The Effective Executive- Book Summary

The Effective Executive: Peter F. Drucker

Business classic about what makes an effective executive. In this day in age an ‘executive’ does not need to be a leader, but rather a knowledge learner. All effective executives have the following in common:

  • Asked “what needs to be done?”
  • Asked ” what is right for the enterprise?”
  • Developed action plans
  • Took responsibility for decisions
  • Took responsibility for communicating
  • They were focused on opportunities rather than problems
  • They ran productive meetings
  • They thought and said “we” instead of “I”

In this summary I will outline what it means to accomplish the above practices. The first two give the knowledge you need, the next four help convert knowledge into effective action. The last two ensured the whole organization felt responsible and accountable.

  • Effectiveness can be learned
    • very little correlation between a man’s effectiveness and his intelligence, his imagination, or his knowledge. We have learned this before that brilliant men are often strikingly ineffectual.
  • The knowledge worker- cannot be supervised closely or in detail, only helped
    • the knowledge worker’s ‘doing’ is thinking.
    • The motivation of the knowledge worker depends on his being effective, on his being able to achieve. If he is not effective, he will become a time-server going through the motions from 9-5. 
      • Effectiveness + Achievement  drives motivation
    • He must make decisions, not just carry out orders. Must take responsibility for his contribution
    • knowledge work is defined by its results
  • 4 things that make executives ineffective (pg 10-12)
    • The executive’s time belongs to everyone else
    • Executives are forced to keep on “operating” unless they take positive action to change the reality in which they live and work.
      • the fundamental problem is the reality around the executive. unless he changes it by deliberate action, the flow of events will determine what he is concerned with and what he does.
    • He is within an organization: he is effective only if and when other people make use of what he contributes
    • The executive is within an organization. Notice the emphasis is on the executive for this one. He sees the outside through distorted lenses. What is going on outside is not typically known first hand
  • The fewer people, the smaller the organization in terms of its only reason for existence: the service to the environment.
  • One challenge for knowledge workers is that the important outside events are often qualitative and not capable of quantification. Leading indicators often fall into this category.
    • You also need to make sure that your data is appropriate. The market is always shifting so you will want to know if figures no longer correspond to actual behavior.
  • Everyone wants an all around universal genius, but they have always been in scarce supply. As a result we will have to staff our organizations with people who at best excel in one major ability and are more likely to lack in any but the most modest endowment of the others.
    • All you really need to have in common with other executives is the ability to get the right things done
    • Effectiveness is a habit, or a complex of practices. Practices can always be learned, are often simple. Here are the five practices:
      • Effective executives know where their time goes
      • Focus on outward contribution. gear their efforts towards results rather than to work
      • build on strengths- their own strengths. do not build on weaknesses , do not start with the things they cannot do
      • Concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results (80/20 rule)
      • make effective decisions
  • Know thy time
    • In order to know where their time actually goes it is a three-step process:
      • recording time
      • managing time
      • consolidating time
    • Do not rely on your memory, it will always fail you. you need to record the time
      • You will not believe how much you underestimate tasks and need to actually record it in order to see where your time is going.
    • In order to be effective, the knowledge worker needs to have large chunks of uninterrupted time at his disposal.
    • Personal relations can be really time consuming. Management literature has a theorem “the span of control” that asserts that one man can manage only a few people if these people have to come together in their own work (have to work each other to get any results done such as an accountant, sales manager, and manufacturing ops guy)
    • You cannot manage your time if you do not know where it goes
      • A lot of effective executives keep a log and look at it regularly. Again, it should be real time, not from memory
    • Time-related diagnostic questions
      • Try to identify the things that do not need to be done at all. Learn to say ‘no’
      • Which of the activities on my time log could be done by somebody else just as well, if not better” – seems to be taken right out of the 4 hour work week… I know TF cites this book a lot in his work.
        • Delegation, as it is usually presented makes little sense. If it means that somebody else should do ‘my work’ and the most effective manager is the laziest manager, it is not only nonsense but immoral
        • Delegation should be ‘getting rid of anything that can be done by somebody else so that one does not have to delegate but can really get to one’s own work’
      • What do i do that wastes your time without contributing to your effectiveness ask this question to other people systematically without coyness.
        • If possible, in order to keep people out of meetings let people know that a meeting is going on, they can come if they want to give input, but you will send out a summary of what happened and give anyone who did not attend a chance to give feedback.
    • Next steps in pruning the time wasters
      • Identify the time wasters which follow from lack of system or foresight
      • Time wasters often result from over staffing!
      • Another common time-waster is malorganization. Its symptom is an excess of meetings. Your either meeting or working, it is impossible to do both at the same time
        • As a rule, meetings should never be allowed to become the main demand on an executive’s time
      • The last major time waster is malfunction in information
        • you want to look at product mix, ranges, extremes, etc. to see the true variation in the data the accountants screw up with ‘averages’ (page 47)
    • The key to time management
      • Effective executives start by estimating how much discretionary time they can realistically call their own. Then they set aside continuous time in the appropriate amount.
      • They set themselves deadlines for the important activities, based on their judgement of their discretionary time

What can I Contribute?

  • The effective executive focuses on contribution, he asks: “what can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and the results of the institution I serve?”
    • Do not focus on efforts, focus on results (make sure you have good measures)
    • You are looking for the unused potential in the job
    • If you do not ask this, you are likely aiming too low
    • You may be defining your contribution too narrowly
    • Every organization needs performance in three major areas
      • needs direct results
      • building of values and their reaffirmation
      • building and developing people for tomorrow
    • Ask yourself: “What can I and no one else do which, if done really well, would make a real difference to the company?”
    • To be effective as a knowledge worker, you need to concern yourself with the usability of your product (knowledge)
  • 4 basic requirements for effective human relations – pg 64-65
    • communications-Executives should ask their people ” what are the contributions for which this organization and I, your superior, should hold you accountable? What should we expect of you? what is the best utilization of your knowledge and your ability?”
    • teamwork- ask “who has to use my output in order to be effective?”
    • self-development- depends on the focus on contributions
    • development of others- The executive who focuses on contributions also stimulates others to develop themselves
  • The effective meeting
    • Why are we having this meeting?
      • make a decision?
      • inform?
      • Make it clear to ourselves what we should be doing?
    • Always state the purpose and contribution the meeting is to achieve, do not let it degenerate into a ‘bull session’
    • Focus on contribution is to focus on effectiveness
    • Always take a step back and ask yourself “how am i maximizing my contribution to the organization?”

