Book Reviews

How I Read 90 Books In The Past 2 Years By Reading 20 Pages A Day

I used to read around 2-3 books a year. But then, I read Triggers. Creating Behavior That Lasts” by Marshall Goldsmith and inside of it was a system of changing your life– forever. So I took his system, modified it according to my own needs and created my own habit building system.  

The first experiment was to start reading 20 pages of a book a day. The date when I started that was 19th of December 2016. 

By December 20th, 2017, I’ve read 47 books. 
By December 20th, 2018, I’ve read an additional 43 books. 
I will keep updating this list every year with new books added to it. 

This system is the foundation stone of Growthabits.

The list will have book links to Amazon and links to my book notes so that you can see the details of the book and gain clarity of the topic in a matter of minutes. Although nothing substitutes reading a book, a set of organized notes might help out. 

Every 100-day section of my book reading habit will have a picture of my habit tracker.


Reading System 0-100 days of reading system. 19th of December 2016 – 28th of March 2017

1. Think And Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill 

1. Napolen Hill - Think And Grow Rich

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 19th-28th of December, 2016

Description: It’s a 13 step action plan on how to think and grow reach, accumulate wealth, plan smart and implement it correctly. 

Impression:  You need to desire something strong enough, create a plan on how to achieve it and then stick to it. It’s no wonder this is a self-help classic. 

Quotes: “When you begin to THINK AND GROW RICH, you will observe that riches begin with a state of mind, with definiteness of purpose, with little or no hard work. You, and every other person, ought to be interested in knowing how to acquire that state of mind which will attract riches.”

“You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice—we win, or we perish! They won.”


2. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalinithi

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 29th-30th of December, 2016

Description: It’s like watching Game of Thrones and your favorite character dying. You proclaim that they didn’t deserve it. The same thing applies to the autobiographical piece “When Breath Becomes Air.” A young neurosurgeon who had it all– his youth, a great and pregnant wife, an amazing career.  And then he finds out he has a stage four lung cancer as a non-smoker. 

Impression:  Life is complicated and sometimes, it hits you with everything it has even if you’re on the peak of your life.  At the moments when you could finally relax a bit and tell yourself that you’ve made it, life throws you a deadly illness at your doorstep and there is nothing you can do.  This was the most emotional book I’ve read in 2016 and as I was flipping the last pages of it, I cried my eyes out (Bill Gates did too so I’m not the only one). 

Quotes: You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.

I envied their happy faces, knowing that, statistically, they all probably had highly treatable forms of cancer, and reasonable life expectancies. Only 0.0012 percent of thirty-six-yearolds get lung cancer.
Yes, all cancer patients are unlucky, but there’s cancer, and then there’s 
CANCER, and you have to be really unlucky to have the latter.

Message to his 8-month old daughter just before he was about to close his eyes for the final time in his life:
When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

…what Paul saw and what I now carry deep in my bones, too: the inextricability of life and death, and the ability to cope, to find meaning despite this, because of this. What happened to Paul was tragic, but he was not a tragedy.

3. The Excellence Habit – Vlad Zachary

3. The Excellence Habit - Vlad Zachary

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 31st of December 2016 – 2nd of January, 2017

Description:  “Give me a lever long enough and I will move the world!” 

Impression: How small changes can affect your life in big ways. This is like a butterfly effect which actually works. The book focuses on creating the habit of excellence and it states that you need to have it in the areas which you deem the most important in your life.  Success is closely tied with results while excellence, on the other hand, is tied with a process (a habit). You can control the second, not the first.

Quotes:  If we met a poor person a hundred years ago, we would likely call them unfortunate. Back then, we would describe them as someone who did not have enough fortune, who was not lucky enough.
Nowadays, we would not be surprised to hear someone at the bottom of society called a 
loser. I think we can all agree that there is a big difference between unfortunate and a loser. As society we have evolved to believe less in God and more in ourselves. We are in the driver’s seat of our lives, and, therefore, we own both success and failure. On a personal level, this has made it more difficult to feel good about our current level of success. By accepting the idea that we could achieve anything, we have increased the pressure on ourselves to do it. Paradoxically, this makes it more difficult to reach our goals.

Success is about results. Excellence, on the other hand, is about the process.

We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and to leave our comfort zones. This means doing things we are not very good at. Or, not good at, yet. And, this means doing them now. There is no better time than now. We will never be ready. If we reach “ready,” this means we are comfortable. The point of this is to move outside of our comfort zone and learn to be productive, while there. Then do it again, and again, and again. Until we build it into a habit. That would be an Excellence Habit.

4. Influence – Robert Cialdini

4. Influence - Robert Cialdini

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 3rd -15th of January, 2017

Description: How to influence people by using six psychological principles of reciprocity, consistency, social proof, likeability, authority, and scarcity.

Impression:  This is a must-read for everyone who wants to sell anything in this world (everyone is selling something). Also, by default, this is a book you need to read as a consumer to know when you’re being sold to (we are being sold every single day from almost every single person in the world).  This should be a manual in every school in the world. 

Quotes: “There is an obligation to give, an obligation to receive, and an obligation to repay.”

The Effort Extra
Yet another reason that written commitments are so effective is that they require more work than verbal ones. And the evidence is clear that the more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater is its ability to influence the attitudes of the person who made it. 
Social scientists have determined that we accept inner responsibility for a behavior when we think we have chosen to perform it in the absence of strong outside pressures. A large reward is one such external pressure. It may get us to perform a certain action, but it won’t get us to accept inner responsibility for the act. Consequently, we won’t feel committed to it. The same is true of a strong threat; it may motivate immediate compliance, but it is unlikely to produce long-term commitment.

5. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 16th – 24th of January, 2016

Description: The first three habits (Be Proactive, Begin With The End In Mind, and Put First Things First) are about self-mastery and you do them “behind closed doors.” Without achieving personal mastery, there is no external success. And the habits four (Think Win/Win), five (Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood), and six (Synergize) all focus on the social, exterior life. The seventh habit (Sharpen The Saw) is about taking the time to work on your capacity to take care of the remaining six habits. 

Impression: Paradigm shifts, models on how to get from dependency to independency to interdependency, and habits on top of that with vivid examples make this one of the best self-help books ever written. I drew (and still do) plenty of valuable life lessons from this book. 

Quotes:  They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.

We are either the second creation of our own proactive design, or we are the second creation of other people’s agendas, of circumstances, or of past habits

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. 

Private Victory precedes Public Victory.

6. Ego Is The Enemy – Ryan Holiday

6. Ego Is The Enemy - Ryan Holiday

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 25th – 29th of January, 2017

Description: How can the Ego destroy us in three phases of our lives. The first one is when we are climbing toward success. The second one is when we are already successful. And the third one is when we are going downhill from it. The three-part book structure is something you can find in every single Ryan Holiday’s books.  

Impression: As you probably noticed, I’ve read almost all the books by Ryan Holiday, but the first one that got me was “The Ego Is The Enemy.” The book profoundly showed me the perils of my own ego and made me skip the trap of thinking that I somehow defeated my ego forever.  It’s a continuous battle and you can never let your guard down. 

Quotes:  The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.
In this way, ego is the enemy of what you want and of what you have: Of mastering a craft. Of real creative insight. Of working well with others. Of building loyalty and support. Of longevity. Of repeating and retaining your success. It repulses advantages and opportunities. It’s a magnet for enemies and errors. It is Scylla and Charybdis.

Humble in our aspirations
Gracious in our success
Resilient in our failures

If your purpose is something larger than you—to accomplish something, to prove something to yourself—then suddenly everything becomes both easier and more difficult. Easier in the sense that you know now what it is you need to do and what is important to you. The other “choices” wash away, as they aren’t really choices at all. They’re distractions. It’s about the doing, not the recognition. Easier in the sense that you don’t need to compromise.
Harder because each opportunity —no matter how gratifying or rewarding—must be evaluated along strict guidelines: Does this help me do what I have set out to do? Does this allow me to do what I need to do? Am I being selfish or selfless?

7. The Power Of Habit – Charles Duhigg

The Power Of Habit - Charles Duhigg

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 30th of January – 6th of February, 2017

Description: Every single habit has the same three-part structure. Cue – which is the signal to the start the routine, Routine – which is the internal or external action that we perform, and the Reward – the moment when you receive an internal of external reward for your behavior. 

Impression: This is the basic knowledge you need to have when it comes to habits. Even though there are other books who are more user-friendly when it comes to habits, The Power Of Habit is a classic because of simple statements and referenced research.

Quotes:  This explains why habits are so powerful: They create neurological cravings. Most of the time, these cravings emerge so gradually that we’re not really aware they exist, so we’re often blind to their influence. But as we associate cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving emerges in our brains that starts the habit loop spinning

“Foaming is a huge reward,” said Sinclair, the brand manager. “Shampoo doesn’t have to foam, but we add foaming chemicals because people expect it each time they wash their hair. Same thing with laundry detergent. And toothpaste—now every company adds sodium laureth sulfate to make toothpaste foam more. There’s no cleaning benefit, but people feel better when there’s a bunch of suds around their mouth. Once the customer starts expecting that foam, the habit starts growing.”

What Alcoholics Anonymus provides instead is a method for attacking the habits that surround alcohol use. AA, in essence, is a giant machine for changing habit loops. And though the habits associated with alcoholism are extreme, the lessons AA provides demonstrate how almost any habit—even the most obstinate—can be changed.

8. Awaken The Giant Within – Tony Robbins

8. Awaken The Giant Within- Tony Robbins

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 7th – 21st of February, 2017

Description: Half biography- half life tutorial from the greatest self-help guru who ever lived on the planet. You will learn everything from how to communicate with others, to setting your own values, to carefully using words to put yourself in (or out) of the desired state. 

Impression: People either love or hate Tony Robbins, you simply can’t be indifferent to him. Well, I most certainly am indifferent to him and because of that, I believe I’m in the objective position to recommend you to read this book. There will be things which won’t resonate with you, but then there will be things that hit you straight in the gut. There is a reason Tony Robbins is the greatest. Use what you can, ignore the rest.

Quotes:  Changing an organization, a company, a country—or a world—begins with the simple step of changing yourself. And you change yourself by raising your standards: What you won’t tolerate, what you won’t accept in life and what you aspire to become.

You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know.
Knowing is not enough! You must take action.

9. Contagious. Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

Contagious. Why Things Catch On - Jonah Berger

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 22nd – 26th of February, 2017

Description: There are six elements of virality: social value, triggers, emotions, public, practical values, and stories.

Impression: If you want your message heard, remembered, and be actioned-upon, then this is the right book for you. I know a couple of people who used this book to create viral articles which jump-started their career. 

Quotes:  Some people like to be the life of the party, but no one wants to be the death of it. We all want to be liked. The desire for social approval is a fundamental human motivation.

“Live the healthy way, eat five fruits and veggies a day.”
“Each and every dining-hall tray needs five fruits and veggies a day.” 
Both slogans encouraged people to eat fruits and vegetables, but the corny “tray” slogan was 25% more effective. Even though people didn’t like the slogan (actually hated it), it was more effective!

10. The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 27th of February – 1st of March, 2017

Description: The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word,  Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, and Always Do Your Best. 

Impression: This is a short, but very impactful book. The examples in the book and the way the author presents them are one-of-a-kind. Heavily recommend to you and you can even use it as a gift to certain people, especially focusing on the second Agreement.

Quotes:  The reward feels good, and we keep doing what others want us to do in order to get the reward. With that fear of being punished and that fear of not getting the reward, we start pretending to be what we are not, just to please others, just to be good enough for someone else. We try to please Mom and Dad, we try to please the teachers at school, we try to please the church, and so we start acting. We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected.

Wherever you go you will find people lying to you, and as your awareness grows, you will notice that you also lie to yourself. Do not expect people to tell you the truth because they also lie to themselves. You have to trust yourself and choose to believe or not to believe what someone says to you. 

11. Unshakeable – Tony Robbins

Unshakeable - Tony Robbins

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 2nd – 9th of March, 2017

Description: Stock investment is how rich stay rich. Stock investment is how the rich become poor. Stock investment is how the poor become rich. And stock investment is how the poor stay poor. Nuances matter and they are heavily talked about in this book.

Impression:  There are two things I got from this book. The first one is that everyone buys, you need to sell and when everyone sells, you should be buying. The second thing is that a diversified portfolio in the S&P 500 index, over time, will beat anything because of the compounding effect. 

