Getting To Yes- Book Summary

Getting to Yes – by Roger Fisher and William Ury

Getting to Yes is a national bestseller that was published in the early 80s with the intent to study and improve successful negotiation tactics. To start, they want to set some guidelines for what makes a negotiation successful. They judge a negotiation on three criteria:

  • Should be produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible
  • It should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties involved
  • It should be efficient (no time wasted)

Positional Bargaining – What we want to avoid is what the authors call positional bargaining – basically what you would call haggling: you start your sales price at $100, the counter offer is $40, and you go back and forth until it is finally negotiated to a price both can agree on. This is inherently dishonest and inefficient. The other problem is that it locks your ego in with your position. you tend to get locked in and want to stay consistent/save face because of what you have said in the past. There is also the risk that due to the emotional investment, anchoring and  arguing over positions that no deal will be made at all. Additionally, with positional bargaining, the more people that are involved in a negotiation, the more serious the drawbacks to positional bargaining. It is also not an answer to be a soft negotiator because it leaves you vulnerable to the other person that is playing hardball. In positional bargaining, the negotiating game is biased in favor of the hard player. There is a comparison between the hard and soft negotiator on page 9.

What is the alternative?? The game of negotiation takes place at two levels: it addresses the substance, and it addresses the procedure for dealing with the substance. The goal is not to decide between Hard and Soft positional bargaining; rather it is to say ‘neither’ and change the game (sounds like Tim Ferriss). The goal here is on Principled Negotiation or Negotiation on the merits. This can be reduced to 4 basic points:

  1. People – separate the people from the problem. You want to keep the emotions out of the negotiation as much as possible. You want people attacking the problem, not each other.
  2. Interests – focus on the interest, not positions. You want to satisfy their underlying needs. Thus you need to understand what it IS that they actually want.
  3. Options – generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do
  4. Criteria – insist that the result be based on some objective standard. Market value, expert opinion, custom, standard, law, etc. that can be used objectively.

There are three stages to a negotiation, each dealing with the four elements above:

  1. Analysis – Where you are trying to diagnose the situation, gather information and organize it. understand the people issues involved, note the options already available.
  2. Planning – Generate ideas and decide what you are going to do. Generate additional options and criteria for deciding.
  3. Discussion – Join to seek agreement on objective standards for resolving opposed interests. Generate options that are mutually advantageous.

Separate the people from the problem

Remember that negotiators are people first, they have emotions, values, different backgrounds, different viewpoints. They are unpredictable, and so are you. If you fail to deal with other people sensitively as humans prone to human reactions, it can have disastrous results for a negotiation. Always ask yourself “Am I paying enough attention to the people problem?”. Every negotiator has two kinds of interests: the substance and the relationship. The goal should always be to have a customer become a regular one. You also want to work on the ‘people problem’ by bringing it up: “where perceptions are inaccurate, you can look for ways to educate. If emotions run high, you can find ways for each person to let off steam. Where misunderstanding exists you can work to improve communication.” People problems typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Perception – “Understanding the other side’s thinking is not simply a useful activity that will help you solve your problem. Their thinking is the problem” You have to realize that objective reality lies in their heads. Facts, even if established may not do anything to solve your problem. So what can you do??
    • Put yourself in their shoes- how you see the world depends on where you sit. This is one of the most important skills a negotiator can possess.
    • Don’t deduce their intentions from your fears – do not assume what you fear is the same thing that the other side intends to do.
    • Don’t blame them for your problem – it is usually counterproductive, cause them to become defensive, they will stop listening
    • Discuss each other’s perceptions – “communicating loudly and convincingly things you are willing to say that they would like to hear can be one of the best investments a negotiator can make. Remember, you first need to put yourself in their shoes to understand their perceptions
    • Look for opportunities to act inconsistently with their perceptions – the idea is to break their assumptions of you. See page 27 for example.
    • Give them a stake in the outcome by making sure they participate in the process – Give them the ownership. “if you want the other side to accept a disagreeable conclusion, it is crucial that you involve them in the process of reaching that conclusion”
    • Face saving: make your proposals consistent with their values
  • Emotion  – Emotions on one side will generate emotions on the other. In negotiations, the stakes are high and feelings are threatened
    • First recognize and understand emotions, theirs and yours – Write down what you feel, do the same for them. Ask yourself why you are having these emotions.
    • Make emotions explicit and acknowledge them as legitimate – Talk to the other side about their emotions. “It does not hurt to say ‘You know, the people on our side feel we have been mistreated and are very upset…. Do the people on your side feel the same way?'”. This shows some vulnerability which opens up the discussion.
    • Allow the other side to let off some steam – People obtain psychological release through the simple process of recounting their grievances
    • Don’t react to emotional outbursts – One example had a group that implemented a rule that only one person could get angry at a time. If you break the rule, that implies that you have lost self control and you lose face.
    • Use symbolic gestures – on many occasions a genuine apology can defuse emotions effectively
  • Communication – Without communication there is no negotiation. There are a couple of issues that can come up in a negotiation
    • Negotiators are speaking to impress third parties or their own constituency. They try to talk the spectators into taking sides.
    • People not listening to each other – they are too busy trying to think of what you wills ay next that you forget to listen to what the other side is saying now.
    • Miscommunication, or being misinterpreted.
      • Communication issues can be solved by:
        • Listen actively and acknowledge what is being said – don’t be afraid to say something like ‘did I understand correctly that you are saying that…’ Remember that understanding is not agreeing. You can understand the other side, but still disagree with what they are understanding
        • Speak to be understood – a negotiation is not a debate or a trial.
        • Speak about yourself, not about them – It is more persuasive to describe a problem in terms of its impact on you than in terms of what they did or why: “I feel let down” instead of “you broke your word”. A statement about how you feel is hard to challenge.
        • Prevention works best – The best time to handle people problems is before they become people problems
        • Build a working relationship – The more quickly you can turn a stranger into someone you know, the easier a negotiation is going to become.
        • Face the problem, not the people – It is more effective for parties to think of themselves as partners in a hardheaded, side-by-side search for a fair agreement advantageous to each.
      • The summary of the communication issues is to deal with people as human beings and with the problem on its merits.

Focus on Interests, Not Positions

  • Look for the difference between positions and interests- you want to focus on the latter. Interests are what motivate people. There are several good examples on pages 40-41. The most basic illustration is that two people are arguing over an orange, both believe they are entitled to it and neither wants to budge. This illustrates their position: the desire for the orange. What they do not know unless they can uncover it is that one of them wants the orange to make orange juice, the other wants the peel for a sauce they are making. This is their interests:  you want to reconcile the interests. “Behind opposed positions lie shared and compatible interests, as well as conflicting ones.” The authors use a landlord-tenant relationship to show the shared, indifferent,  and conflicting interests:
    • Shared interests
      • Stability
      • Well maintained apartment
      • Good relationship with one another
    • Not conflicting but differing interests
      • Tenant may not want to deal with fresh paint, the landlord does not want to pay the cost of repainting the other apartments
      • Landlord wants security of a down payment today, the tenant is fine with that as they are willing to pay.
    • Conflicting interests
      • Price for the apartment is all that remains to be settled. It is best to look at the market for rental properties to help define this.
  • The problem with interests?
    • Interests tend to be unexpressed, intangible, and even inconsistent
    • You need to understand theirs as well as yours… how do you do this??
      • Ask “Why?” – not only for justification of their position, but to understand the needs, hopes, fears, and desires that it serves.
      • Ask “why not?” – Think about their choice
      • Realize each side has multiple interests
      • Write down interests, make a list of all of the ones that may be on either side.
  • Interests cont’d
    • The most powerful interests are basic human needs
      • social economic well-being
      • sense of belonging
      • recognition
      • control over one’s life
  • Communicating interests
    • Talking about interests- you want the other side to know what your interests are.
      • Make your interests come alive, be specific. Having concrete details not only make a description credible, they add impact.
        • As long as you do not imply the other side’s interests are unimportant or illegitimate, your an afford to take a strong stance.
        • If you want the other side to take your interests seriously and appreciate yours, make sure you begin by demonstrating that you appreciate theirs
    • When you talk about the problem, put the problem before the interests
      • instead of “we believe you should…” give your interests and reasoning first and your conclusions or proposals later. Otherwise the other side will not be listening to your reasons and be trying to come back with a defensive.
    • Look forward, not back
      • Talk about where you want to go rather than where you have come from – page 53
    • Be concrete, but flexible
      • Convert your interests into concrete options
      • Treat the options you create as “illustrative specificity” that takes care of the interests. Baseball contract example on page 53-54
    • Be hard on the problem, soft on the people.
      • It might not be wise to commit yourself to your position, but it is wise to commit yourself to your interests.
      • They should know you are attacking the problem, not them**
      • Use the power of cognitive dissonance – page 55
        • People dislike inconsistency and will act to eliminate it. For example, “if you attack a problem, such as speeding trucks on a neighborhood street, and at the same time give the company representative support, you can create cognitive dissonance for him. To overcome this dissonance, he will be tempted to dissociate himself from the problem in order to join you in doing something about it.
      • Successful negotiation requires being both firm and open

Invent options for mutual gain

  • Figure out how to expand the pie before deciding it up
  • There are 4 obstacles that inhibit the inventing of options
    • Premature judgement
      • Judgement hinders imagination
    • searching for the single answer
      • for most people, inventing is not part of negotiating. People see their job of narrowing the gap between positions, not broadening the options available
    • assuming a fixed pie
      • People assume it is ‘either-or’ “either i get it or you do”
    • thinking that “solving their problem is their problem”
      • People think that ‘we have enough problems of our own, they can look after theirs
  • Prescription is a 4-step process
    • Separate the inventing from deciding
      • Use a brainstorming session to create as many ideas as possible.
      • Brainstorming keys for success on page 61
      • Brainstorm on your side and consider brainstorming with the other side as well.
    • Broaden the options on the table rather than look for a single answer
      • use the brainstormed ideas to think about the problems and generate constructive solutions
      • The circle chart – page 68
        • Think about a particular problem
        • thinking about a descriptive analysis
        • consider what ought, perhaps, to be done
        • Come up with some specific and feasible suggestions for action
      • Look through the eyes of different experts
      • Invent agreements of different strengths in case the sought after agreement is out of reach.
    • search for mutual gains
      • Identify the shared interests (see the last chapter)
        • Always ask “do we have a shared interest in preserving our relationship?”
      • Dovetail differing interests – when each side wants different things (orange peel example)
      • There is a whole list of things that one party might be more interested in than the other on page 74
      • “Look for items that are low cost to you and high benefit to them, and vice versa”
    • Invent ways to make their decision easy
      • Your task is to give them an answer, not a problem. to give them an easy decision vs. a tough one.
      • Evaluate an option from the other side’s point of view – how might they be criticized if they adopt it? This will help you think from their shoes, what restraints the other side is working with.
      • Understand the other side’s constituents “why are they saying these things”
      • Test an option by writing it in a ‘yes-able proposition’ where they can finish the negotiation with the single word ‘yes’

Insist on using objective criteria

  • You want to use a benchmark- the more objective the better. If you are negotiating on the basis of will you will run into major differences of interest. The goal is to negotiate on some basis that is independent of the will of either side.
  • You want to be open to reason, but closed to threats. The goal is to reach a solution on principle, not pressure.
  • Principled negotiation produces wise agreements amicably and efficiently.
    • Refer to a precedent and community practice
    • It protects a relationship
    • This method is much more efficient
    • You want to appear and feel ‘reasonable’
  • How to develop objective criteria, and how to use them in negotiation
    • Use ‘fair’ standards
      • market value
      • precedent
      • scientific judgement
      • professional standards
      • etc.. rest of list is on page 85
    • Fair procedures
      • The age-old way to divide a piece of cake between two children: one cuts, the other chooses. Neither can complain about unfair division. There are a few variations of this – see page 86-87
    • Negotiating with objective criteria
      • Frame each issue as a joint search for obj. criteria
      • Reason and be open to reason on what standard is most appropriate
      • Never yield to pressure, only to principle
    • “Look, you want a high price and I want a low one. Lets figure out what a fair price would be”
      • ask ‘what is your theory’
    • Insisting an agreement is based on objective criteria doesn’t mean that it be based solely on the criteria you advance
      • Be open to reasonable persuasion on the merits
    • Never yield to pressure, it can take many forms:
      • bribe, threat, manipulative appears to trust, or simple refusal to budge
      • Never yield to pressure, only to principle
    • There is a really good anecdote on how to handle this on page 92-94. How to use objective criteria in a negotiation