Making Strength Productive

  • Make your strengths productive, you cannot build on weaknesses. From a staffing standpoint, make decision based on what a man CAN do, do not make staffing decisions the minimize the weaknesses.
    • Ask “what strengths can you use/do you care about the most? Are the weaknesses irrelevant to the situation?” page 72
    • Strong people also have strong weaknesses too
    • The effective executive doesn’t ask “does he get along with me?” he asks “what does he contribute?”
  • How to staff for strength: 4 rules
    • Do not start with the assumption that jobs are created by nature or God. They were made by fallible men and you should be on guard against the ‘impossible job’.
      • Any job that has defeated two or three men in succession, even though each had performed well in previous assignments must be assumed unfit for human beings and must be redesigned
    • Make each job demanding and big- it should have challenge to bring out w whatever strength a man may have
    • Effective executives know they need to start with what a man can do rather than what a job requires
      • need to know the strengths of the man as well as what the job requires
    • To get strength means you need to put up with weaknesses
  • Staffing the opportunities instead of the problems not only creates the most effective organization, it also creates enthusiasm and dedication
  • Making strength productive is as much an attitude (mindset!!!) as it is a practice… but it can be improved with practice
  • The Bible tells us in the parable of the Talents, the task is to multiply the performance capacity of the whole by putting to use whatever strength, health, aspiration there is in individuals

First things first

  • Effective multitasking is not possible. Concentration is the secret of effectiveness.
  • Effective executives do first things first and they do one thing at a time
    • As a result they need much less time than the rest of us
  • Ask yourself “If we did not already do this, would we go into it now?” if the answer is not a hell yes! you should probably drop it or curtail it sharply
  • It is the executives specific job to commit today’s resources to the future
  • Don’t be afraid to kill the sacred cows, look past investment and focus on future growth
  • If pressures other than the executive are allowed to make the decision, the important tasks will predictably be sacrificed. No task will be completed unless other people have taken it on as their own. Other wise they will focus on the urgent over the relevant (WIG, Whirlwind, etc. for 4DX)
  • Set posteriorities – decide which tasks not to tackle and stick to the decision. These are tough since you will be putting something like MTBI off your top priority, and every posteriority is somebody else top priority.
    • This takes courage… if you try to make everybody happy nothing will ever get done.
  • Rules for identifying priorities
    • Pick future vs. past
    • Focus on opportunity rather than problem
    • choose your own direction vs. climbing on bandwagon
    • Aim high, aim for something that will make a difference rather than “safe” or easy to do
  • Deciding that everything is important is the same thing as not making a tough decision- concentration is key!!

Elements of Decision Making

  • Only one of the tasks of an executive, they do not make a great many decisions. They concentrate on the important ones.
  • Case study on page 116 and 117 has a cool case study on how Bell telephone created a system of intentional cannibalism with a division that was designed to try to make the current technology obsolete.
  • Sloan at GM made a decision that drove a new corporate structure: decentralization which balances local autonomy in operations with central control of direction and policy
  • 5 elements of the decision process (starting page 122)
    • the clear realization that the problem was generic and could only be solved through a decision which established a rule, principle
      • the generic always has to be answered through a rule/principal
      • “new” truly unique events are rare, if one appears ask: is this a true exception or only the first manifestation of a new genus?
    • definition of specifications which the answer to the problem had to satisfy, that is of the ‘boundary conditions’ or scope
      • The more concisely and clearly boundary conditions are stated, the greater the likelihood that the decision will need to be an effective one and will accomplish what it was set out to do
      • No one needs to make a decision which, on its face, falls short of satisfying the boundary conditions
    • Thinking through ‘what is right’ that is, the solution that will fully satisfy the specifications before attention is given to the compromises, adaptations, and concessions needed to make the decision acceptable.
      • You cannot make the ‘right’ compromises unless you first know what ‘right’ is
      • Two types of compromises depending on your boundary conditions:
        • Half a loaf is better than no bread
        • half a baby is worse than no baby at all
    • The building into the decision of the action to carry it out
      • requires answering several distinct questions:
        • who has to know of this decision
        • what action has to be taken
        • who has to take it
        • what does the action have to be so that the people who have to do it can do it?
    • The ‘feedback’ which tests the validity and effectiveness of the decision against the actual course of events (PDCA)
      • Military generals learned a long time ago that to go oneself and look is the only reliable feedback- go out on the floor/battlefield/etc.
        • Failure to go out and look is the typical reason for persisting in a course of action long after it has ceased to be appropriate or even rational

Effective decisions

  • It is rarely a choice between right and wrong- at best it is between ‘almost right’ and ‘probably wrong’
  • You need to know that you are not starting with facts, but rather opinions, or an untested hypothesis that is worthless unless tested against reality.
    • The effective decision does not flow from a consensus on the facts. Rather it comes from “the clash and conflict of divergent opinions and out of the serious consideration of competing alternatives” – similar to the 5 dysfunctions of a team book
    • you need to ask “what do we need to know in order to test the validity of this hypothesis?”
    • “The effective decision-maker assumes that the traditional measurement is not the right measurement. otherwise there would generally be no need for a decision; a simple adjustment would do”
      • The best way to find the appropriate measurement is to go out and look for the ‘feedback’ discussed earlier. Do not rely on the averages, dig into the numbers to find out what is really going on
      • Unless you have considered alternatives, you are making a decision with a closed mind. Create dissension and disagreement, rather than consensus – 5 dysfunctions
      • In regards to imagination, you need to challenge and stimulate it unless it will remain latent and unused. “Disagreement, especially if forced to be reasoned, thought through, documented, is the most effective stimulus we know.”
      • The effective decision maker organizes disagreement
      • The executive who wants to make the right decision forces himself to see opposition as his means to think through the alternatives.
      • One final question the decision maker asks is “is a decision really necessary?”
    • When to act on a decision
      • Act if on balance, the benefits greatly outweigh the cost and risk AND…
      • Act or do not act; but do not “hedge” or compromise 
    • When done correctly, it becomes obvious that the decision is not going to be pleasant or popular, and it is not going to be easy
      •  be careful here, you may get sucked into an analysis paralysis looking for more data that makes it easier.
      • Also beware of the compromises that will inevitably pop up. remember that my saying yes to everything you will get nothing done.. choosing everything is the same thing as not making a decision.