Quotes:  “When a person with experience meets a person with money, the person with experience ends up with the money; and the person with money ends up with an experience.” 

“The best opportunities come in times of maximum pessimism.”

12. Stumbling On Happiness – Daniel Gilbert

Stumbling On Happiness - Daniel Gilbert

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 10th – 20th of March, 2017

Description: How to be happy in a weird and effective way, provided with crazy examples and written by the most respected professor, scientist, and researcher Daniel Gilbert. 

Impression: You have books on psychology which are quite boring, dry, unimaginative, and uninspiring. And then you have Daniel Gilbert. If you have to read just one book about how our minds work, it would be this one. 

Quotes: Whatever you are thinking, your thoughts are surely about something other than the word with which this sentence will end.
But even as you hear these very words echoing in your very head, and think whatever thoughts they inspire, your brain is using the word it is reading right now and the words it read just before to make a reasonable guess about the identity of the word it will read next, which is what allows you to read so fluently.
Any brain that has been raised on a steady diet of film noir and cheap detective novels fully expects the word night to follow the phrase It was a dark and stormy, and thus when it does encounter the word night, it is especially well prepared to digest it.
As long as your brain’s guess about the next word turns out to be right, you cruise along happily, left to right, left to right, turning black squiggles into ideas, scenes, characters, and concepts, blissfully unaware that your nexting brain is predicting the future of the sentence at a fantastic rate. It is only when your brain predicts badly that you suddenly feel avocado.

That is, surprised. See?

13. Start-Up Nation – Dan Senor

Start-Up Nation - Dan Senor

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 21st – 24th of March, 2017

Description: Why is Israel a start-up nation, with one of the highest numbers of start-up per capita. How the bottom-up culture helps with this, what is the role of the military and the concept of chutzpah which makes this a breeding ground for start-ups.

Impression: When everyone in the country has a nickname and “street credibility,” then it’s important to behave. The culture pushes people to challenge the obvious, ask questions, and give respect only where it is deserved. Read this to learn about models which can be used for corporate cultures of success.

Quotes:  Four guys are standing on a street corner . . .
an American, a Russian, a Chinese man, and an Israeli. . . .
A reporter comes up to the group and says to them:
“Excuse me. . . . What’s your opinion on the meat shortage?”
The American says: What’s a shortage?
The Russian says: What’s meat?
The Chinese man says: What’s an opinion?
The Israeli says: What’s “Excuse me”?

Israelis do not have a very disciplined culture. From the age of zero we are educated to challenge the obvious, ask questions, debate everything, innovate,” says Mooly Eden.

Dadi Perlmutter recalls the shock of an American colleague when he witnessed Israeli corporate
culture for the first time. “When we all emerged [from our meeting], red faced after shouting, he asked
me what was wrong. I told him, ‘Nothing. We reached some good conclusions.’ ”

Reading System
100-200 days of reading system. 29th of March – 6th of July 2017

14. The Promise Of A Pencil

The Promise Of A Pencil - Adam Braun

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 25th – 29th of March, 2017

Description: How Adam Braun figured out what he wanted to in his, how it took years to figure it out and how that produced one of the most successful “For Purpose” organizations this world has ever seen — Pencils of Promise. The organization built over 400 schools in third world countries, providing education where there was none. 

Impression: You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. Adam Braun had it all. Great Ivy League education, an amazing job at Mckinsey, and a safe and secure future. But he didn’t have his heart in it. He found his purpose when asking a small Indian girl what she wanted from life and she responded “a pencil.” It was the trigger which pushed him to live his life the way it was meant to be, not the way it planned to be.

Quotes: Up until that point, I had always thought that I was too young to make a difference. I had been told that without the ability to make a large donation to a charity, I couldn’t help change someone’s life. But through the small act of giving one child one pencil, that belief was shattered. I realized that even big waves start with small ripples. This is my thing, I thought. Rather than offering money or nothing at all, I’m going to give kids pencils and pens as I travel.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the beautiful irony of a Jew reading the Christian Bible aloud in a town called Palestina.

15. Success Management – Dale Carnegie

Success Management - Dale Carnagie

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Book notes

Rating: 4/10

Date of reading: 30th of March – 1st of April, 2017

Description: You will learn the basics of people management. Even though some lessons seem trivial, the devil is always in the details. The fundamentals are fundamentals for a reason– they need to be known inside out. 

Impression: I could pretty much sum the lesson from this book with a single sentence–It will teach you how to talk to people.

Quotes: Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.”

Rule Number One: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.”

16. Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 2nd – 16th of April, 2017

Description: How did we go from the African savannah to today’s civilized world, written in the funniest possible way. You will learn how we (probably) formed religion, why are we the only surviving species of people (there were 7 types of humans on Earth), how our culture and language formed and why gossip is so important with humans. 

Impression: This book will make you disagree with the author on at least one page of the book. Nonetheless, it’s truly a gem worth reading and I recommend it highly. 

Quotes:  Large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths.

Most human-rights activists sincerely believe in the existence of human rights. 
No one was lying when, in 2011, the UN demanded that the Libyan government respect the human rights of its citizens, even though the UN, Libya and human rights are all figments of our fertile imaginations.

In a one-on-one brawl, a Neanderthal would probably have beaten a Sapiens. But in a conflict of hundreds, Neanderthals wouldn’t stand a chance.

17. Deep Work – Cal Newport

Deep Work - Cal Newport

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 17th – 29th of April, 2017

Description: How to use Deep Work to work, succeed, and create value in today’s unfocused world. 

Impression: Focus, focus, and focus. Focus on a set of skills that requires deep work, the practice of improving a certain skill for years. But the skills we acquire through that process are skills which are one of a kind and can’t be easily copied or replicated. 

Quotes:  I shared a graduate student office down the hall from a MacArthur “genius grant” winner—a professor who was hired at MIT before he was old enough to legally drink. It wasn’t uncommon to find this theoretician sitting in the common space, staring at markings on a whiteboard, with a group of visiting scholars arrayed around him, also sitting quietly and staring. This could go on for hours. I’d go to lunch; I’d come back—still staring. This particular professor is hard to reach. He’s not on Twitter and if he doesn’t know you, he’s unlikely to respond to your e-mail.
Last year he published sixteen papers.

If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.

18. The Road Less Traveled – M. Scott Peck

18. The Road Less Traveled - M. Scott Peck

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 30th of April – 10th of May, 2017

Description: The road less traveled in life. The categories like love, parenting, religion, life’s purpose, and self-development. Even though the book was written back in the ’70s, it’s a gem worth reading. 

Impression: I remember and use quite a lot from this book. The difference between loneliness and aloneness, the paradox that life is easy once you accept that it’s hard, that the Hero’s Journey matter even though you come back to the same place. This is a really great book and definitely worth reading. 

Quotes:  Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.

In attempting to avoid the pain of responsibility, millions and even billions daily attempt to escape from freedom.

“I just told you I can’t live without him [or her].” I try to explain: “What you describe is parasitism, not love. When you require another individual for your survival, you are a parasite on that individual. There is no choice, no freedom involved in your relationship. It is a matter of necessity rather than love. Love is the free exercise of choice. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.”

To fail to confront when confrontation is required for the nurture of spiritual growth represents a failure to love equally as does thoughtless criticism or condemnation and other forms of active deprivation of caring.

19. The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem – Nathaniel Branden

19. The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem - Nathaniel Branden

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 11th – 26th of May, 2017

Description: The six pillars of self-esteem are: living consciously, self-acceptance, self-responsibility, self-assertiveness, living purposefully, and personal integrity

Impression: You will learn what true self-esteem is, how to grow and keep it, and learn the pitfalls of”fake it ’till you make it” bullshit type of advice. 

Quotes:  The question is sometimes asked, “Is it possible to have too much selfesteem?” 
No, it is not; no more than it is possible to have too much physical health or too powerful an immune system. Sometimes selfesteem is confused with boasting or bragging or arrogance; but such traits reflect not too much self-esteem, but too little; they reflect a lack of self-esteem. Persons of high self-esteem are not driven to make themselves superior to others; they do not seek to prove their value by measuring themselves against a comparative standard. Their joy is in being who they are, not in being better than someone else. 

Self-esteem is not a substitute for a roof over one’s head or food in one’s stomach, but it increases
the likelihood that one will find a way to meet such needs.

20. Come As You Are – Emily Nagoski

20. Come As You Are - Emily Nagoski

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Book notes

Rating: 4/10

Date of reading: 27th of May – 5th of June, 2017

Description: How sexuality works for both men and women. And that almost all of it is normal.

Impression: There is one sentence from this book that helped me through the years and it’s this one: It’s not how you feel. It’s how you feel about how you feel.

Quotes:  It’s not how you feel—it’s not even being aware of how you feel. It’s how you feel about how you feel. And people who feel nonjudging about their feelings do better.

This is as literal as it gets: It’s not how you feel (pain). It’s how you feel (tolerant or not) about how you

21. U Potrazi Za Autentičnom Snagom – Ena Rajić

21. U Potrazi Za Autentičnom Snagom - Ena Rajić

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Book notes

Rating: 5/10

Date of reading: 6th – 18th of June, 2017

Description: Memoirs that help us deal with life by finding (and following) our true authentic voice. 

Impression: How far can your belief actually take you in life. 

Quotes:  Pa ako se primjerice nalazite u nedoumici da li prići osobi koja Vam se sviđa – dovoljno je da si vizualizirate kako besramno prdi i podriguje u noćnom klubu dok je sigurna da je nitko ne čuje.

Shvatite i to da nije teorija ta koja nas uči – već iskustva. Jedno je intelektualno htjeti vjerovati da sam vrijedna osoba – drugo je svim srcem znati da jesam. Jedno je sjediti u sobi i maštati – drugo je maštati i djelovati.

Ljubav prema sebi nema ništa sa sebičnošću, narcizmom ili arogancijom. Ljubav prema sebi je odlikovanje Boga u sebi i najveći dar koji možete darovati drugome. S ljubavlju prema sebi otkrit ćete lakoću kojom ćete početi komunicirati s drugima. Što više volite sebe, to ste više sposobno voljeti druge.

22. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

22. Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 19th – 27th of June, 2017

Description: We have two brains which Kahneman calls System 1 – the fast, intuitive thinking system, and System 2 – the slow, analytical thinking system. The trick is recognizing when we need to use the first and when the second one. Spoiler – we are terribly bad at using the systems when we need to use them. 

Impression: This book should be a manual to everyone in the world. It will teach you to notice our brain’s faulty thinking, both in intuition and in analytics. The concepts I quite commonly use from the book are “WYSIATI-  or What You See Is All There Is” — a way of thinking about the world from our limited personal experience; and the phrase coined as the Focusing Illusion – Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you’re thinking about it.

Quotes:  People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory—and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media.

The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition.

For an example, here is a simple puzzle. Do not try to solve it but listen to your intuition:
A bat and ball cost $1.10.
The bat costs one dollar more than the ball.
How much does the ball cost?

A number came to your mind. The number, of course, is 10: 10¢. The distinctive mark of this easy puzzle is that it evokes an answer that is intuitive, appealing, and wrong. Do the math, and you will see. If the ball costs 10¢, then the total cost will be $1.20 (10¢ for the ball and $1.10 for the bat), not $1.10. The correct answer is 5¢. It%”>5¢. is safe to assume that the intuitive answer also came to the mind of those who ended up with the correct number—they somehow managed to resist the intuition.

23. One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way – Robert Maurer

23. One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way - Robert Maurer

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 28th – 30th of June, 2017

Description: Kaizen is a Japanese phrase which means continuous improvement. The book shows us how to change our lives by using the Kaizen method, starting from the tiniest possible steps. And it works.

Impression: This is something I use in my daily life with writing and reading habits. The brain is about how many times you do something (consistency), not about how hard or long you do it (intensity). Heck, this article was made possible because I just started reading 20 pages of a book a day. And it became a reality because I sat down every single day and wrote just 500 words of it. 

Quotes:  “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens and when it happens, it lasts. “

No Time, No Money? Kaizen Fits Your Life.

24. Freedom – Jonathan Franzen

24. Freedom - Jonathan Franzen

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Book notes

Rating: 5/10

Date of reading: 1st – 4th of July, 2017

Description: The book describes many different themes, from a love marriage (triangle) of wife, husband, and husband’s best friend, to the state of the Iraqi war, politics, sports, nature conservation, mother-son, father-daughter relationships, etc. 