What if they are more powerful? Develop your BATNA

  • BATNA – Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. This is your power in a negotiation – especially negotiating with a more powerful opponent.
  • In response to power, the most any method of negotiation can do is to meet two objectives
    • To protect you against making an agreement you should reject
    • To help you make the most of the assets you do have so any agreement you reach will satisfy your interests when possible
  • Protecting yourself
    • Do not use a bottom line – definitive number
      • it locks you and limits your ability to benefit from what you learn during a negotiation
        • By definition, a ‘bottom line’ is a position that is not to be changed
        • it inhibits imagination
        • It is almost certain to be too rigid
    • Know your BATNA
      • BATNA is basically what you will do if you are unable to come to an agreement
        • This is the standard against which you should measure any proposed agreement.
      • Insecurity of an unknown BATNA
        • Most circumstances, you are too committed to reaching an agreement. If you have not determined your BATNA, you are too pessimistic about what would happen if negotiations broke off
    • Formulate a trip wire
      • “don’t sell the house for under $160k until you have talked to me”
  • Making the most of your assets
    • The greater your BATNA, the greater your power
    • How to develop a BATNA: Page 103-104
      • Invent a list of actions you can take if no agreement is made
      • Improve some of the more promising ideas and convert them into practical alternatives
      • Select the one alternative that seems the best
    • Consider the other side’s BATNA- the more you know about their alternatives, the better prepared you are for negotiation
    • As a side note- it seems like preparation is the theme of this entire book. To be a good negotiator, you need to really know your stuff and their stuff too.
    • Negotiating with a more powerful opponent
      • A BATNA helps you negotiate on the merits

How to use Negotiation Jujitsu

  • 3 basic approaches to getting their attention on the merits:
    • what you can do – focus on the merits. It can be contagious
    • Focus on what they may do – ‘negotiation jujitsu’
    • Focus on what a 3rd party can do
  • Negotiation jujitsu
    • How do you prevent the cycle of reaction?
      • Don’t push back- refuse to react
      • Deflect attacks against the problem
      • “rather than resist their force, channel it into exploring interests, inventing options for mutual gain, and searching for independent standards.”
    • Attacks- Their ‘attack’ will consist of 3 maneuvers:
      • Asserting their position forcefully
      • Attacking your ideas
      • Attacking you
    • One way to counter is to unsimplify the other side’s requests if they seem unreasonable – example on page 110. If they present an unrealistic option, show them how it really isn’t an option in from your viewpoint.
    • Don’t defend you ideas, invite criticism and advice
      • Ask them what is wrong with it
    • Recast an attack on you as an attack on the problem
    • Ask questions and PAUSE
      • Ask questions instead of statements. They generate answers where statements generate resistance
      • Silence is one of your best weapons – use it. If they make an unreasonable proposal you might be best off not saying a word.
        • Don’t take them off the hook by going on to another question or comment of your own. some of the best negotiating is done when you are not talking.
    • Use the “one text procedure” where there are different interests, make one change at a time until both sides can start to agree.
      • Prepare a draft and ask for criticism – there is no commitment here necessary.
    • There is a successful role play of a negotiation on page 117-128 that uses a principled approach to get to the desired result.

Taming the Hard Bargainer

  • Most people will give in once and hope the other side is appeased and not ask for more. This often fails and they will continue to take you to the cleaners.
    • You need to focus on ‘principled negotiation’
  • If you catch them using a tactic, bring it up. Discussing the tactic makes it less effective and makes them worry about alienating you completely. Example: good guy/bad guy routine.
  • Utilize all of the principles in this book to keep the hard bargainer on track.
  • Tricky tactics fall into 3 categories:
    • deliberate deception (page 132-133)
      • Phony facts
      • Ambiguous authority
      • Dubious intentions
      • Less than full disclosure is not the same as deception
    • Psychological warfare
      • Stressful situations
      • Personal attacks
      • Good guy/bad guy routine
      • Threats – good negotiators rarely resort to threats. Warnings are much more legitimate than threats and not vulnerable to counter threats
    • Positional pressure tactics – 139-142
      • Refusal to negotiate
      • Escalating demands- never yield to pressure, only to reason
      • Hardhearted partner – the other side is not the one that makes the decision. “it is reasonable to me, but my wife absolutely refuses…”  -Request to speak with the partner
      • A calculated delay
      • “take it or leave it”
    • Don’t be a victim
      • Ask yourself if you would be embarrassed if there was a full writeup in the newspaper on how you negotiated.

Conclusion- a lot of this book seems like common sense. But it is easy to fall back into the positional bargaining that most people think of when they hear the word negotiate (haggling). This can be used as a guide for how to get through the tough negotiations while maintaining a solid relationship. I hope this was a helpful summary. I will be reading “getting past no” next!

RG

 

 

 

 

Opinion Rant -Politics

The last few months have been interesting to say the least. I have witnessed the most divisive political landscape in my lifetime. There are a few things that I have learned, and the point of this post is not to talk about my own personal political views. It is more of an observation I have made while reading several of the books I have summarized. The 7 Habits really spelled it out for me and made me realize this.

Over the past several months of political campaigns and the impact of social media on how the world views politics, I made a couple of realizations:

  • We appear to be extremely divided in our political views. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and 100% sure of that opinion. It is difficult to even have a coherent conversation with someone that voted differently than you because…
  • According to my Facebook feed or the comment sections on any news article, there are two types of people in the world:
    • Bleeding heart liberals that are a bunch of entitled sore-loser crybabies
    • Corrupt monsters that want to take away human rights, deny science, destroy the environment. 
      • It is easy to reduce politics to such simplicity, however this dichotomy is probably further from the truth than you may think. There are also echo-chambers that people yell their political views into, blocking anyone that opposes their views.
  • Nobody is actually communicating. We do not know how to effectively communicate when there are differences in our beliefs. People jump straight to incendiary comments that piss the other side off and put them on the defensive. In order to bridge the gap, we need to start listening: understand the other side’s points, consider them thoughtfully, and help them understand your viewpoint. You do not have to agree with one another, but when you simplify people you tend to make unfounded assumptions. One observation is that people will quickly resort to name calling, demeaning, and personal attacks. Just as bad, people will just post some opinion piece from the internet and write something like “wow”
  • Most people are really not well educated on the issues at hand. Almost all news organizations have an angle, or bias. We also tend to parrot back what we hear in our echo-chambers. And this is typically with biased and/or incomplete information. I am guilty of this as well. While I try to look at issues objectively, it is easy to get caught up in a compelling argument even if it falls into some form of logical fallacy.
  • People are not typically well educated on the issues of their candidate.  You will often see political pundits of both sides interview people on issues in the street, or a college campus, or catching people before they go to vote. They will ask people about the merits of (for example) Obamacare vs. the Affordable Care Act – with people saying one is terrible, the other would be much better… How many of the people having heated arguments over their candidate have been on their candidate’s website and the opposing candidate’s website to even make an educated statement? If I had to guess it wouldn’t be most.
  • From the people I have talked to, the majority of people are not as far apart as they politically think they are. 

This is just an opinion post. The point is to step back and say “how can I understand the other side better?”; “why do I believe so strongly in what I believe”; “what are the merits of the other side? Do I agree with them? Do I at least understand the other side’s points?”. In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion the author Cialdini discussed consistency as a major influence. As a defense mechanism, we are programmed to try and maintain consistency with decisions we have made in the past. This is why you see people double down when it might not always make logical sense. They are trying to stay consistent with prior actions.

So what are we to do? My suggestion is to try and understand the other side. Go in with an open mind and they will hopefully return the favor. Understanding the other party doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree. This is discussed in 7 Habits, Getting to Yes, and several other books on personal interactions.

This is an interesting political environment. Tension is extremely high. Especially with the internet, it is easy to stop treating people like human beings, but it goes both ways and someone needs to step up.

RG

Good to Great – Book Summary

Good to Great by Jim Collins is another business classic. It is a book that I read about 4 years ago as a ‘required reading’ for when I started my current job. I read it at the time, but going back through it the second time knowing what I know today was definitely worthwhile. Over the years I have become a much more active reader, making notes, adding bookmarks, underlining things I want to quote, etc. So the second time through was worth the time I had considered skipping it in my curriculum.

Anyways, on to the book. The premise of the book is that Good is the enemy of Great, this is the first sentence of the book. This book is looking at what it takes to become a great organization, whether that is a business, nonprofit, or high school sports team. What are the key ingredients that make an organization make the leap from mediocrity to greatness. “We believe almost any organization can substantially improve its stature and performance, perhaps even become great, if it conscientiously apply the framework of ideas we’ve uncovered”. To understand how to get from good to great they were looking for catalysts. The author and his team had certain preconceived assumptions about what they ‘thought’ they would find that may come as a surprise. The things they did not find were:

  • Larger than life, celebrity leaders from outside the company
  • Links between success and executive compensation
  • Good to great companies focused equally on what to do as much as what not to do and what to stop doing (80/20 TF rule)
  • Technology was not a driver. It accelerated, but never caused the transformation.
  • M&A did not have a large role
  • Didn’t focus on motivating people or creating alignment
  • No big tag line, or launch event to signify transformations, they happened evolutionary.
  • Good to great companies were not (for the most part) in great industries.
  • Greatness it turns out is a conscious choice

There is a diagram the book uses to drive the concepts home (see below) the summary is that there are three broad stages: disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action. Each of these are then broken into two concepts. All of this is going on and building up until the breakthrough. Then they utilize the momentum from all of the concepts to continue driving the right things and keep the ‘flywheel’ spinning.

Good To great diagram.gif

Disciplined People:

  • Level 5 Leadership– Leaders in good to great companies had more in common with Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.
  • level-5-leadership
    • Character traits of level 5 leaders:
      • Humility
      • Modesty
      • Unwavering resolve
      • Willpower
      • Un-curable need to produce results
    • They talk in terms of the success of the company
    • Most often, the level 5 leaders were brought up from within the company
    • Showed up in big decisions AS WELL as workmanlike diligence.
    • Often say they were lucky about their successes, but never blamed bad luck on their misfortunes
    • Further explanation and comparison between professional will and personal humility on page 36.
    • Many of them had significant life experiences that sparked or fathered their maturation: WWI experience, strong religious beliefs, near-death experiences, etc.
    • They are results-driven, take full responsibility, set up their successors for even greater success.
  • First Who, Then What – “Get the right people on the bus, wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats- and then they figure out where to drive it”
    • The key point is that the ‘who’ decision comes before the ‘what’ decisions – before vision, strategy, org. structure, tactics, etc.
    • Leaders were rigorous, not ruthless in people decisions
    • How to be rigorous in people decisions:
      • When in doubt, do not hire (keep looking) – this is similar to the TF podcast that said ‘if it is not a HELL YES! it’s a no.’
      • When you know you need to make a people change, act
      • Put your best people on  your biggest opportunities
    • Compensation is not to motivate, it should be used to get and keep the right people in the first place
    • The right person has more to do with character traits and innate capabilities than it does with specific knowledge, skills’ tc.