Conclusion: Effectiveness Must Be Learned

  • This book rests on two premises
    • the executives job is to be effective; and
    • effectiveness can be learned
  • Effectiveness is not a ‘subject’ but a self-discipline
  • Steps to learn effectiveness:
    • Recording where time goes, and analyzing where the time goes, to eliminate the time-wasters
    • Focus your vision on contribution: think though purpose and ends rather than means alone
    • Make your strengths productive
    • First things first- you want to develop character: foresight, self reliance, courage… in essence leadership.  Not the leadership of brilliance or genius, but the more modest and enduring leadership of dedication, determination and serious purpose
    • The effective decision is concerned with rational action- and well informed.
  • There is much more to self-development of an executive than his training in effectiveness- need to learn skills and knowledge, dump poor work habits, etc.
    • It goes from mechanics to attitudes, values and character, from procedure to commitment
  • Organizations are not more effective because they have better people. They have better people because the motivate to self-development through their standards, their habits, their climate. These in turn, result from  systematic, focused, purposeful self-training of the individuals  in becoming effective executives.
  • In our efforts, far too much is devoted to yesterday or to avoid decision and action
  • Feed your opportunities and starve your problems
    • make your strengths productive
    • Set priorities instead of trying to do a little bit of everything
  • The knowledge worker is in danger of boredom, frustration, and silent despair
  • Self-development of the executive toward effectiveness is the only available answer- it is the only way in which organization goals and individual needs can come together.
    • he needs opportunity, he needs achievement, he needs fulfillment, he needs values
  • This book can be summarized by two needs:
    • needs of organization to obtain from the individual the contribution it needs
    • need of the individual to have organization serve as his tool for the accomplishment of his purpose

Effectiveness must be learned


The 4 Hour Work Week- Timothy Ferriss

As a forewarning, this is my most jumbled, disorganized, and lengthy book report/summary I have done to date. that is why I am writing it three months after reading the book. I apologize in advance, and I am sure I could have quoted half the book but I really tried to cut it down to what I thought was the most critical and actionable. I also have sprinkled in the end of chapter questions/actions sections which will likely make it that much more difficult to follow. I know I was not able to do the book justice, and it also doesn’t help that I have been listening to his podcast the last 8 months so I have an infusion of podcast morsels coming in from the side as well… good luck

The Four Hour Work Week is one of the centerpieces if you will that this SDMBA surrounds itself around. Over the last 6+ months I have listened to 100+ Tim Ferriss podcasts ranging from multiple high performers and it has been really interesting. You could almost say it is shocking that I haven’t read this until now. My biggest takeaways from the book are the idea of the “new rich” and rejecting the deferred lifestyle that has been so ingrained in our minds. Let me talk about myself for a minute here. I grew up in an upper-middle class family that really did not struggle financially. I was good at sports, I got good grades, went to a decent university where I swam for two years, and due to my parents’ generosity and ability to cover the tab I graduated debt free. I went straight into a career in finance for a manufacturing company. The reason I bring this up is that I have basically followed the prescribed life path that is on track for the ‘American Dream’ – if that brainwashing concept ever actually ever existed (I am stealing some ideas from James Altucher’s “choose yourself” which i am reading right now and carries on this theme). Altucher argues that the American Dream is nothing but a construction that marketers created in order to develop a strong herd of dependent ultra-consumers. Terms like ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and tying status even closer to material possessions. It might seem like i am getting a bit off topic here and i might be ranting. The point of this is that I grew up on track for this American Dream and I am beginning to realize how flawed it truly is. I own a home, have an Amazon Prime membership, own a new vehicle, and ‘hobbies’ that keep me tame. The problem that Tim Ferriss helps us identify is that we are living a deferred-life plan that rewards us at the end of our lives by working our asses off in a job we tolerate. He introduces the concept of the ‘new rich’ and how to utilize the 80/20 principle in order to maximize our time on this planet.

Another main concept from Tim Ferriss and some of his podcast interviews has been this concept of time as a currency. Not only that but time as our most valuable currency. My best friend passed away over the summer and this really struck me because he had so much more to live for. Every second is precious, every interaction, don’t spend your life on something that doesn’t ignite passion within you. It is not doing a service to yourself, the company you are working for, the relationship your working on, or the world in itself. The idea of mini-retirements, changing how you look at money and time.

Jumping a bit into the book, it starts with a comparison of the “New Rich” vs. the “deferrers”. this list of differences is on pages 20-22. TF says that “money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of “W’s” you control in your life: What you do, When you do it, and with whom you do it. I call this the freedom multiplier” and that Options, or the ability to choose is the real power.

One of the major things that TF preaches is the idea that you want to “beat the game, not play the game” look for loop holes exploit the opportunities that will tip the scales in your favor. He uses an example of a kickboxing tournament he had 4 weeks to prepare for. He ended up winning all of his matches by TKO and went home national champion. He did this by exploiting a rule to force the other combatant off the platform three times. It may seem on the edge of ethics, or sportsmanship, or to me maybe “the spirit of the rule” but it was well within the official rules. What he is trying to show here is that there are strategies to get by steps 2-9 and go straight to step 10. He will often say in his podcast that you want to look for the tasks that, once complete, make the other ones obsolete.

Challenging the status quo-

  1. Retirement is flawed for at least 3 reasons: 1- it assumes that you dislike what you are doing during the most physically. 2 – most people will not be able to retire and maintain a high standard of living they are used to: inflation and 30 years of retirement will eat your savings. 3- if you are able to swing the financial burden, you are ambitious and hardworking… that means you will be bored as hell once you retire
  2. Interest and energy are cyclical- Distribute mini-retirements through ought your life vs. hoarding the recovery and enjoyment for the promise of retirement. He personally aims for one month of overseas relocation or high-intensity learning for every two months of work projects
  3. Less is not laziness- we live in a culture that rewards personal sacrifices vs personal productivity. He argues that the NR, produce more meaningful results than the next dozen of non-NR combined. Even though they work fewer hours. “Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
  4. The Timing is never right- for the most important things this is true, the stars will never align, conditions will never be perfect. “‘someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you…If it’s important to you and you want to do do it ‘eventually’ just do it and correct course along the way”
  5. Ask for forgiveness, not permission: if it won’t devastate those around you, try it then justify it. If the damage is reversible or moderate, don’t give people the chance to say “no”
  6. Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses- draws directly from The Effective Executive by Drucker. It is more fun and lucrative to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all your flaws. As TF puts it “The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre” I will add that you will probably spend a lot more effort trying to become mediocre than it would take you to leverage your strengths.
  7. Things in excess become their opposite: pacifists become militants, blessings become curses, help becomes hindrance… etc. TF argues this is true of possessions as well as time: “Lifestyle Design is thus not interested in creating an excess of idle time, which is poisonous, but the positive use of free time, defined simply as doing what you want as opposed to doing what you feel obligated to.
  8. Money is not the solution: “‘If only I had more money’ is the easiest way to postpone the intense self examination and decision making necessary to create a life of enjoyment-now and not later”
  9. Relative income is more important than absolute income. You need to consider your time as a component of the equation. Look at the equation from an hourly pay standpoint. Look at the hours of your life you are giving up. Relative income really needs to add up tot he minimum amount necessary to actualize your goals.
  10. Distress is bad, Eustress is good- Distress is harmful stimuli that makes you weaker, less confident, less able. Page 37 has examples of Distress and Eustress. Eustress is a healthy stress- Role models who push us to exceed our limits, risks that expand our comfort zone, stress that is healthful and the stimulus for growth. Find people that challenge you: ” People who avoid all criticism fail, there is no progress without eustress, the more eustress we can create or apply to our lives, the sooner we can actualize our dreams. the trick is telling the two apart.” Work to remove distress and find eustress.