Impression: Even though the book is beautifully written and I finished its 550 pages in four days, I really hated it. Not because anything the book did by itself, but by the actions of the people inside of the book. I couldn’t stand the indecisiveness, cowardness, and pettiness of the characters in the book. I was really angry at them. But hey, you might love the book because it’s truly a work of art. 

Quotes:  Each new thing he encountered in life impelled him in a direction that fully convinced him of its rightness, but then the next new thing loomed up and impelled him in the opposite direction, which also felt right. 

“Except I don’t want to see you again. I don’t want to be in the same room with you again. I don’t want to hear that person’s name again. I don’t want to have anything to do with either of you. Ever. I just want to be alone so I can contemplate having wasted my entire life loving you.”

And yet you’re apparently unaware that his dad’s dying of liver disease and his older brother’s in jail for vehicular assault and his other brother’s spending his Army paychecks making payments on his vintage Corvette. And Walter’s averaging about four hours of sleep while you’re being friends and hanging out, just so you can come over here and flirt with me.”
Patty became very quiet.

25. Superhuman By Habit – Tynan

25. Superhuman By Habit - Tynan

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 5th – 6th of July, 2017

Description: This is a tactic-oriented book about habits. With a mere 80 pages, the author shows us a step-by- process on how he lost most of his bad habits and how he grew some great habits. 

Impression: If you don’t want to read extensive research about habits, but just want a clear pathway and plan on how to lose a bad habit or gain a great one, this is the book to read. It goes straight into the how, without trying to thin itself to 250 pages like some books do. 

Quotes:  What surprised me was the freedom which habits gave me. Rather than making me feel like a robot running through routines, building habits has made so much of my life automatic that it feels like I have complete autonomy because I don’t have to worry about the basics. They get done in the background.

Well, for six months of focused effort I now get fifty years or so of loving to work and the enjoyment of the dividends it pays. For me it was unequivocally worth it, but of course as you build your own habits.

200-300 reading habit 2017
200-300 days of reading system. 7th of July – 14th of October 2017

26. The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships – Neil Strauss

26. The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships - Neil Strauss

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 7th – 14th of July, 2017

Description: Another Strauss’s masterpiece. This is everything you need to know about relationships and everything most of us try to avoid for our entire lives. If you can be strong enough to find and read The Truth, it will truly set you free. This is the best book on relationships I ever read in my entire life. 

Impression: How do you go from the best pick-up artist in the world to a sex addiction commune, and then back to love triangles, and then back to monogamy, all in the span of 400 pages. It’s not about the end, it’s about the journey and this one will hit you like a brick wall. 

Quotes:  But before I get a chance to do a thing about it, Bruno appears out of the blue and starts fucking her. I don’t know how he does it. This must be his tenth woman.

And so I faced a decision: How far would I go to protect my parents? Is it better to betray the people responsible for my existence or to betray that existence itself? It is a decision that everyone, at some point in life, must make.
Most make the wrong one.

Guilt is about breaking the rules. Shame is about being broken

27. Black Privilege – Charlamagne Tha God

Black Privilege - Charlamagne Tha God

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 15th – 23rd of July, 2017

Description: How to live as a poor African-American in the South, have a long, potty mouth and still succeed in life. 

Impression: Even drug dealers can change if they follow their authentic self and stay true to their value set. Charlamagne lost so many battles because he stood by his values. And that’s why he won. 

Quotes:  I’ve been a bully (and been bullied). I’ve been a drug dealer. A so-called thug. A so-called nerd. I’ve been to jail a few times. I’ve come within inches—on more than one occasion—of fulfilling my father’s prediction for Darnell and all the other knuckleheads in our town: broke under a tree, dead in the ground, or rotting in jail.

Remember shit is the best fertilizer; it’s what helps the flowers grow.

When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind.
—African Proverb

28. Barking Up The Wrong Tree – Eric Barker

28. Barking Up The Wrong Tree - Eric Barker

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 24th – 30th of July, 2017

Description: This book has the weirdest examples of success I ever read. The book teaches you about cooperation… from the examples of serial killers, gangs, and pirates. If this doesn’t intrigue you to read this book, nothing will. 

Impression: This book answers the question about success by debunking the long-held beliefs about success which are just wrong. The author does this through a really funny dichotomy of success lesson (is it who you know or what you know? Is it about belief in yourself… or listening to others? Do quitters never win and winners never quit?) 

Quotes:  School has clear rules. Life often doesn’t. When there’s no clear path to follow, academic high achievers break down

The same genes that lead to bad stuff can actually lead to great stuff in a different situation. The same knife that can be used to viciously stab someone can also prepare food for your family. Whether the knife is good or bad depends on context.

What if I told you your son’s upper body would be too long, his legs too short, his hands and feet too big, and he’d have gangly arms? I doubt you’d jump for joy. None of those things sounds objectively “good.” But when a knowledgeable swim coach hears those things, he sees nothing but Olympic Gold.
Michael Phelps should be considered one of the X-Men: a mutant with superpowers. Is Phelps physically perfect? Far from it. 

29. Your Move – Ramit Sethi

29. Your Move - Ramit Sethi

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 31st of July – 2nd of August, 2017

Description: One of Ramit Sethi’s finest books out there. The book teaches you how to separate good ideas like wheat from the chaff, how to validate and research your idea, and finally make a living out of it. 

Impression: I’ve been following Ramit’s two websites “I Will Teach You How To Be Rich” and “Growth Lab” for a couple of years already and the insights in the book aren’t regurgitated stuff from blog posts. This book is worth reading even if you follow those websites extensively because Ramit made sure, as always, that his customers have the best possible experience. 

Quotes:  When you can connect and really solve their problems, the price is a mere triviality.

The more money you make, the more value you can create.

Actually listening is the critical differentiator between a successful business with happy customers… and everyone else.

30. Choose Yourself! – James Altucher

30. Choose Yourself! - James Altucher

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 3rd – 7th of August, 2017

Description: How to find and choose yourself in today’s fast-paced world. The author does this through a plethora of horrible personal experiences which somehow, in the end, made him happy and successful in a weird way. 

Impression: James Altucher lives a weird life. From millions in the bank to bankruptcy to millions again on the bank and bankruptcy again to living with his parents to flying in helicopters and playing chess in the park. It’s super unconventional, but that’s what makes it real life. 

Quotes:  There’s no one path. There’s every path. Every path starts with this one moment. Did you choose yourself for this moment? Can you be bold? Then all paths will lead to the same place. Right now.

In the past twenty years I’ve failed at about eighteen of the twenty businesses I’ve started. I’ve probably switched careers five or six times in various sectors ranging from software to finance to media. I’ve written ten books. I’ve lost multiple jobs. I’ve been crushed, on the floor, suicidal, desperate, anxious, depressed. And each time, I’ve had to reinvent myself, reinvent my goals and my career. On most occasions, I didn’t realize what steps I was repeating over and over, both positive and negative. Once I achieved success I would inevitably return to my negative habits and start squandering my good fortune.

31. Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

31. Shoe Dog - Phil Knight

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 8th – 17th of August, 2017

Description: Autobiography of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike and the way he created Blue Ribbon Sports (Nike later on) to the way he played on the edge of failure for years. 

Impression: Most people loved this book but for me, it was quite boring to read. Nonetheless, lessons of perseverance, success, positive role models, and dealing with loss in the family are what can be found in the book. 

Quotes:  Earned a master’s from a top business school—Stanford. Survived a yearlong hitch in the U.S. Army—Fort Lewis and Fort Eustis. My résumé said I was a learned, accomplished soldier, a twenty-four-year-old man in full . . . So why, I wondered, why do I still feel like a kid?

The last thing I wanted was to pack up and return to Oregon. But I couldn’t see traveling around the world alone, either. Go home, a faint inner voice told me. Get a normal job. Be a normal person.
Then I heard another faint voice, equally emphatic. No, don’t go home. Keep going. Don’t stop.

…the goddess Athena, thought to be the bringer of “nike,” or victory…Temple of Nike, in which the warrior gives the king a gift—a pair of new shoes. 

32. The War Of Art – Steven Pressfield

32. The War Of Art - Steven Pressfield

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 18th-20th of August, 2017

Description: When you write an entire book about the fear of the blank page known as the Resistance and it becomes a bestseller, then you know you’ve hit the spot with other writers. The Resistance is the fear every single creative (writer) feels when they need to sit down and produce something. You fight this battle every single day of your life. Try to have more days where you win and you will become a successful writer. 

Impression: If you think that creative people just have something within them which prevents them from fearing the blank page, then you need to read this book. Both Stephen King and I have the same fear. This book told me that it’s okay to feel how I feel even after writing over half a million article-based words. 

Quotes:  What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to
Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.

33. The Home Service Millionaire – Tommy Mello

33. The Home Service Millionaire - Tommy Mello

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 21st – 25 of August, 2017

Description: How to start a million dollar home service business. Oh, and let’s throw in one more thing to make it even more difficult. You will start it in the middle of the biggest financial crisis the world has ever seen – the 2008 market crash. But Tommy Mello still succeeded and the book is a testament on how he did it. 

Impression: How to develop a business mindset, train and lead your employees, how to make effective checklists, how to sell your services and provide the best possible customer service even when you have over 40 employees.

Quotes:  “I’m going to be one of your best students because I’m not just doing this as a business, I’m doing this for my business.”

Pick only the top 1% in your industry, listen, learn, emulate, and shoot your goals higher than the rest.

Skilled labor isn’t cheap. Cheap Labor isn’t skilled.

34. Real Artists Don’t Starve – Jeff Goins

34. Real Artists Don't Starve - Jeff Goins

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 26th – 31st of August, 2017

Description: How to live from your creative work, whether it’s writing, designing, drawing, or any type of creations. It turns out that the creatives of the past weren’t starving and today, we can emulate that model and live from our art. 

Impression: The book taught me how to live with dignity as a writer and how to properly “sell” my art so that I can keep creating more art. I don’t make art to make money. I make money to make more art. 

Quotes:  Professor Hatfield uncovered a fortune worth roughly $47 million today, making Michelangelo the richest artist of the Renaissance. And to this day, this is a story that surprises us. 

So I began to call myself a writer, which was something I did for myself but became a way to declare who I was to the world. The more I did this, the more other people believed it, and therefore the more I believed it. And over time, it became true. 

Eventually, you have to decide who you are. You have to choose your role and own that identity. We don’t fake it till we make it. We believe it till we become it.

35. The Kybalion – Three Initiates

35. The Kybalion - Three Initiates

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 1st – 3rd of September, 2017

Description: Thousand-year-old principles on life, science, and development. The book focuses on 7 different principles through which it explains the natural world. 

Impression: This was the weirdest book I read in 2017, but nonetheless, a very useful one. The principles written in the book are applicable to today’s world and hold many secrets which we should at least know, if not implement them daily.  

“Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”

“Nothing can rise higher than its source–nothing is evolved unless it is involved–nothing manifests in the effect, unless it is in the cause.” 

But the Absolute point of view shows merely one side of the picture–the other side is the Relative one. Absolute Truth has been defined as “Things as the mind of God knows them,” while Relative Truth is “Things as the highest reason of Man understands them.”

36. Will It Fly? – Pat Flynn

36. Will It Fly? - Patt Flynn

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 4th – 14th of September, 2017

Description: A step-by-step process on how to test out your business idea without investing money or (too much) time. The book is simple to read, simple to use, and the author backs the claims by not only research but also by his personal (successful) example. 

Impression: Certain things from the book were a repetition from the Ramit Sethi’s book on building an online business, but this book went into more details when it comes to researching and validating your idea. So you can use the best out of both of them to quickly validate your business idea…or move on. 

Quotes:  The point is our ideas are like these myths. We can assume outcomes one way or another, but until we put a method and data behind it to test those assumptions, we’re risking being pulled into something that seems right, but may prove to be completely wrong. Experimentation will illuminate the truth.

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
— Japanese Proverb

“You know, I could probably hire someone right now to do whatever it is you’re thinking of doing. So why should I be interested in working with you? What makes you so special?”
“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

37. Kad Je Nietzsche Plakao – Irvin Jalom

37. Kad Je Nietzsche Plakao - Irvin Jalom

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Book notes

Rating: 5/10

Date of reading: 15th – 22nd of September, 2017

Description: A retired psychiatry professor explaining the philosophies of the biggest philosophers of all times through his books (Problem Spinoza, Schopenhauer Cure, When Nietzsche Wept). The book deals with the relationship of Nietzsche, Lou Salome, and Nietzsche psychotherapist Dr. Breuer

Impression: The book is like an intro class into Nietzsche’s philosophy and if you’re not intended to go into the depth of his writings, this book will suffice. 