Disciplined Thought:

  • Confront the Brutal Facts – Stockdale Paradox: you must maintain unwavering faith in that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. while at the same time confront the brutal facts of reality. A very stoic philosophy.
    • You need to confront the basic facts of the current reality, when you do this the ‘right’ decisions become self-evident. But you need to first confront the brutal facts.
    • Create a culture where people have an opportunity to be heard and for the truth to be heard. You can create this culture by:
      • leading w/ questions, not answers
      • Engage in dialogue + debate (5 dysfunctions) but not coercion
      • Conduct autopsies of issues, without blame
      • Build red flag mechanisms that turn information into info that cannot be ignored.
    • Good to great companies had just as much adversity, but responded differently. “They hit the realities of their situations head-on”
    • Do not try to motivate people. Try not to de-motivate them. one primary way to de-motivate people is to ignore the brutal facts of reality.
  • The Hedgehog Concept (simplicity within the three circles) – If you cannot be the best in the world at your core business, then your core business absolutely cannot form the basis of a great company. Look for the center of the three circles (sweet spot) where passion, economic viability, and ability to become the best in the world.
    • This is a gem of the book. What we call the sweet spot at the company I work for. It is the intersection of your passions, skills, and what can be an economic engine. The “hedgehog concept” takes it one step further saying that you should ignore the things that do not fit into the intersection of these circles. It is not aligned with your purpose.
    • You need to understand what you can be world class at, and just as importantly you need to be completely honest and put the ego aside to say what you cannot be world class at. It is not a goal, strategy, or intention, it is an understanding
    • “best in the world” is not the same thing as a core competence.
    • “To get insight into the drivers of your economic engine, search for the one denominator (profit per x or, in the social sector, cash flow per x) that has the greater single impact.” VA/person, VA/hour, etc….
    • The council (page 114) can be useful to reiterate the hedgehog concept. it is an iterative process that took the good to great companies in the study an average of 4 years to get down.what-is-your-hedgehog-concept-jim-collins-zest-ebiz

Disciplined Action:

  • Culture of Discipline – When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance.
    • Sustained great results depend on a culture full of self disciplined people who take action, fanatically consistent with the three circles
    • Bureaucracy comes from having the wrong people on the bus
    • “A culture of discipline is not just about action. It is about getting disciplined people who engage in disciplined thought and who then take disciplined action”
    • Do not confuse a culture of discipline with a tyrant who disciplines.
    • You need to have the willingness to shun opportunities that fall outside the three circles.  A “once in a lifetime” opportunity is irrelevant if it is outside the hedgehog concept. a great company will have many  “once in a lifetime opportunities”
    • “stop doing” lists are more important than “to do” lists
  • Technology Accelerators  – Good to great companies use technology differently than others. They are typically the pioneers in the application of carefully selected technologies. The technology in itself is never the primary root cause of greatness OR decline.
    • Avoid the tech fads and bandwagons, yet they become the pioneers in the application of carefully selected technologies- pick and choose the ones that are aligned with their hedgehog and can be used as an accelerator of momentum
    • How a company reacts to technological change is a good indicator of its inner drive for greatness versus mediocrity.
    • Most of the good to great execs. didn’t even mention technology as a major factor in the interviews.

Flywheel Concept and Doom Loop – No single defining action, program, innovation or lucky break can be attributed to going from good to great. It takes relentless pushing on the heavy flywheel to build the momentum through a point of breakthrough.

  • This is basically a Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) of the entire good to great practice this book outlines.
  • Sustainable transformations follow a predictable pattern of buildup and breakthrough likened in the book to pushing a giant flywheel until it gains enough momentum to break through.
  • Good to great companies only really used large acquisitions AFTER breakthrough, in order to accelerate the already fast spinning flywheel.
  • “The good to great leaders spent essentially no energy trying to ‘create alignment’, ‘motivate the troops’ or ‘manage change.’ Under the right conditions, the problems of commitment, alignment and change largely take care of themselves. Alignment principally follows from results and momentum, not the other way around”

Good to Great -> Built to Last

  • Since Jim Collins also was the author of “built to last” the last chapter is about how to make the transition from a “good to great” company to one that will last many generations. The basic idea is that you want to preserve the basic Core values and purpose of the organization while being open to changing cultural and operating practices as well as specific goals and strategies. In summary: keep the underlying foundational principles the company was built on, but allow change to occur in everything else. There is an interesting graphic about how Disney did this on page 197.
  • The four key ideas of Built to Last are as follows:
    • Clock building, not time telling: Build an organization that can endure and adapt through generations of leaders and multiple product life cycles. vs. one leader and one idea
    • The Genius of “AND” – Get rid of the mentality that it is an EITHER OR decision. Figure out how you can have AND: “Purpose AND profit, continuity AND change, freedom AND responsibility, etc.”
    • Core ideology – Instill the core values and purpose as principles to guide the decisions for long term.
    • Preserve the core/Stimulate Progress-  Preserve the core ideology as an anchor WHILE stimulating change, improvement, innovation, and renewal in everything else. Keep the ideology at the forefront!
  • BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)
    • Good BHAGs are set with understanding. There should be a connection between BHAGs and the three circles of the Hedgehog Concept. This is where the magic happens

Collins ends the book with a thoughtful statement: “For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.” 

RG

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People- Book Summary/Review

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits is one of the great personal development books of our time. It is pretty much recommended reading wherever you look and for good reason. It is based on some solid principles that are timeless and is focused on a holistic approach to getting more out of life. I went into the book thinking it would be more about how to be effective professionally, but realized pretty quickly that it is more about being effective as a human being. The framework of the book is set up in the first chapter called ‘inside-out’ where he  discusses the Pygmalion effect- where perceptions become reality and you find that there are often self-fulfilling prophecies. What this teaches us is that we must look at the lens itself, through which we see the world as well as the world we see. The focus on the sense shapes how we interpret and respond to situations. Paradigms are another focus of this chapter- a paradigm is the way we ‘see’ the world in terms of perceiving, understanding, or interpereting. He gives an example using a map as an analogy. If you were trying to find your way, but the map you have has errors on it or if it was a map of a different city than the one you are in, you would not be able to find your way. ‘character ethic’ solutions would not help you such as working on your behavior or attitude about the situation. you just plain have the wrong map. Page 32 has an exercise that shows this. the exercise is to show two pictures to different groups with very minor differences in them. The first is obviously a young woman and the other is of an old woman. Then a third picture is shown that blends the two together a bit, two both groups and they will often argue their points strongly. Because each side has a different paradigm to start from, they are not seeing the other person’s perspective. The point is that neither is right or wrong, but rather that their experiences has persuaded them that they must be correct. If you are looking at the book, the pages are on 33/34/53. “where we stand depends on where we sit”.  Paradigm shifts-  the term paradigm shift has been used to describe the phenomenon that in almost every significant breakthrough in the field of scientific endeavor is first a break with tradition, with old paradigms. Cecil B. Demille observed “it is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law.” On learning: ‘if you don’t let a teacher know at what level you are- by asking a question, or revealing your ignorance- you will not learn or grow. WE must learn to listen, and this requires emotional strength- highly developed qualities of character. There are times to teach and times not to teach. When the relationship is strained and air charged with emotion, an attempt to teach is often perceived as a form of judgement and rejection.

  • The way we see the problem is the problem.

An overview of the 7 habits

  • For this book, we define ‘habits’ as the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire
  • The book is supposed to be progressive to get you away from dependence, to independence, and finally into independence. This is the maturity continuum.
    • Dependence- the paradigm of you – you take care of me, you come through for me, etc.
    • Independence- the paradigm of I, I can do it, I am responsible, I am self-reliant, etc.
    • Interdependence- The paradigm of we– we can do it, we can cooperate, etc. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their great success.
  • Covey says that effectiveness lies in a balance- what he calls the P/PC Balance. With P/PC you want to make sure you are not sacrificing the PC to get a short term P. In the book he compares this to killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
    • P  stands for production of desired results
    • PC stands for production capacity – the ability or asset that produces P. There are basically 3 types of assets:
      • Physical – An example is a power lawnmower- the “p” would be that it is mowing your lawn. However if yo neglect the PC and do not do the maintenance on it, you will find that will lose its power capacity and essentially fail to provide your P.
      • Financial – example is our capacity to earn. if we do not continually invest in improving our own PC, we limit our options and can be locked in our present situation.
      • Human- One example is a marriage. An issue would be if the couple are more concerned about getting the ‘golden eggs’ or benefits, than they are about preserving what makes them possible, they become sensitive and inconsiderate, neglecting the things important for a deep relationship.
    • Suggestion for better learning of the principles in this book: share, discuss and teach what you learn within 48 hours of when you read it. It will help you internalize it.
  • Private Victory- the first three habits are the habits of Private Victory. To get you from dependence to independence. They are mean to increase your self confidence and get you to know yourself in a deeper, more meaningful way. You will be able to define yourself from within
  • Public Victory- habits 4-6. You will discover and unleash both the desire and resources to heal and rebuild important relationships that have deteriorated or even broken.
  • The 7th habit – if deeply internalized will renew the first six and make you truly independent and capable of effective interdependence.

url.gif

Private Victory

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
    • Based on the premise that we are self-aware beings. You are able to look as an observer to your own involvement in something. The story of Victor Frankl- who was a Holocaust survivor that was able to realize his basic identity that they could not take away: “He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him” – It was his freedom to choose his response.
    • “Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.”
    • In addition to self-awareness, we have imagination. Or the ability to create in our minds. We have a conscience, or a deeper awareness of right and wrong. Finally we have independent will – the ability to act based on our self-awareness, free of all other influences
    • Proactivity is that we have responsibility for our lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We have responsibility – “response-ability” – the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values.
    • There are 3 central values in life:
      • Experiential- what happens to us
      • Creative – that which we bring into existence
      • Attitudinal- our response to difficult circumstances. Frankl considers this the highest of central values.
    • Initiative- means recognizing our responsibility to make things happen.
      • “Use your R&I” resourcefulness and initiative. This is what Covey says that you should say when people are not living up to their abilities.
      • Holding people to the responsible course is not demeaning- it is affirming
      • Take initiative and ACT!

url.jpg

    • Circles of influence
      • Proactive people focus their efforts on the circle of Influence: They work on the things that they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging, and magnifying, causing their circle of influence to increase. This would be considered a positive feedback loop where your influence spirals larger as you concern yourself only with the things you can control.
      • Negative energy causes the circle of influence to shrink. This happens by blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, feelings of victimization, etc.