At the end of every major chapter in The 4-Hour Workweek there are a set of questions that you are supposed to reflect on in the context of the chapter. As part of this SDMBA I want to capture the answers here.

Step 1: D Is For Definition

  1. How has being “realistic” or “responsible” kept you from the life you want?
    • This is a good question. One I seem to be constantly wrestling with. The problem is that I consider myself extremely realistic, and responsible. For example, I started saving for retirement as soon as I learned what exponential growth was at around 16 years old. From a career standpoint, I wanted to do something I excelled in and there were jobs available in the market for: Accounting + Finance. I struggle to take risks, and I don’t say that as necessarily a bad thing and I think I have had friends along the way that helped me bust that shell of security. I chose an incredibly realistic, responsible, and safe career path. One that I believe I could be working in for the next 30 years and retire comfortably. Part of it stems back to what any upper-middle class kid has been taught all his life by parents who don’t want their kid to be an embarrassment to the family: go to college, get good grades, get a ‘good’ job, get married, have kids, teach them to repeat the process, retire, die. I have stayed on this life track pretty closely for the last 26 years of my life with little variation. I am not saying it is a bad path, however, it is flawed. It is completely surrounding around risk aversion. You read in school about the road less traveled, but everything else teaches you to conform to social norms. Never along the way does it say to disrupt the flow, or stand up to authority, or let your freak flag fly. One of my favorite quotes is “your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” It is one I try to live by, and pull Erika along with me because I think it is really important for content people. The second part of this question gnaws at me with the “life you want” part. I need to clearly define what “the life i want” really is. I cannot say that I would change any of the major life decisions I have made to this point, but I am at an interesting inflection point where I need to get unrealistic, I need to go out on a limb and take a risk without fear of failure. That risk in my mind is in the form of some kind of business, and I need to define it better for myself before it is a risk worth taking.

2. How has doing what you “should” resulted in subpar experience or regret for not having done something else?

  • As I mentioned above, I cannot really say I really regret any of my major life decisions. I also think that I am currently on the corrected path in order to improve this “experience”. Doing what I “should” has gotten me where I am today. That being said, my “current state” is not exactly where I want to be. If I had to summarize what it is I truly want I would list it out as: I want to build something, i want to have a vast depth AND breadth of experience, i want to have control, i want to do something that serves a bigger purpose than just my immediate self interest, i want to cut through the BS to actually make a significant difference, i want to achieve self actualization. There- thats it, what I see as my current “secret to life”. It is the recipe I want to follow until I find a modification to make it “better”. I will say that if i look back in 3-5 years and I am doing the same thing I am right now I will consider that a big failure, regret, and subpar experience.

3. Look at what you’re currently doing and ask yourself, “what would happen if I did the opposite of the people around me? What will I sacrifice if I continue on this track for 5, 10, or 20 years?

  • If I did the opposite of the people around me? That is a tough and general question to ask. If I see the “opposite” as instead of being compliant at work I become a disruptive force, not being afraid to call people above my pay grade out. It would probably be incredibly uncomfortable, but at the same time as I think about it, if I did it constructively and correctly it could either boost or destroy my career. Some people’s egos are not able to handle that kind of adversity so I typically pander to them. If I were to pull a 180, especially with someone like the president of the company, I could either gain a lot of respect or the opposite.
  • For the question of what I sacrifice if I continue on this track for 5, 10, 20 years I think the answer lies in the what I determine as my life mission. I think it is freedom, I think it is the ability to look at the world as something I personally have the opportunity to impact. I also think I should start looking at the world as something I have a moral obligation to change. I have a lot to give to the world, and there are so many opportunities out there to make the world suck less for people now and in the future.

Fear setting and escaping paralysis

  • The power of pessimism: define the nightmare. TF is a big fan of Stoicism, and one thing he talks about in his podcast is Seneca. Seneca would say that you should spend one day per month living the condition you fear the most. So if you are fearing poverty, live like your impoverished: sleep on the floor, eat beans and rice, etc… Then ask yourself if this is the condition you are really fearing the most. – I probably butchered that, but the point is to show yourself how small your biggest fear really is.  TF applied this when he decided to take a trip around the world and leave his business behind: he thought up the worst thing that could happen as a result of his trip. I will paraphrase: business could fail, legal warning wouldn’t get forwarded when he gets sued, all inventory would spoil on the shelves, bank account would crate, etc. The actual Seneca quote is this: “set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?” Conquering Fear = Defining Fear
  • Uncovering fear disguised as optimism- We usually do not call fear by its four letter name. “There’s no difference between the pessimist who says, ‘oh, its hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,’ and the optimist who says, ‘don’t bother doing anything, its going to turn out fine anyway.’ Either way nothing happens” -Yvon Chouinard


