Designing Your Life PDF Summary

Designing Your Life PDF SummaryHow to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Everything you see around you has been designed to match somebody’s original vision.

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans have an idea: why not do the same with your life as well?

They have a manual to help you get started:

Designing Your Life.”

Who Should Read “Designing Your Life”? And Why?

There’s nothing more deadening than a nine-to-five routine in a career you don’t love.

Burnett and Evans’ “Designing Your Life” is a book written specifically for those who are both stuck in it and want to do away with it once and for all.

Dubbed “an inspiring and thought-provoking graduation gift,” “Designing Your Life” is also the perfect book for recent graduates and last-year students.

About Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Bill BurnettBill Burnett is a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford and the Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford University.

After earning a master’s degree in product design from Stanford University, Burnett led Apple’s Powerbook product line, before coming back to teach at Stanford.

With Evans, he co-founded the Life Design Lab.

Dave EvansDave Evans is an American entrepreneur and design professor.

After a successful career at Apple, he co-founded the famous video game company Electronic Arts, after which he became a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford University.

“Designing Your Life” is his only book so far.

“Designing Your Life PDF Summary”

Almost 70 percent of US workers are not satisfied with their jobs.

Moreover, about 30 million Americans aged between 44 and 70 believe that they have made the wrong college choice and, if given an opportunity, would choose differently now.

And now the twist:

75 percent of college graduates don’t really work in a field which bears any resemblance to the subject they majored in!

Even though at first glance the third statistics may seem bad as well, you can consider it your silver lining as well: it means that there’s always a chance to do something differently.

In other words, you can reach your final destination even if your current location isn’t the one you hoped for. You just need to know the direction.

Who cares if it takes you longer: the point is to live the life you always wanted to!

There are four critical areas of your life you need to assess before you embark on your journey:

#1. Health: physical, emotional, mental – they are all important, the basis of everything else!
#2. Work: and it doesn’t matter whether paid or volunteer.
#3. Play: the things you do for the fun of them!
#4. Love: now, do we really need to define love (yes, this one includes your pets as well!)

The goal, of course, is to find a balance between these four areas – one that you will find most suitable to your current interests and future expectations.

Another balance you should pay a lot of attention to is the one between your workview and your lifeview, aka your personal philosophy of what the phrases “good job” and “good life” mean.

Write about 250 words on each so that you have a clear vision of both. And set your compass accordingly.

In other words, don’t take a job which doesn’t fit neatly enough within your lifeview. No matter how much it pays, in time, it will bring you discontent and unhappiness, since it will eventually force you to either reconsider your principles or quit.

Speaking of happiness – don’t forget to keep a Good Time Journal.

This is nothing more but a simple diary documenting not only your experiences but also your reactions to them.

If you feel engaged and focused, underline those activities in green; if you feel bored or unhappy, underline them in red.

But, put in bold, highlight and circle the activities during which you experience full immersion, or what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi refers to as flow. Some people experience flow while playing football, others when writing; yet, a third group while dancing or making lunch.

It doesn’t matter – once highlighted, these moments will help you realize which things energize you and which things drain your energy.

No need to point out the obvious: once you uncover them, choose the former, thus choosing yourself.

However, what if there are no such things at the moment?

In other words, what if you are all but drained out of all energy and stuck in a career, an environment, a life that seemingly you can’t get out of?

There’s a way out for that as well!

Getting unstuck starts with mind mapping, i.e., making a map of associations stemming from one central idea which should be your final goal.

Say that you want to become a good writer even though you spend most of your day working as a programmer at an obscure bank.

Put “writing” in the center of your mind map and start brainstorming associations, such as “books,” “reading,” “studying,” “free time.” Now jot down secondary associations, like “a room of one’s own,” “silence,” and “library.”

Now, put these ideas into an actionable plan: maybe all you need is a library card and two hours of silence a day to start your project.

After all, many authors managed to write award-winning books while having full-time jobs. How did they do it?

If you want to know more about the best ways to design your life, you can listen to TEDTalks delivered by both of the authors on YouTube.

Here you’ll find Dave Evans’ San Francisco TED Talk.

Below you can watch Bill Burnett’s:

Key Lessons from “Designing Your Life”

1.      Your Life Is Just Another Designer’s Problem
2.      Reframing Your Dysfunctional Beliefs
3.      Develop a Failure Immunity

Your Life Is Just Another Designer’s Problem

Designers constantly deal with problems. Two of them – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans – realized that the biggest one of them all has been too rarely addressed in designer’s terms: Life.

In “Designing Your Life” they suggest innovative ways through which you can actually design your life the same way a carpenter designs a cabinet – with a lot of planning and flawless execution.

In their words:

A well-designed life is a life that is generative—it is constantly creative, productive, changing, evolving, and there is always the possibility of surprise. You get out of it more than you put in. There is a lot more than ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ in a well-designed life.

The main philosophy of a life designer boils down to two simple rules:

1. You choose better when you have lots of good ideas to choose from.
2. You never choose your first solution to any problem.

Reframing Your Dysfunctional Beliefs

Possibly nothing hinders your life as much as your dysfunctional beliefs.

The best way to deal with them is by reframing them.

For example, a dysfunctional belief would be that there’s only one person perfect for you on this whole planet.

Reframe this dysfunctional belief (which has probably resulted in numerous heartbreaks so far) into the one which is statistically much more probable: there are “multiple great designs” of your ideal partner, and it’s your job to experiment.