Quotes:  “Odavno sam naučio da je lakše nositi se sa lošom reputacijom nego lošom savešću.”

“Vodič mora razotkriti puteve koji leže pred učenikom, ali ne sme birati stazu.”

“Svaka osoba mora birati sa koliko se istine želi nosi”

38. On Writing – Stephen King

38. On Writing - Stephen King

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 23rd of September – 6th of October, 2017

Description: When people ask me what they need to read to start their writer’s journey, this book always comes first. Writing lessons from one of the most successful and prolific writers of all times, Stephen King, on how to create and incubate ideas, how to write, how to edit, how to listen to feedback, and, in the end, how to touch your reader’s souls. 

Impression: Writing is a difficult and solitary process which takes its toll. But the best person who can understand what you go through is someone who goes through the same. And that is Stephen King. 

Quotes:  To write is human, to edit is divine.

Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story,”
he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

39. The Millionaire Fastlane – MJ DeMarco

39. The Millionaire Fastlane - MJ DeMarco

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 7th – 14th of October, 2017

Description: This book teaches you how to live rich for the rest of your life. And it does it by explaining the three financial lanes of life. There is the Sidewalk, where people stay poor. This is the reality for most of the people. Then, there is the Slowlane, which is where people slowly accumulate wealth and can enjoy them when they are 65. And then, there is the Fastlane which only a small minority of people follow. The Fastlane track helps you accumulate wealth fast and live life fully.

Impression: I really dislike financial books because they are dry and too formal but this one was the polar opposite. MJ DeMarco hits a home run with his book because he walks the talk and explains how to do it in simple terms which everyone can understand. He has two books and both of them are the Holy Grail of financial books. 

Quotes:  I made my first million when I was 31. Five years earlier, I was living with my mother. I retired when I was 37.

College was a fiveyear prenatal employee brainwashing with graduation as the overrated climax. I viewed college as indoctrination into corporate droneship; an unfulfilled marriage between me and a life of jobs, bosses, and being overworked and underpaid.

When you make your first million, it will be because of process and not some clandestine happenstance that just happened to waltz across your path. Process is the road trip to wealth: The destination shines as an event, but it’s found by process. Yes, the elevator to success is out-of-order— you will need to labor up the stairs.

300-365 days of reading system. 15th of October – 18th of December 2017

40. Expert Secrets – Russel Brunson

40. Expert Secrets - Russel Brunson

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 15th – 21st of October, 2017

Description: How to pack up your knowledge, skills, and expertise in a format people will gladly buy from you. And this is coming from a guy who used to sell potato guns, only to build a 9+figure business. 

Impression: This is the ultimate how-to books when it comes to learning how to package your ideas and sell them to an audience. Everything from mission statements to stacking webinars, writing content calendars to marketing plans, this book has it all and it’s a great resource to come back over and over again.

Quotes: This matter how much personal development you achieve, there will be a point where you can no longer progress. The only way to continue to grow is by helping others become like you. Yes, true growth and fulfillment comes from your contribution to others. By teaching, I had to dissect what I was doing and learn WHY it worked.

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator,designer, videomaker, or author—in other words, anyone producing works of art—needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe reissued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.

41. Way Of The Wolf – Jordan Belfort

41. Way Of The Wolf - Jordan Belfort

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 22nd – 29th of October, 2017

Description: How to sell in today’s world from the worlds most famous salesman. The Wolf of Wall Street teaches his Straight Line Selling system in the book and gives you everything you need to become a great (and ethical) salesperson.

Impression: This wasn’t just a sales book and it has everything to do with Jordan Belfort’s past. He emphasizes an ethical way of selling in the book (you must believe your product is really the best possible product for your customer at this moment) and moves away from any “black hat” strategies and tactics. Once you understand Cialdini’s Principles of Selling, take this book and go into nitty-gritty details of selling anything.

Quotes:  Let me repeat that: the reason every sale is the same is because, despite all that individual stuff, the same three key elements still have to line up in any prospect’s mind before you have a shot at closing them.

You see, people don’t buy on logic; they buy on emotion, and then justify their decision with logic. The logical mind is analytical by nature, so the more information you give it the more information it wants to know. In consequence, if you get your prospect to a high level of logical certainty, they’ll say, “It sounds great, let me think about it . . .” or “Let me do a bit more research and I’ll call you back.”
However, if you skip making the logical case and focus strictly on creating emotional certainty, it won’t do the trick either, because the logical mind serves as a human bullshit detector. 

In fact, in the vast majority of cases, you’re going to have to ask for the order at least two or three times before you have any chance of your prospect saying yes.

42. Side Hustle – Chris Guillebeau

42. Side Hustle - Chris Guillebeau

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 30th of October – 6th of November, 2017

Description: How to create a side hustle (defined in the book by the monthly income of $400-3000).

Impression: Chris Guillebeau has a really interesting way of telling stories so this was the first book I read from him, but not the last one. Side Hustle is divided into 27 “chapters” and each and every one of them serves as one day in your side hustle. An easy book to read, a bit more challenging to implement, but the results you can get from it are 10-50X invested. 

Quotes:  ✓ Do you like the idea of having more than one source of income?
✓ Are you willing to devote at least thirty minutes a day to building your hustle, for at least the next twenty-seven days?
If you answered Yes, this plan is for you.

When you build something for yourself, even as you continue to work your day job, you become empowered. You gain confidence. You create security, both in the form of that extra cash and also in the fact that you’re opening up future opportunities for yourself. So right from the beginning of this journey, start thinking about your future.

43. High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard

43. High Performance Habits - Brendon Burchard

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 7th of November – 15th of November, 2017

Description: High Performance Habits is a book for people who think, believe, and act successfully but still think that something is missing. Brendon Burchard goes into details on how to have it all and gives examples of people who do have it all. 

Impression: What I love about this book is that it doesn’t just talk about things that work but it shows how they work (plan) and why they work (science behind it). If you want to be a high achiever in every single area of your life, this is a must-read. 

Quotes:  “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

What you need is a reliable set of practices for unleashing your greatest abilities. Study high performers and you will see that they have systems built into their days that drive their success.
Systems are what separate the pro from the novice, and science from armchair philosophy. Without systems, you cannot test hypothesis, track progress, or repeatedly deliver exceptional results. In personal and professional development, these systems and procedures are, ultimately, habits. But which ones work?

44. The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes

44. The School of Greatness - Lewis Howes

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 16th – 24th of November, 2017

Description: The School of Greatness is the name of a popular podcast started by Lewis Howes and the book “steals” the same name. It’s about finding your life’s vision when your primary purpose has been shut down (Howes needed to stop playing American football because of an injury) and how to actually make it happen. 

Impression: What I love about Lewis Howes is that he acknowledges that he is ignorant and that he doesn’t know a lot. And that’s why he invites people on his podcast to teach him about their knowledge and expertise. He does the same thing with his book, not pretending to know stuff and asking for advice from knowledgable people. 

Quotes:  The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.
—Helen Keller

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”

When adversity arises, you have two choices: (1) Do nothing, let it overwhelm you, and fall victim to your circumstances, or (2) embrace the challenge and move toward the adversity, making it part of your success story. Prepare yourself for these moments, because they are going to happen in all areas of your life whether you like it or not. When you understand this and learn to embrace adversity, then you can learn to overcome it and use it to your advantage.

45. The Power Of Now – Eckhart Tolle

45. The Power Of Now - Eckhart Tolle

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 25th of November – 2nd of December, 2017

Description: I’m not really into woo-woo kind of books but this is definitely not one of those. There is a reason The Power of Now is called the most spiritual book of the 20th century. If you hear about mindfulness and presence all around you but don’t know where it comes from or what the fundamentals are, I definitely recommend The Power of Now. 

Impression: A lot of my bad habits, ticks, and crap that I was doing for years was solved at least partially with this book. I had a nagging habit of biting my nails and even though I read many habit building (and breaking) books, the one that pushed me over the edge was actually the Power of Now. When you focus just on the present moment, miraculous stuff tends to happen. Try it out. 

Quotes:  I do so not in order to compare, but to draw your attention to the fact that in essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms. Some of these forms, such as the ancient religions, have become so overlaid with extraneous matter that their spiritual essence has become almost completely obscured by it.

Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.

46. The Obstacle Is The Way – Ryan Holiday

46. The Obstacle Is The Way - Ryan Holiday

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 3rd – 6th of December, 2017

Description: When life becomes unbearable and things seem grim, remember that the only way around is through the problem. This needs to be a must-read for people at the age of 14-18 to prepare them for real life. 

Impression: As you will notice, I read 5/6 books by Ryan Holiday and there is a reason for it. He writes with a clear structure in mind, the claims are backed up by research and stories which are not from personal life, but from other people which just shows how much time and effort went into the book. The book teaches you about the long lost philosophy of the Roman  Stoicism, something we could use more than ever today. No matter where you are in life, this book will push you forward. 

Quotes:  The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.

It’s simple. Simple but, of course, not easy.

While others are excited or afraid, we will remain calm and imperturbable. We will see things simply and straightforwardly, as they truly are—neither good nor bad. This will be an incredible advantage for us in the fight against obstacles.

47. Walden – Henry David Thoreau

47. Walden - Henry David Thoreau

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 7th – 18th of December, 2017

Description: Your purpose for life is always bigger than you and it involves you doing something for the sake of others. But you only find what you want to do in others when you look deep within you. And that is almost impossible in a hectic and noisy world. Thoreau figured that out back in the 1840s so he secluded himself, alone, in a forest for two years to figure his life out. And what came out of that seclusion was Walden, one of the best self-reliance texts ever written in the history. 

Impression: It’s weird to read about something which happened almost 200 years ago and realize that it’s almost the same life. Politics, noise, greed and the inability to think, pollute our society and to figure your life out, you need to seclude yourself from the outer noise to hear the voice within you. Only then can you return to society because your purpose will be clear and your actions focused. 

Quotes:  What old people say you cannot do you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.

“But,” says one, “you do not mean that the students should go to work with their hands instead of their heads?” I do not mean that exactly, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. 

YEAR 2018

0-100 days of reading system. 20th of December 2017 – 29th of March 2018

48. Start With Why – Simon Sinek

1. Start With Why - Simon Sinek

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 20th – 30th of December, 2017

Description: The book describes the Golden Circle – the Why (Why you do what you do), the How (How you do what you do), and What (What you actually do). All companies know what they do, some companies know how they do it, but only a handful of them know why they do what they do. The secret lies in leading with why you do what you do.

Impression: I remember hearing about the Golden Circle years ago. Ever since, I’ve been using it in my presentations and lectures. It’s a remarkable concept which you can implement in business, friendships, and even dating. 

Quotes: When fear is employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures. This is how terrorism works. It’s not the statistical probability that one could get hurt by a terrorist, but it’s the fear that it might happen that cripples a population.

If fear motivates us to move away from something horrible, aspirational messages tempt us toward something desirable.

49. The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy

2. The Compound Effect - Darren Hardy

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 31st of December 2017 – 5th of January 2018

Description: How to make compound effect (the 8th wonder of the world according to Einstein) work for you. It’s about small, daily actions repeated over the course of years which create success. And this is not just applicable to business. If you eat 100 fewer calories a day (a single loaf of bread or a slice of cheese), you will lose 30 pounds in two and a half years. 

Impression: The compound effect changed my life completely. I’ve been reading 20 pages of a book a day and in two and a half years, I read 100 books. I wrote 500 words a day and in less than two years, wrote half a million words. Heck, I went by foot on a pilgrimage of Santiago el Camino (175 miles). I crossed it by going one step at a time.

Quotes: The Compound Effect is based on a principle I’ve used in my own life and training; that is, your decisions shape your destiny. The future is what you make of it. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. In fact, it’s the littlest decisions that shape our lives.

Here’s the bottom line: You already know all that you need to succeed. You don’t need to learn anything more. If all we needed was more information, everyone with an Internet connection would live in a mansion, have abs of steel, and be blissfully happy. New or more information is not what you need—a new plan of action is. It’s time to create new behaviors and habits that are oriented away from sabotage and toward success. It’s that simple.