  • Define your nightmare- the worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. The worst that could happen is that we would be depending on Erika’s income only along with any savings I currently have. After about 6 months that money would be declining quickly. I would need to sell all of my real assets: home, truck, jetski. We would need to move into a one bedroom apartment and put off several of our hobbies indefinitely. Also, the risk of potentially burning a bridge with a former employer. Not being able to find a career if things do not work out on my own. The last one is really my biggest fear if it doesn’t work out. Scale from 1-10 with 10 being the worst: 4-5. Erika would need to be on board 100%.
  • Getting things back under control- I could find another job with another company or even at a contract level. I could settle for a lesser job at 13 bucks an hour at more of a temporary basis.
  • Outcomes or benefits both temporary and permanent of more probable scenarios:
    • Temporary
      • I would have an additional 50+ hours per week to focus on a venture of my own.
      • I will have taken action, which would force decisions and further action
      • I would no longer have a stable income to rely on
    • Permanent
      • I would have a mindset shift towards confidence, self esteem, survival
      • I would be able to find a supplemental income at least in some level within one month
      • Less intelligent people have done this before and pulled it off. The difference is that they took the leap
  • If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?
    • Cut back a ton of discretionary spending
    • Rent out the basement
    • Sell truck, Jetski, Etc.
    • Contract work in accounting/finance
    • I could most likely find a new job in accounting/finance. Especially if I went out on good terms. It is not so much that I want to dump my current company, but more that I want to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Which is something most employers would look at as a positive.
  • What are you putting off out of fear? “what we fear doing is most usually what we most need to do”. “a person’s success can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” 
    • Making the leap without a solid plan
    • Going from analysis and groundwork to action
    • Quitting job
  • What is it costing you- financially, emotionally, physically to postpone action
    • Postponing action is costing me mostly emotionally at this point. I am not currently driving my passion, I am not in control of my life, I feel along for the ride just waking up at the right times and participating to the best of my ability. That is not to say that every moment of my life is miserable- far from it. But when I step back and ask myself if I would consider myself to be on the deferred life plan the answer is definitely yes. Financially – I won’t speculate too much on exact numbers. If I were to make the same pay in 32 hours per week instead of 50+ I consider my time more valuable then the actual financial difference. Obviously the goal of making a business would to be profitable, but that is not the metric I would measure success by.
  • What are you waiting for?????
    • I am waiting for the greatest idea in the world to fall into my lap… just kidding, but that is the main reason I have not done this. I am waiting for an idea that hits all of the right reasons and develops into a sustainable business plan. If I had to ask what the next action is- at this point it would be to continue the 10 ideas per day as in James Altucher’s book and have strategic points where I assess ideas and possibly even take them into a business plan phase. This whole things started out as a self directed MBA, but it has morphed into something much larger for me personally and I am really excited to see where it goes!

Remember this: “99% of the people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre.” This makes the more ‘realistic’  or incremental goals much more time and energy consuming. There is just less competition for bigger goals. How do you get there?

  • Most people do not know what they want. The opposite of happiness is boredom. “excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. it is the cure-all.” That being said, the question is not “what are my goals” – it should be “what would excite me”
  • Your goal has to be specific enough. You need to define the alternate activities that you would be replacing in the initial workload. “If you don’t define the ‘what i want’ alternative activities, the X figure will increase indefinitely to avoid the fear-inducing certainty of this void. This is when both employees and entrepreneurs become fat men in red BMWs”
    • “boredom is the enemy, not some abstract ‘failure'”
  • Start dreamlining
    • shift goals from ambiguous wants to defined steps
    • goals have to be unrealistic to be effective
    • focus on activities that will fill the vacuum when work is removed.


  • What would you do if there were no way to fail? If you were 10X smarter than the rest of the world?
    • 6-12 month dreamline
      • Having
        • Backcountry hunting gear – $5k
        • 80 acres of prime hunting land $150k
        • Carbon SuperFreak Ski $10k
      • Being
        • great cook
        • no more knee pain
        • great hunter
        • fluent in spanish
        • successful entrepreneur
        • Sommelier
      • Doing
        • Travel South America
        • Drinking a Petrus wine
        • Quit my job
        • starting a business
        • Hunting out west
    • What would you do day to day if you had $100M in the bank
      • Yoga
      • Hunt
      • Read
      • Jetski (travel with my jetski)
    • What would make you most excited to wake up in morning to another day
      • Building something from scratch and being completely consumed from concept to implementation
    • Five doing spots:
      • one place to visit: Mendoza, Argentina
      • One thing to do before you die: Travel to every continent
      • One thing to do daily: Yoga, journal
      • One thing to do weekly: Learn something
      • One thing you’ve always wanted to learn: Butchering
    • What does “being” entail doing?
      • Great cook- culinary school, knife skills, learning to cure meats, learning to butcher properly, etc.
      • Knee pain- physical therapy/surgery/???
      • Great hunter- finding a mentor and learning from them… and hunting
      • fluent in spanish- move to Argentina, take Spanish lessons
      • Successful Entrepreneur – 10 ideas per day, build something awesome
      • Sommelier- drink more good wine, learn more about wine, learn to serve wine
    • What are the 4 dreams that would change it all
      • Quit job, start an online side gig $0
      • Move to Argentina or Northern Spain $3000+ $1500 per month
      • Learn to butcher/cure meat $0
      • Fix my knee $4000????
  • Tomorrow becomes NEVER- no matter how small the task- take the first step now.
  • Comfort challenge- eye gazing – any time you catch someones eye, practice gazing into the other person’s eyes until they break contact.

“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity” – Bruce Lee

We have made it to Step II- which is Elimination: accomplish more by doing less

  • The idea is that you want to work 10 hours per week and produce double the results. But if you work for an employer, you need to be careful otherwise they will want you to work 40 hours a week and produce 8X the results. This is obviously not practical, and not what you are shooting for so you will want to liberate first- from the office environment.
  • Being effective and efficient:
    • Doing something unimportant well doesn’t make it important
    • Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important
    • What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it
  • Pareto’s law: summarized as 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs
    • Ask yourself:
      • Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
      • Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?
  • There is this concept of work-for-work (W4W) which basically means you are working for the sake of work. Figure out what is eating your time and eliminate it.
    • Page 74 has a handful of different areas that you can apply the 80/20 principle to
    • Lack of time is actually a lack of priorities
  • The 9-5 illusion: There is often no incentive to use your time well unless you are paid on commission.
    • “Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline. If i give you 24 hours to complete a project, the time  pressure forces you to focus on execution and you will have no choice to do only the bare essentials. If I give you a week to complete the same task, its six days of making a mountain out of a molehill. If I give you two months, it becomes a mental monster. The end product of the shorter deadline is almost inevitably of equal or higher quality due to the greater focus.” So what should you do?
    • Summary!
      • Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20)
      • Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s law)
    • Ask yourself two questions:
      • Am I being productive or just active?
      • Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
  • Questions & Actions
    • What 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
      • Accounting
      • Regular rhythm tasks
      • Majority of the meetings I attend
      • Pointless policy/methodology changes: being in meetings where people quibble
    • what 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcome and happiness?
      • Idea lists
      • Hobbies
      • Yoga
      • Projects
      • Immersion of digging into numbers
      • Learning
    • If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours a day, what would you do?
      • Spend the two hours a day on project stand ups and work with teams to unblock stuck projects
      • Not go to any meetings
    • If you had a second heart attacked had to work two hours per week, what would you do?
      • Outsource all accounting work
      • Outsource all meetings
      • Spend 2 hours per week
    • If you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing 4/5 of different time consuming activities, what would you remove?
      • Email
      • Phone calls
      • Meetings
      • Rhythm tasks
      • Keep IM, stand ups for communication
    • What are the top three activities I use to fill time to feel as though I have been productive?
      • Follow up on AR
      • FOX analysis/change tracker
      • Monday notes
    • 20% of the people that cause 80% of my enjoyment?
      • Positive friends:
        • Game night friends
        • Jetski friends
        • Yoga friends
        • Kevin, Drew- Taylor’s group of friends
      • Stress friends
        • JV
        • MA
    • Ask yourself 3X per day “Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?”
    • Do not multitask
  • Comfort Challenge: Stop asking for opinions and start proposing solutions. Say “let’s try…” or “I propose we…”

