Crossing the Chasm
“If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book. Starting Lean is today’s best practice for innovators. Do yourself a favor and read this book.” —Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo and author of the bestselling The Monk and the Riddle
This is a book for entrepreneurs and the people who hold them accountable. The five principles of the Lean Startup, which inform all three parts of this book, are as follows:
Entrepreneurs are everywhere. You don’t have to work in a garage to be in a startup. That means entrepreneurs are everywhere and the Lean Startup approach can work in any size company, even a very large enterprise, in any sector or industry.
Entrepreneurship is management. A startup is an institution, not just a product, and so it requires a new kind of management specifically geared to its context of extreme uncertainty.
Validated learning. Startups exist not just to make stuff, make money, or even serve customers. They exist to learn how to build a sustainable business.
Build-Measure-Learn. The fundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas into products, measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere. All successful startup processes should be geared to accelerate that feedback loop.
Innovation accounting. To improve entrepreneurial outcomes and hold innovators accountable, we need to focus on the boring stuff: how to measure progress, how to set up milestones, and how to prioritize work. This requires a new kind of accounting designed for startups— and the people who hold them accountable.
“A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
“Lean thinking defines value as providing benefit to the customer; anything else is waste.”
“What differentiates the success stories from the failures is that the successful entrepreneurs had the foresight, the ability, and the tools to discover which parts of their plans were working brilliantly and which were misguided, and adapt their strategies accordingly.”
“If we do not know who the customer is, we do not know what quality is.”
Part One VISION
START – ENTREPRENEURIAL MANAGEMENT
The goal of a startup is to figure out the right thing to build— the thing customers want and will pay for— as quickly as possible. In other words, the Lean Startup is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasizes fast iteration and customer insight, a huge vision, and great ambition, all at the same time.
The Lean Startup method, is designed to teach you how to drive a startup. Instead of making complex plans that are based on a lot of assumptions, you can make constant adjustments with a steering wheel called the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop. Through this process of steering, we can learn when and if it’s time to make a sharp turn called a pivot or whether we should persevere along our current path. Once we have an engine that’s revved up, the Lean Startup offers methods to scale and grow the business with maximum acceleration.
DEFINE – WHO, EXACTLY, IS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
The Lean Startup is a set of practices for helping entrepreneurs increase their odds of building a successful startup. To set the record straight, it’s important to define what a startup is: A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
The most important part of this definition is what it omits. It says nothing about size of the company, the industry, or the sector of the economy. Anyone who is creating a new product or business under conditions of extreme uncertainty is an entrepreneur whether he or she knows it or not and whether working in a government agency, a venture-backed company, a nonprofit, or a decidedly for-profit company with financial investors.
Yet if the fundamental goal of entrepreneurship is to engage in organization building under conditions of extreme uncertainty, its most vital function is learning. We must learn the truth about which elements of our strategy are working to realize our vision and which are just crazy. We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want. We must discover whether we are on a path that will lead to growing a sustainable business. In the Lean Startup model, we are rehabilitating learning with a concept author calls validated learning. Validated learning is not after-the-fact rationalization or a good story designed to hide failure. It is a rigorous method for demonstrating progress when one is embedded in the soil of extreme uncertainty in which startups grow. Validated learning is the process of demonstrating empirically that a team has discovered valuable truths about a startup’s present and future business prospects. It is more concrete, more accurate, and faster than market forecasting or classical business planning. It is the principal antidote to the lethal problem of achieving failure: successfully executing a plan that leads nowhere.
The Lean Startup methodology reconceives a startup’s efforts as experiments that test its strategy to see which parts are brilliant and which are crazy. A true experiment follows the scientific method. It begins with a clear hypothesis that makes predictions about what is supposed to happen. It then tests those predictions empirically. Just as scientific experimentation is informed by theory, startup experimentation is guided by the startup’s vision. The goal of every startup experiment is to discover how to build a sustainable business around that vision.
Part Two STEER
How Vision Leads to Steering
Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop is at the core of the Lean Startup model. In Part Two, we will examine it in great detail. Many people have professional training that emphasizes one element of this feedback loop. For engineers, it’s learning to build things as efficiently as possible. Some managers are experts at strategizing and learning at the whiteboard. Plenty of entrepreneurs focus their energies on the individual nouns: having the best product idea or the best-designed initial product or obsessing over data and metrics. The truth is that none of these activities by itself is of paramount importance. Instead, we need to focus our energies on minimizing the total time through this feedback loop. This is the essence of steering a startup and is the subject of Part Two.