50. Story – Robert McKee

3. Story - Robert McKee

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 6th – 18th of January, 2018

Description: Storytelling principles. How to use them not only when writing a screenplay, but during everyday occurrences from talking to people to writing a blog post to mesmerizing a girl to give you her phone number. It works.

Impression: The elements of the story vary from author to author, but certain elements always stay the same. And there is no better person out there to teach you those storytelling elements than Robert McKee. And I tell you this even though I used to teach storytelling all around Europe.

Quotes: The writer shapes story around a perception of what’s worth living for, what’s worth dying for, what’s foolish to pursue, the meaning of justice, truth—the essential values. 

Pure story talent is rare. What writer, on instinct alone, creates brilliantly told stories year after year and never gives a moment’s thought to how he does what he does or could do it better? Instinctive genius may produce a work of quality once, but perfection and prolificness do not flow from the spontaneous and untutored.

51. Lakše je Uspjeti Nego Propasti – Ivan Kos

4. Lakše je Uspjeti Nego Propasti - Ivan Kos

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Book notes

Rating: 4/10

Date of reading: 19th – 22nd of January, 2018

Description: Balkan edition of the “How To Win Friends & Influence People” 

Impression: This is the book about basics — internal vs. external locus of control, fear of failure and fear of success, mathematical probabilities of success, how to deal with failures along the way to success. If I read the book in high school, it would have been the best book of my life. But I read it after I’ve read over 50 books on the same topics so it wasn’t really that useful. 

Quotes: Ljudi koji se plaše neuspjeha ne natječu se, jer se boje da će izgubiti, dok se oni koji se plaše uspjeha ne natječu, jer se boje da će pobijediti.

52. Made To Stick – Chip & Dan Heath

5. Made To Stick - Chip & Dan Heath

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 23rd of January – 2nd of February, 2018

Description: Six principles which make an idea “stick” in people’s minds. The principles are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and stories. 

Impression: Made to Stick is a fun book, with lots of examples which prove the points extensively. The style of writing is easy to read and the authors make sure to present the research done in a simple manner which would entertain the reader. They literally used the six principles that make an idea stick to write their better. What better to “stick” your idea.

Quotes: The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object that is visible from space. (The Wall is really long but not very wide. Think about it: If the Wall were visible, then any interstate highway would also be visible, and maybe a few Wal-Mart superstores as well.)

That’s when the Curse of Knowledge kicks in, and we start to forget what it’s like not to know what we know. 

53. Charisma Rockstar – Alex Karadžin

Charisma Rockstar - Alex Karadžin

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 3rd of February, 2018

Description: Everyone is charismatic– we just don’t know it yet. The book covers the ways you can draw out your charisma in various situations such as dating scene, parties, job interviews, when asking for a raise or promotion, and more 

Impression: This is Alex’s first book and even though it’s quite short (90 pages), it still packs a punch. It’s read with ease, the concrete examples provide a way how to implement the ideas and Alex’s personal story gives the much-needed credibility for the idea.

Quotes:  My problem was that I thought I knew how to communicate, when in fact I never really knew how to listen.

I used to imagine how amazing it would be if I could only skip those 30-60 seconds in the beginning and resume the conversation at the more convenient point. To the moment when the other person is telling me all about their passion and struggles and my only task is to listen and learn. We don’t always get what we want in life. We get what we deserve. I realized that we have to deserve the right to learn about someone.

54. The Mask Of Masculinity – Lewis Howes

7. The Mask Of Masculinity - Lewis Howes

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 4th – 6th of February, 2018

Description: How we men carry, throughout our entire lives, nine masks of masculinity which prevent us from being the authentic, true self. The masks are stoic, athletic, material, sexual, aggressive, clown, invincible, know-it-all, and alpha. Lewis Howes shows us how each mask is formed, how to beat it and who are the people who successfully managed to do that.

Impression: Damn, I loved this book. A lot! If you’re a man, you will find yourself in at least one of the masks above. If you’re not a man, you can use this book to understand the men around you better. The book was an eye opener for many different categories and identities I had in my life. 

Quotes: Masculinity is about discovering yourself and owning what you find. It’s about being kind to others, and pursuing your dreams with all the passion and energy you can muster. It’s about doing something that is meaningful to you that brings value to others. That’s how you build a legacy.

Masculinity is not about being the biggest, the fastest, the strongest, the one who sleeps with the most girls, and the one who has the most money. The one who has the most accomplishments is not the most masculine. In fact, it is often the men who covet these things most who are covering and compensating for the greatest insecurities. Let us revere the one who loves others deeply, loves himself deeply, and has a dream that he is inspired to live with and by and through. He is a man.

55. Never Split The Difference – Chris Voss

8. Never Split The Difference - Chris Voss

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 7th – 12th of February, 2018

Description: Drop the theory. Drop the 50%-50% deal. Chris Voss was an FBI negotiator dealing with kidnappings and ransoms. And you can’t do a 50%-50% deal when a human being is at stake. It needs to be 100%-0 and Chris shows us how in his amazing book Never Split The Difference. 

Impression: This book is the reason why I can live from writing. Before I’ve read and started implementing the content of this book, I was poor and quite miserable as an artist. As soon as I started negotiating as “my life depended on it,” I suddenly realized what I was leaving at the table. This isn’t just about the money. It’s about friendship, about raising children, mentoring others, negotiating favors, and getting the best you can from life while still being ethic about it. 

Quotes: In my short stay I realized that without a deep understanding of human psychology, without the acceptance that we are all crazy, irrational, impulsive, emotionally driven animals, all the raw intelligence and mathematical logic in the world is little help in the fraught, shifting interplay of two people negotiating.

Life is negotiation.
The majority of the interactions we have at work and at home are negotiations that boil down to the expression of a simple, animalistic urge: I want.
“I want you to free the hostages,” is a very relevant one to this book, of course.
But so is:
“I want you to accept that $1 million contract.”
“I want to pay $20,000 for that car.”
“I want you to give me a 10 percent raise.”
“I want you to go to sleep at 9 p.m.”

56. The Accidental Creative – Todd Henry

9. The Accidental Creative - Todd Henry

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 13th – 21st of February, 2018

Description: If there is one thing that creatives hate is when someone who is not creative tells us how we should be creative. Luckily, Todd Henry walks the talk (for over 20 years) and he knows what he’s talking about because of the results he and his company provided (and still provide). The concept in the book, when implemented, make you a professional creative instead of just an amateur who dabbles around.

Impression: Do you know how to distinguish between an amateur and a professional creative? “When inspiration stricks” can’t be found in the professional’s dictionary. Amateurs have the privilege of waiting for inspiration, professionals need to prolific, brilliant, and healthy to keep their work up. This book helped me to write and publish an article every single Tuesday for the past 130+ Tuesdays in a row, never missing a single one. 

Quotes: Prolific + Brilliant – Healthy = Burnout
Brilliant + Healthy – Prolific = Unreliable
Healthy + Prolific – Brilliant = Fired
Prolific + Brilliant + Healthy = producing great work consistently and in a sustainable way

This suggestion that structure and creativity are two sides of the same coin is often an eyebrowraiser for my clients. There is the persistent myth that creativity results only from complete lack of boundaries and total freedom. The reality is that we are not capable of operating without boundaries. We need them in order to focus our creative energy into the right channels. Total freedom is false freedom. True freedom has healthy boundaries.

57. The Art Of Non-Conformity – Chris Guillebeau

10. The Art Of Non-Conformity - Chris Guillebeau

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 22nd – 28th of February. 2018

Description: The world is filled with bad ideas which a lot of people follow without ever questioning them. The biggest life regret of dying people is that they never lived their life the way they wanted to, but they instead listened to society, parents, spouse or someone else. The Art of Non-Conformity teaches you how to find your way of life and live it through.

Impression: I tend to just read the books from people who walk-the-walk. And Chris is a guy who traveled all around the world, volunteering for years in Africa while maintaining his lifestyle through the income from the book and his website. He shows us how you can live your authentic life no matter where you are and no matter what your life’s situation is.

Quotes:  “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?” The idea is that it’s not good to do something stupid, even if everyone else is doing it. The logic is, Think for yourself instead of following the crowd.
It’s not bad advice, even if it’s sometimes used to exert control more than to support independent thinking. But one day, you grow up and suddenly the tables are turned. People start expecting you to behave very much like they do. If you disagree and don’t conform to their expectations, some of them get confused or irritated. It’s almost as if they are asking: “Hey, everyone else is jumping off the bridge. Why aren’t you?”

My story is not complete, and I certainly don’t know it all. An important part of the guru-free philosophy is that no one is better than anyone else, and most of what you need to know, you already know—we’re just going to fill it out a little. If you’re just starting on your own unconventional journey, the best way to understand it is to talk about monkeys.

58. The Perennial Seller – Ryan Holiday

11. The Perennial Seller - Ryan Holiday

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 1st – 5th of March, 2018

Description: Smokey and the Bandit beat Star Wars in their opening weekend. Yet, nobody knows what Smokey and the Bandit is today and Star Wars is a multi-billion dollar franchize. Perennial Seller is all about playing it for the long game and not just for the opening weekend, whether it’s a book, movie, song or any other creative piece of work. 

Impression: When a guy who sold more than half a million books in the last three years tells you how to be a perennial seller, you better listen. I love the work of Ryan Holiday and this book tells you more than just how to market something so that it keeps selling for decades. It tells you how to create the best possible product which has the potential of becoming a perennial seller. That’s why I’m still waiting to publish my first book. It’s still not the best possible piece it could be.

Quotes: Star Wars was beaten in its opening weekend in cinema by Smokey and the Bandit—$2.7 million to $2.5 million. What is Smokey and the Bandit? Nobody knowns.

People [who are] thinking about things other than making the best product never make the best product.

59. The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell

12. The Hero With A Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 6th – 19th of March, 2018

Description: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the guy who was sitting in his shed for 5 years and read all mythology stories ever written by humans. Oh, and he found 14 points which all the mythological stories share together.  And guess what? George Lucas found this book and created the Star Wars story arc according to these points. Afterward, all great movies started using “The Hero’s Journey” to create compelling stories which we will remember for years to come (think Frodo, Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Neo, etc.)

Impression: The book was written back in 1948. and has plenty of story references from the old books so it’s quite difficult to read. But if you can read it, the results will be 10x of your effort. The story arc that you learn and the millennia-old conflicts will help you become a better creative no matter what you do. You will understand the human psyche and how conflicts come to life and you will use that in your creative works. A must-read for any storyteller. 

Quotes:  It appears that “culture at edge of utter corruption” and “world at the edge of utter destruction” are two of the oldest themes to be found in stories of the human race.

Through these perils and more, he learns the way home is mazed with hazards that force him to take chances and to make choices —and he learns to not fall asleep. All that he endures is also presented to human beings in the same way during times of duress. One either forgets one’s spiritual commitment and is thereby blown farther from true home, or else one becomes, in those moments, more determined to fulfill the question, to become more expansive, more docile, more fierce — whatever is required—than one had been just moments before.

60. The Lessons Of History – Will & Ariel Durant

13. The Lessons Of History - Will & Ariel Durant

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 20th – 22nd of March, 2018

Description: You think history is boring, dull, and filled with endless descriptions of stupid things nobody needs? Well, this book will change even the most skeptical person who thinks that about history. The Lessons of History is a short book (100 pages) but it packs an atomic punch. I marked and commented on around 70% of the book and couldn’t believe how someone was able to describe our history in such a concise, effective, pragmatical, and highly entertaining way. A masterpiece of history. 

Impression: The best way to know that we are standing on the shoulders of giants is to read this book. Just sit down and finish it in one afternoon. You can thank me later. 

Quotes: Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. F or freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way. 

Nothing is clearer in history than the adoption by successful rebels of the methods they were accustomed to condemn in the forces they deposed.

61. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

14. Meditations - Marcus Aurelius

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 23rd – 29th of March, 2018

Description: Roman Stoic philosophy from one the “The Big Five’s” of the Roman Empire. Marcus Aurelius was a wise emperor who understood the way of dealing with people and, luckily for us, he managed to inscribe most of that wisdom in his Meditations. This is a book about philosophy, a word which used to mean a way of life, not something you talk about at 2:00 am with your friends after you’re drunk. This is a book of life, a way of life, a code of life.

Impression: If it doesn’t harm your character, it can’t harm you. The impediment to action becomes action itself. What stands in the way becomes the way. The amount of wisdom this book provides is over 9000!!!!

Quotes: When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. 

If there were anything harmful on the other side of death, they would have made sure that the ability to avoid it was within you. If it doesn’t harm your character, how can it harm your life? 

Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good.

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.

100-200 days of reading system. 30th of March 2018 – 7th of July 2018

62. How To Read A Book – Mortimer Adler

15. How To Read A Book - Mortimer Adler

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 30th of March – 16th of April, 2018

Description: No, I’m not crazy. Yes, we have no idea how to read in general. No, reading isn’t just “reading.” All of that and many more is found in a 400+ page How To Read A Book. There are four levels of reading: elementary (deciphering the black ink into words), inspectional (skimming and superficial reading), analytical (asking the author questions, making marginalia, notes, comments, analyzing arguments, etc.), and syntopic (reading different authors and different angles on the same topic to create your own wordings, phrases, and informed opinion on the matter). 

Impression: There are books which teach you how to do something. Then, there are deeper books which teach you why something happens. And then, there are those books which don’t promise to teach you anything except the fact that you will think differently. Mortimer Adler’s How To Read A Book is one like that. If you want to achieve mastery in any field, this book is a must-read.

Quotes: What are the conditions under which this kind of reading -reading for understanding-takes place? There are two. First, there is initial inequality in understanding. The writer must be “superior” to the reader in understanding, and his book must convey in readable form the insights he possesses and his potential readers lack. Second, the reader must be able to overcome this inequality in some degree, seldom perhaps fully, but always approaching equality with the writer. To the extent that equality is approached, clarity of communication is achieved. In short, we can learn only from our “betters.”

How many times have you daydreamed through several pages of a good book only to wake up to the realization that you have no idea of the ground you have gone over?

63. The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande

16. The Checklist Manifesto - Atul Gawande

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 17th – 23rd of April, 2018

Description: If information is all it would take to solve our problems in life, everyone with an internet connection would be problem-free. We know a lot, but when it comes to the right implementation of actions and in the right order, we completely suck. Solution? A checklist. But how to create one which provides direction, but isn’t too stifling and a nuisance? The Checklist Manifesto answers that question.

Impression: After I’ve read this book, I created a simple checklist for the creation of my blog posts. I have only 6 elements in it which I need to “check off” to have the blog post ready: paint black, SEO, Grammarly, opt-in, sidebar, categories. They are unclear to you, but they are a must-have for me.

Quotes: In complex processes, after all, certain steps don’t always matter. Perhaps the elevator controls on airplanes are usually unlocked and a check is pointless most of the time. Perhaps measuring all four vital signs uncovers a worrisome issue in only one out of fifty patients. “This has never been a problem before,” people say. Until one day it is.

The successes have been sustained for several years now—all because of a stupid little checklist

64. The Way Of A Superior Man – David Deida

17. The Way Of A Superior Man - David Deida

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 24th – 26th of April, 2018

Description: How to become a man in the cruel today’s world. The line which separates an asshole who is always taking the win-lose situation from a good guy who is always taking the lose-win is tiny. And this book provides the way on how to dance on that tiny line. This should be a kind of a bible for men everywhere. 

Impression: The sentences inside the book are the ones none of us men want to hear, but they are the ones that we need to hear. If you have a notion of relationships as romantic, happy-ever-after love affairs, you need to read this. It’s better to know the truth and learn how to handle it than it is to ignore it and fall into a pit of despair, heartbreaks, and sorrow. 

Quotes: The more a man is playing his real edge, the more valuable he is as good company for other men, the more he can be trusted to be authentic and fully pre- sent. Where a man’s edge is located is less important than whether he is actually living his edge in truth, rather than being lazy or deluded.

Admit to yourself that if you had to choose one or the other, the perfect intimate relationship or achieving your highest purpose in life, you would choose to succeed at your purpose. Just this self-knowledge often relieves much pressure a man feels to prioritize his relationship when, in fact, it is not his highest priority. Your mission is your priority

65. Evolutionary Psychology – David Buss

18. Evolutionary Psychology - David Buss

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Book notes

Rating: 5/10

Date of reading: 12th of May – 1st of June, 2018

Description: How the human brain evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to become what it is today. And it’s a miracle how our brain thinks we still live in the era of sabertooth cats and mammoths and, therefore, acts, thinks, and behaves like the treat of those is real. Read this to understand our brains and why it operates the way it does in the world today.

Impression: The book is quite long and dry, with plenty of data and research. But if you’re new to evolutionary psychology, it’s a great guidebook to read. It takes the elementary research and inserts it into the book so you won’t get diluted or watered-down concepts. It’s the real deal.

Quotes: The male pipefish seahorse receives the eggs from the female and then carries them around in his kangaroo-like pouch. These females compete aggressively with each other for the “best” males, and males in turn are choosy about who they mate with. This so-called “sex-role reversed” species supports Trivers’s theory, showing that it is not “maleness” or “femaleness” itself that causes the sex difference in choosiness; rather, it is the relative parental investment of the two sexes.

Consider a carpenter’s toolbox. The carpenter gains flexibility not by having one “highly general tool” that can be used to cut, poke, saw, screw, twist, wrench, plane, balance, and hammer. Instead, the carpenter gains flexibility by having a large number of highly specific tools in the toolbox

66. How To Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

19. How To Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 2nd – 7th of June, 2018

Description: There is a reason How To Win Friends & Influence People sold more than 30 million copies since it was written in the 1930s’. The book teaches you how to win people over, create win-win situations, deal with problems, and make every situation count. A classic by itself.

Impression: If you can “lower” your ego down and speak to the other person like they are superior to you, you will get many win-win situations. This gets harder and harder to do over time, but the results that this approach will bring you is 100X of anything else. If you can hold your ego at check (and most of us struggle with that), you will fare well in this world.

Quotes: One of his favourite quotations was ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ And when Mrs Lincoln and others spoke harshly of the southern people, Lincoln replied: ‘Don’t criticise them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.’

Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. ‘A great man shows his greatness,’ said Carlyle, ‘by the way he treats little men.’

67. On Writing Well – William Zinsser

20. On Writing Well - William Zinsser

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 8th – 17th of June, 2018

Description: Along On Writing by Stephen King, Zinsser’s On Writing Well is the second piece of the puzzle. The book shows you how to think about writing, how to edit, how to properly practice your writing, when to end a piece, how to start your article, what your sentence structure should be (and why), how to write in different kinds of voices and styles. If you’re a writer and haven’t read this, you’re sabotaging yourself.

Impression: Most of us writers think nobody deals with our problems…until you read about other writers who literally have the same problems for the entirety of their lives.  Zinsser mentions how writing is a dreadful process and that most writers have a love-hate relationship with it. It’s tiring and damn hard, but the rewards you get from it are endless. The best sentence which describes the process is “I hate writing. I love written.”

Quotes: But writing isn’t a skill that some people are born with and others aren’t, like a gift for art or music. Writing is talking to someone else on paper. Anybody who can think clearly can write clearly, about any subject at all.

Franklin D. Roosevelt when he tried to convert into English his own governments memos, such as this blackout order of 1942:

Such preparations shall be made as will completely
obscure all Federal buildings and non-Federal buildings
occupied by the Federal government during an air raid for
any period of time from visibility by reason of internal or
external illumination.

“Tell them,” Roosevelt said, “that in buildings where they have to keep the work going to put something across the windows.” Simplify, simplify.

68. Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker And The Anatomy Of Intrigue – Ryan Holiday

21. Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker And The Anatomy Of Intrigue - Ryan Holiday

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Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 18th – 23rd of June, 2018

Description: How Peter Thiel destroyed Gawker Media, one of the biggest gossip websites in the world. This is a true conspiracy which lasted for more than 10 years and if you want to learn how to break down enemies, play a strategic game of chess, and understand why the biggest people feared the smallest man, then this book is for you.

Impression: When everyone talks, you keep quiet. When everyone acts, you plan out. When everyone is tired and done, you strike. This summarizes the amazing experience of the book and shows you what a plan of action with endless patience leads to devastating results. This is how you can break down powerful enemies or if you’re one, this is how you can be broken down. 

Quotes: What would happen if more people took up plotting, coordinating how to eliminate what they believe are negative forces and obstacles, and tried to wield power in an attempt to change the world? 

Machiavelli said that conspiracies were weapons of the people. Only princes could afford to send an army against another army, he observed, but a conspiracy is available to every man. Which is why it is usually the desperate who turn to conspiracy and why the powerful fear them so much.

69. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing

22. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 24th – 30th of June, 2018

Description: Let’s take 28 people and have them walk from West to East of Antarctica…on foot….1500 miles… What could possibly go wrong? This is a story of how everything went wrong for the Trans-Antarctic expedition led by Ernest Shackleton, how the group of 28 men got stuck on an ice flow for two years and how they all survived impossible conditions and even more impossible situations which were impossible to do even for people 50 years afterward. 

Impression: This, by far, was the best book I read in 2018. The leadership story of Ernest Shackleton and the way he led his men out of the most devastating conditions in the world is amazing. Nobody died on the entire expedition and the way they pulled a miracle after a miracle is just…. No words can describe this, except the one’s written by Alfred Lansing in Endurance. If you ever need to lead anyone in this world (and everyone leads at least himself), then you need to read this book. 

Quotes: “For scientific leadership give me Scott; for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.” This, then, was the man who developed the idea of crossing the Antarctic continent—on foot.

By sea it would have been a voyage of more than 130 miles out around the western tip of the island and then along the north coast. By land it was a scant 29 miles in a straight line. The only difference between the two was that in the three-quarters of a century that men had been coming to South Georgia, not one man had ever crossed the island—for the simple reason that it could not be done.

A few of the peaks on South Georgia rise to somewhat less than 10,000 feet, which certainly is not high by mountain-climbing standards. But the interior of the island has been described by one expert as “a saw-tooth thrust through the tortured upheaval of mountain and glacier that falls in chaos to the northern sea.” In short, it was impassable. Shackleton knew it- and they did it in three days.

70. Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products –  Nir Eyal

23. Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products -  Nir Eyal

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 1st – 4th of July, 2018

Description: How does a habit loop looks like (trigger, action, variable reward, investment) and how you can use it in life, business, products, and services. This book falls into the Habit Trifecta (Charles Duhhig The Power of Habit, B.J. Fogg Tiny Habits).

Impression: Since I started reading about habits (syntopically), I wanted to fill in all the blanks I had about it. That meant reading the biggest influencers when it comes to habits and Nir Eyal is definitely one of them. If you are a business owner with a B2C product, this is a must-read book for you. 

Quotes: This layout prevented typists from jamming the metal type bars of early machines. This physical limitation is an anachronism in the digital age, yet QWERTY keyboards remain the standard despite the invention of far better layouts. Professor August Dvorak’s keyboard design, for example, placed vowels in the center row, increasing typing speed and accuracy. Though patented in 1932, the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard was written off. QWERTY survives due to the high costs of changing user behavior. 

These common needs are timeless and universal. Yet talking to users to reveal these wants will likely prove ineffective because they themselves don’t know which emotions motivate them. People just don’t think in these terms. You’ll often find that people’s declared preferences—what they say they want—are far different from their revealed preferences—what they actually do.

200-300 days of reading system. 8th of July 2018 – 15th of October 2018

71. True Believer – Eric Hoffer

24. True Believer - Eric Hoffer

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 5th – 16th of July, 2018

Description: The book explains the true nature of groups and mass movements. How people behave in groups, why they behave like that, and what you need to pay attention to avoid the many pitfalls of a revolutionary group or a political movement. The book teaches you also about the effects of hope and criticism on mass movements and how the group rules are rarely (if ever) broken, even though they might seem illogical and confusing. 

Impression: There is a great quote which says “Man is Smart. Men are Stupid” which kind of describes this book. We people tend to become quite stupid and gullible when we are in a group. Luckily for us, there are rules to which we adhere to when we are in a collective and this book studied those rules. Closest thing to a collective “mind-reading.”

Quotes:  On the other hand, extravagant hope, even when not backed by actual power, is likely to generate a most reckless daring. For the hopeful can draw strength from the most ridiculous sources of power—a slogan, a word, a button. No faith is potent unless it is also faith in the future; unless it has a millennial component. So, too, an effective doctrine: as well as being a source of power, it must also claim to be a key to the book of the future.
Those who would transform a nation or the world cannot do so by breeding and captaining discontent or by demonstrating the reasonableness and desirability of the intended changes or by coercing people into a new way of life. They must know how to kindle and fan an extravagant hope. 

The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.

