“The person who doesn't read is no better off than the person who can't read”
Most of our mental development and study discipline comes from formal education. But as soon as we leave school many of us let our mind deteriorate! We don't do any more serious reading, don't try to learn a new subject outside our field, don't write or do any major critical thinking in a way that tests our ability to express ourselves.
Instead we spend our time watching TV or on social media. In an average U.S. home the TV is on 35 to 45 hours per week. That's as much time as people put into their jobs and more than what most people put into their education!
I highly recommend that you track your time and improve!
Television can enrich our lives and contribute meaningfully to our purposes and goals but there are many programs that simply waste our time. There are many programs that impact our minds and influence us negatively if we let them!
Continuing education and expanding your mind is vital to mental renewal and for running a business! It is extremely valuable to train the mind to stand apart.
If you are not in the habit of reading daily yet or at least reading 2 to 4 books a month you need to start now. But don't just jump into it, come up with a system and start small until it becomes a habit and obsession.
Start with something small but informational and you will feel accomplished when you’ve completed it. Then you can jump into bigger books but make sure if you’re going to start something, you must also finish it!
I buy lots of used books and the crazy thing is that almost 90% of these books have all these crazy highlights from the previous owners and notes on the side but only for the first 30-60 pages. The rest of the book is empty! Which means they gave up on it and never finished it. I would say most books I had bought were only read through a quarter way through.
My June Reading List
(You Can purchase any of these books by clicking on the image below)
The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnagie
The shortest book I have ever read. However it is full of information! Andrew Carnagie made tons of money and was one of the richest people of his time yet somehow, he decided to give it all away. He makes good points about how the rich were spoiling their kids and leaving them with businesses and wealth but the kids never had any qualifications to run them or even to manage any amount of money.
On the other hand, Bill Gates has no plan to leave his money behind for his children! Isn’t that crazy!? He is the richest man on earth and he is donating all his wealth which is over ~60 billion I believe. Instead he is leaving 10 million to each of his children and the rest they have to figure out.
Children must learn the value of a dollar and earn their way up. If they are not qualified, the business and the wealth should be left to someone else.
The main point of this book is to use wealth to benefit society. This book was written in 1910 but the book and its meaning are timeless.
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
What is unknown to us might be well known to others. We can learn from that.
I started this book by the recommendation of Lauren Davenport, CEO of Symphony Agency, and By Topher Morrison who is the managing Partner of KPI. I had a feeling it would be great since they both recommended it.
The more I read the more I realized why they recommended this book to me. First of all it's a great book that really shows you that what got you here won't get you there. A great book for successful people.
Each page I turned the more clear it became that they might be recommending this because of my sarcastic comments, jokes and other habits. Or because I want to win too much. There are 20 habits which we as human beings (especially in leadership roles) must recognize and break! This book gets into all of them! It is useful not just for your business but for your personal life as well.
You will learn a lot about these 20 habits and you will realize which habits are in your life. This book gives you many real life examples of how bad it is even if you think it isn't. As a leader you should really worry about all 20!
#2 when your employees bring you ideas, do not hijack them by telling them wow great idea but I think you should do this instead. Or good idea but it would be better this way. -> The problem is you may have improved the content of the idea by 5%, but with that you have reduced your employee’s commitment to executing it by 50% because you have taken away from their ownership of the idea! And now the idea is your idea and they will walk out of the office less enthused than when they walked in!
#6 for example: if your secretary brings in a document for you that needs your attention, however you already took care of it do you tell your secretary A) I already knew that or B) Thank you? If you said B) you are good at #6.
#3 when a team member or friend tells you their honest feedback/opinion about you or your management style do you respond with A) thank you, B) you rate their feedback and give your opinion instead of just being quiet about it.
#5 when some of your reports or employees bring you an idea or solution or an issue and you respond back with: A) I think you are making some very interesting points... but, however, no… If any of those responses follows you have a problem because no matter if you agree or disagree with your reports/employees, the damage is done. You are already signaling this message: you are wrong, you are miss informed, I don’t agree, etc. Well, nothing productive can happen after that.
#9 when you delegate to your subordinates to do something but don't tell them how to do it or never taught them the ways they need to know to do it. And when they finish and share it with you, you get upset. For example: you ask your son to wash your car. He goes out and washes it but he uses this two-sided sponge and one side will remove most if your shinny enamel finish. So who's fault is that when you walk out and see that your car paint is destroyed?? Most people would call their son stupid and saying I can't believe how stupid you are. At the end of the day it was really your fault because you never taught him how to do it or what to do... how would he know?
#16 not listening is annoying and very rude and you might end up hated in your neighborhood or company when you can’t listen to people. You want them to finish up already and cut them off almost like saying “NEXT”.
#18 punishing the messenger. I assure you that all of us are doing that at some point. Imagine you’re driving and there is a red light so your wife shouts next to you its RED! And you just step on it while you yell back at your wife I know there is a red light… Don’t you think I can see? And trust me it will be remembered forever. She was concerned about her and your life in the car and yet you just shot the messenger. Next time just say thank you!
