Friend of a Friend

I wanted to love this book, and I did take a lot away from some chapters. Overall though, I was disappointed. The book seemed to rely on only a handful of research studies and the sections on specific actions were thin. I still haven’t found a great book on networking that I’d recommend to others. This dove into a lot of the science behind connections, but it left a lot to be desired in my opinion on the practical application.

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21 Lessons for the 21st Century

I was immediately hooked by this one from Yuval Noah Harari after reading his other book Sapiens. However, several hours into the audiobook, I found myself losing interest. It took me over a month to finish this one, which is unusually long for a 6-7 hour book and considering that I chewed through 3 hours in the first few days. I’m not quite sure why I grew disinterested, but nevertheless, I found it hard to finish.

I do think Harari is spot on regarding the future of AI and the workforce, education, politics, and religion. His clarity of thought is truly something worth aiming for, and I’m glad I made it through the book if only to listen to his ideas about those topics.

Surge

I was quite disappointed in this one after being surprised by the quality in Profit First and The Pumpkin Plan. Overall, Surge lacked the applicability and concrete examples that I enjoyed in the other books. It might just not have been the right time for me to read it, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t for me.

Help First: Sell Less, Profit More

I read this as a follow-up to Cooper’s book Two-Brain Business 2.0. In Help First, he continues to detail principles and specific tactics to run a profitable business while delivering value to an immense number of people. His writing style gets me fired up, and I leave every reading session with a dozen of ideas to implement. This book isn’t just for gym owners – it’s for any business owner that wants to transform their business and help customers. Highly highly recommend.

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The Pumpkin Plan

I picked this up after reading Michalowicz’s other book, Profit First. In Pumpkin Plan, Mike draws on the process for growing a large pumpkin and extends that process to growing a large business. The steps (paraphrased) are:

1. Identify your top clients
2. Weed out all of the other clients
3. Focus all of your effort on nurturing the top clients

I enjoyed the read and came away with a handful of earmarked pages to return to later. A few strategies really stuck with me like taking your top clients out for coffee and the idea that business is not a popularity contest (“Don’t worry about having the most clients. Worry about having the best clients…).

Profit First

This is the first of Michalowicz‘s books that I’ve read, and it was all about turning around your business finances. Being a bit of a money nerd, I was intrigued. In all actuality, it’s a digital edition of the envelop system where you allocate a specific percentage of revenue to different buckets like OPEX (Operating Expenses), TAX (tax liability), and profit (yes, there’s a profit category). More broadly though, he promotes a different way of thinking about your business and entrepreneurship. Businesses should be profitable Day #1.

This was fantastic and applied outside of business:

The solution to debt is this simple: If you want to get out of debt, you must get more enjoyment out of saving your money than you do spending your money (Suze Orman)

I found this distinction between profit and salary really helpful:

The profit distribution is an award to the equity owners (you and anyone who invested in the business with money or sweat) for having the courage and risk tolerance to start the business. Don’t confuse the profit distribution with Owner’s Comp, which is pay for working in the business.

Into the Magic Shop

This book was suggested to me by a friend and dubbed as “life-changing.” They weren’t too far off. Through a personal narrative, Dr. Dotty describes how he learned the tools of visualization, focus, and meditation (although he wouldn’t call it that at the time) as a kid. He details how those tools served him throughout his life and helped him to create the future he wanted (a form of magic). I listened to this one on Audible, and I found myself eager to get back in the car to pick it back up.

The Case Against Sugar

Along with his other book, Why We Get Fat, this book should be required reading for everyone. It provides deep insight into the sugar industry and the powerful corporations behind it that have influenced dietary recommendations for decades. Taubes also provides overwhelming evidence that sugar is the ultimate cause of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. I think everyone in college should be required to attend a course on basics of nutrition, and I would make Taubes’ books part of the curriculum.

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

Fantastic read that really challenged me to think deeply around customer experiences and impacts in my personal life. The gist of the book is that there are many opportunities within business and our day-to-day lives where we could elevate a given moment for someone around us. The right type of elevation can take an ordinary moment and make it something to remember. I would highly recommend this for anyone that’s interested in building products or just creating a happier environment for those around them.