url.png

    • Problems will fall under 3 categories:
      • Direct control- involves our own behavior
      • Indirect control – problems involving other people’s behavior
      • No Control – problems we can do nothing about (past or situational realities)
    • Proactive story- pages 94-95 about a proactive executive that was able to grow his circle of influence by focusing on what he had control over. He was able to make the president of the company’s weaknesses irrelevant, which was noticed. and eventually the president brought him into the ‘inner circle’
    • Proactive doesn’t mean to be pushy or aggressive. It is simply to be smart, value driven an knowing what is needed.
    • The “have’s” and “be’s” on page 96 – is a good way to figure out if you are focusing within or outside of your circle of influence.
    • The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct, and learn from it.
      • NOT to acknowledge a mistake, not to correct it and learn from it, is a mistake of a different order. It puts a person on a self- deceiving and self-justifying path.
    • Making commitments and promises is in the very heart of the circle of influence. This is an area we can work on immediately: we can make a promise and keep it.  Or we can Set a goal- and work to achieve it. 
    • 30 day proactivity test and Application suggestions on pages 100-101
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End In Mind
    • Exercise to think of yourself at your own funeral- what would you want people to say?
      • Personal answer/themes: Genuine person/Innovator/helped thousands of people/visionary/friend
    • Use the above exercise to help define success for yourself. Think about the motives and why these things are important to you. Then put it into action.
    • All things are created twice: In mind and in physical creation
      • Whether we realize it or not, 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.
    • Leadership vs. management
      • “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall”
    • In Habit 2 we have the ability to ditch the scripts we were raised with and have the responsibility to “create new ones that are more effective, more congruent with our deepest values, and with the correct principles that give our values meaning”
    • Develop your own Personal Mission Statement- pages 113-115
    • Logotherapy- helping an individual find his unique meaning, mission, true purpose in life.
    • Whatever is in the center of your life will be the source of your security, guidance, wisdom, and power
      • Security – Sense of worth, identity, emotional anchorage, self esteem , basic personal strength
      • Guidance – Your source of direction in life
      • Wisdom – “Your perspective on life, your sense of balance, understanding of how various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgement, discernment, comprehension. it is the gestalt or oneness, an integrated wholeness”
      • Power- your faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something
    • Alternative Centers – or core paradigms of people
      • Spouse centeredness- strong emotional dependence of a spouse. You tend to revert back to the scripts you had growing up.
      • Family centeredness – get their sense of security from the family tradition and culture or the family reputation
      • Money centeredness – This focus will bring about its own undoing. You will become too vulnerable to things that may impact your net worth.
      • Work Centeredness – Their fundamental identity comes from work
      • possession centeredness – tangible material possessions as well as intangible possessions such as fame, glory or social prominence
      • Pleasure centeredness- centered around fun and pleasure. Often become too quickly bored with each succeeding level of ‘fun’.
      • Friend/enemy centeredness – identify themselves by their friends or even their enemies. An example of enemy centeredness is when an enemy has so much control over your happiness and you will take no responsibility for the issue.
      • Church-centeredness – image or appearance can become a dominant consideration. These people will label others ‘active’ ‘inactive’ ‘liberal’ etc.
      • Self-centeredness – perhaps the most common today. very little security, guidance, wisdom, or power in the limited center of the self.
      • There is a summary of all the centers and the impacts on guidance, security, wisdom and power.
    • A Principle Center
      • Centering yourself on correct principles. You will be able to create a solid foundation for the development of the four life-support factors.
        • Security comes from knowing that correct principles do not change. We can depend on them.
        • Wisdom and Guidance – come from correct maps, from the way things really are, have been and will be.
        • Personal power is of a self-aware, knowledgeable, proactive individual, unrestricted by the attitudes, behaviors, and actions of others or environmental influences.
        • Summary of principle centers for the 4 life support factors on page 132.
    • Personal mission statement- page 136-137
      • We ‘detect’ vs invent our missions in life
      • If Habit 1 tells you ‘you are the programmer’, habit 2 tells you ‘now write the program.’
        • “Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully an to align your behavior with your beliefs
      • Habit 2 primarily uses the right side of the brain- of Imagination and conscience.
        • “I can use my right brain power of visualization to write an ‘affirmation’ that will help me become more congruent with my deeper values in daily life”
          • A good affirmation has five basic ingredients: it’s personal, positive, present tense, visual, and emotional. example on page 141. The more vividly you can imagine it, the more deeply it will be experienced.
        • “All peak performers are visualizers: they see it, they feel it, they experience it before they actually do it. they begin with the end in mind”
        • Affirmation and visualization are forms of programming. Be careful not to submit ourselves to programming that is not in harmony with our basic centers.
        • make sure you do not get completely absorbed by one role and neglect the other important ones.
      • Mission statements should be written for families: page 146, and organizations: page 147.
        • Organizational mission statements must be written by everyone. “no involvement, no commitment.”
    • Pages 152-153 have the application exercises.
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First
    • “You are the creator, you are in charge.”
    • You can live out habit 3 by practicing effective self-management.
    • Left-brain:management; right-brain: leadership. “manage from the left; lead from the right.”
    • All successful people have one thing in common: they put First Things First. Leadership decides what the first things are. Management puts them first, day by day, moment by moment. Carrying it out.
    • The Four Generations of Time management
      • Notes and checklists
      • Calendars and Appointment books
      • Prioritization, clarifying values and relative worth of activities based on those values. (this is mostly where we are today)
      • The Fourth Generation is that we do not manage our time, rather we manage ourselves. Instead of focusing on ‘things and time’ we focus on preserving and enhancing relationships and on accomplishing results. (P/PC balance)
    • The two factors that define an activity are ‘urgent and important’ There is a time management matrix in the book that shows you do not even want to do quadrants III and IV. Quadrant II is where we want to focus: it is the box that takes initiative and proactivity to get after. It is the quadrant where progress is made.

url.jpg

    • The enemy of “Best” is often “good”
      • Decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage to pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically say “no” to other things
      • Our personal mission empowers us with the wisdom to make these decisions effectively.
    • The 6 important criteria of a Quadrant II organizer:
      • Coherence – harmony integrated between your vision and mission, roles and goals, priorities and plans, and desires and discipline. Also a place for your short and long term goals.
      • Balance Keep your various roles right in front of you so you do not neglect certain areas
      • QII focus- tool that encourages and motivates to spend time in Quadrant II. He suggests organizing your life on a weekly basis so you can prioritize the things without getting sucked into the whirlwind of the day to day.
      • A ‘people’ dimension – a tool that deals with people, not schedules. you need to think in terms of effectiveness when dealing with ‘people’
      • Flexibility – your tools should be your servant, never your master
      • Portability- you should be able to carry it with you most of the time.
    • 4 Keys to becoming a QII self-manager. There is an example of their version on pages 174-175
      • Identifying roles – write down your key roles. Examples on page 171
      • Selecting goals – One or two important results you should accomplish in each role during the next seven  days.
      • Scheduling – should be able to see the week ahead. get your goals in there. Leave room fro spontaneous experiences.
      • Daily adapting – Review your schedule every morning to put you in touch with the value based decisions you made when you organized the week.
    • Advances on the ‘fourth generation’ of time management skills. It is…
      • Principle centered
      • Conscience-directed
      • Defines your unique mission, including values and long term goals
      • Helps you balance your life by identifying roles
      • Gives greater context through weekly organizing.
    • Delegation means growth. If done properly with growth in mind. You want to use what Covey calls ‘stewardship delegation. Which is focused on “what” not “how”
      • Focus on results vs. methods. Make a clear, up front mutual understanding of expectations in five areas:
        • Desired results
        • Guidelines
        • Resources
        • Accountability
        • Consequences
        • **remember that trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the best in people. it does take time and patience.  For more on how to use this”stewardship delegation” look through pages 182-186.
    • Application suggestions on page 188-189

Public Victory

  • The Paradigms of Interdependence
    • The emotional bank account- the feeling of safeness you have with another human being
    • You can make deposits through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping commitments. You can build up a reserve. When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective
    • If you have a habit of showing discourtesy, disrespect, cutting people off, overreacting, ignoring, becoming arbitrary, betraying trust, etc. you can overdraw an emotional bank account and the trust will be low. Characterized by having to walk on eggshells and having to think about everything you say, etc. Many families and marriages are filled with it.
    • 6 Major deposits
      • Understanding the other person- “one person’s mission is another person’s minutiae”. Our tendency is to project out of our own autobiographies what we think other people need or want.
      • Attending the little things- “in relationships, the little things are the big things”
      • Keeping commitments- People tend to build their hopes around promises, particularly promises about their basic livelihood.
      • Clarifying expectations- all about communication
      • Showing personal integrity: keeping promises, fulfilling expectations. Be loyal to those not present. In doing so, you build the trust of those who are are present.
      • Apologizing sincerely when you make a withdrawal: Great deposits come in sincere words… “i was wrong” “that was unkind of me” “I gave you no dignity, and I’m deeply sorry” etc. It takes a great deal of character to apologize quickly and out of one’s heart rather than out of pity. Also, it must be perceived as sincere.
    • P Problems are PC opportunities- a chance to build the emotional bank accounts that significantly affect interdependent production
  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win
    • There are six paradigms of human interaction:
      • Win/Win- this is what we are aiming for. Think about it in terms of negotiation. This is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, and that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others. Its not your way or my way, its a better way,  a higher way. And the only real alternative in interdependent realities.
      • Win/Lose
      • Lose/Win
      • Lose/Lose
      • Win
      • Win/Win or No Deal
    • Five dimensions of Win/Win- Win/Win involves mutual learning, mutual influence, mutual benefits
      • Character
        • Integrity – you need to have a deep sense of what a Win is for you
        • Maturity- the balance between courage and consideration. The ability to express one’s own feelings and convictions balanced with considerations for the thoughts and feelings of others.
        • Abundance mentality – There is plenty out there for everybody. The abundance mentality takes the personal joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment of habits 1/, 2, and 3 and turns it outward.
      • Relationships-Focus on the issues, not the personalities or positions. If the Emotional Bank accounts are high, you will have a deep enough respect for one another. Remember No Deal is always an option, or you could also choose to go to the low-form of Win/Win – Compromise.
      • Agreements- Performance or partnership agreements shift the paradigm of productive interaction from vertical to horizontal, from positioning to being partners in success. The Five elements of a win/win agreement are:
        • Desired results- what is to be done and when
        • Guidelines – or parameters
        • Resources – Human, financial, technical etc. support available to accomplish the job
        • Accountability- standards of performance and time of evaluation
        • Consequences- Good and bad, natural and logical- what does and will happen as a result of the evaluation
        • It is much more enabling to to the human spirit to let people judge themselves than to judge them.
      • Win/Win Management training
        • learner controlled instruction – incentive for learner story on pages 235-238
      • Win/Win Performance agreements- focus on results, not methods.
        • “Following a deep and thorough discussion of expectations, guidelines, and resources to make sure they are in harmony with the organizational goals, the employee writes a letter to the manager that summarizes the discussion and indicates when the next performance plan or review discussion will take place.”  This agreement shows a ton of commitment
        • There are 4 kinds of consequences (rewards and penalties)
          • Financial- raise
          • Psychic- recognition/approval
          • Opportunity- training, development, perks, other benefits
          • Responsibility – scope and authority – either of which can be enlarged or diminished.
        • Win/Win Agreements specify consequences in one or more of those areas and the people involved know it up front. Everything is clear from the beginning.
      • Systems- Reward systems must be primarily focused on people achieving self-selected performance objectives and on groups achieving team objectives.
        • “It is often the system, not the people. If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results. You have to water the flowers you want to grow.”
      • Processes – Four step process to achieving Win/Win Solutions
        • See the problem from the other point of view. Really seek to understand and to give expression tot he needs and concerns of the other party as well or better than they can themselves
        • Identify the key issues and concerns involved (not positions)
        • Determine what results would constitute a fully acceptable solution
        • Identify posible new options to achieve those results
    • Application suggestions on page 245-246
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand…  Then to be Understood
    • “Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication”
    • Empathic listening- you need to build the skills of empathic listening on a  base of character that inspires openness and trust.
      • Most people do not listen with the intent of understanding. They listen with the intent to reply.
        • They prescribe their own glasses for everyone with whom they interact.
      • It is a deep, full understanding of the other person’s viewpoint, as well as an intellectual understanding.
      • Satisfied needs do not motivate- it’s only the unsatisfied need that motivates. Next to physical survival, the greatest need is psychological survival- to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.
    • “the amateur salesman sells products; the professional sells solutions to needs and problems. The professional learns how to diagnose, how to understand.
    • 4 Autobiographical Responses
      • Evaluate- we agree or disagree
      • Probe- Ask questions from our own frame of reference
      • Advices- give counsel based on our own experience
      • Interpret – Try to figure people out, and explain their motives, behaviors, etc. based on our own motives and behavior.
    • Covey goes into a really good breakdown of this communication behavior – starting on page 257 and ending 264. It does a good job of illustrating how someone would typically respond, and how the conversation would go if you focus on understanding the underlying issue.
    • You need to be candid, and vulnerable. Also the skills in this chapter will not be effective unless they come from a sincere desire to understand.
    • Then seek to be understood
      • Greeks had a philosophy of ethos, pathos and logos. This can be applied to making effective presentations.
        • Ethos – your personal credibility. The faith people have in your integrity and competency
        • Pathos – the emphatic side. the feeling. You are in alignment with the the emotional thrust of another person’s communications.
        • Logos is the logic- the reasoning part of the presentation.
        • The sequence counts in a presentation. You want to establish credibility, understand and the person you are presenting to, THEN go forward with the logical side of your presentation. See pages 267-268 for more.
          • You can use this sequence by “Describe the alternative they are in favor of better than they can themselves. Show that you understand them in depth. Then carefully explain the logic behind your request.
    • The more deeply you understand other people, the more you will appreciate them
    • Application suggestions on page 271
  • Habit 6: Synergize
    • All the other habits prepare us for the habit of synergy
    • Two ingredients to having synergy takes place are Maturity and chemistry.
    • The more authentic you become, the more genuine in your expression. The more people can relate to your expression and the safer it makes them feel to express themselves.
    • The essential purpose behind creative work can be recaptured even if it is difficult to recreate a particular synergistic experience. It can be summed up by “we seek not to imitate the masters, rather seek what they sought.”
    • Cooperation + Trust in Communication = Synergy
    • Win/Win is looking for a higher way, better way than could be achieved with just the two opposing positions. Search for the ground that can be a win for all.
    • Valuing the differences  is critical to synergy- the mental, emotional, psychological differences between people.
    • seek first to understand, then to be understood, then seek synergy
    • Application suggestions on page 296.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