72. Mastery – Robert Greene

25. Mastery - Robert Greene

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 17th – 28th of July, 2018

Description: How the Great before us became Great and how we, too, can become like that. The book emphasizes that mastery is an asymptote — you can never touch it, but you can get damn close to it. If you think about mastery as a continuous process of learning and apply that in your life, you will one day become a master, but the process of learning will never be done. The book also debunks a myth that certain people, like Michelangelo, were born as masters of the craft. Mastery is always a product of years and years of hard work, effort, continuous learning, and education. Period. 

Impression: Robert Green was on my reading for far too long so it was time to read something by him. Mastery, a 450-page long work of art, was definitely worth the time invested. The stories Greene finds and the way he structures his book are magnificent. It’s no wonder it takes him around 10 years to write a single book. It’s damn worth it!

Quotes: Some 2,600 years ago the ancient Greek poet Pindar wrote, “Become who you are by learning who you are.” What he meant is the following: You are born with a particular makeup and tendencies that mark you as a piece of fate. It is who you are to the core. Some people never become who they are; they stop trusting in themselves; they conform to the tastes of others, and they end up wearing a mask that hides their true nature. If you allow yourself to learn who you really are by paying attention to that voice and force within you, then you can become what you were fated to become—an individual, a Master.

This passivity has even assumed a moral stance: “mastery and power are evil; they are the domain of patriarchal elites who oppress us; power is inherently bad; better to opt out of the system altogether,” or at least make it look that way.

73. The 48 Laws Of Power – Robert Greene

26. The 48 Laws Of Power - Robert Greene

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 29th of July – 21st of August, 2018

Description: There are 48 laws of power and whether we like them or not, whether we want to implement them or not, we have an obligation to know them. Greene shows the laws of power and provides us examples of people who (successfully) followed the laws, but also the (tragic) stories of those who ignored the laws. Learn the rules and then trust your best judgment and ethics to use them accordingly. 

Impression: What do you do when you finish a 450-page long by Robert Greene. You take another 450-pages long book by Robert Greene and just feel captivated. There is no lazy writing in neither of the books and he doesn’t repeat the examples, even though he totally could because they matched the criteria. I highly recommend you to read at least one of Greene’s books.

Quotes: In fact, the better you are at dealing with power, the better friend, lover, husband, wife, and person you become. 

You cannot repress anger or love, or avoid feeling them, and you should not try. But you should be careful about how you express them, and most important, they should never influence your plans and strategies in any way.

74. The Happiness Equation – Neil Pasricha

27. The Happiness Equation - Neil Pasricha

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 22nd – 30th of August, 2018

Description: The Happiness Equation started as a lecture which kept incorporating more and more material until, finally, it became an international bestseller with nine secrets to happiness: Be Happy First, Do It For You, Remember The Lottery, Never Retire, Overvalue You, Create Space, Just Do It, Be You, Don’t Take Advice

Impression: After I read 900+ pages of Robert Greene, it was time for something a little bit lighter. So I took Neil Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation and it was a phenomenal piece. The book is super easy to read, the challenges are fun, and the author goes an extra mile to make all of his stories memorable (the Granny and the Stamp story is one of them). If you need something light to read, this is the book for you. 

Quotes: American philosopher William James says, “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.”
The Happiness Advantage author Shawn Achor says, “It’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality.”
William Shakespeare says, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Rather than find good results and make them better, our brains do this:
1. Look for problem.
2. Find problem.
3. Improve problem.
That’s what our brains have been trained to do for two hundred thousand years.

75. The Motivation Myth – Jeff Haden

28. The Motivation Myth - Jeff Haden

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 31st of August – 4th of September, 2018

Description: This was a book to read! Jeff Haden shows us the process behind the world’s most successful people in sports, business, and life in general. The examples all focus on the process behind the results, the discipline behind the apparent “motivation” and a ton of patience every single one of the successful people had (and still have).

Impression: Jeff Haden is a long time contributor so he writes for the audience. And that means clear and concise, a lot of stories, short paragraphs, and impactful stories. The book is half-manual, half-book for people who want to learn the skill of discipline and process to achieve results. And damn, it resonated deeply with me.

Quotes: And most of all, thanks for proving what many people unfortunately choose not to believe: that if you are willing to work hard and stay the course, who you are is more than enough for you to become who you really want to be.

Incredibly successful people set a goal and then focus all their attention on the process necessary to achieve that goal. They set a goal and then, surprisingly, they forget the goal.

76. How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big – Scott Adams

29. How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big - Scott Adams

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 5th – 12th of September, 2018

Description: From the creator of Dilbert comes a book like none before. The author literally calls himself a failure like 100 times in the book, the self-deprecating humor is masterful and it really hits the nail because it resonates with an innate human feeling about themselves — we are losers and success is for those people “out there.” Scott Adams shows you how the people out there are really people like you. And he does it better than anyone else. 

Impression: There are certain beliefs we have deep within us, no matter what we do in life. Some call it the imposter syndrome, some call trauma, other’s think it’s a character trait, but no matter what you name it, everyone knows the feeling. Scott still feels like that- he is just like us- but he shows us how you can just make it once and that it will be enough. Thank you, Scott, in the name of all losers in the world. 

Quotes: On top of that, I’m getting paid to write this book, and we all know that money distorts truth like a hippo in a thong. And let’s not forget I’m a stranger to most of you. It’s never a good idea to trust strangers.

The senior vice president told me that my suggestions for improving the bank were underwhelming, but he liked my sense of humor, and because of that he had a hunch about my potential. A month later I started the management training program. Somehow I had failed my way to a much better job. In my eight years at the bank, I was incompetent at one job after another. 

77. Unscripted – MJ DeMarco

30. Unscripted - MJ DeMarco

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 13th – 26th of September, 2018

Description: Zero filter, zero bullshit story of success, entrepreneurship, and true freedom, liberty, and wealth from the “real-est” entrepreneur out there — MJ DeMarco. If you want to read some beautiful language, learn a ton about entrepreneurship, and make it in a non-bullshit way, then Unscripted is for you. 

Impression: The lessons inside this book should be taught inside every business class in every school in the world. You will not only learn a lot but certain elements of the book will hit you right in the face…with a brick. For me, it was action-faking, a feeling of doing something good and useful which is, at that moment, completely useless for my business. If you have problems in your entrepreneurship world and life, this book will solve them. All of them.

Quotes: During production, publishing “experts” warned that my book would never sell. Those same experts also said I was committing the ultimate author sacrilege: I wasn’t pushing readers into a “back-end sales funnel”, ya know, so I could sell you a coaching seminar costing as much as a Cadillac.
Well, I didn’t give a shit.
I was writing from my heart. Not for fame, fortune, or some egocentric motive that could catapult me into the privileged world of gurus and seminar hustlers.

You’re living, but you aren’t alive.
Your heart beats, but there is no pulse.
Your mind is poisoned, but the toxicology is clean.
Your soul has been stolen, but there are no thieves.
Suspicion has swelled while the incongruity gnaws.
Yes, this wasn’t the life you signed up for.
This wasn’t your plan.
Something is wrong.

78. Tribe – Sebastian Junger

31. The Tribe - Sebastian Junger

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 27th – 28th of September, 2018

Description: The problem with individualistic societies is that they don’t have an automatic group belonging. Every individual is responsible for finding and emotionally connecting with any group he wants to. This forces some people into religion, others to the military, third into lonesome life in a forest. But most people don’t find that group belonging and that’s why suicide is the “privilege” of wealthy societies. The book is about finding your own “tribe,” a place where you truly feel you belong.

Impression: The strongest bond a human can feel toward other human being is in the face of the biggest danger, possibly a life-threatening situation. This is why some people go to war– not because they love the war. But because they love the feeling of trust and comradeship toward their tribe of warriors. The book helped me understand what my father went through in the war better than anything else ever could. 

Quotes: How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage?

And as society modernized, people found themselves able to live independently from any communal group. A person living in a modern city or a suburb can, for the first time in history, go through an entire day—or an entire life—mostly encountering complete strangers. They can be surrounded by others and yet feel deeply, dangerously alone.

79. 12 Rules For Life – Jordan Peterson

32. 12 Rules For Life - Jordan Peterson

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 29th of September – 10th of October, 2018

Description: The great Jordan Peterson and his bestselling book which sold 3 million copies in 2018 — 12 Rules Of Life. The book describes the relationship between order and chaos. Have too much order and life becomes unbearable. Have too much chaos and life becomes unbearable too. The solution? Just the right amount of order and chaos. How to do that? Through the 12 Rules For Life.

They are: Stand up straight with your shoulders back, Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping, Make friends with people who want the best for you, Compare yourself to who you were yesterday not to who someone else is today, Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them, Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world, Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient), Tell the truth- or at least don’t lie, Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t, Be precise in your speech, Do not bother children when they are skateboarding, Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.

Impression: Jordan Peterson is one of the most prominent thinkers of the 21st century and his work touches millions of people in the entire world. The same thing happened to me and plenty of my friends who discovered Peterson. A great book even though I love his lectures more (I just have to see his hands move center to side and up-down).

Quotes: Nature is not simply dynamic, either. Some things change quickly, but they are nested within other things that change less quickly (music frequently models this, too). Leaves change more quickly than trees, and trees more quickly than forests. Weather changes faster than climate.

There is very little difference between the capacity for mayhem and destruction, integrated, and strength of character. This is one of the most difficult lessons of life. Maybe you are a loser. And maybe you’re not—but if you are, you don’t have to continue in that mode. As the great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn insisted, the
line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.

80. The Third Door – Alex Banayan

33. The Third Door - Alex Banayan

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 11th – 15th of October, 2018

Description: The best question you can ask a successful person isn’t how they made it in their life, but what would their course of action be if they were in your particular position. Alex Banayan wanted an answer to that question, but he never found those pieces of information anywhere. So he decided to find the successful people he admired and asked them that answer. Oh, in the meantime he recorded the answers in what was the most successful business book of 2018 – The Third Door.

Impression: This is a guy who doesn’t take no for an answer and he always finds a way (hence, the third door reference). I liked the stories and the adventures from the book, but I didn’t like the approach toward success in the book. It just felt too fast and hectic and it wasn’t based on any particular skill (hustle mode). I love people who mastered their craft for years and made it because of that. 

Quotes: Life, business, success…it’s just like a nightclub.
There are always three ways in.
There’s the First Door: the main entrance, where the line curves around the block; where 99 percent of people wait around, hoping to get in.
There’s the Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires, celebrities, and the
people born into it slip through.
But what no one tells you is that there is always, always…the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen—there’s always a way. Whether it’s how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest studio director in Hollywood history, they all took…the Third Door.

Many times the hardest part about achieving a dream isn’t actually achieving it—it’s stepping through your fear of the unknown when you don’t have a plan.

300-365 days of reading system. 16th of October 2018 – 19th of December 2018

81 Atomic Habits – James Clear

34. Atomic Habits - James Clear

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 16th – 22nd of October, 2018

Description: How small changes in daily actions establish habits and how those habits, over time, change your life drastically. James Clear writes a personal development blog for years and his work is remarkable. 

Impression: Before this book came out, there was a trifecta of habit building and breaking books. Now, there is a fourth player in town. The best thing I got from this book was the Sorites Paradox which explains how you can’t pinpoint a single small action which changed you (going to the gym), but how all of those small actions combined changed your life (I didn’t become fit after one gym session, but after 50 or so, I did become fit. The 50th gym session wouldn’t make me fit without the other 49 gym sessions.)

Quotes: Naval Ravikant has said, “To write a great book, you must first become the book.” I originally learned about the ideas mentioned here because I had to live them. I had to rely on small habits to rebound from my injury, to get stronger in the gym, to perform at a high level on the field, to become a writer, to build a successful business, and simply to develop into a responsible adult. Small habits helped me fulfill my potential, and since you picked up this book, I’m guessing.

Imagine that you have an ice cube sitting on the table in front of you. The room is cold and you can see your breath. It is currently twenty-five degrees. Ever so slowly, the room begins to heat up.
Twenty-six degrees.
The ice cube is still sitting on the table in front of you.
Twenty-nine degrees.
Still, nothing has happened.
Then, thirty-two degrees. The ice begins to melt. A one-degree shift, seemingly no different from the temperature increases before it, has unlocked a huge change.