Develop a Failure Immunity

We have mentioned this numerous times: not only failures aren’t that bad, but they are actually great learning experiences.

Just reframing your dysfunctional belief that you must never fail can help you live a far happier life. But if you follow Burnett’s and Evans’ advice, you can do one better!

List all of your failures (experienced and potential) and divide them into three categories: “screw-ups” (e.g., pouring coffee) “weaknesses” (e.g., you can’t drive) and “growth opportunities” (e.g., wrongly allocating the money for your first startup).

The first are trivial and will keep on happening no matter what you do; the former are part of your character and, instead of spending years to correct them, you need to accept them and focus on putting your strengths to work instead.

The third category is the one you should constantly assess, so that you can see what you have learned from your past failures and what you should do to prevent them from happening in the future.

There it is: now you’re failure-immune!

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“Designing Your Life Quotes”

It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you think you are going, what job or career you have had or think you should have. You are not too late, and you’re not too early. Click To Tweet Dysfunctional Belief: Happiness is having it all. Reframe: Happiness is letting go of what you don’t need. Click To Tweet Living coherently doesn't mean everything is in perfect order all the time. It means you are living in alignment with your values and have not sacrificed your integrity along the way. Click To Tweet It’s not hard to imagine that if we added up all the hours spent trying to figure out life, for some of us they would outweigh the hours spent actually living life. Really. Living. Life. Click To Tweet As a life designer, you need to embrace two philosophies: 1. You choose better when you have lots of good ideas to choose from. 2. You never choose your first solution to any problem. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In the words of Daniel Pink, “’Designing Your Life’ walks readers through the process of building a satisfying, meaningful life by approaching the challenge the way a designer would. Experimentation. Wayfinding. Prototyping. Constant iteration. You should read the book. Everyone else will.”

And you really should!

Even though it may not be as innovative as Burnett and Evans try to point out, it is, nevertheless, a great manual, combining numerous surefire strategies suggested by similar books and inspiring authors into one comprehensible guidebook on how to finally start living your life.

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When Breath Becomes Air PDF Summary

When Breath Becomes Air PDF SummaryAt around 9 p.m., on March 9, 2015, Paul Kalanithi, an Indian-American neurosurgeon, passed away after a long and grueling battle with cancer, just a month shy of his 38th birthday.

Published several months later by his wife, “When Breath Becomes Air” is his unfinished, thoroughly heartbreaking autobiography.

One which will undoubtedly make you wonder about the meaning of your life as well.

Who Should Read “When Breath Becomes Air”? And Why?

A touching and life-affirming autobiography chronicling the death of a remarkable man, “When Breath Becomes Air” is Paul Kalanithi’s “Last Lecture,” the things he had an urge to share with the world once realizing that his life is nearing to an end.

As such, this book should be relatable to everyone.

And it ought to be read by everyone as well.

About Paul Kalanithi

Paul KalanithiPaul Sudhir Arul Kalanithi was an Indian-American neurosurgeon and an author.

Born on April 1, 1977, Kalanithi graduated as valedictorian from Kingman High School, before earning a B.Sc. in human biology and a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from Stanford.

Afterward, he attended the University of Cambridge – from where he obtained an M.Phil. in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine – and the Yale School of Medicine, where he graduated cum laude and met his future wife.

In May 2013, Kalanithi was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer; he died two years later.

Though left unfinished, “When Breath Becomes Air” was published, with an epilogue from his wife, in January 2016 by Random House.

“When Breath Becomes Air PDF Summary”

Paul Kalanithi was born on April 1, 1977, in Bronxville, Westchester County, New York to a Christian family hailing from India.

A doctor, his father spent most of his time away from home, which resulted in Paul’s disenchantment with medicine even before he developed any interest in it.

When Paul is 10, the family moves to Kingman, Arizona.

This gets Paul’s mother worried: Kingman, Arizona is “the least educated district in America” and she believes too much in the academic future of her three sons to allow any risks.

Her solution?

She acquires college reading lists and makes her sons read every book on them. They even take their SATs in Las Vegas, about 100 miles away from Kingman.

This is not a problem for Paul: he’s enamored with literature and enjoys few things more than an afternoon passed over any book written by Thoreau, Poe, Orwell, Camus, Sartre, Beckett.

However, during the summer before college, his then-girlfriend borrows him a book by Jeremy Leven, titled “Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S.”

Kalanithi is fascinated by Leven’s idea that the brain is merely a machine which allows the mind to exist (in much the same manner, that the hardware of your computer is a vehicle for the browser on which you’re reading this text).

So, he started a course in biology and neuroscience.

These areas – literature and neuroscience – will remain lifelong interests for Paul: the former because it delved in the meaning of what it means to be alive, and the latter because it’s a science of the mechanisms which produce this meaning.

He felt – as he says himself at one place – that “literature provided the best account of the life of the mind, while neuroscience laid down the most elegant rules of the brain.”

Paul was a cum laude student, and everything was going great until the beginning of 2013: he had an MA in literature and was in the final stages of his residency training in neurosurgery when he first started feeling severe back pain and signs of exhaustion.

He was worried that these might be the signs of spinal cancer, but the X-ray results of a routine medical check-up looked just fine.

His primary care doctor determined that the pain and the lost weight must be the result of his 14-hour workdays – something which seemed like all but the most logical conclusion to Paul as well.

However, his health deteriorated in the following months, and even before he got the results of his CT scan in the month of May 2016, Paul and his wife Lucy were already prepared for the worst.