Low Information Diet

  • “It is impossible to have perfect and complete information at any given time to make a decision- Herbert Simon “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” so do not get stuck into an analysis paralysis.
  • Don’t get suckered by people who just say how to do something. Make sure they are legit and only read accounts of how they did it.
  • Contact people you know have done it- the example TF used is about the book he wrote, he contacted 10 of the top authors and agents in the world and asked intelligent and specific questions. Had a response rate of 80%.

Questions and actions- low information diet

  • Go on an immediate one-week media fast – see page 91
    • Unnecessary reading is the #1 public enemy during this one week fast
    • Download “leech block” to block certain sites entirely for set time periods

Interrupting and the art of refusal

  • Be assertive, and be known for it!
    • TF talks about how if he got anything less than an A on a non-multiple choice test he would bring 2-3 hours of questions to the grader’s office and not leave until he had answered them all or stopped. He learned two things:
      • How the grader evaluated work
      • The grader would think twice before giving a grade less than an A
    • The lesson in the previous anecdote is that you want to learn to be difficult when it counts. Being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it
  • Interruptions- there are three types:
    • Time wasters- can be ignored with little to no consequence: discussions, web surfing, email that are unimportant…etc.
      • check email twice per day
      • complete most important task before 11 am… or 3 hours into your workday
      • never check email first thing in the morning
      • When you answer the phone, say something like “Hi John. I’m right in the middle of something. How can I help you out?  discourage chitchat, but if they say they can call back tell them you have a minute.
      • Meetings
        • Avoid all meetings that do not have clear objectives
        • It is your job to train those around you to be effective and efficient
        • Meetings should only be held to make decisions about a pre-defined problem. not to define the problem.
        • Should have a clear objective and defined end time
        • 9/10 times a meeting is unnecessary
        • Use the “puppy dog close” – basically when you can take a puppy home to see how it would go and they can return the puppy the next day.. yeah right! You can apply this to developing a no-meeting habit by a ‘lets just try it once’ trial
    • Time consumers: repetitive tasks or requests that need to be completed but interrupt high level work: financial/sales reporting, reading and responding to email, etc…
      • Batch your time consumers in order to avoid the setup time and distraction
        • email
        • bills
        • calls
      • Do not work harder when the solution is to work smarter
    • Empowerment failures: instances where someone needs approval to make things happen- levels of delegation
      • For an entrepreneur, this means granting the most decision making ability as possible. You need to make a scalable model.
      • Do not become the information and decision bottleneck
      • Empower the outsourced labor at some risk. Know the risk before doing this! -page 109-110
      • People are smarter than you think- give them a chance to prove themselves
      • Use a keyword ‘reasonable’ when you are asking for something, finish it with “is that reasonable?” it is hard for people to label things as unreasonable.
      • Don’t let people interrupt you, find your focus and you will find your lifestyle.
    • Q&A
      • Create systems to limit your availability  via email and phone and deflect inappropriate contact. Avoid meetings whenever possible:
        • Use email instead of face to face emails to solve problems
        • use the puppy dog close
        • If meetings are unavoidable, follow the following:
          • Go in w/ a clear set of objectives
          • Set an end time or leave early
        • Batch activities to limit setup cost and provide more time for dreamline milestones
        • Set or request autonomous rules and guidelines w/ occasional review of results.
        • Tools for non-VA tasks on pages 113-117
      • Comfort challenge:
        • Say “no” to all requests- refuse to do all things that won’t get you immediately fired. get comfortable with saying no. Just say “no” you do not have to make an elaborate story.

Automating your life

  • This section is about a lot of automation. There are some solid ideas in here ranging from remote executive assistants to how to deal with delegation. I will skip through it pretty quick for the sake of this rewriting the book. the section starts on page 121.
  • Personal assistants
    • the goal is to free your time to focus on bigger and better things. even though you know you can do these things yourself.
    • If you spend your time worth $20-25 per hour doing something someone else can do for $10 per hour it is simply a poor use of resources.
    • If you are going to venture into this territory, it might make a lot of sense but there are a lot of pitfalls you are going to want to avoid. TF goes through many of them starting on page 130
      • Unless something is well defined and important, no-one should do it!
      • Golden rules of delegation:
        • delegate tasks that are: well defined and time consuming- and have fun with the delegation.
      • Common outsourcing tasks: page 133
      • Two fast rules to stay safe w/ virtual assistants: beware of identity theft
        • Never use debit cards
        • If your VA will be accessing websites on your behalf, create a unique login and password to be used with those sites.
      • I know for a fact I can use the advice on page 142-143 for interns
        • Ask them to rephrase the tasks to confirm understanding before getting started
        • Request a status update after a few hours of work on a task to make sure a task is both understood and achievable
        • set a deadline a week in advance – Set tasks that are to be completed within no more than 72 hours.
        • Give an order of importance, and not too many tasks at once
        • Eliminate before you delegate
      • VA options starting on page 145
      • Do the following:
        • look at your to do list- ask what has been sitting there the longest
        • Each time you are interrupted or change tasks ask “could a VA do this?”
        • Examine pain points- what causes you the most frustration and boredome
      • Use the criticism sandwich:
        • praise someone
        • Criticize them
        • Close with topic-shifting praise to exit the sensitive topic
  • Automate products/drop shipping/etc…
    • Find a market
    • Define customers
    • Find/Dev. your product for them
  • My markets:
    • jetskiing
    • bowhunting
    • wine drinking/making
    • handyman
    • yoga
  • Which of the groups you identify w/ have their own magazines?
    • Hunting
    • Jetskiing
    • Wine
    • Yoga
  • Contact the magazines and tell them you are considering advertising. Ask them to send you their current advertising rate card and include both readership numbers and magazine back-issue samples to look for which repeat advertisers there are. It will show which ones are the most profitable.
  • Pick two products with full page advertising that costs less than $5k and has no fewer than 15,000 readers. The goal is to come up with well informed product ideas and spend no money. Make sure the product would fit into an automated architecture
  • Main benefit should be in one sentence- 22 immutable laws of marketing
  • Should cost the customer $50-200
    • We can sell fewer units
    • lower maintenance customers
    • higher profit margins
    • Aim for an 8-10x markup
  • Get a business tax ID, file for LLC to look legit
  • Being an expert in this context only means that you know more than the purchaser
  • Brainstorm with the following questions
    • How can you tailor a general skill for your market- think narrow and deep
    • What skills are you interested in that you – and others in the market would pay to learn?
    • what experts could you interview and record to create a sellable audio CD?
    • Do you have a failure to success story?
    • How to become an expert in 4 weeks- page 170-171
      • Join two or there related trade organizations
      • Read the three top selling books on the topic- summarize each on one page
      • give one 1-3 hour seminar at the closest well known university, using posters to advertise. Then do the same at two well known big companies in the same area. Record for a later CD/DVD product
      • Offer to write one or two articles for trade magazines
      • Join ProfNet- you can get quoted in NYT, ABC news, etc.
  • Tools and tricks for automation/product/etc. on page 174-178