82. Faking It: How To Seem Like A Better Person Without Actually Improving – College Humor

35. Faking It: How To Seem Like A Better Person Without Actually Improving - College Humor

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Book notes

Rating: 6/10

Date of reading: 23rd – 31st of October, 2018

Description: How to appear like a better person without actually improving. This is the lazy person’s guide to success, happiness, and sex in life. You do actually learn things from this book and it’s a worthy read, at least for the fun of it. Read this if you need something easy to read, but hate those popular crime novellas. 

Impression: I could bet $100 that most people who write book notes and summaries have actually never read that book. That’s why I showed you the behind-the-scenes process of reading books. But most people just take this “faking it” approach and once you do read some of those summaries (and this book), you learn that most of it is bullshit. So this book isn’t only good to learn how to bullshit, but also to learn how to recognize a bullshiter. As the saying goes “You can’t bullshit a bullshiter.” 

Quotes: You can’t possibly be Master of All Domains, but you can certainly seem like you are. The easiest technique to achieve this effect is to be dismissive of the topic at hand. The trick here is to keep it fairly vague while using words that don’t really mean anything. 

Benjamin Franklin once said a lie spoken confidently rings truer than a fact spoken meekly. We just made that quote up, but if you said it firmly while leaning forward and never losing eye contact, people would believe you because you appeared articulate and poised.

83. Bad Blood – John Carreyrou

36. Bad Blood - John Carreyrou

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Book notes

Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 1st – 5th of November, 2018

Description: How a $15 billion company with more than 1000 employees was actually a lie with a product which doesn’t work. Horrifying story of today’s Enron — Theranos. 

Impression: What makes this book super scary is that it’s a true story of how a couple of people managed to lie to thousands of people to get what they want and they actually succeeded at that. The writing in the book is riveting and the story makes it a page-turner. Recommend to anyone who wants to know where the line in the sand is drawn.

Quotes: He quit two days later. His resignation email read in part:

good luck and please do read those books, watch The Office, and believe in the people who disagree with you…Lying is a disgusting habit, and it flows through the conversations here like it’s our own currency. The cultural disease here is what we should be curing before we try to tackle obesity…I mean no ill will towards you, since you believe in what I was doing and hoped I would succeed at Theranos. I feel like I owe you this bad attempt at an exit interview since we have no HR to officially record it.

Hunter had placed calls to pharmaceutical companies and hadn’t been able to get anyone on the phone to confirm what Theranos was claiming, though that was hardly proof of anything. He now asked Van den Hooff to show him the Johns Hopkins review. After some hesitation, Van den Hooff reluctantly handed him a two-page document. When Hunter was done reading it, he almost laughed. It was a letter dated April 27, 2010, summarizing a meeting Elizabeth and Sunny had had with Dr. J and five university representatives on the Hopkins campus in Baltimore. It stated that they had shown the Hopkins team “proprietary data on test performance” and that Hopkins had deemed the technology “novel and sound.” But it also made clear that the university had conducted no independent verification of its own. In fact, the letter included a disclaimer at the bottom of the second page: “The materials provided in no way signify an endorsement by Johns Hopkins Medicine to any product or service.”

84. Trust Me, I’m Lying – Ryan Holiday

37. Trust Me, I'm Lying - Ryan Holiday

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 6th – 10th of November, 2018

Description: What happens when you start feeding the media monster and it becomes so big that, at a certain moment, it turns against you? The book talks about the ease with which the media report on something just to be first to report about it, with the truth being irrelevant in that whatsoever. And when this monster becomes enormous, innocent and not so innocent people get hurt. 

Impression: People have lost their careers, reputations, and lives on the basis of…nothing. Literally nothing. Someone makes up a rumor because they want to target you and then, they spread that rumor like wildfire. The truth doesn’t matter, all that matters is speed and eye rolls (clicks). A truly horrifying system which can devour you every single day and you have no control over it. 

Quotes: It’s why I found myself at 2:00 A.M. one morning, at a deserted intersection in Los Angeles, dressed in all black. In my hand I had tape and some obscene stickers made at Kinko’s earlier in the afternoon. What was I doing here? I was there to deface billboards, specifically billboards I had designed and paid for. Not that I’d expected to do anything like this, but there I was, doing it. My girlfriend, coaxed into being my accomplice, was behind the wheel of the getaway car.

Once you get a story like this started it takes on a life of its own. That’s what happened after I vandalized Tucker’s billboards. Exactly one week later, inspired by my example, sixteen feminists gathered in New York City late at night to vandalize I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell posters all over Manhattan. Their campaign got even more coverage than my stunt, including a 650-word, three-picture story on a Village Voice blog with dozens of comments (I posted some comments under fake names to get people riled up, but looking at them now I can’t tell which ones are fake and which are real). From the fake came real action.

85. So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport

38. So Good They Can't Ignore You - Cal Newport

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 11th – 14th of November, 2018

Description: Most people tell you to follow your passion to be happy. Cal Newport tells you the exact opposite. Don’t follow your passion, build a skill set which can’t be replicated and then start doing that. When you become good at something, your passion for that exact thing will emerge because you will be so good they can’t ignore you. Don’t do what you love. Love what you do.

Impression: The book is really easy to follow, the stories are interesting, and the lessons you can learn from life can literally change your life (for better). Most people are unrealistic when it comes to their wants. But the way forward is by building a skillset and then making yourself indispensable at it. Then, and only then, will you start loving what you do (because you’re good at it) and passion will follow. 

Quotes: In the last chapter I offered a bold proposition: If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).

In the 1990s, this was a relevant question. There was debate in the chess world at the time surrounding the best strategies for improving. One camp thought tournament play was crucial, as it provides practice with tight time limits and working through distractions. The other camp, however, emphasized serious study—pouring over books and using teachers to help identify and then eliminate weaknesses. When surveyed, the participants in Charness’s study thought tournament play was probably the right answer. The participants, as it turns out, were wrong.

86. Peak – Anders Ericsson

39. Peak - Anders Ericsson

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 15th – 21of November, 2018

Description: Talent play no role in someone becoming an expert in his or her domain. The only thing that makes an expert in any domain is deliberate practice. Anders Ericsson tried, for 30 years, to find just one person who became an expert in a domain without using the principles of deliberate practice and just with talent or geniusness itself. He found zero people like that. 

Impression: Talent is useful because it nudges in you a certain direction, but when it comes to the grand scheme f things, it’s irrelevant. A person becomes an expert (master) in his domain by only using deliberate practice for a long period of time (10,000 hours popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers).

Quotes: But we now understand that there’s no such thing as a predefined ability. The brain is adaptable, and training can create skills—such as perfect pitch—that did not exist before. This is a game changer, because learning now becomes a way of creating abilities rather than of bringing people to the point where they can take advantage of their innate ones. In this new world it no longer makes sense to think of people as born with fixed reserves of potential; instead, potential is an expandable vessel, shaped by the various things we do throughout our lives. Learning isn’t a way of reaching one’s potential but rather a way of developing it. We can create our own potential.

While the principles of deliberate practice were discovered by studying expert performers, the principles themselves can be used by anyone who wants to improve at anything, even if just a little bit. Want to improve your tennis game? Deliberate practice. Your writing? Deliberate practice. Your sales skills? Deliberate practice. Because deliberate practice was developed specifically to help people become among the best in the world at what they do and not merely to become “good enough,” it is the most powerful approach to learning that has yet been discovered

87. Talent Is Overrated – Geoff Colvin

40. Talent Is Overrated - Geoff Colvin

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Book notes

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 22nd – 27th of November, 2018

Description: Book with the same topic as the previous one – deliberate practice. But the major difference is that Talent Is Overrated wasn’t’ written by a scientist, but by a writer which makes this book easier to read and easier to implement. 

Impression: This is a more customer-friendly book which explains the principles of deliberate practice. You even have some routine and training plans inside of it which help you out create your own routines. This is a must-read for anyone who is on the path to mastery. 

Quotes: In field after field, when it came to centrally important skills—stockbrokers recommending stocks, parole officers predicting recidivism, college admissions officials judging applicants—people with lots of experience were no better at their jobs than those with very little experience.

The costs of being less than truly world class are growing, as are the rewards of being genuinely great.

88. The Coaching Habit – Michael Bungay Stanier

41. The Coaching Habit - Michael Bungay Stanier

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Book notes

Rating: 4/10

Date of reading: 28th of November – 2nd of December, 2018

Description: Seven questions you need to ask during coaching which are super effective. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Impression: This book wasn’t that useful for me because I don’t work with teams directly, but I could still take out certain questions and themes for conversations with friends, clients, and family members who are struggling with certain things in their lives (business, university, love life). 

Quotes:  You may find that you’ve become part of an overdependent team. There’s a double whammy here. First, you’ve trained your people to become excessively reliant on you, a situation that turns out to be disempowering for them and frustrating for you. Everyone loses momentum and motivation. The more you help your people, the more they seem to need your help. The more they need your help, the more time you spend helping them.

When people start talking to you about the challenge at hand, what’s essential to remember is that what they’re laying out for you is rarely the actual problem. And when you start jumping in to fix things, things go off the rails in three ways: you work on the wrong problem; you do the work your team should be doing; and the work doesn’t get done.

89. The Art Of Learning – Josh Waitzkin

42. The Art Of Learning - Josh Waitzkin

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Book notes

Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 3rd – 8th of December, 2018

Description: Optimal way of learning anything from the guy who became a national champion in chess, deemed to be the new Bobby Fischer, but then decided to move to completely opposite field of martial arts, learn Tai Chi, and become a world champion in it after 5 years of training. This is a miraculous book about learning from someone who walked-the-talk.

Impression: While reading this book, somewhere around page 90-94, I had a Satori moment. It was a moment of pure enlightenment, where things in my head just “connected” and I suddenly looked at everything differently. The thing that prompted this moment was the two ways you could play chess. 

You can either play a Karpov type of chess (defensive chess) or a Kasparov type of chess (offensive chess). The thing is that you’re inclined toward one or the other naturally (character plays a massive role), but to be the best, you need to learn both. But there is a trick in learning “the other side.” You need someone who speaks your language to teach you about the other side’s way of playing. Then, and only then, can you use the elements of both ways when they are needed. Sometimes, your opponent reacts poorly to slow and long games so you should shift your style of playing to more defensive chess. Sometimes, your opponents panic when you go fast, direct, and aggressive so you should play offensive chess. The book packs so many gems that I can’t recommend it enough.

Quotes: Let’s say there are two possible guides for him in this educational process. One is an esoteric classical composer who has never thought much of the “vulgarity of rock and roll,” and another is a fellow rocker who fell in love with classical music years ago and decided to dedicate his life to this different genre of music. The ex-rocker might touch a common nerve while the composer might feel like an alien. I needed to learn Karpov through a musician whose blood boiled just like mine.

Along the same lines, I have found that if we feed the unconscious, it will discover connections between what may appear to be disparate realities. The path to artistic insight in one direction often involves deep study of another—the intuition makes uncanny connections that lead to a crystallization of fragmented notions. The great Abstract Expressionist painters and sculptors, for example, came to their revolutionary ideas through precise realist training. Jackson Pollock could draw like a camera, but instead he chose to splatter paint in a wild manner that pulsed with emotion. He studied form to leave form. And in his work, the absence of classical structure somehow contains the essence of formal training—but without its ritualized limitations.

90. The Power Of Moments – Chip & Dan Heath

43. The Power Of Moments - Chip & Dan Heath

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Book notes

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 9th – 14th of December, 2018

Description: How to create moments which are magical for us. You know, the moments you remember for the rest of your life. Your wedding day, the birth of your first child, the graduation day. The Heath brothers found the formula behind those big moments and they showed us how to recreate them in our lives. The four elements to creating powerful moments are Elevation, Insight, Pride, and Connection.

Impression: This book is such a positive and easy read that it was the perfect book to end 2018 with a smile on my face. The positive examples in The Power of Moments restore hope in humanity, give you a way forward and explain how you can make not only your life’s moments be remembered, but also how to create events for other people so that they have their big moments which they remember until the day they leave Earth. 

Quotes: Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen. We can be the authors of them. What if a teacher could design a lesson that students were still reflecting on years later? What if a manager knew exactly how to turn an employee’s moment of failure into a moment of growth? What if you had a better sense of how to create lasting memories for your kids?

In other words, New Year’s resolutions are not really about the resolutions. After all, for most people, the resolutions haven’t changed. Most people wanted to lose weight and save money on December 31, too. What we’re doing on New Year’s Day is more like a mental accounting trick. Our past failures are left on the ledger of Old Me. New Me starts today. New Year’s resolutions should really be called New Year’s absolutions.

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