Its name sounds as sickening and as gruesome as what it actually represents:

Stage-IV non-small-cell EGFR-positive lung cancer.

“I need you,” Paul whispered to his wife.

“I will never leave you,” she replied.

Kalanithi, the doctor, was suddenly a patient; Kalanithi, the avid reader, was suddenly the book that he needed to read and comprehend:

Grand illnesses are supposed to be life-clarifying. Instead, I knew I was going to die—but I’d known that before. My state of knowledge was the same, but my ability to make lunch plans had been shot to hell. The way forward would seem obvious, if only I knew how many months or years I had left. Tell me three months, I’d spend time with family. Tell me one year, I’d write a book. Give me ten years, I’d get back to treating diseases. The truth that you live one day at a time didn’t help: What was I supposed to do with that day?

Even before Paul started his therapy, he discussed with his wife the possibility of starting a family.

“Will having a newborn distract from the time we have together?” Lucy asked Paul. “Don’t you think saying goodbye to your child will make your death more painful?” she added.

And then Paul said something as remarkable as anything:

“Wouldn’t it be great if it did?”

Lucy tells this same story in the clip below.

A word of warning, though, if you intend to watch it: prepare some tissues beforehand:

Paul’s situation got better at first, but then the worst happened: he stopped reacting to the chemotherapy, and by the time his daughter – Elizabeth Acadia (Cady) – was born (4 July 2014), he was so exhausted that he was unable to stand in the delivery room and had to lie on a cot while Lucy was giving birth.

Despite all the pain and suffering, Paul is filled with an incredible amount of joy at seeing his daughter for the first time.

Unfortunately, merely eight months later, he will see her for one last time.

Key Lessons from “When Breath Becomes Air”

1.      Paul Kalanithi Was a Remarkable Man
2.      Life Is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans
3.      Life Isn’t About Avoiding Suffering

Paul Kalanithi Was a Remarkable Man

Paul Kalanithi had almost everything: a Stanford MA in literature and a cum laude degree from Yale School of Medicine; nearly completed residency training for a neurosurgeon; quite a few published articles and even more prestigious awards; numerous successful operations; finally, a beautiful wife.

Life Is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

And then he was diagnosed with metastatic stage IV non-small-cell EGFR-positive lung cancer.

As he says himself, hiscarefully planned and hard-won future no longer existed. Death, so familiar to me in my work, was now paying a personal visit.”

And that’s what often happens in life: something completely unexpected changes the course of planned events once and for all.

Life Isn’t About Avoiding Suffering

Paul Kalanithi didn’t live enough to complete “When Breath Becomes Air.”

Its epilogue was written by his wife, who shares the most important lesson she learned (in the form of advice given to Lucy and Paul’s daughter) in a heartbreaking TED Talk, delivered a year and a half after the death of her husband.

Cady, engaging in the full range of experience — living and dying, love and loss – is what we get to do. Being human doesn’t happen despite suffering. It happens within it. When we approach suffering together when we choose not to hide from it, our lives don’t diminish, they expand.

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“When Breath Becomes Air Quotes”

You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving. Click To Tweet Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete. Click To Tweet There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment. Click To Tweet I can’t go on. I’ll go on. (Via Samuel Beckett) Click To Tweet Even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Writing for the USA Today, Mack McCarthy, wrote that “When Breath Becomes Air” is “a story so remarkable, so stunning, and so affecting” that he “had to take dozens of breaks just to compose [himself] enough to get through it.”

Chances are – you are going to need quite a few breaks as well.

But that could only mean one thing and one thing only: if you haven’t read “When Breath Becomes Air” so far, you must do it in the very recent future.

It’s not that Kalanithi’s memoir will bring you to tears and help you live through the beauty of a profoundly cathartic emotion. It’s that it will make you cherish your life a bit more.

Not many books can do that.

But, then again, there are not many people as extraordinary as Paul Kalanithi.

No, we are not changing the tense in the previous sentence.

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Turning Pro PDF Summary

Turning Pro PDF SummaryTap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work

Just because you earn money to do a job doesn’t mean that you are a professional.

But you can become one if you follow Steven Pressfield’s advice.

Turning Pro” has never been easier.

Who Should Read “Turning Pro”? And Why?

It’s there in the title: “Turning Pro” is about everyone who wants to become (and stay) a professional!

If “The War of Art” was all about the why and the how of becoming a professional, “Turning Pro” is about the when and the what if of being one.

True, Pressfield is a writer and writers may profit the most from his advice, but, compared to his previous books, “Turning Pro” is the most generic one, so it can be read as a standalone.

So, dig in!

About Steven Pressfield

Steven PressfieldSteven Pressfield is an American novelist and non-fiction author.

He debuted with the “golf novel” “The Legend of Bagger Vance” which, in 2000, was turned into a successful movie directed by Robert Redford and starring Matt Damon, Will Smith, and Charlize Theron.

Most of Pressfield’s other novels deal with subjects derived from ancient history: “Gates of Fire” is about the Battle of Thermopylae,” “Tides of War” about the Peloponnesian War, while “The Virtues of War” and “The Afghan Campaign” are both about Alexander the Great’s late conquests.

Pressfield’s debut nonfiction book, “The War of Art” was a huge hit – which inspired us to include it in our list of “6 books that will turn you into a great writer.” “Do the Work” and “Turning Pro” are its follow-ups.

“Turning Pro PDF Summary”

One of the key concepts in analytical psychology – Carl Jung’s idiosyncratic vision of a person’s wholeness – is the shadow, Jung’s attempt to root Freud’s id within our unconscious.

