February was a good month. I managed to read and complete 5 books. At the end of each month I share with you the books I read in that month. Seeing what someone is reading is like seeing the 1st derivative of their thinking. A lot can be learnt from seeing another person’s reading list. A full list of the books I have read, I am currently reading and hoping to read in the future can be found here: Tanaka Mutakwa’s Book Queue. Let’s get into my February 2015 reading list below.
This is a marketing book. The main lesson is about making the product or service you are offering to the world remarkable. The product must be different to be remarkable. Godin talks about how seeing a Purple Cow is bound to get people curious and excited to find out more. As opposed to seeing the normal brown or black cows that people see everywhere. Your product or service should have a purple cow effect to your potential customers. The book talks about how business has changed and the old mass marketing techniques are mostly just expensive and do not work anymore. Godin reasons the madness in mass marketing is better spent in making a better product which in turn promotes and sells itself. A great book for anyone launching a product or service.
To master anything, you need to understand it from first principles. Our habits have a significant impact on what we do in our daily lives. Duhigg’s Power of Habit offered a staggering statistic about our lives: 40% of what we do is habitual. 40 percent! That means that a huge majority of what we do in our lives is practically unconscious and habitually helping us progress or digress. We should all be forming new good habits and changing old bad habits. This is a great book, and the reason for that is because it uses research to explain how habits are formed and changed. The whole theory lies behind the “Habit Loop”, which is cue, routine, reward. The cue makes the brain find the routine as it anticipates the reward. A classic example is stress and smoking, the cue is stress, the routine is smoking, the reward is the feeling the cigarette brings. To change a bad habit you need to keep the cue and reward, but change the routine. The book has examples of the effects of habits in individuals, organisations and communities.
I always enjoy Robert Greene’s books. He writes books that are easy to read and they are backed by great research. Mastery and 48 Laws of Power are some of his other great books. In the 50th law, Robert Greene teams up with rapper / entrepreneur 50 Cent (Curtis James Jackson). Essentially this book is about overcoming fear with the backdrop story being the life of the rapper / entrepreneur.
The greatest fear people have is that of being themselves. They want to be someone else. They do what everyone else does even if that doesn’t fit where and who they are. But you get nowhere that way; Your energy is weak and no one pays attention to you. You are running away from the one thing that you own – what makes you different.
50 Cent defied all odds from an early age and even though he was set back, shot at, threatened, he never backed down from life and living what he believed his destiny. Powerful and life-altering lessons can be drawn from his experience and that is where Robert Greene comes in and points them out.
This was a very quick read but a powerful one. I think I will be giving this book out as a gift quite often. It is also a book you want to read multiples times in your life, to remind yourself of the great lessons.
Most people have that reaction. In fact, most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving. Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.
The book teaches the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.
- The Law of Value
Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
- The Law of Compensation
Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
- The Law of Influence
Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
- The Law of Authenticity
The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
- The Law of Receptivity
The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
These five laws are taught through the story about a salesman named Joe, who wants to succeed in a big way, realises that he is not doing as well as he wishes. In a moment of desperation, he asks a colleague for the name of a man who he thinks may help him. When Joe meets with the man, nicknamed The Chairman, he is in for a big surprise. Over the course of a week, he learns a different lesson every day. He commits to practicing each lesson at least once each day.
I read this book after a recommendation from a mentor. The book is great as a practical resource to readjust your focus and attitude. If you are interested in regaining purpose in your day to day life, this book really helps with that. In this book Tracy discusses the importance of goal setting and what a difference it can make to achieving what it is you want in life. His advice is clear, concise and easy to follow. One of the most interesting things I took from the book is that you should write down your goals everyday. This allows your mind to think about them everyday and keep focused on how to achieve them. I am keen to see how this has an impact on my life in the long run. Don’t just float through life!
A goal, however, is something distinctly different from a wish. It is clear, written, and specific. It can be quickly and easily described to another person. You can measure it, and you know when you have achieved it or not.
That was it for February. I will to continue learning more in March. As they say, knowledge is power.
Keep learning, never settle!