Author focusses on story: how Facebook was able to raise so much money when its actual usage was so small. By all accounts, what impressed investors the most were two facts about Facebook’s early growth. The first fact was the raw amount of time Facebook’s active users spent on the site. More than half of the users came back to the site every single day. This is an example of how a company can validate its value hypothesis— that customers find the product valuable. The second impressive thing about Facebook’s early traction was the rate at which it had taken over its first few college campuses. The rate of growth was staggering: Facebook launched on February 4, 2004, and by the end of that month almost three-quarters of Harvard’s undergraduates were using it, without a dollar of marketing or advertising having been spent. In other words, Facebook also had validated its growth hypothesis. These two hypotheses represent two of the most important leap-of-faith questions any new startup faces.
A minimum viable product (MVP) helps entrepreneurs start the process of learning as quickly as possible. It is not necessarily the smallest product imaginable, though; it is simply the fastest way to get through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop with the minimum amount of effort. Contrary to traditional product development, which usually involves a long, thoughtful incubation period and strives for product perfection, the goal of the MVP is to begin the process of learning, not end it. Unlike a prototype or concept test, an MVP is designed not just to answer product design or technical questions. Its goal is to test fundamental business hypotheses.
A startup’s job is to (1) rigorously measure where it is right now, confronting the hard truths that assessment reveals, and then (2) devise experiments to learn how to move the real numbers closer to the ideal reflected in the business plan. Most products— even the ones that fail— do not have zero traction. Most products have some customers, some growth, and some positive results. One of the most dangerous outcomes for a startup is to bumble along in the land of the living dead. Employees and entrepreneurs tend to be optimistic by nature.
PIVOT (OR PERSEVERE)
Every entrepreneur eventually faces an overriding challenge in developing a successful product: deciding when to pivot and when to persevere. Everything that has been discussed so far is a prelude to a seemingly simple question: are we making sufficient progress to believe that our original strategic hypothesis is correct, or do we need to make a major change? That change is called a pivot: a structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth.
Part Three ACCELERATE
Start Your Engines
In Part Three, we will develop techniques that allow Lean Startups to grow without sacrificing the speed and agility that are the lifeblood of every startup. Contrary to common belief, lethargy and bureaucracy are not the inevitable fate of companies as they achieve maturity.
This book is divided into three parts: “Vision,” “Steer,” and “Accelerate.” “Vision” makes the case for a new discipline of entrepreneurial management. “Steer” dives into the Lean Startup method in detail, showing one major turn through the core Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop. In “Accelerate,” it explores techniques that enable Lean Startups to speed through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop as quickly as possible, even as they scale.
The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Work Week is about having a lifestyle of complete freedom without having a million dollars, by using the currencies of time and mobility. The framework of this book is based on the acronym DEAL. Definition, Elimination, Automation and Liberation. Further to explain this framework, it deals with replacing self defeating assumptions, learning to ignore the unimportant, learning to put cash flows on autopilot and mobility.
One should forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan—there is no need to wait and every reason not to. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, high-end world travel, monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.
You can have it all—really.
Why you should read this book?
This book will teach you how to see and seize the options others do not. What makes this book different? Below is how author explains it-
“First, I’m not going to spend much time on the problem. I’m going to assume you are suffering from time famine, creeping dread, or— worst case— a tolerable and comfortable existence doing something unfulfilling. The last is most common and most insidious.
Second, this book is not about saving and will not recommend you abandon your daily glass of red wine for a million dollars 50 years from now. I’d rather have the wine. I won’t ask you to choose between enjoyment today or money later. I believe you can have both now. The goal is fun and profit.
Third, this book is not about finding your “dream job.” I will take as a given that, for most people, somewhere between six and seven billion of them, the perfect job is the one that takes the least time. The vast majority of people will never find a job that can be an unending source of fulfillment, so that is not the goal here; to free time and automate income is.”