Basically, the shadow is the entirety of the repressed aspects of our personality, the unconscious facets of what we are which are so profoundly internalized that even our ego is unaware of their existence. Even so, helped by the superego, it works hard on eliminating them altogether.

Except, that’s not possible.

The result?

We live one life on the outside, and a completely different life is happening in our unconscious!

Now, in most cases, the shadow is fairly negative: it is the place which contains all our fears and anxieties, the least desirable qualities of our personality.

However, as Jung himself has implied in “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” the shadow can sometimes be the seat of creativity as well: “the dark side of our being, our sinister shadow,” Jung notes, “may represent the true spirit of life as against the one of the arid scholar.”

Pressfield talks a lot about our Shadow Life.

Because, unfortunately, most of us live one.

The Shadow Life is the life of denial and addiction. In a nutshell, it means living the superficial aspects of the life we actually want – and can – live.

To extend on Jung’s note above – while still using Pressfield’s examples – living a shadow life means getting a Ph.D. in Elizabethan studies even though you are actually someone who’s got the writing itch inside you and would much rather write a tragedy or a comedy.

On the addiction’s side, it means drinking and using drugs – aka “living the drugs-and-booze half of the musician’s life” – without ever writing a song!

But it goes beyond art as well: you may be the next Tesla, working in a support capacity for an innovator!

All of these – they are traces of our true calling; but, since mere traces, they are essentially nothing more but a shadow calling.

And when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, that’s what we end up with: pursuing a shadow calling and living a shadow life.

That is the life of the amateur:

Being amateur means being stuck in the past circumstances of your life and never growing up.

The amateur fears to define himself and this fear is what keeps him an amateur.

Whereas an amateur spends his time writing “shadow novels” (in his head) while publishing critical studies of other people’s novels in real-life, the professional says: “I’m a writer” and may even give up on his studies to finally start penning his real-life masterpieces!

The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.

We can never free ourselves from habit. The human being is a creature of habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones. We can trade in the habits of the amateur and the addict for the practice of the professional and the committed artist or entrepreneur.

In other words, giving up on your studies doesn’t mean not working – it means working more. That is if you want to be a professional.

And working more is always related to finding the right habits to guide you through the process.

Each and every one of us is a Minotaur: part artist and part addict.

If you want to become a professional, the point is to face your fears, find the thing which makes you an addict, and start pursuing it, thus activating the part of you which is an artist.

The rest is just building a routine around the right habits and enduring.

Key Lessons from “Turning Pro”

1.      Living in the Shadows
2.      Stop Being an Addict
3.      Become a Professional

Living in the Shadows

According to Freud, each of us has an id (our instinctual drives), an ego (an “I” which communicates our id in real-life terms: the reason why you’re not walking naked) and a super-ego (internalized culture and tradition).

Carl Jung added quite a few new agents to this psychic apparatus, all stemming from our unconscious, something Freud completely ignored. One of these agents is the shadow, the repressed aspects of our being.

Whether by longings, addictions, or superficial professions, these repressed aspects of our being try to communicate with us all the time, telling us, in no uncertain terms, that in fact, everything but them is our shadow life.

Stop Being an Addict

Once you face your fears and embrace your shadows, you may finally be able to transform your shadow life into something bigger and more important:

When we turn pro, the energy that once went into the Shadow Novel goes into the real novel. What we once thought was real — “the world,” including its epicenter, ourselves — turns out to be only a shadow. And what had seemed to be only a dream becomes, now, the reality of our lives.

Become a Professional

Being an amateur means living a shadow life.

Being a professional means going beyond that.

It’s usually a thorny path: it means adapting the right habits, working hard, passing through a membrane and giving birth to somebody else.

But it’s the right path because it’s the only one which will result in you finally living the life of the real you.

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“Turning Pro Quotes”

The sure sign of an amateur is he has a million plans and they all start tomorrow. Click To Tweet To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence. Click To Tweet Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It's a decision, a decision to which we must re-commit every day. Click To Tweet Many artists are addicts, and vice versa. Many are artists in one breath and addicts in another. What's the difference? The addict is the amateur; the artist is the professional. Click To Tweet The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Turning Pro” is not a magic wand which will help you become a professional in the blink of an eye.

In fact, it’s anything but: it’s a book which elucidates that becoming a professional is actually a messy process, which has nothing to do with buying products or taking courses – but everything with changing the state of your mind and embracing your shadows.

Consider it more of a psychological preparatory class in professionalism than a how-to manual.

And since we sincerely believe that only the former are actually possible – we both appreciate Pressfield’s honesty and recommend this book.

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Reinvent Yourself PDF Summary

Reinvent Yourself PDF Summary

Half a decade ago, James Altucher asked you to choose yourself.

Now, he’s back with another advice:

Reinvent Yourself.”

Who Should Read “Reinvent Yourself”? And Why?

If you have heard anything about James Altucher, you probably already know that he is an incessant experimenter and that he absolutely abhors the idea of 9-to-5 jobs.

“Reinvent Yourself” is for those who share his hate on the latter and want to become the former.

About James Altucher

James AltucherJames Altucher is an American entrepreneur, podcaster, blogger, and bestselling author.

According to his count, he has founded more than 20 companies and has, in addition, invested in at least 30. Many of them have failed, but those which have succeeded have thriven.

Altucher hosts a famous podcast, “The James Altucher Show,” and has authored 18 books, including “Choose Yourself” and “The Rich Employee.”