Income Autopilot II

  • This section continues with the advice from the prior chapter. I will briefly go through some of the tools, tips, major points.
  • Google Adwords and PPC (pay per click) engine
  • utilize something like Pinterest
  • Do not underestimate how many people there are in the world… and how few it takes to make money at 70% margin
  • Tips for negotiating
    • Go to a market or independent retailer near closing time. set a budget of $100
    • Ask “what type of discount can you offer” to let them negotiate against themselves
    • make sure you are firm with cash in hand with that amount
    • practice walking away if your price objective is not met
    • Get used to refusing offers and countering in person and especially on the phone.
  • Product ideas:
    • welding together grills
    • bowhunting, yoga, jetski accessories

Automate Part III

  • Online business architecture on page 203- make sure you are left off of it!
  • Keep the word scalable in mind- make sure you are set up for it
  • Fulfillment services – page 207
  • Customer service definition: providing an excellent product at an acceptable price and solving legitimate problems in the fastest manner possible.
  • Keys for keeping your customers’ decisions to a minimum
    • offer one or two purchase options “basic and premium”
    • do not offer multiple shipping options
    • do not offer overnight or expedited shipping
    • eliminate phone orders completely and direct to online ordering
    • do not offer international shipments
  • Not all customers are created equally
  • Utilize the lose-win guarantee “if the product doesn’t work on its first dose, i will not only refund you, but send a check of 10% more” 110% guarantee. The idea here is that most people are honest.
  • How to look bigger than you are:
    • don’t be the CEO or founder- be the VP of sales or other mid-level title “director”
      • For negotiations you do not want to appear to be the ultimate decision maker
    • Put multiple email and phone contacts on the website
      • Human resources
      • sales
      • general inquiries
      • have them all forward to your email address
    • Set up an interactive Voice response remote receptionist- to set up an 800 number with a voice prompt to be forwarded to you
    • do not use a home address- use a PO box
  • Tools and tricks on page 217 to 222


  • How to disappear from your office
  • Practice the art of getting past no before proposing working offsite
    • go to farmers market to negotiate prices, ask for free first class upgrades, ask for compensation if you have poor service in a restaurant, negotiate craigslist purchases.
  • Its too big world to spend most of life in a cubicle.
  • Pride is stupid, quit things that don’t work- it is integral to being a winner.
  • You are just terrified you might end up worse than you are right now.
  • Several principle phobias keep people on sinking ships and there are simple rebuttals for all of them – page 244-246
    • Quiting is permanent
    • I won’t be able to pay the bills
    • Health insurance and retirement accounts disappear if i quit
    • It will ruin my resume- just do something interesting in the time you are not working to make the interviewer jealous. don’t sit on your ass
  • There are two types of mistakes:
    • Mistakes of ambition- made with incomplete information, fortune favors the bold though
    • Mistakes of sloth – not do something – wherein we refuse to change a bad decision out of fear despite having all the facts. How poor job choices become lifelong prison sentences.


  • The idea of the min-retirement is that you take your 20-30 year traditional retirement and spread it throughout your life instead of saving it all for the end
  • Emotional freedom- True freedom is more than just financial and time freedom. You have to be freed from the speed and size obsessed culture which means freeing yourself from the materialistic addictions, time-famine mind-set, and comparative impulses that created it in the first place.
  • When traveling- it really takes 2-3 months to truly unplug from obsolete routines and become aware of how much we distract ourselves with constant motion.
    • be able to have a 2 hour dinner with friends in Spain
    • Take a 2 hour siesta in the the afternoon
  • Financial realities
    • Renting a nice apartment for a month costs the same as a decent hotel for a four or five days.
    • In many countries the cost of nice restaurants is much less than the U.S. If you are doing this correctly, you should be able to take advantage of geo-arbitrage and your USD income should take you further in some of these countries.
    • TF lays out a bunch of costs on what he did on pages 258-259
  • Overcoming excuses not to travel: it is easier to live with ourselves if we cite an external reason for travel
  • The Q&A section of this chapter starts on page 269 and goes through how to plan a trip, mini-retirement. the section goes to page 276.
    • Resources and tools on page 277-286

Filling the void

  • Life exists to be enjoyed and the most important thing is to feel good about yourself. TF personal answer is to love, be loved, and never stop learning. He said in interviewing many people the two main themes are continual learning and service.
    • To live is to learn
    • When you do find a cause, do not become a ’cause snob’. “How can you help starving children in Africa when there are starving children in Los Angeles” Do not get baited into ‘my cause can beat up your cause’ arguments.
      • Find a cause or vehicle that interests you the most and make no apologies
    • Q&A pages 297-
      • Revisit ground zero: do nothing
        • Attend a silence retreat of 3-7 days where all media and speaking is prohibited
        • Make an anonymous donation to the service organization of your choice
          • it feels better when it is pure
      • Take a mini-retirement 6 months or more possible: focus on learning and serving
        • Ecotourism ideas on page 300
      • Revisit and reset dreamlines
      • Based on the outcomes of steps 1-4, consider testing new part/full time vocations
        • Recapturing the excitement of childhood isn’t impossible, in fact it is required
  • Mistakes the NR make: I will briefly outline the couple that really stuck out to me. pages 302-303
    • Losing sight of your dreams and falling into work for work’s sake
    • helping outsourcers or co-workers with the same problem more than once
    • Chasing customers – particularly unqualified or international prospects when you have sufficient cash flow to finance your non financial pursuits
    • Working where you live, sleep or should relax
    • Not performing a thorough 80/20 analysis every 2 – 4 weeks for your business and personal life
    • Viewing one product, job, or project as the end-all  and be-all of your existence
    • Ignoring the social rewards of life

The last chapter. Be bold and don’t worry about what people think. They don’t do it that often anyway. He closes the book with a poem: Slow Dance by David L Weatherford. Look it up and read it every month.