“It’s about time this book was written. It is a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle, and Tim Ferriss is the ideal ambassador. This will be huge.” —JACK CANFIELD, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul ®, 100 + million copies sold
“Stunning and amazing. From mini-retirements to outsourcing your life, it’s all here. Whether you’re a wage slave or a Fortune 500 CEO, this book will change your life!” —PHIL TOWN, New York Times bestselling author of Rule #1
“The 4-Hour Workweek is a new way of solving a very old problem: just how can we work to live and prevent our lives from being all about work? A world of infinite options awaits those who would read this book and be inspired by it!” —MICHAEL E. GERBER, founder and chairman of E-Myth Worldwide and the world’s #1 small business guru
“This is a whole new ball game. Highly recommended.” —DR. STEWART D. FRIEDMAN, director of the Work/ Life Integration Program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
“Timothy has packed more lives into his 29 years than Steve Jobs has in his 51.” —TOM FOREMSKI, journalist and publisher of SiliconValleyWatcher.com
“If you want to live life on your own terms, this is your blueprint.” —MIKE MAPLES, cofounder of Motive Communications (IPO to $ 260M market cap) and founding executive of Tivoli (sold to IBM for $ 750M)
“Thanks to Tim Ferriss, I have more time in my life to travel, spend time with family, and write book blurbs. This is a dazzling and highly useful work.”—A. J. JACOBS, editor-at-large of Esquire magazine and author of The Know-It-All
“Tim is Indiana Jones for the digital age. I’ve already used his advice to go spearfishing on remote islands and ski the best hidden slopes of Argentina. Simply put, do what he says and you can live like a millionaire.” —ALBERT POPE, derivatives specialist at UBS World Headquarters
“Reading this book is like putting a few zeros on your income. Tim brings lifestyle to a new level— listen to him!” —MICHAEL D. KERLIN, McKinsey & Company consultant to Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and a J. William Fulbright Scholar
“Part scientist and part adventure hunter, Tim Ferriss has created a road map for an entirely new world. I devoured this book in one sitting— I have seen nothing like it.” —CHARLES L. BROCK, chairman and CEO of Brock Capital Group; former CFO, COO, and general counsel of Scholastic, Inc.; and former president of the Harvard Law School Association
The 4-Hour Workweek covers 4 main areas, each of which explores one of the components to lifestyle design:
You should define your objectives. You should decide what’s important, Set you goals. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?”
Eliminate your distractions to free up time. Learn to be effective, not efficient. Focus on the 20% of stuff that’s important and ignore the 80% that isn’t. Put yourself on a low-information diet. Learn to shunt aside interruptions, and learn to say “no”.
Automate your cash flow to increase income. Outsource your life — hire a virtual assistant to handle menial tasks.
Liberate yourself from traditional expectations. Design your job to increase mobility. This could mean working from home, or it could mean using geographic arbitrage to take mini-retirements in countries with favorable exchange rates.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. —ALBERT EINSTEIN”
““Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”
“I can’t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time. —HERBERT BAYARD SWOPE, American editor and journalist; first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize”
“Everything popular is wrong. —OSCAR WILDE, The Importance of Being Earnest”
“Many a false step was made by standing still. —FORTUNE COOKIE”
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can. —YODA, from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”
“Remember— boredom is the enemy, not some abstract “failure.””
Step I: D is for Definition
Cautions and Comparisons – HOW TO BURN $ 1,000,000 A NIGHT
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. Author call this the “freedom multiplier.”
Options— the ability to choose— is real power. This book is all about how to see and create those options with the least effort and cost. It just so happens, paradoxically, that you can make more money— a lot more money— by doing half of what you are doing now.
Rules That Change the Rules – EVERYTHING POPULAR IS WRONG
Different is better when it is more effective or more fun. If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are subpar, this is the time to ask, What if I did the opposite? Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work. If the recipe sucks, it doesn’t matter how good a cook you are.
Eustress, is a word most of you have probably never heard. Eu-, a Greek prefix for “healthy,” is used in the same sense in the word “euphoria.” Role models who push us to exceed our limits, physical training that removes our spare tires, and risks that expand our sphere of comfortable action are all examples of eustress— stress that is healthful and the stimulus for growth. People who avoid all criticism fail. It’s destructive criticism we need to avoid, not criticism in all forms. Similarly, there is no progress without eustress, and the more eustress we can create or apply to our lives, the sooner we can actualize our dreams. The trick is telling the two apart. The New Rich are equally aggressive in removing distress and finding eustress.