“Reinvent Yourself PDF Summary”

The only thing constant in the life of James Altucher is, undoubtedly, his hair.

Everything else is flux and change, inventions and reinventions all across the board!

Who knows – T. S. Eliot may have written these beautiful two lines for him and not for some other guy with the initials J. A.: “In a minute there is time/ For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”

After imploring you to choose yourself back in 2013, Altucher is now back with an update, telling you to reinvent yourself.

Constantly.

But what does he mean by reinvention?

Well, in his words,

Reinvention is life. This is the call to adventure that constantly whispers to us. Do we answer it? Do we take the call?

The answer, is, of course, a resounding “yes.”

And the way?

Well, start by redefining the word freedom.

Sure, the dictionary will tell you that freedom is “the condition of being free of restraints, especially the ability to act without control or interference by another or by circumstance,” but ask yourself: what does that mean in practice?

Capitalism should have – and, in some sense, it did – brought freedom, but why do you wake up each day at the same time with the same obnoxious alarm sound only to spend the next eight hours working a job you don’t actually like and the remaining few talking about how unhappy it makes you?

We’ll tell you why: because you need to have money to be free.

Which brings us back to Altucher’s main lesson from “Choose Yourself”: if you need money to be free, it’s pointless to earn them by not being free; so, find/choose/invent a job you would like to do!

That way, you’ll both be free while earning money and have money to be even freer afterward! Was it Confucius the one who said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”?

Altucher endorses this.

Next step of reinventing yourself: acquiring the right habits.

According to Altucher,

You are not just the average of the five people around you. You’re the average of the five habits you do, the things you eat, the ideas you have, the content you consume, etc.

The third step on the ladder to a total makeover: improving your relationships.

You are a part of much more than your own life, and this is true for everybody. Meaning: a large part of your happiness and success depends on other people.

In terms of your reinvention, it seems that three are the most important ones: your plus (someone who knows more than you), your equal (your peer), and your minus (someone who knows less).

Which brings us to the fourth, and final, step: your plus should, in fact, be your mentor and finding the right mentors to teach you how to become the person you want to be should become your top priority on your road to reinvention.

In fact, “Reinvent Yourself” doesn’t only include “the ultimate guide to finding a mentor,” but also an explanation of “how to have 1,000 mentors in your life.”

And, of course, numerous pieces of advice from many of them in the following chapters.

For example, Altucher learned from Louis C. K. the Tao of not spending any energy on things you can’t change and the uselessness of saying that you’re bored.

From Picasso and Isaac Asimov he learned that “action is the foundational key to all success” (aka the reason why Picasso produced 50,000 works of art and Asimov wrote 467 books!) and that you should “learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

From Elon Musk he learned that it’s not a bad thing to have all the eggs in one basket – if you can control that basket.

From Malala and Louis Armstrong that suffering can be transcended and turned into something bigger, whether art or cause to fight for

From Albert Einstein – the beauty of what comes after the “I don’t know.”

From Mick Jagger Altucher learned that, in the beginning, you should take every gig and that it takes about 15 years to master something: 3 to study, 2 to start making money, 4 to make a comfortable living and 6 to become a rock star!

And we’ll stop here.

Though there are many more lessons Altucher shares with his readers, whether coming from rappers such as Eminem and Ice Cube, from regular people such as his daughter or a friend’s grandma, or even some acquired through playing poker and chess or watching “Star Wars.”

Needless to say – they are all interesting and useful!

Mentoring at its most entertaining best.

Key Lessons from “Reinvent Yourself”

1.      Reinventing Is All About Four Things
2.      Find Yourself a Plus, a Minus, and an Equal
3.      Reinvent Yourself in Five Years

Reinventing Is All About Four Things

Reinvention is not something you should fear, nor something you should think of in terms of a painfully long and excruciatingly tiring process.

On the contrary, you should try to reinvent yourself constantly.

First, by redefining what the word “freedom” means to you at that specific moment. Then, by acquiring to right habits which should guide you to your imagined end. Thirdly, by improving your relationships. And finally, by finding yourself some great mentors.

Find Yourself a Plus, a Minus, and an Equal

Speaking of finding –

This is a strategy James Altucher borrows from Ryan Holiday’s “Ego Is the Enemy,” where the approach is presented as Frank Shamrock’s system for self-improvement.

It consists of choosing a plus, an equal, and a minus.

The plus is someone who knows more than you – i.e., your mentor; the equal is a peer to constantly challenge yourself against; finally, the minus is a student you can impart your knowledge on.

The goal?

Getting real and continuous feedback.

Reinvent Yourself in Five Years

If you want to reinvent yourself completely, you’ll probably need half a decade.

Use the first year to learn, experiment, and start doing some things. Then, the second year, start doing them on a more regular basis, i.e., each day – while finding some time to network with the right people. The third year you should start making some money.

But only the next – the fourth year – you’ll earn enough to make a good living. If things go well, by the fifth year, you should become a wealthy person by doing the things that you love!

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“Reinvent Yourself Quotes”

Despair = Suffering – Meaning. Click To Tweet Talent is the tiniest of sparks. A spark lights the fire. But you have to feed the fire more fuel to keep it going. Else it dies out. Click To Tweet Don’t be afraid to go silent. Mirror and then have the confidence to go silent. Click To Tweet It’s never too late to do what you love. What you love is always on the shore, waiting for you to arrive, waiting with open arms. Click To Tweet We were put here to try. Nobody will grade us. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

James Altucher is undoubtedly an idea machine, but, truthfully “Reinvent Yourself” isn’t that original – not if you have followed him well enough during the past decade or so.