  • Focused on the 4 Dimensions of renewal (interestingly enough, practicing Yoga fits all 4)
    • Physical – this means exercise that focuses on endurance, flexibility, and strength. You need to focus on exercise, nutrition and stress management.
    • Mental – Most comes through formal education, but after that most people let their minds atrophy. Try limiting TV to 7 hours per week. You should try to read broadly to expose yourself to great minds. Make a goal: book per month, every two weeks, every week. “the person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read”. Writing is another powerful way to sharpen the mental saw. It promotes clarity, exactness and context.
    • Spiritual – a daily practice of meditation. There is a story on page 305 of a prescription on how to come back to yourselves called ‘the turn of the tide” by Arthur Gordon. It is worth a read every once in a while. The prescriptions given were “listen carefully”, “try reaching back” and “examine your motives”. If one’s motives are wrong, nothing can be right. Then the final prescription was “write your worries on the sand”
    • Social/Emotional- centered more on the principles of interpersonal leadership, empathic communication, and creative cooperation. Covey believes a life of integrity is the most fundamental source of personal worth.

url.png

    • You should see this investment in yourself as a type of healthy addiction
    • Balance in renewal. You need to make sure none of the 4 dimensions are neglected as it will impact the rest.
    • Synergy in renewal- you will find that these dimensions have effect on each other
      • Physical health has affect on mental health
      • spiritual health affects social/emotional strength
    • “your economic security does not lie in your job; it lies in your own power to produce- to think, learn create and adapt. That’s true financial independence.
    • The upward spiral- “regular feasting on inspiring literature, thinking noble thoughts, and above all, living in harmony with its still small voice” The upward spiral of personal growth gets us to learn, commit, and do on increasingly higher levels.
    • Application suggestions on page 319

url.png

  • Inside-Out again
    • The key to growth and happiness is the space between stimulation and response. There is a good story in the book starting on page 322 about how he spent a year in Hawaii and how he was able to deepen his relationship with his wife while applying many of the principles in this book.
    • ‘The highest and most powerful motivation in doing that is not for ourselves only, but for our posterity , for the posterity of all mankind. As once someone observed, “there are only two lasting bequests that we can give our children-one is roots, the other wings”‘
      • empower your children ‘give wings’ with the freedom to rise above negative scripting that has been passed down to us.
    • “achieving unity-oneness-with ourselves, with our loved ones, with our fiends and working associates, is the highest and best and most delicious fruit of the seven habits.
    • T.S. Eliot quote to end the book “We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.”

– RG-

 

Think and Grow Rich- Book Summary

Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Out of all the books I have read in the last 9+ months, this one really struck a major chord with me. Hill argues that the difference between the highest performers, the ‘rich’ people, the people who are able to ‘achieve success’ all have a mindset of achievement. They decide that they will do something, they do not passively wait for good things to happen for them. Another major thing, and I cannot stress this enough, they have a vision of what success means to them. Hill mainly talks about success in monetary terms, but this goal setting will work with any tangible measure of success. You need to define your life’s purpose to yourself, and obsess over it. Hill uses a lot of money examples since they are the easiest to quantify, but he would argue you need to have almost a mantra that you repeat every morning and afternoon: “I will have a net worth of $2 million by 12/31/2018. I will achieve this by starting a business that _______” you want to paint the picture, you want to visualize it, use all of your senses: what does it smell, feel, look, sound, taste, _____ like. Make it a vivid vision in your mind and do this when you wake up and go to bed. Start your day with this mindset and you will be able to channel your subconscious and what Hill cause the Infinite Intelligence to show you the way to get there. This probably sounds crazy and I am assuming a lot of people would roll their eyes at such advice. This seems to me that it is another form of meditation, one theme that I have picked up on in the last 15+ business books I have read in the last 9 months is the power of mindset in making big things happen. It has been an underlying theme in most of the books I have read. You need to decide what you are going to do, then figure out how to accomplish it. A lot of people go through life without knowing what their life purpose is.. and I think that is the biggest challenge to everyone coming out of this book. What is your life’s purpose??? I am going to ‘try’ to keep this summary shorter than the last few which have all resulted in me basically rereading the entire books. I will go for higher level concepts and see how it goes.

A lot of this book is about how you can translate a desire into reality. There are 13 principles that lead to riches. Hill states “when a man really DESIRES a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.” The point is to find your definite major purpose, to know your desire, and to stay determined until you realize it.

Three feet from gold- One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. There is a story about a miner (Darby) who found a vein of gold, which disappeared. He gave up and sold off all his equipment. The Junk man who bought the equipment called in a mining engineer to do some calculating and came back with the calculation that the fault lines behaved in a way that they stopped digging 3 feet from the rest of the gold! How did Darby respond to this huge loss in fortune? He responded by never stopping at the first temporary defeat. He went into insurance sales where he never stops because they said ‘no’ when he asks them to buy. The greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.

“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… One of the main weaknesses of mankind is the average man’s familiarity with the word ‘impossible”. This book is about mindset, from failure consciousness to success consciousness. It starts with DESIRE, or knowing what one wants. Henley wrote: “I am the master of my Fate, I am the captain of my Soul” because we have the power to control our thoughts. This power makes no discrimination between destructive and constructive thoughts. We need to magnetize our minds with the intense DESIRE for riches.

Principle 1: DESIRE

  • It takes a keen, pulsating DESIRE which transcends everything else. And it needs to be DEFINITE
    • You may need to ‘burn the ships behind you’ whatever that means for you: quit your job, move, buy a one way ticket… Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win, essential to success.
  • 6 Steps for transmuting Desire into its financial equivalent
    • Fill your mind with the exact amount of money you desire
    • Determine exactly what you plan to give up in return for the money- no such thing as something for nothing
    • establish a definite date you intend to possess the money you desire
    • Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, put this plan into action immediately
    • Write a clear concise statement summarizing everything above
    • Read your statement out loud, twice daily. As you read, see and feel, and believe yourself already in possession of the money.
      •  wake up and go to bed with this desire on your mind. live your desire.
  • All those who have acquired great fortunes did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, desiring, and planning before acquiring it.
  • “Success requires no apologies, failure permits no alibis”
  • You need to be ready to receive this ‘gift’: of infinite intelligence, of useful ideas, of imagination.
    • there is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. – you MUST BELIEVE with every fiber in your body that you CAN acquire it. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief.
    • You must have FAITH, which is Principle 2
    • It must be a burning DESIRE for something DEFINITE (DEFINE-IT)

Principle 2: FAITH

  • Faith is a state of mind which you may develop at will, after you have mastered the thirteen principles, because it is a state of mind which develops voluntarily, through application and use of these principles.
  • Repetition of affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith
  • Do not rely on alibis for failure: “misfortune” or “bad luck”
  • You need to believe it, deceive yourself, use strong visualizations
  • It is a state of mind which can be induced by auto-suggestion (principle 3)
    • create a mantra
    • write it down
    • say it to yourself every morning and every night
      • repeat it until the vibrations of sound have reached your subconscious mind
  • Self confidence formula: 5 steps
    • Demand of yourself persistent and continuous action. promise to render such action.
    • Realize the dominating thoughts of your mind will reproduce outward. Therefore focus on what you intend to become
    • Devote 10 minutes per day to demanding of myself the development of self-confidence
    • I have clearly written my DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life, i will never stop trying until i have developed sufficient self-confidence for its attainment
    • I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism by developing love for all humanity, because i know that a negative attitude towards others can never bring me success. i will believe in others, and in myself.
      • Read this formula every day, commit yourself to it.
  •  at the time of the book held more power than any man living. and he did it without any of the orthodox tools of power: money, soldiers, materials, warfare. How did he create it? Answer: out of the understanding of the principle of faith, and his ability to transplant that faith into the minds of two hundred million people.
  • How to create a company:
    • Start with an idea, created through imagination
    • mix faith with the idea
    • formulate a plan
    • put the plan into action
    • apply and follow through on the plan with persistence
    • back it with firm decision until it has been fully carried out
    • Prepared the way for success by a Burning desire for success.
  • Riches begin in the form of thought, and Faith removes the limitations!

Principle 3: Auto Suggestion

  • The subconscious resembles a fertile garden spot, in which weeds will grow in abundance, if the seeds of more desirable crops are not sown therein
  • You do not need to wait for a definite plan to start going through the six steps for transmuting desire. Do the visualization and the plan will appear.
  • Auto suggestion only works if you see yourself in possession of the money, feel it, smell it, imagine what it is like. Faith is the strongest and most productive of emotions

Principle 4: Specialized Knowledge

  • There are two types of knowledge: General and Specialized. General knowledge is the most abundant, but less useful in the accumulation of money. Knowledge will not attract money unless it is organized, and intelligently directed to the definite end of accumulating money. That is the missing link in education systems: how to organize and use the knowledge after you acquire it.
  • Specialized knowledge is what you need in the service, merchandise or profession you intend to offer in return for money. This is where the Master Mind group comes in- principle 9. Specialized knowledge is very plentiful, and cheap too. Just look at the payrolls of the any university: a lot of specialized knowledge for not a lot of money. It pays to know how to purchase this kind of knowledge.
    • You need to decide what kind of specialized knowledge you require. Then where to get it. The dependable sources of knowledge are
      • one’s own experience and education
      • experience and education available through cooperation of others
      • colleges and universities
      • public libraries
      • special training courses
  • The key to specialized knowledge is that it is not the knowledge itself that is valuable. These days it is only a click away. It is that you need to focus on the knowledge that will make your definite desire come true and help you achieve success.
    • The problem with starting at the bottom and working your way up is that you often are so bogged down at the bottom you never have the opportunity to lift your head enough to be seen by opportunity. This is called getting in a rut. It pays to start one or two steps above the bottom and you want to get into the habit of seeing opportunity and embracing it without hesitation.
  • “there is no fixed price for sound ideas!” which leads to principle #5: Imagination. Specialized knowledge may be found just around the corner- any corner. Remember, the Idea is the main thing.