Dodging Bullets – FEAR-SETTING AND ESCAPING PARALYSIS
To do or not to do? To try or not to try? Most people will vote no, whether they consider themselves brave or not. Uncertainty and the prospect of failure can be very scary noises in the shadows. Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
Fear comes in many forms, and we usually don’t call it by its four-letter name. Fear itself is quite fear-inducing. Most intelligent people in the world dress it up as something else: optimistic denial. Most who avoid quitting their jobs entertain the thought that their course will improve with time or increases in income.
If you are nervous about making the jump or simply putting it off out of fear of the unknown, here is your antidote. Write down your answers, and keep in mind that thinking a lot will not prove as fruitful or as prolific as simply brain vomiting on the page. Write and do not edit— aim for volume. Spend a few minutes on each answer.
System Reset – BEING UNREASONABLE AND UNAMBIGUOUS
If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think. Unreasonable and unrealistic goals are easier to achieve for yet another reason. Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal. Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel. If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort.
Step II: E is for Elimination
The End of Time Management – ILLUSIONS AND ITALIANS
Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.
Here are two truisms to keep in mind: 1. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. 2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important. From this moment forward, remember this: What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.
The Low-Information Diet – CULTIVATING SELECTIVE IGNORANCE
The first step is to develop and maintain a low-information diet. Just as modern man consumes both too many calories and calories of no nutritional value, information workers eat data both in excess and from the wrong sources. Lifestyle design is based on massive action— output. Increased output necessitates decreased input. Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence. I challenge you to look at whatever you read or watched today and tell me that it wasn’t at least two of the four.
Interrupting Interruption and the Art of Refusal
Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time. Think back to your days on the playground. There was always a big bully and countless victims, but there was also that one small kid who fought like hell, thrashing and swinging for the fences. He or she might not have won, but after one or two exhausting exchanges, the bully chose not to bother him or her. It was easier to find someone else.
Be that kid. Doing the important and ignoring the trivial is hard because so much of the world seems to conspire to force crap upon you. Fortunately, a few simple routine changes make bothering you much more painful than leaving you in peace. It’s time to stop taking information abuse.
Step III: A is for Automation
Outsourcing Life – OFF-LOADING THE REST AND A TASTE OF GEOARBITRAGE14
This chapter is a low-cost exercise to get you past this lifestyle limiter. It is absolutely necessary that you realize that you can always do something more cheaply yourself. This doesn’t mean you want to spend your time doing it. If you spend your time, worth $ 20– 25 per hour, doing something that someone else will do for $ 10 per hour, it’s simply a poor use of resources. It is important to take baby steps toward paying others to do work for you. Few do it, which is another reason so few people have their ideal lifestyles.
Income Autopilot I – FINDING THE MUSE
THERE ARE A million and one ways to make a million dollars. From franchising to freelance consulting, the list is endless. Fortunately, most of them are unsuited to our purpose. This chapter is not for people who want to run businesses but for those who want to own businesses and spend no time on them.
People can’t believe that most of the ultrasuccessful companies in the world do not manufacture their own products, answer their own phones, ship their own products, or service their own customers. There are hundreds of companies that exist to pretend to work for someone else and handle these functions, providing rentable infrastructure to anyone who knows where to find them.
Income Autopilot II – TESTING THE MUSE
The basic test process consists of three parts, each of which is covered in this chapter. Best: Look at the competition and create a more-compelling offer on a basic one-to-three-page website (one to three hours). Test: Test the offer using short Google Adwords advertising campaigns (three hours to set up and five days of passive observation). Divest or Invest: Cut losses with losers and manufacture the winner( s) for sales rollout.
Gold is getting old. The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility. This is an art and a science we will refer to as Lifestyle Design (LD).
The commonsense rules of the “real world” are a fragile collection of socially reinforced illusions. This book will teach you how to see and seize the options others do not.
The 4-Hour Workweek also includes the sample e-mails, voicemails, and real-life deals (with dollar figures and all) you will need to master the new world of luxury lifestyle design.