Even so, it’s still Altucher – “the Oprah of the Internet” – and, moreover, it’s Altucher and his 1,000 mentors.

So, plenty of great minds.

Multiple that by five for the good advice count.

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An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary

What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Do you want to learn how to become an astronaut?

Or how life in space can alter your perspective about living on Earth?

Then, read our summary of Chris Hadfield’s “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.”

It answers both of these questions.

Who Should Read “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”? And Why?

If you are interested in astronauts – or dreaming of becoming one – then you should buy “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” as soon as possible.

However, Chris Hadfield’s autobiography should be your choice even if you are merely looking for a book to help you live a better and more fulfilled life – one that has nothing to do with astronomy and spacecrafts.

After all, just look at the title.

About Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield is a retired astronaut, the first Canadian to walk in space.

Both an engineer and a former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot – one of the very best – he first flew in space in November 1995 as a mission specialist. Six years later he went back and walked in space for the first time.

In December 2012 he flew for a third time, after which he served as a commander of the International Space Station from March until May 2013.

He is a member of the Orders of Ontario and Canada and has received both the Canadian Forces Decoration and the Meritorious Service Cross.

“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary”

When I was young – that is, before I turned 12 or something – when asked what I would like to be, when I grow up, I’d always answer “astronaut.”

I mean, what could be better than being an astronaut, right?

Floating through space, zero gravity and all, strange planets and beautiful stars all around you, the Earth just a pale blue dot in the far distance

The best possible profession a guy can have.

Well, if that ten-year-old me could have read “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” the autobiography of Col. Chris Hadfield, aka the first Canadian to walk in space, he would have probably had at least a few second thoughts.

Because – who would have guessed? – being an astronaut isn’t what the dictionaries teach you (that is, something along the lines of “a spacewalker” or “a member of a spacecraft”), but, actually, merely a person trained to do those things.

But wait: Hadfield has an even better definition:

An astronaut is someone who’s able to make good decisions quickly, with incomplete information, when the consequences really matter.

Wait a moment, you say – there’s nothing about planets and stars, space and spacecrafts in this definition; nothing at all! And these things are there in the very word, be it “astronaut” or “cosmonaut”! You can’t fool me: they mean star- or space-sailor!

Where’s the sailing in Hadfield’s definition of an astronaut?

Well, there is some sailing – true – but most of it is stationary, and it happens on Earth. As Hadfield points out, in general, you need several months of training to prepare for one single day in space!

And you’ll get your first mission only after several years. And – surprise! surprise! – you’ll have to spend the next two to four years training for that specific mission.

The really heartbreaking part of this all is that no matter how good you are and how much you want to go into space, the chances are stacked against you from the start!

After all, it only fits three people in a Soyuz spacecraft, which means that not only each of them should be exceptionally well-prepared, but also that the three chosen ones should be experts in mutually compatible categories.

Well, Hadfield was one of these lucky few.

And the main lessons he learned in space – and which he believes are applicable everywhere, let alone Earth, are these three:

#1. There’s no such thing as over-preparation. That’s actually the background of Hadfield’s definition of an astronaut; an astronaut, simply put, is one who has prepared for everything in advance and who is capable of acting fast even when something unpredictable happens. After all, it’s not like there’s a rescue crew near you!

#2. The more they criticize you, the safer you are. Even the smallest blunder can be a crucial one when you’re in space; so, at NASA, everyone is – and should be – a critic; in other words: you should pray that they criticize you so that you can learn what not to do the next simulation.

#3. Make up for the lost time with your loved ones. Being an astronaut means spending a lot of time away from your family; Hadfield tried making up for that by prearranging the delivery of Valentine gifts for his wife or lighting the biggest candles (the rocket’s engines) for his son’s 16th birthday (which was on the very same day as Hadfield’s launch)

By the way, we forgot to mention (in case you don’t know):

Chris Hadfield is a great and exceptionally funny John Cleese lookalike, and you should really check him out on YouTube, debunking space myths or sharing his experiences at TED.

Or, channeling his inner Bowie:

Thanks, Chris: that video never fails to make our day!

Key Lessons from “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”

1.      Preparation Is Everything: The Power of Pessimism and Negative Thinking
2.      The Importance of Making Mistakes and Accepting Constructive Criticism
3.      The Only Thing You Can Control Is Your Attitude

Preparation Is Everything: The Power of Pessimism and Negative Thinking

Astronauts have a saying: “there is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.”

However, once you’re in space, a problem means certain death in 1 out of 35 cases – which are not chances you’d like to see aggravated.

Can you improve them?

Of course: by taking a trick from the old Stoic book and visualizing everything in a negative light.

Use the same strategy in life as well: because when you’re prepared for something in advance, you can be a lot calmer.

“It sounds strange, probably,” writes Hadfield, “but having a pessimistic view of my own prospects helped me love my job.”

The Importance of Making Mistakes and Accepting Constructive Criticism

“A man of genius makes no mistakes,” wrote James Joyce once, “his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”

Pretentiousness aside, Joyce is right about the second part: making a mistake is actually the best way to learn new things. Just think about the way people learn to play an instrument! They make many mistakes, and they try until they stop making them.

If you go on playing your guitar the same away after making a mistake (i.e., appropriating it), your brain will think it’s the right way and will engrave it as a habit.