Principle 5: Imagination

  • Man’s only limitation, within reason, is his development and use of his imagination.
  • Two forms of imagination:
    • Synthetic imagination- one may arrange old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations. It is used most by the inventor, with the exception of he who draws upon the creative imagination, when he cannot solve his problem through synthetic imagination
    • Creative imagination- the finite mind of man has direct communication with what Hill calls “Infinite Intelligence”. Which is communicated through ‘hunches’ and ‘inspirations’. It is by this faculty that all basic, or new ideas are handed over to man.
      • This faculty only functions when the conscious mind is vibrating at an exceedingly rapid rate, as for example, when the conscious mind is stimulated through the emotion of strong desire.
      • It becomes more alert and receptive in proportion to its development through USE (i.e. 10 ideas per day)
    • Both Synthetic and creative imagination are strengthened through use
    • To start, develop and exercise the synthetic imagination as it will be used more often in converting desire to money.
      • you need to give definite concrete form to the intangible desire
    • “Ideas can be transmuted into cash through the power of definite purpose, plus definite plans”
      • “hard work and honesty alone will not bring riches. Riches that come in huge quantities are never the result of HARD work. Riches come in response to the definite demands, based on the application of definite principles, and not by chance or luck…. an idea is an impulse of thought that impels action, by an appeal to the imagination”
      • There is a ton of opportunity on the internet for those who can produce or recognize ideas. The story of nearly every great fortune is when a creator of ideas and a seller of ideas got together and worked in harmony.
      • “SUCCESS REQUIRES NO EXPLANATIONS, FAILURE PERMITS NO ALIBIS”

Principle 6: Organized Planning

  • How to build plans which will be practical:
    • ally yourself with as many people as you may need for the creation, carrying out of your plan or plans for accumulation of money- you cannot do it alone
    • Before forming your ‘master mind’ group, decide what advantages and benefits you may offer the individual members of your group in return for their cooperation
    • Arrange to meet with the group at least 2X per week
    • Maintain perfect harmony between yourself and every member of the group. If you cannot, expect failure
  • “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits”
  • When you hit failure, adjust your plan and set sail once more toward your goal.
  • The master mind should only be composed of people who do not take defeat seriously
  • Grade yourself on the attributes of a strong leader: list in book
  • 10 leadership faults:
    • inability to organize details- you must be the master of all details connected with your position
    • Unwillingness to render humble service
    • Expectation of pay for what they “know” vs. what they do with that knowledge
    • Fear of competition from followers- eternal truth is that men receive more pay for their ability to get others to perform than they could possibly earn by their own efforts
    • lack of imagination
    • selfishness- the great leader claims none of the honors
    • disloyalty
    • emphasis on the ‘authority’ of leadership
    • emphasis of title
  • Do not engage in the pastime of trying to get without GIVING
  • QQS Rating: Quality,  plus quantity, plus the proper shirt of cooperation equals perfect salesmanship of service. – apply it as a habit
    • Quality- service should be done efficiently, and you should aspire to continuous improvement
    • quantity – habit of rendering all the service of which you are capable of, at all times
    • Spirit- habit of agreeable, harmonious conduct, that will induce cooperation from associates and employees
      • Nothing can be substituted for spirit and pleasing conduct.
    • List of 30 major causes of failure and how many of them are holding you back- wrote on bottom of page in book to note the page.
    • There is a list of 28 questions you should answer as a personal inventory
    • Hill considers Capital one of the greatest benefactors of all time. “capital consists not alone of money, but particularly of highly organized groups of men who plan ways and means of using money efficiently for the good of the public, and profitability to themselves
      • Capitalists are the ‘brains of civilization’ because they supply the entire fabric of which all education, enlightenment, and human progress consists
    • We live in a country that boasts freedom- as great as it is, and as far as it reaches and privileges it provides, it does not, and cannot bring riches without effort. Capitalistic America insures every person the opportunity to render useful service, and to collect riche in proportion to the value of the service. The system denies no one the right , but it does not and cannot promise something for nothing… it is governed by the law of economics, which neither recognizes nor tolerates for long getting without giving

Principle 7: Decision

  • Extremely high correlations are between lack of decision and failure. On the contrast there is a high correlation of people who have accumulated fortunes that they have the habit of reaching decisions promptly, and of changing these decisions slowly.
    • People who fail to accumulate wealth, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, if at all, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.
  • Pick a decision quickly and stick with it: Decisiveness and persistence (principles 7 and 8)
  • People who fail to accumulate money sufficient for their needs are often easily influenced by the opinions of others.
    • If you are influenced by ‘opinions’ when you reach decisions, you will not succeed in any undertaking, much less in that of transmuting your own desire into money.  if you are influenced by the opinion of others, you will have no DESIRE of your own
    • You have a brain of your own, – use it and reach your own decisions.
  • Keep your eyes and ears wide open and your mouth closed, if you wish to acquire the habit of prompt decision.
  • “tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it” 
  • History has shown us that the leaders in every walk of life decide quickly, and firmly. that is the major reason why they are leaders. The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions and word show that he knows where he is going.
  • People are stuck in the spot they are today because they lacked the definiteness of decision to plan a definite position and the knowledge of how to choose an employer.

Principle 8: Persistence

  • Willpower and desire – when combined properly make an irresistible pair.
  • If you are following this book with the intention of applying the knowledge in it, your first test of persistence will be in the six steps described in the second chapter.
  • If you find yourself lacking in persistence, you can remedy this weakness by building a stronger fire under your desires.
  • With persistence will come success, and there is no substitute for persistence. Remember when you fail, that ‘every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.’ Do not see failure as anything other than temporary
  • Persistence is a state of mind, and it can be cultivated. The definite causes for persistence are:
    • Definiteness of purpose
    • Desire
    • Self Reliance
    • Definiteness of plans – even if they are weak, or even impractical
    • Accurate knowledge – knowing that one’s plans are sound encourages persistence. ‘guessing’ instead of ‘knowing’ destroys persistence
    • Co-Operation
    • Will-Power – the habit of concentrating one’s thoughts upon the building of plans for the attainment of a definite purpose, leads to persistence
    • Habit- Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experience upon which it feeds.
  • The book goes into the 16 symptoms of lack of persistence and asks you to grade yourself on each.
  • Fear of criticism – “too many people refuse to set high goals for themselves, or even neglect selecting a career, because they fear the criticism of relatives and ‘friends’ who may say ‘don’t aim so high, people will think you are crazy'” Moral of the story here is that you are probably not thinking big enough.
  • the harder you work, the luckier you get… make your own luck
  • 4 Steps to Develop persistence
    • You need to start with a definiteness of purpose backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment
    • A definite plan, expressed in continuous action
    • A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances
    • A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose
  • “blessed is the man who has come to know that our muted thoughts are our sweetest thoughts”

Principle 9: Power the Master Mind

  • Power is essential for success in the accumulation of money. You can define ‘power’ as “organized and intelligently directed knowledge
  • Power is required for the accumulation of money, and power is necessary for the retention of money after it has been accumulated.
  • So, if power is organized and intelligently directed knowledge, what are the sources of knowledge?
    • Infinite intelligence- source of knowledge that comes in at a subconscious level, with the aid of creative imagination
    • Accumulated experience – the accumulated knowledge of man- may be found at a public library (or internet)
    • Experiment and research – this is the source man must go to when knowledge is not available through accumulated experience. Creative imagination is also often used in this area.
  • What is the ‘master mind’ : “the coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.
    • Great power can be accumulated through no other principle.
    • you need someone or other people to challenge you, you need people to keep you well-informed. this is the purpose of the master mind
  • How did Gandhi attain his power?
    • He came to power through inducing over two hundred million people to coordinate, with mind and body in a spirit of harmony for a definite purpose! 

Principle 10: Transmutation

  • Transmuting is ‘the changing or transferring of one element, or form of energy, into another.
  • Hill notes that the energy that we are trying to transmute here is ‘the emotion of sex’ . Which, Hill argues is the most powerful of human desires. Researching men and women of great achievement over the last two thousand years, showed that they had highly developed sex natures.
    • The emotion of sex is an ‘irresistible force’ against which there can be no such position as an ‘immovable body.
    • Sex transmutation will lift one to the status of genius. ‘the emotion of sex contains the secret of creative ability’
  • The Ten Mind stimuli
    • The desire for sexual expression
    • Love
    • Burning desire for fame, power, financial gain, money
    • music
    • friendship between either those of the same sex, or the opposite sex
    • A Master Mind alliance based on the harmony of two or more people who ally themselves for spiritual or temporal advancement
    • Mutual suffering, such as experienced by people who are persecuted
    • Auto-suggestion
    • Fear
    • Narcotics and alcohol
  • Genius is developed through the ‘sixth sense’. The ‘sixth sense’ is what we call creative imagination. A thing that most people either never use, or only use by accident. Only a small number of people use it ‘with deliberation and purpose forethought. When developed, ideas or concepts will flash into ones mind through one or more of the following sources:
    • Infinite intelligence
    • Subconscious mind
    • from the mind of another person who has just released the thought, or a picture of the idea or concept…
    • From the other person’s subconscious storehouse
  • How to create genius???
    • Through the 10 mind stimulants
    • exercise your creative faculty (10 ideas per day)
    • You want to acquire the habit of relying upon the ‘still small voice
    • best ideas come from so-called ‘hunches’
  • Dr. Elmer Gates was a great inventor. his process would be to sit at a table, shut off the lights, and concentrate upon the known factors of the invention on which he was working, remaining in that position until ideas began to ‘flash into his mind in connection with the unknown factors of the invention.
  • Ideas that are received through creative faculty are more reliable, they come from a more reliable source than accumulated experience (which has biases)
  • Gates did two things:
    • Stimulates his mind so that it vibrates on a higher-than-average plane
    • He concentrates upon the known factors (the finished part, or desired outcome), and creates in his mind a perfect picture of the unknown factors (unfinished part)
  • Why men seldom succeed before forty… James Altucher also touched on this during “Choose Yourself”
    • The major reason that has been found is that their tendency to dissipate their sexual energies through a physical expression of the emotion of sex. They do not learn that the urge has other possibilities than mere physical expression.
    • Between the ages of 30 and 40, men begin to learn (if they ever do) the art of sex transmutation.
  • The road to genius consists of the development, control, and use of sex, love, and romance. There is no other road to genius than through voluntary self effort. 

Principle 11: The Subconscious Mind

  • The subconscious mind is the connecting like-minded. Once you accept its existence,  and understand its possibilities as a medium for transmuting your desires into their physical or monetary equivalent, you will understand the instructions given in the chapter on desire. You need to make your desires CLEAR, and reduce them into writing. You will also need persistence in carrying out the instructions given.
  • There are seven major positive emotions: they can only be mastered through use:
    • The emotion of Desire
    • The emotion of Faith
    • The emotion of Love
    • The emotion of Sex
    • The emotion of Enthusiasm
    • The emotion of Romance
    • The emotion of Hope
  • Seven major negative emotions TO BE AVOIDED!
    • Fear
    • Jealousy
    • Hatred
    • Revenge
    • Greed
    • Superstition
    • Anger
  • The Law of habit- apply and use positive emotions as a habit.
    • kill social media
    • kill biased news feeds- balance between well-informed and consumed by world problems you have little to no impact on.
  • Faith and fear make poor bedfellows. Where one is found the other cannot exist!

Principle 12: The Brain

  • The Brain is a broadcasting and receiving station for thought.
    • “The subconscious mind is the standing station of the brain, through which vibrations of thought are broadcast. The Creative imagination is the ‘receiving set’ through which the vibrations of thought are picked up from the ether.” In the book I drew a bit of a crude diagram of what is going on here:tgr

Principle 13: The Sixth Sense

  • The sixth sense is the ‘creative imagination’ or the receiving set referenced in the previous chapter through which ideas, plans and thoughts ‘flash’ into the mind.
  • This is the part that you need to accept, without being skeptical of the stupendous claims in this book. You must master the other principles before you can determine if the claims of principle 13 are fact or fiction.
  • Hill talks about how he held ‘imaginary council meetings’ where he would have people that he believed were most impressive: Emerson, Edison, Darwin, Lincoln, Carnegie, etc. that he would role play out in his mind.
    • He had a definite purpose – to rebuild his own character so it would represent a composite of the characters of his imaginary counselors.
    • He found that this imaginary counsel took on a life of its own, in his mind, and he talks about some of the breakthroughs he had during those ‘invisible counsel’ meetings.
  • The sixth sense
    • is not something you can take off and put on at will- it comes slowly through other principles outlined in the book
    • Seldom does one come into the workable knowledge of the sixth sense before the age of 40
    • The spiritual forces with which the sixth sense is so closely related, do not mature and become usable except through years of meditation, self-examination, and serious thought. 
  • The start of all achievement is desire, the finishing point is that brand of knowledge which leads to understanding: understanding of self, others, the laws of nature, and recognition and understanding of happiness.