Winning too much
Adding too much value
Making destructive comments
Starting with "no," "but," or "however"
Telling the world how smart we are
Speaking when angry
Negativity, or "Let me explain why that won’t work".
Failing to give proper recognition
Claiming credit that we don’t deserve
Clinging to the past
Refusing to express regret
Failing to express gratitude
Punishing the messenger
Passing the Buck
An excessive need to be "me".
I came to the conclusion at the end of this book that you are doing an amazing job as a leader if you ask your employees why are you going to stay at this company and the answer is the following:
I am finding meaning and happiness now. The work is exciting and I love what I am doing.
I like the people. They are my friends. This feels like a team. It feels like a family. I could make more money working with other people, but I don't want to leave the people here.
I can follow my dreams. This organization is giving me a chance to do what I really want to do in my life!
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
The first thing I learned from this book is that we should always find a creative way to see things. Our brain can make an opinion about something or someone and whether we mean to or not, we are going to judge that something or someone by that opinion. And that opinion could be completely off and wrong. A perfect example is the famous picture from Harvard Business School. There is a young, fashionable lady in one view and if you look closer you can see an old 60-70 year old women with a big nose. You can see both if your mind is open to it and someone tells you there are two different people. But if someone tell you look at this old lady you're going to see that and then you're going to argue with another person who was told it's a young woman. This is because you have already made up your mind.
The second thing I learned is that if you want to have a happy marriage, be the kind of person who generates positive energy and sidesteps negative energy rather than empowering it. If you want to have a more pleasant and cooperative teenager, be more understanding, empathetic, and a consistently loving parent. If you want to have more trust then be trustworthy. If you want the secondary greatness of being able to recognize talent, focus first on primary greatness of character.
Private victories precede public victories. Making and keeping promises to ourselves precedes making and keeping promises to others.
Knowledge is the theatrical paradigm, do you want to do and know why. Skill is the how to do. Desire is the motivation, or the “want to do.” In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all three.
The seven habits are habits of effectiveness. Because they are based on principles, they bring the maximum, most long-term beneficial results possible.
I loved learning about the balance in production capabilities! He used great examples including fiction like the goose with the golden eggs and real life examples.
This book is designed to be a companion in the continual process of change and growth with suggestions for application at the end of each habit so that you can study and focus on any particular habit as you are ready.
It was a great confirmation of what I have always believed in and learned growing up that everything is a choice unless we let our feelings control us. But, that’s HOLLYWOOD for you! We are brainwashed. It is really our choice. In the great literature of all progressive societies LOVE = VERB.
Reactive people make love a feeling and reactive people are driven by feelings. HOLLYWOOD scripted us to believe that we are not responsible and we are a product of our feelings. I mean how many movies can you name where at some point they blame everything on the feelings? Let me help you. All of them.
Proactive people make love a verb. Love is something you do. The sacrifices you make, the giving of self. It is a choice and you choose to love or not love it is in your hand. When people say I just don’t love her/him anymore. That is a choice you made. Love the feeling is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her/him. Serve her/him. Sacrifice. Listen. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her/him. Are you willing to do that!?
Proactive people focus their efforts in the circle of influence. They work on the things they can do something about.
Reactive people on the other hand focus their efforts in the circle of concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in environment and circumstances over which they have no control. Their focus results with blaming and accusing... the problem is that as long as we are working in our Circle of Concern, we empower the things within it that control us. We aren’t taking the proactive initiative necessary to effect positive change.
The circle of concern is filled with the HAVE'S:
I will be happy when I have my house paid off
If only I had a boss who wasn’t such a dictator
If only I had a more patient husband
If I had more obedient kids...
If I had my degree...
If I could just have more time to myself…
The Circle of Influence is filled with the BE'S:
I can be more patient
I can be wise
I can be loving
Anytime we think the problem is out there, that thought itself is the problem.
Onward: How Starbucks Fought For its Life Without Losing its Soul by Howard Schultz
An amazing book about leadership and teamwork. I have learned a lot from Howard Schultz and have a way different perspective of him and Starbucks.
Starbucks is a giant company and it was great to learn how they started and then when they reached their golden age. It was interesting to learn that Howard left as a CEO and had to return in 2008 during the market crash.
What I learned from him is that he did not blame the market crash for the poor performance of Starbucks. To him, the blame fell 99% on the company itself. They lost their way and they were too focused on opening stores instead of the experience and quality they had always provided to customers.
When he came back the first thing he did was very, very hard. He personally had to tell the current CEO who was also an amazing leader and friend that he will be let go. After that they had to close over 800 stores and let thousands of employees go in order to save Starbucks and save thousands of remaining jobs.
He just had to focus on the cause and focus with the end in mind. This road he took was very cluttered and full of obstacles but he knew as soon as he goes through as planned, Starbucks can be saved!