In other words, making a mistake is just a part of the learning process; seeing the mistake is the other. And since we are incapable of seeing our mistakes as clearly as impartial observers, constructive criticism should be a big part of every apprenticeship.

So, instead of saying “oh, shut up,” say “thank you” the next time someone points out a mistake of yours.

The Only Thing You Can Control Is Your Attitude

As we pointed above, even if you want to become an astronaut in the customarily accepted meaning of that word, there’s a high chance that you won’t.

After all, only 561 people from no more than 40 countries have gone into space so far.

However, Hadfield never gave up.

He just reframed his state of mind:

I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.

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“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth Quotes”

I never stopped getting ready. Just in case. Click To Tweet In order to stay calm in a high-stress, high-stakes situation, all you really need is knowledge. Click To Tweet Each time you manage to do that your comfort zone expands a little, so if you ever face that particular problem in real life, you’re able to think clearly. Click To Tweet Rehearsing for catastrophe has made me positive that I have the problem-solving skills to deal with tough situations and come out the other side smiling. Click To Tweet Anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying: it’s productive. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We really like Chris Hadfield, so we loved this book from start to finish.

And so did almost each and every reviewer, describing “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” as “a satisfying behind-the-scenes look at the life of an astronaut” (Kirkus Reviews) and as “a very human glance into a rarified world” (WSJ).

Allow us to include one more quotation at the end: “Houston, we have a superstar!”

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Make Your Bed PDF Summary

Make Your Bed PDF Summary

Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World

You want to change the world.

Start off by making your bed.

Don’t believe us?

Then, let us rephrase that in the words of a decorated United States Navy admiral:

Make Your Bed!”

Who Should Read “Make Your Bed”? And Why?

In “Make Your Bed” Admiral William H. McRaven shares the 10 most valuable life lessons he learned by being a part of the US military.

As he says himself, they are universally comprehensible and applicable, so it doesn’t matter who you are or whether you like the military or not.

“Change in the world can happen anywhere,” emphasizes McRaven, “and anyone can do it.”

About William H. McRaven

William H. McRavenWilliam H. McRaven is a retired US Navy admiral.

He last served as the commander of the United States Special Operations Command (2011 – 2014), a position he got after serving for three years as the Commander of Joint Special Operations Command (2008 – 2011).

Back in 1995, Spec Ops, the first of the two books he has so far authored was published.

In 2012, he was played by Christopher Stanley in the Academy Award-winning movie chronicling the manhunt for Osama bin Laden, “Zero Dark Thirty,” and a year later he appeared as himself in the documentary “Dirty Wars.”

“Make Your Bed PDF Summary”

William H. McRaven is 1977 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a decorated United States Navy admiral.

How are these things related between themselves, or, for that matter, to this book?

Well, McRaven retired from the Navy – after more than 37 years of service – on August 28, 2014.

About three months before that, as still the Commander of United States Special Operations Command, he addressed the Class of 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin.

The commencement speech went viral and has been viewed, in different versions, more than 10 million times.

We link it below.

But, before you watch it, we feel obliged to add a “spoiler alert” tag: it’s basically this book in 20 minutes minus some of the anecdotes and stories:

As you might have already heard (in case you decided to watch McRaven’s speech before going on to read this summary), Admiral McRaven was inspired to share the 10 most valuable lessons he learned as part of the US military by the slogan of his alma mater: “what starts here changes the world.”

The question is – he adds after pointing this out – what the world will look like after it is changed.

So as to make sure that it looks better (of which he has no doubt to start with), he makes ten (once again: universally applicable) suggestions, which, chiseled and polished up a bit, make up the titles of the ten chapters of his book.

So here they are, “the 10 lessons [McRaven] learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.”

Key Lessons from “Make Your Bed”

1.      Start Your Day with a Task Completed
2.      You Can’t Go It Alone
3.      Only the Size of Your Heart Matters
4.      Life’s Not Fair – Drive On!
5.      Failure Can Make You Stronger
6.      You Must Dare Greatly
7.      Stand Up to the Bullies
8.      Rise to the Occasion
9.      Give People Hope
10.      Never, Ever Quit

#1. Start Your Day with a Task Completed

One of the first things you’ll learn if you want to take part of the basic training for being a member of the US Seal team is – the proper way to make your bed.

And that is lesson #1: always start your day by making your bed.

How will that change the world, you ask?

Well, it’s actually not the making of the bed that matters; it’s the discipline you put into it and, more importantly, the fact that, by making your bed, you are starting your day on a high note: already with a task completed.

The bonus: no matter how bad the rest of the day is, you’ll always come home to a made bed.

#2. You Can’t Go It Alone

Even a superhero has a sidekick – and you need plenty of them. To use McRaven’s example: if you want to steer a boat faster, you’ll need to find people to paddle with you.

And if you suffer a near-fatal parachute incident, you’ll need a partner to carry you through the pain and the depression (yes, that actually happened to McRaven):

None of us are immune from life’s tragic moments… It takes a good team of people to get you to your destination in life. You cannot paddle the boat alone. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others.

#3. Only the Size of Your Heart Matters

“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man,” wrote a fairly obscure poet sometime in the early 20th century; “but sooner or later the man who wins/ is the one who thinks he can!”

McRaven has, basically, the same advice: the best team during his Navy training was actually the one who was most often the butt of the jokes on account of the size of its members’ flippers.

But, it’s not the size of the paddles that counts; it’s the size of the heart. The passion and the perseverance.

So, please, don’t judge a book by its cover. Judge it by its content.

