“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.” – Charlie Munger
Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s right-hand man, has several quotes about the importance of reading. That one up top happens to be my personal favorite as it humbles even the most informed non-reader. I never was a bookworm growing up. There were a few fiction novels that caught my eye, but it wasn’t until I became extremely hungry for knowledge when the reading kicked in. Imagine eating all day every day and never feeling full, that is how I struggled through the school system. Never once did anyone pull me aside and say, “Nyle, you have to read this book, it’s non-fiction, it’s based on science, and it will change who you are and how you perceive the world.” That would have been awesome! Unfortunately, it never played out like that. However, this only sent me on a journey to turn over every proverbial stone I could find, searching for universal truths, life hacks, and cutting edge information in near real-time from the source itself. The rate at which we can access information, and also create it, has opened up limitless opportunities many have never experienced pre-internet. At this point, I would be more intrigued to hire a candidate who has thoroughly read through these five books (and hopefully peripheral books as well) with no bachelor’s degree than a candidate with a BA but has never heard of any of these books. Continuing education is an art form most forget to utilize after college. However, as the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “20 years ago was the best day to plant a tree, the second best day is today.” So if you have put off exploring your true intellectual potential, let’s start together with today’s Friday 5!
The Obstacle Is the Way; The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph – Ryan Holiday (Amazon)
Ryan is an expert on translating ancient wisdom into practical guides to modern living. In The Obstacle Is the Way, Ryan taps the culture of Stoicism to help rewire how and why we think of our lives. Holiday is your favorite researcher’s researcher. He writes in a very modern style and is able to convince even the highest of stubborn minds that we don’t choose what happens to us, we choose how we react to those occurrences. It completely shifts your mentality from a victim’s perspective to becoming entirely in control of every aspect of your life. I really enjoyed this book and constantly give it away to those who show interest in understanding how many great people in our history have endured hardship without showing fear or complaining, and then achieved unthinkable goals.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol Dweck (Amazon)
This book changed my life, it really did. Sometimes there are certain authors that explain things to you which you already know, but don’t have solid convictions based on evidence and observation. Dweck accomplishes these tasks in her book, Mindset. Due to the fact that Dweck is a professor of psychology at Stanford, much of the cited research is her own original work! The reader is fortunate in getting information straight from the source in Mindset. According to Dweck, there are two key personality traits that supersede the famous “type-a/type-b” definitions. Those superseding traits are what she calls the static mindset and the growth mindset. The static mindset believe failure is a reflection of their lack of talent, while the growth mindset believes that failure is an opportunity for future achievement. Dweck not only backs her claim flawlessly with her own data, but then effortlessly connects them to arguably the most important areas of our lives; parenting, business, school, and relationships. It’s a must read so go read it!
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World – Peter Diamandis (Amazon)
“If you want to become a billionaire, help a billion people. The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities.” – Peter Diamandis. Many of you may have heard of Peter Diamandis through his TED Talk called “Abundance is our future,” which I would highly recommend. He wrote a book of that same name which changed my perception on the future entirely. Diamandis is remarkable to me because he has absolute conviction, with empirical data to boot, that shows exponential technological growth coupled with our human experience, will result in the ultimate amplitude of everything we know. Here, Diamandis backpacks off of his previous effort and provides a clear path to applying exponential growth to your life, business, etc. When we can dream exponentially, suddenly our mindset increases MUCH larger.
For instance, if you walk ten paces, you end up 30 feet from your original starting point. That’s LINEAR GROWTH.
Now, if you walk 10 EXPONENTIAL steps, watch what happens…
(1) 1 step doubles to 2
(2) 2 steps double to 4
(3) 4 steps double to 8
(4) 8 steps double to 16
(5) 16 steps double to 32
(6) 32 steps double to 64
(7) 64 steps double to 128
(8) 128 steps double to 256
(9) 256 steps double to 512
(10)512 steps double to 1024…
That is over THREE THOUSAND feet from your original starting point in 10 steps. That is EXPONENTIAL growth or COMPOUNDING growth. That is collapsing the time frame is takes to achieve your goals. In essence, time travel.
Ray Kurzweil explains exponential growth in technology best, “The computer in your cell phone today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful.” BOLD Technology – embrace exponential, let go of linear, and change the world. BOLD Mindset – Thinking at scale. The BOLD Crowd – Crowdsourcing (my least favorite section to be honest, but whatevs). Overall the book is a short read, and I would recommend it as a must-read for anyone considering Financial Time Traveling in their lives. Change is inevitable; growth is optional.
How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery – Kevin Ashton (Amazon)
This book starts out by blowing your mind and wiping away every misconception you had about creativity within the first 20 pages. It’s that powerful and I don’t want to spoil the story for you. However, the sentiment continues throughout the book as Ashton illustrates that creativity is learned, not innate. The variety of history Ashton uncovers to prove his point are some of the most powerful examples in I could never think of. Ashton himself comes from a technology pioneering background at MIT as the leader of three successful start-ups and he drops everything he has learned about innovation into one book. Although he derives his knowledge from a history in the technology industry, Ashton finds examples of distinct creators in science, art, and invention. My favorite is the unknown truth of how the first vial of vanilla extract was created in Africa by a native tween, and how it changed the beverage business forever.
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets – Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Amazon)
This list would not be complete without a book about finance! There are so many books on my shelf related to this topic I did not know where to start. Should I give you something informative but kind of dry such as Nick Murray’s Simple Wealth, Inventible Wealth? Or maybe something cool and edgy like Flash Boys by Michael Lewis? Welp, I decided to go with Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness. Why? Because it is both informative, fun to read, and immediately applicable. For most Americans, their number two source of wealth at retirement is their 401k following their home. Having said that, we are in a full blown retirement savings crisis that no one on Capitol Hill is talking about. It’s more important than ever to be able to understand the environment you are investing in, and Nassim does a great job of illustrating how random the markets are due to erratic behavior and information asymmetry. Taleb is a man of probabilities and his investigation into luck, uncertainty, human error, and risk (among other topics) is unavoidable when discussing thought leadership in finance during the 21st century. The perception of luck is a much more powerful force than you imagined, so grab some popcorn and let the book work its magic on how you invest your retirement savings!
If you have any questions or want a topic covered, let me know in the comment section below!