How to outwit the six ghosts of fear

  • Before you can put this philosophy to use, you must be prepared to receive it. That begins with study, analysis and understanding of the three enemies you need to clear out
    • Indecision – is the seedling of fear. Indecision crystallizes into doubt and the two blend together to become fear
    • Doubt
    • Fear
  • The Six basic fears
    • Poverty
      • If you want riches you must refuse to accept any circumstance that leads to poverty.  (riches is meant in its broadest sense of financial, spiritual, mental, and material states)
      • Symptoms of fear of poverty:
        • indifference
        • indecision
        • doubt
        • worry
        • over-caution
        • procrastination
    • Criticism
      • The fear of criticism robs a man of his initiative, destroys his power of imagination, limits his individuality, takes away his self-reliance, and does him damage in a hundred other ways. 
      • Symptoms of fear of criticism
        • Self consciousness
        • lack of poise
        • personality
        • Inferiority complex
        • Extravagance
        • Lack of initiative
        • Lack of ambition
    • ill-health
      • Symptoms of fear of ill-health
        • Auto-suggestion (negative)
        • Hypochondria
        • Exercise
        • Susceptibility
        • Self-Coddling
        • Intemperance
    • loss of love of someone
      • Symptoms
        • Jealousy
        • Fault finding
        • Gambling
    • old age
      • Part of this is the possibility of loss of freedom and independence, as old age may bring with it the loss of both physical and economic freedom
      • Another fear of old age is the possibility of poverty
      • Symptoms
        • Falsely believing one’s self to be slipping because of old age
        • The habit of killing off initiative, imagination, and self-reliance by falsely believing one’s self too old to exercise these qualities.
        • fear of criticism for dressing or behaving younger than you appear
    • Death
      • This fear is useless. Death will come- accept it as a necessity and pass the thought through your mind.
      • Symptoms
        • The thought and thinking of dying vs. making the most of life.
          • The remedy is the burning desire for achievement
        • Old man worry- a form of sustained fear caused by indecision therefore it is a state that can be controlled.
  • Fears are nothing more than states of mind. And thought is the only thing man has absolute control over.
  • A state of mind is something that one assumes. It cannot be purchased, it must be created.
  • “Kill the habit of worry, in all of its forms by reaching a blanket decision that nothing which life has to offer is worth the price of worry. With this decision will come poise, peace of mind, and calmness of thought which will bring happiness.”
  • The 7th basic evil: The susceptibility to negative influences
    • To protect yourself, recognize that you have will-power and put it into constant use until it builds a wall of immunity against the negative influences of your mind.
    • Keep your mind closed against all people who depress or discourage you in any way
    • Deliberately seek company of people who influence you to think and act for yourself ~~~Who is the group of 5 people who I want to be the average of??? TF question.
  • Self analysis test questions at the end of the chapter. Answer them honestly and thoughtfully.
  • Remember, you have absolute control over one thing, and that is your thoughts.

Two more things…

  • “Life is a checkerboard, and the player opposite you is TIME. If you hesitate before moving, or neglect to move promptly, your men will be wiped off the board by TIME. You are playing against a partner who will not tolerate indecision.”
  • “The Master Key is intangible, but powerful! it is the privilege of creating, in your own mind, a BURNING DESIRE for a definite form of riches. There is no penalty for the use of the Key, but there is a price you must pay if you do not use it. The price is FAILURE (or, I will add MEDIOCRITY). There is a reward of stupendous proportions if you put the Key to use. It is the satisfaction that comes to all who conquer self and force Life to pay whatever is asked.”

That is pretty much the summary of Think and Grow Rich. 5,000+ words and I do not think I did it justice. I strongly suggest reading this book from a mindset focus. He focuses a lot on money, wealth, material things, power. But this will work with anything you deem your burning desire. The key here is to focus on the 13 principles and you find what you are looking for.

-RG

Choose Yourself- Book Summary

Choose Yourself- by James Altucher

James Altucher is an interesting character: he talks very candidly about his many failures and shortcomings in life. He has started 20 businesses, 18 of them failed. He has made millions and lost it all several times. He seems to have the kind of mad brilliance that you are not sure if you should fear or admire. Choose Yourself was created on the premise that this day in age we need to choose ourselves. We are living in an unsustainable present world where we need to make a cognitive decision to ‘Choose ourselves’ because our employers no longer have our backs. The middle class has caved in, jobs are disappearing, industries are transforming and we need to transform ourselves. The only option is to Choose Yourself. While this sounds extremely pessimistic on the world but the reality is that you need to choose yourself, nobody will do it for you.

The Economic History of the Choose Yourself Era- pages 7-19 in the book provide an interesting historical outline of what has happened over the last 100 years from an economic standpoint. To briefly summarize: after WWII, two-income households became a thing, this allowed for things like home-ownership, the ‘American Dream’ which as Altucher brutally points out is a marketing ploy- things like ‘the great society’, ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ etc. are all marketing constructs that tell us that we need more, and more is not enough, there is always the mysterious Jones family with more… so we need more as well. The problem is that this model is not sustainable and we have seen a couple doses of reality: especially the 2008 economic crisis which sent shock waves through the American economy. Shock waves we are still feeling today- almost ten years later. The point of this section is that nothing is permanent, nothing is ‘right’, you cannot have faith in a rigged economic/governmental system. You need to choose yourself: “have faith and confidence in yourself instead of a jury-rigged system, and define success by your own terms.”

This book is pretty fragmented, anecdotal, and somewhat poorly organized. Nothing against the ideas of the books since there is a ton of good stuff in there. I am trying to pare down these books, but it is difficult when there is so much content!

