Friday Roundup – 8.4.23 Edition

Each and every Friday — I outline a few of the articles and/or books that I have read over the last week or two that are worth taking a look at.

Everybody Lies by Seth Stephen-Davidowitz

Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions.

By the end of an average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information—unprecedented in history—can tell us a great deal about who we are—the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable. 

Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favour boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who’s more self-conscious about sex, men or women? 

Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential—revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health—both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.

Go here to get a copy of this great book:

The 4 Keys to Learning Anything

I’ve been studying how to learn, as I try to teach myself new skills … and absolutely love learning new things. But I keep running up against a few key problems:

  1. Becoming overwhelmed. The more you learn, the more you see there is to learn. The beginner doesn’t know how much there is to study, but as you start to explore, you find new caverns, and they are immense. Then as you explore those caverns, you find even bigger ones. It can become overwhelming, and lots of people eventually give up because of this feeling.
  2. Failure feels bad. If you want to learn to play chess, you’ll lose a lot at first. Then you get better, and lose a lot. In fact, no matter how good you get, you’ll probably lose a bunch of times. This happens not just with games, but with learning languages, physical skills, academic subjects — you’ll fail a lot. There are ways to set it up so that you rarely fail, but then you’re not really learning much.
  3. It can feel like you’re just treading water. In a fantasy world, you’d learn at a breakneck pace, downloading new skills and knowledge into your brain like they do in the Matrix. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. You read and read, or practice and practice, and a lot of the time you barely get better. Other people seem to be learning at twice your speed! Sometimes it seems like you’re not learning anything. This can be really discouraging.
  4. There’s always a strong feeling of uncertainty. Humans don’t like the feeling of uncertainty, for the most part. We avoid it, become afraid of it, get angry or frustrated. But when you try to learn a new skill, it’s almost all uncertainty. You constantly forget things, you don’t understand anything, or when you think you do understand, you try it and it turns out you didn’t understand at all. This feeling of uncertainty causes a lot of people to give up.

OK, so we all want to learn skills — new languages, programming skills, physical skills, history, math, writing, games, so much more. But these four problems stand in our way.

Go here to finish reading:

8 Books Everyone Should Read in 2023

If I had to recommend 10 good books for you to read in 2023, it’d be these.

Shoe Dog (Nike story)

I’ve loved reading this book.

It’s the story of Nike and how a big betrayal can put you on the path to success. But that’s now what I loved most about this book.

The coolest thing I saw while reading this book was that Phil Knight didn’t just hire any random weirdos to work for him. He hired people who were obsessed with the sport of running. People who were deeply engrained in the running community and understood the needs of those people.

His early employees were more ambassadors of running than they were shoe salesmen. Two of them refused to cash their paychecks. The drive these sorts of people had was superhuman. 

That’s why Nike had uncommon success.

The other part I loved in this story was the undertones of spirituality all the way through. Phil was a weird guy. He embraced Asian philosophy and knew how to get his Zen on.

The travel he did also bled into everything he did. He took what he learned in Greece and applied it to shoes. The same happened with his frequent travels to Japan to meet his first supplier.

Business is just the mastery of life.

Master the mind and the human condition, and it’s easier to create massive value. But focus on revenue and “business” and you’ll drown.

“Spare” (Prince Harry)

Some will hate me for including this one. Ohhh well.

It’s rare to get a look behind the closed doors of royalty. All the PR spin and armed guards make it hard. Harry sold his family out to be free of royalty. You can’t blame him really. What a horrible life.

The thing I loved most about this book is it shows how stupid being rich is. And it shows what too much money can do to people. After you’ve read it you probably won’t want to become 

Prince Charles and drive a Bentley anymore. Good.

Many of you need that message desperately.

The book also reminds you why fame is a nightmare. It’s better to be quiet and unknown than it is to have a circus of paparazzi walking behind you and taking photos of your perfectly kept buttocks.

Read about the rich life to escape the rich life forever.

Go here to finish reading:

Communication Secret of the Rich and Famous

Today’s lesson comes from a surprising source. Our guest expert is a man who was expelled from high school, never graduated, and never went to college. When he started his first small business, every company in his industry rejected him.

But he didn’t give up. Like Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, our expert began selling his product from the trunk of his car. And it all paid off because today he’s worth an estimated $560 million. He owns millions of dollars worth of high-end automobiles and watches, including Bentley’s, a Mercedes-Benz Maybach, and custom-designed Audemars Piguet. Today he has children and is married to one of the most successful and acclaimed celebrities on the planet.

His name is Shawn Carter, but you might know him as Jay-Z.

In the late 90’s he was a thug, drug dealer, and barely escaped doing 20 years in prison.

One of his secrets to success, which we can all apply to our own entrepreneurial journeys, is “Controlling the Narrative”— a common tactic amongst the ultra-rich and famous.

Jay-Z controlled the narrative of his past by being open about it… rather than letting others discover his dirty laundry. And in doing so, was able to shape the world’s perspective of his past in relation to his future. He even managed to use this perception molding to HELP his career.

Jay-Z set the expectations for how the world should deal with him, and not the other way around. He established himself as a force.

When you control the narrative, you are in charge. When you don’t control the narrative, putting it in the hands of other people who may want to exploit you or see your demise, you lose control of your future.

Go here to finish reading:

Hope you enjoy these articles and books. Have a great rest of your Friday and amazing weekend.