February Books

Zero to One, Peter Thiel

Interested in changing the world with a new business idea that will make you millions? Peter Thiel answers all your questions and provides great insight in how to change the world with your next big idea. Ever wonder how the PayPal founders created such a widely popular and universal online payment platform? Or what it was like to be in Silicon Valley as it became the hub for tech innovation in the late nineties? Pick up this book to feed your inner entrepreneur and pet into the future. 

small is the new big, Seth Godin

If you aren’t already, you need to start reading Seth’s popular blog. This book is a collection of some of his best blog posts over the last several years. Seth sees the world, business, and marketing through creative lenses. He will challenge your views, give you multiple angles to look at and most importantly, make you laugh. I recommend reading this one the same way you attack a a large catering spread- a little here a little there, keep filling your plate. 

 

 

 

Automate, Automate, Automate

How would you like the peace of mind knowing every time a direct deposit is made into your account, you have a portion automatically being invested into a savings or retirement account without having to do anything? This is the beauty of automation.

By setting up a stream of your income to be automatically allocated for savings and retirement, you are well on your way to a new level of financial power.

As outlined in The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach, simply setting your finances on automatic will greatly improve and simplify your financial life. David encourages you to adopt a mindset of ‘pay yourself first’.

What does he mean by this? It means that the first dollar you earn each day should be going to you in the form of a savings or investment account. Think of your working day as a pie chart, or better yet a clock on the wall. Each quadrant of time represents something you are paying for. So, perhaps 9 – 11 is your rent or mortgage, 11 – 12:30 is your car payment, 12:30 – 1:30 is your gym membership, 1:30 – 3:30 is groceries, then 3:30 – 5 is your portion allocated towards savings.

The second person who will always get paid is Uncle Sam. There is no way around taxes but there are ways to reduce your tax burden by allocating money towards an employer sponsored 401K and other tax-deferred savings accounts.

The point is you need to create a mindset to ‘pay yourself first’. Everyone has associated costs with their choice of lifestyle. Based on your lifestyle and income, you can determine what and how much is allocated where. The whole point of paying yourself first is to take advantage of the power of compound interest. Regarded as “the eight wonder of the world” by Albert Einstein, compound interest is what allows your money to make money over time.

How will you allocate your finances for a stronger financial life? You should start with The Automatic Millionaire to get off to a great start.

What Do You Suck At?

When asked how he trained each summer for the upcoming season, Kobe Bryant said he focused on what he sucked at. So if Kobe was confident and had a high shooting percentage off the dribble with his right hand but the opposite coming off the dribble on his left hand, he would focus on his left hand for the summer. Perhaps the following summer he wanted to focus on improving his defensive rebounding. This mentality to focus on continually improving upon his weaknesses lead Bryant to one of the greatest professional basketball careers.

In order to improve, you must focus your energy on what you need to improve upon. It sounds counter intuitive but, think about it – in order to achieve a new level of mastery, you need to turn a weakness into a strength. As you build your strengths, turning former weaknesses into reliable strengths, you grow your knowledge base into a powerful arsenal. While the majority of successful people leveraged their success by magnifying their focus on the one or two strengths they had, in order to continuously remain at the top of their chosen path, they had to add new wrinkles.

This attention to your weaknesses will come at a price. While you can focus on your strengths and get stuck in a shallow positive feedback loop with yourself, focusing on what you suck at will challenge your patience, self-reliance, and confidence. Very few people wake up and say to themselves, “Oh boy, I am rearing to get my day started and spend all my time practicing what I suck at!” but, this is the attitude required to stay the course when you get frustrated at the sometimes glacial speed of improvement.

You don’t do this to suddenly have a breakthrough moment after a day or even a few hours of focused attention. It will be a long-term project for the entirety of your life. Being a life-long student will be the key to making progress and staying humbled by the process.

While along this journey, you must direct all your attention inward, not focusing on the pace of others. This lack of focus on self will create more frustration and doubt in your abilities. It is you versus you yesterday.

You must be detailed and specific with the tasks you wish to improve upon. Kobe said he wanted to be better off the dribble with his left hand and improve his defensive rebounding. He didn’t generically say “I want to be a better shooter and rebounder.” He was specific with his goals and analyzed his game constantly. He was a life-long student of the game and his passion for improvement led him to five championships. What will your focus and determination lead to?