  • Zero sectors in the economy are moving toward more full-time workers: hiring temp workers, outsourcing, automation, cutting back. we do not need to need to hire as much to get the same amount done.
  • Rejection and the fear of rejection are the biggest impediment we have to choosing ourselves.
    • What if  you never try?
    • What you need to do is build the house you will live in. Do this by laying a solid foundation of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health
    • The only safe thing you can do is to try over and over again: go for it, get rejected, repeat, strive, wish.
      • Without rejection there is no frontier, no passion, no magic
    • Reduce anxiety by increasing you natural levels of Oxytocin
      • Meditate- 10 minutes, 2X per day
      • Get a massage
      • Eat food: odd omega’s (3 from salmon, 9 from olive oil), fiber- and nutrient-rich veggies, fruit and grains and plenty of water
      • Exercise
    • Milgram Experiment to ask people on a busy subway to give up their seats “can i have your seat?” – two major interesting things:
      • 70% of people that were asked got up- they simply did as they were told
      • It was surprising how reluctant the students conducting the experiment were to even do the experiment to begin with.
  • Do not let your entire happiness depend on the decisions of one person. Do not give power to one person to make or break your life.
    • “The goal is to be the ocean- the central force in our existence that moves mountains, creates all life, shakes continents, and is repeated by everyone. This book is about becoming the ocean.” that is what it means to ‘choose yourself’
  • The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside you. The greater your internal fire is, the more people will want it. Every time you say yes to something you don’t want, your fire starts to die away
  • The Daily Practice- page 46+
    • The best way to fill the ’emptiness’ inside is not to seek external motivations to fill the emptiness, but to ignite the internal fire that will never go out. How do you do this? you need to feed your 4 bodies: (similar to the 4 dimensions of personal renewal in the 7 habits of highly effective people – sharpen the saw)
      • Physical body: exercise daily, take walks, eat well
      • Emotional body- do not spend emotional capital on things that are not valuable, or people that are not worth your time
      • mental body- Come up with ideas, focus on creativity to work that muscle: 10 ideas per day! Work your brain to make it sweat- keep working it until you are exhausted
      • Spiritual body – Most people obsess on regrets in their past or anxieties of their future: time traveling. the practice is to live in the present . Time traveling will do nothing for you. When you tame the mind, when you keep healthy, there is zero chance of burnout
    • You cannot help others if you look in the mirror and hate what you see.
  • The Simple Daily practice- do one of these things every day… there are 26 listed but I will include the ones I starred when I read the book. The full list is on page 57
    • No TV
    • No Junk Food
    • No complaining for one whole day
    • No Gossip
    • Express thanks to a friend
    • Write down a list of ideas, the list can be about anything
    • Say to yourself when you wake up, “I’m going to save a life today.” keep an eye out for th life you are going to say
    • Write your entire daily schedule, cross off one thing you do not need to do anymore
    • forgive someone. you do not have to tell them. just write it down on a piece of paper and burn the paper (this releases oxytocin as actually forgiving someone in person.
    • Tell someone every day that you love them
    • Make plans to spend time with a friend
    • Deep breathing
  • Crisis management advice on pages 61-64
  • Finding your purpose in life
    • He doesn’t like the word ‘purpose’ because it implies that somewhere in the future you will find something that will make you happy and until then you will be unhappy. Altucher goes on to show many examples of people not really hitting their stride until their 40’s, 50’s ++++. This is also a point that was brought up in Think and Grow Rich
    • The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives. It is okay to be happy without one. The point here is that you do not want to get so caught up in finding this purpose, or the secret of life and miss out on living it.
  • How to disappear completely
    • Altucher goes on a bit of a rant in this chapter about how to completely go off the grid, how you could quite conceivably create a new identity for yourself. Kind of a fun exercise to go through. The point of the chapter is not how to become James Bond, but rather how you unlock yourself from the leashes of your current location: namely home and/or education.
    • Whoever sits in a cubicle will become replaceable
    • “as we move toward the employee-less society, where ideas become currency and innovation gets rewarded more than manual or managerial services, you will have the opportunity to live a life you want to.”
  • Altucher’s working goals
    • make his own hours
    • Help people
      • Employees- genuinely wants to grow them and help them in any way he can
      • Clients- do what they say, on time, do a little extra, give them ideas for how their jobs can be better, make their lives better listen to them.
    • Deal with clients he likes
    • Be artistic- being an entrepreneur means you’re going to create something in a way that a customer can’t get anywhere else
    • Make a lot of money- There is a lot of money floating around the world right now: there are $50 trillion in transaction in the global economy each year- get yourself a slice of it..
    • Deal only with colleagues he likes- only hire someone you wouldn’t mind sitting next to on a plane ride across the country
    • Come up with ideas- when you have your own company, it never stops. unlike a large corporation where you are limited to the areas in your job.
    • Not being at the whim of one decision maker
    • Be around like-minded people- Get to know your competition learn from them. Build your tribe and include competitors
    • Be an expert
    • One last thing… There is a major paradigm shift occurring. As he has mentioned before, this is due to several factors:
      • The middle class is dead
      • you have been replaced: technology, outsourcing, temp staffing, productivity efficiencies
      • corporations don’t like you- they want to take advantage of cheap labor
      • Money is not happiness
        • Only imagination, creativity and an ability to disappear will help you deliver value that nobody ever delivered before in the history of mankind
      • Count right now how many people can make a major decision that can ruin your life. Build a list of the 20 people who independently can help you achieve the success you need. Build this list by helping THEM: the only way to create value for yourself is to create value for others.
        • Exercise: two people in your network who don’t know each other but you think can add value to each other’s lives. Introduce them, do this every day.
      • Is your job satisfying your needs? The four needs of the daily practice
      • Your retirement plan is for shit – inflation will carve out the bulk of your 401(k) and in order to cash out on your retirement plan you have to live for a really long time doing stuff you don’t like to do.
      • The only skills you need to be an entrepreneur are the ability to fail, to have ideas, to sell those ideas, to execute on them, and to be persistent.
      • Page 103 has the clearest paragraph to describe what the entire chapter is. i copied it here:
        • “what is your other choice? to stay at a job where the boss is trying to keep you down, will eventually replace you, will pay you only enough for you to survive, will rotate between compliments and insults so you stay like a fish caught on the bate as he reels you one. is that your best other choice? You and I have the same twenty-four hours each day. Is that how you will spend yours?”
      • Excuses…page 103-104
      • Its okay to take baby steps. Make a list of all your dreams: reduce material needs, be healthy, help people around me, start a business… these are not goals- these are THEMES. Every day when you wake up ask “what do I need to do to practice these themes?”
      • Abundance will never come from your job- Abundance only comes when you are moving along your themes. When every day you are waking up with the motive of enhancement
  • 6 Rules for going out on your own- Bryan Johnson, who started Braintree, a credit card transaction and payment service. Here are his rules:
    • Take out the middle man – he cut out the middle man by going straight to the CC processor
    • Pick a boring business- You do not need to come up with the new, new thing, just the old , old thing slightly better than everyone else. And do it when you are nimble and smaller than the large companies that are frozen by bureaucracy
    • Get a customer- most important rule for any entrepreneur. Bryan found 10 initial customers that would switch their CC processing to him. he figured he needed to make $2100 per month to quit his job. With his first 10 customers he was making $6200 per month so he had some cushion if some dropped away.
    • Build trust while you sleep: he started a blog. in a blog you need to be completely transparent. He started blogging about what was happening in the CC industry- then put his posts on top social sites like Digg, reddit, stumbleupon. He became a trusted source in CC processing.
    • Blogging is not about money. It is about trust. You build trust, which leads to opportunities.
    • Say YES! he started by connecting merchants with a CC processor. When OpenTable asked him to develop software he said Yes even though he had no experience. But he make it work and quadrupled his income. This led to word of mouth, and spreading services to Airbnb, uber, etc.
    • Customer Service- Made as little friction as possible between customer contacting them and actually getting a problem solved. When you are a small business there is no excuse for having poor customer service.
  • Brainstorming ideas for businesses
    • Make a service business on whatever the cutting edge of the internet is:
      • Social media management and setup
      • Website design
      • etc…
    • Introduce two people – Help businesses find buyers/sellers
    • Write a book- Make sure you know what you are talking about
    • Write a book – part II – use it to get started with speaking engagements, which gets you credibility, which gets you:
      • consulting
      • speaking
      • other media opportunities
      • other writing opportunites
      • an email list
    • Financial repair
      • Student loans – become an expert that can help people with student loans navigate the loophole-filled landscape
        • start a business that manages renewals for income based salary stuff,  public service reimbursement, etc. make it easy, all they need to do is send you a couple documents, advise them, etc.
          • you could speak at colleges, need to avoid being scummy
      • Credit repair
      • Rent to own
    • How to get good ideas:
      • read 2 hours per day
      • write 10 ideas per day
  • What should you do?—–SOMETHING—— point of the chapter on “what should I do” ending page 121 is that you need to do something. Something that could increase our chances of making $1M something specific that you can get healthy and be the first concrete step on the path toward choosing yourself.
  • It doesn’t cost a lot to make $1 billion- Sara Blakely created Spanx and is now worth $1Billion. Here are the takeaways from her story:
    • Stay motivated – She read a lot of self- help books, which help you see opportunities in life.
    • She was amazingly good at sales
    • She solved a huge problem for women- if you want to create $1B in value, you need to find a problem nobody has solve
    • Prepare- She looked up all the patents, learned a ton about the competition, the industry, the materials, etc. To succeed you need to:
      • know every product in the industry
      • know every patent
      • try out all the products
      • understand how the products are made
      • Make a product YOU would use every single day. You cannot sell it if you do not personally LOVE it
      • Cold call- you will need to do it- She did it with Neiman Marcus and they loved it.
      • It doesn’t cost much to make a billion- Sara started with $5k and never took investors
        • If you have an idea, don’t focus on the money:
          • Build your product
          • sell it to a customer
          • start shipping
          • Then quit your job
      • Never ask permission, ask for forgiveness later. She didn’t like how it was being displayed so she set up her own displays at Neiman Marcus- the moral we learned with the Stanley Milgram experiment is that you just ask and people will do what you say. Nobody questions if you have confidence, intelligence, and are proud of your product. She also sent her product to Oprah.
      • Take advantage of all publicity – create opportunities for yourself. Sara didn’t wait for anyone to choose her, she created the opportunities.
      • Good for her!- “don’t be a hater. If you want to be successful you need to study success, not hate it or be envious of it. If you are envious, then you will distance yourself from success and make it that much harder to get there. Never be jealous. never think someone is ‘lucky’. luck is created by the prepared” !!!!
      • “It’s not about the money- Sara was clearly passionate about Spanx. The money quickly became an afterthought”
    • Becoming a Master Salesman
      • Negotiation is worthless, sales are everything- sometimes a bad negotiation will turn into a great sales opportunity down the road. A bit unconventional, but he gives a few specific examples on page 133
      • 10 Keys to selling- page 134-138 look in the book for the details
        • What is the lifetime value of the customer
        • what are the ancillary benefits of having this customer
        • Learn the entire history of your client, your audience, your readership, and your platform: love your client
        • Give extra features
        • give away the kitchen sink – go the extra mile
        • Recommend your competition – if you become a reliable source, they will come back to you
        • Idea machine: always be thinking of ways you can help
        • Show up – whenever asked
        • Knowledge – more knowledge means more value you are providing
        • love it – you can only make money doing what you love
    • Becoming an idea machine!
      • Develop your idea muscle:
        • every day, read/skim chapters from books on at least 4 different topics
        • Write down 10 ideas
        • Be a transmitter- make sure the other parts of your life are in balance. Stay physically healthy.
        • Activate another part of your brain- do something new
        • Collisions- ideas mate with other ideas to produce other ideas.
        • Don’t pressure yourself
        • Shake things up – get outside of your normal routine: activate your subconscious brain. It will make your subconscious brain say “what the hell just happened”
        • List your childhood passions- we only ever remember the things we are passionate about
        • Surf the internet- good places to start are brain pickings.org, thebrowser.com
        • skim the internet- more ideas on pages 148-149
        • Don’t underestimate the power of being social
      • The ‘secret’ from Think + Grow Rich is that our thought can create our reality.
    • Ten Ideas per day- this is what I believe one of the greatest takeaways from this book was. I have been doing this for over two months already and it is a great outlet and way to encourage creativity. There are two guidelines:
      • Write as many ideas as you can- 10 is a good number to set, if you can’t hit it, go for 20- we are going for quantity, not necessarily quality and you need to stop holding back
      • Share and combine ideas
    • One of the goals is to feel comfortable with creating hofundreds of bad ideas
  • Don’t have opinions- what is the purpose of an opinion? To prove you’re right? Wrong. Opinions are a way we cling to the past. Here are reasons not to get caught up in opinions:
    • nobody is going to change his mind
    • One hundred years from now, everyone reading this will be dead
    • It is an ‘us vs. them’ argument
    • why educate people
    • I could be reading a book – what is the opportunity cost of engaging in pointless opinion arguments
    • Loneliness- he believes people fight because they are alone
    • they are always wrong: no matter how much you think you know, somebody knows more.
    • Less- have fewer things in your life- that includes in your mind, fewer things that bother you. etc.
  • Release the “God Hormone”
    • Oxytocin is the ‘life hormone’ and it helps reduce cortisol levels. there are several ways to trick your body into releasing oxytocin: you will feel better, live longer, reduce stress, and be happier
      • Give money away
      • hugging
      • facebook
      • laughter
      • walking
      • phone call (friends)
      • being trusted
      • listening to music
      • food
      • Deep breathing
  • Seven habits of highly effective mediocre people- aiming for grandiosity is the fastest route to failure
    • Procrastination- your body telling you that you need to back off a bit and think about what you are doing. Should you be delegating it?
    • Zero-Tasking – the idea is not to multi-task, not even single task. Do not feel like you need to be doing something at all times. Why? “out of silence comes the greatest creativity- not when we are rushing and panicking”
    • Failure: we learn two things from failure: Directly how to overcome that particular failure, and how to deal with the psychology of failure. It is good to become good at dealing w/ failure.
    • Not original- all ideas he has had have been rehashed forms of ideas. he has never had an original idea in his life. “The best ideas are when you take two older ideas that have nothing to do with each other and make them have sex w/ each other. Then build a business around the bastard, ugly child that results”
    • Poor networking- Many people network too much. its tough to make money, not at a party.
    • Do anything to get a “yes” – if you really want something. do whatever it takes to get there. he gave up 50% of his stockpickr.com website to thestreet.com. Often the secret poor negotiators keep is that he gets more deals done.
    • Poor judge of people – try to sympathize with the other party’ position. listen to them
  • How to be less stupid
    • Your mind naturally wants to fill itself with pointless thoughts that will distort your goals: worries, guilt, paranoia, grudges, and resentment. The things that do not move you forward.
      • Subtraction, not addition is what makes the window to the brain more clear.
  • Honesty makes you more money
    • Dishonesty works… until it doesn’t. Everyone messes up, and when you are dishonest, you are only given one chance, and then its over. There are a couple of basic principles that Altucher covers
      • Honesty compounds
      • give people credit
      • be the source- idea source
      • Introduce two people – let them help each other. eventually you will see a benefit in some form.
      • Take the blame: Ghandi said “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
      • Don’t lead a double life – it takes up extra brainpower to work overtime.
      • Don’t be angry- it is a form of dishonesty
      • don’t make excuses
      • make others look good
      • Don’t gossip
      • Do what you say you are going to do
      • Enhance the lives of others- make good things happen for other people
  • Your never too young to Choose Yourself: lessons from Alex Day (successful youtube musician). Pg 203-207
    • I can choose myself to call anyone I want
    • All the conventional methods for making money and distilled. are out the window because the barriers of entry are essentially gone.
    • Everyone will say you CAN’T- if you pick and choose how you will wok with the entrenched system, you CAN
    • The power of the community you build will be felt in ways you cannot predict
    • persistence is more important than industry validation- its not the industry that’s buying what your selling
    • Focus on what you can do for your art/business right now – do not aim for things 10 years from now
    • You need a mentor
    • pick your social media outlet, and master it
    • Talk to your big fans
  • Response to people with negativity, opinions, judgement, etc. Altucher once made a blog post which had yogi with a small bikini on doing an impressive pose. He got a lot of hate on the post, but the actual yogi responded to him with a great letter about drowning out negativity. A few takeaways:
    • everything is possible
    • we rob ourselves of joy and happiness when we stop and check in with what everyone else is thinking and saying – reminds me of the quote: “comparison is the thief of joy”
    • The quote in the letter ‘In life, you will always have 30% of people who love you, 30% who hate you, and 30% who couldn’t care less’ stick with the people who love you and don’t spend a single second on the rest
  • What he learned from Superman
    • “The only superpower you really need is the one to constantly cultivate the attitude that forces you to as, from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep, ‘what life can i save today?'”
    • Superman is the ultimate yogi- see more on page 220
  • Lessons from Ghandi – read on pages 224-226 for more context
    • Nobody can tell you what to do
    • It is only through stillness that one can actively create
    • Don’t give advice on things you don’t know first hand
    • Sugar is bad
    • Nothing is more important than the cultivation of yourself
    • “You must first be the change you want to see in the world” – Ghandi
  • What we can learn from Woody Allen
    • Wake up early
    • Avoid distractions
    • Work 3-5 hours per day and enjoy the rest of the day
    • be as perfectionist as you can, knowing that imperfection will still rule
    • have the confidence to be magical and stretch the boundaries of your medium
    • Combine the tools of the medium itself with the message you want to convey
    • Don’t get stuck in the same rut- move forward, experiment, but with confidence built up over experience
    • Change the rules, but learn them first
  • What to do when you are rejected:pages 241-248
    • improve- improve your offering, what you are doing,
    • expand the universe of decision makers
    • This is the choose yourself era- widen the audience of your product. You can because of the ease of communication to the masses
    • Improve your approach
    • change up, don’t give up
    • improve your authenticity – blogging, amazon, etc. sway over followers and fans to build authenticity and credibility. The point is to be active: build your platform
    • Ask for advice, ask why?
    • Dance w/ failure
    • acknowledgement of the process- it is normal to be rejected
    • He doesn’t like the phrase ‘life is too short’ but its certainly too short to spend any time on hard feelings.
  • One more thing
    • be like a child
    • have a beginners mind
  • There is a ‘circle exercise’ on page 254 where you show your circles of influence. who is affected by you, and who is affected by the people affected by you.. keep going. redo this exercise until you can affect the entire world. Where the world changes because you exist.

RG