Book List and SDMBA Update

Just wanted to re-loop back to the book list as it has changed a little bit as I progressed through the program. There was a 2-3 month period where my activity on this list fell pretty flat as I went through a bunch of stuff in my personal life.  I am a bit ahead in the books read than I am in the Read and Summarized category. After I finish The Effective Executive I will get after the book summaries I have missed before starting on the next book.

Key: Read but need to finish summary; Read and Book Summary Complete

Session 1- Soft Skills – March through June

  1. The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin. I started this book 3/22/2016 after hearing about it on the Tim Ferriss show podcast-finished 3/31/2016
  2. Getting things done – David Allen -Started 3/31/2016. Finished 4/20/2016
  3. Getting Results the Agile Way – JD Meier – Started 4/22/2016, Finished 5/2/2016
  4. Curmudgeons Guide to Getting Ahead- Charles Murray -Started 5/3/2016, Finished 5/9/2016
  5. Never Eat Alone: and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a time – Keith Ferrazzi- Started 5/10/2016; Finished 5/24
  6. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie. Started 5/25; Finished 6/1
  7. The 4 Disciplines of Execution- Sean Covey et al. – This book is part of my company’s “offsite learning” but it ties into this section really well. Started 6/3- Finished 6/13
  8. Hope Is Not A Strategy- Offsite book #2 is based on the complex sales function. it is something I want to grow in and fits into this curriculum so I added it to this list- started 6/14- Finished 6/20
  9. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini Start 6/21- Finished 8/25
  10. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Finished 9/5
  11. The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking – Dale Carnegie Postponed indefinitely due to priority

Session 2- Mindset – July through September December

  1. The 4 Hour Workweek- Tim Ferriss – Started 8/29, finished 10/11
  2. Five Dysfunctions of a team – Patrick Lencioni – Finished 10/30
  3. Choose Yourself – James Altucher- Finished 11/15
  4. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill – Finished 12/8
  5. Seven Habits of Highly Successful People – Stephen Covey – Finished 1/5
  6. Start With Why-Simon Sinek Postponed indefinitely

Session 3- Business Classics – October through December through March

  1. Good To Great – Jim Collins -Will only be skimming and summarizing -Start 1/7
  2. The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker Started 12/9, Finished 12/14
  3. Getting to Yes- Roger Fisher, William Ury (finished 1/31) 
  4. Getting past No – William Ury (Finished 2/6 no summary)
  5. Essays of Warren Buffet- Warren Buffet, Lawrence Cunningham. 3rd edition – Postponed
  6. Security Analysis – Benjamin Graham Skipping due to length and value to this SDMBA program. Instead I will read book summaries and pull together a graphic/summary of major insights
  7. Competitive Strategy – Michael Porter-Skipping due to length and value to this SDMBA program. Instead I will read book summaries and pull together a graphic/summary of major insights

Session 4- Thinking Like a Startup- January- March – June

  1. Hackers and Painters – Paul Graham: finished 3/6
  2. Zero to One – Peter Thiel: finished 3/11
  3. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson – finished 4/1
  4. Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance
  5. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
  6. The Art of the Start 2.0 – Guy Kawasaki (added 12/13)

There it is… 1623 24 25 26 27 24 26 books. This list mostly came from the Thumotic post on the alternative MBA with a couple of books I added.  . I modified it a bit out of the ‘business classics’ section for a couple of reasons: I have read “the intelligent investor” which is the more basic version of Security Analysis. I intend to read a couple of Harvard Business Review articles and other summaries on Porter’s theories on competitive strategy. I also added the Essays of Warren Buffet as a supplemental learning – basically the letters to shareholders from over the years. These are highly regarded as having troves of information that should be required reading in any MBA.

I also added two books to to the “think like a startup” section: Elon Musk, who is one of my personal heroes due to his mindset of thinking big. You have to think really big when you decide you are going to start businesses in space exploration, Solar energy, and electric vehicles.  The Other book is “the art of the start 2.0” which is basically a guidebook for starting a business. As part of my ‘capstone’ project I will pick one of my best ideas from the 10 idea lists I have been doing and run through the entire business plan using The Art of The Start. I will possibly even act upon it if it shows promise as a side job.

The Thumotic SDMBA had an ‘act’ section after all of the reading and this is where I plan to integrate it.


10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

This is one of my ’10 idea lists’. I thought it was an interesting one and a lot of the realizations on this list have come throught he process of the SDMBA I am going through. I believe I will look at the last year as an inflection point in my life.

  1. A college education is overrated. Traditional education is not really that useful and they don’t teach you how to have a serious impact
  2. Money is only as useful as your freedom to utilize it
  3. You do not have to be rich to travel the world
  4. The secret to a fulfilling life is finding and following your passion.
  5. The deferred life plan doesn’t make any sense 
  6. Read The 4 Hour Workweek, Choose Yourself, and Think and Grow Rich to develop a desire for sense of purpose
  7. There is such a thing as a ‘sweet spot’ where your talents, passion, and value meet- find that spot
  8. Everything is temporary, so don’t take anything for granted- time, friends, health, money, possessions
  9. Time is your most precious resource, and it is also most often taken for granted
  10. You don’t have to follow a prescribed life. The easiest, ‘least scary’, path is to go to college and get good grades and there is nothing wrong with that. The point is that it is the easy way to go. You will not REALLY learn anything in college that you would need to do whatever you want (unless you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or other profession that needs some letters after your name). The point here is it is easy to look at college as this big gateway you need to pass through to get a ‘good job’ in the 21st century. In reality you could say it is much more of a purgatory where you make major life decisions on your career path that will change your life forever. College teaches you some of the knowledge you will need in your career, but it does a terrible job of helping you find what makes you tick. You need to find it on your own. In college people make life decisions because “yeah I liked my finance class, i think i will major in finance and have a 40 year career in finance”. I hear the first half of this sentence in almost every interview I conduct. These decisions have major life consequences.