#4. Life’s Not Fair – Drive On!

“The universe,” writes Neil deGrasse Tyson, “is under no obligation to make sense to you.”

In other words, there’s a big chance that life is not going to treat you fair.

But blaming your lot on some outside force is both easy and wrong. What’s right is learning how to accept and rise above the unfairness.

“The common people and the great men and women,” concludes McRaven, “are all defined by how they deal with life’s unfairness.”

#5. Failure Can Make You Stronger

During his SEAL Navy training, McRaven was part of a swimming team which always finished last.

Their punishment?

The Circus, i.e., an endurance test which has made many cadets give up.

However, in the case of McRaven, the failure to win the swimming races only made him stronger: for the graduation test, he was part of the winning team.

So, keep calm – and fail forward.

#6. You Must Dare Greatly

Don’t be afraid to take risks:

Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment, will never achieve their potential.  Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.

#7. Stand Up to the Bullies

As part of their training, McRaven and his teammate were once commanded to swim four miles through potentially shark-infested waters. Refusing the task meant not completing the SEAL training.

So, as afraid as they were, they didn’t.

The lesson?

You’ll encounter many sharks – whether bullies or personal fears – on your path to greatness.

Stand up to them.

#8. Rise to the Occasion

Sometimes it’s inevitable that you’ll lose a loved one.

Unfortunately, no amount of shouting and screaming, no amount of sulking or depression, will ever change that.

Being a soldier, McRaven has learned this the hard way.

What you’re left with is to rise to the challenge and endure.

#9. Give People Hope

Sometimes, all it takes is just a little pat on the shoulder.

Or a song.

For example, during McRaven’s Hell Week (the dreaded seven-day endurance test which makes or breaks a SEAL), one of the guys was about to call it quits, when another started singing a song.

Soon, everybody joined in.

And even though it was past midnight and they were all covered in cold mud, somehow, they felt a bit more hopeful.

And they persevered!

#10. Never, Ever Quit

Don’t give up!

If a Navy SEAL who has lost both legs can find some meaning in life, certainly you can too, no matter how bad your day is.

No matter what happens, it’s your job to be unbroken.

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“Make Your Bed Quotes”

Without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life. Click To Tweet True leaders must learn from their failures, use the lessons to motivate themselves, and not be afraid to try again or make the next tough decision. Click To Tweet In life, you will face a lot of Circuses. You will pay for your failures. But, if you persevere, if you let those failures teach you and strengthen you, then you will be prepared to handle life’s toughest moments. Click To Tweet I realized that past failures had strengthened me, taught me that no one is immune from mistakes. Click To Tweet Hope is the most powerful force in the universe. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Though certainly not groundbreaking (far from it), “Make Your Bed” is as inspirational as is William McRaven’s brilliant commencement speech.

Meaning: it’s one of those books you just can’t buy only one copy of.

Take our word for it: we’ve given at least six of them as gifts.

And had we known you personally, we probably would have gifted one to you as well.

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Love & Respect PDF Summary

Love & Respect PDF SummaryThe Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs

Do you speak the language of love?

Or, let us rephrase that: do you know that in the dictionary of women, relationship is spelled C-O-U-P-L-E and in the dictionary of men, it is spelled C-H-A-I-R-S?

Wait… what?

Read our summary of “Love & Respect” to find out!

Who Should Read “Love & Respect”? And Why?

“Love & Respect” is a book everyone should read: couples who argue because they argue, couples who don’t because there’s a very high chance that they will (come on, guys, you’re barely in the second month of your relationship; it’s a bit different later on).

Due to its Christian undertones in the first two parts and explicit Christian message in the last one, “Love & Respect” will probably be enjoyed the most by religious couples of almost any Christian denominations.

About Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Dr. Emerson EggerichsDr. Emerson Eggerichs is the author of the “Love & Respect” series of books and the president of Love and Respect Ministries.

After obtaining a B.A. in Biblical studies, an M.A. in Communications, and a Master of Divinity degree from Dubuque Seminary, Eggerichs worked as a senior pastor of East Lansing’s Trinity Church for almost two decades.

In the meantime, he received a Ph.D. in Child and Family ecology from Michigan State University and authored his most famous book, “Love & Respect.”

He gives marriage conferences throughout the country and works closely with his wife Sarah, with whom he has lived in a happy marriage for almost half a century.

“Love & Respect PDF Summary”

“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself,” instructs the men St. Paul the Apostle in his “Epistle to the Ephesians,” “and the wife must respect her husband.”

According to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, in that very verse, the Bible says more about relationships than all the great poets, philosophers, and researchers who have ever lived or will ever be born.

And that is because, in his opinion, love and respect are the primary emotional needs of women and men respectively, which makes them as necessary to the wellbeing of each respective gender as air or food:

Wives are made to love, want to love, and expect love. Husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect.

True, Eggerichs doesn’t go that much into original psychological or scientific explanation as to why this should be true, but he offers numerous examples to prove his point, in addition to a supposedly surefire strategy to put it into practice and reap the rewards for your efforts.

Accordingly, the book itself is divided into three main sections:

PART ONE: THE CRAZY CYCLE

This is the theoretical section, analyzing in much more detail St. Paul’s above-quoted verse, and illustrating how all unhappy families are, in fact, unhappy in the same way, since they are all trapped in the identical no love/no respect succession of arguments.

This is, in a nutshell, the Crazy Cycle from the title: without love, she reacts in a disrespectful way; without respect, he reacts in an unloving way.

Why?

Because unlike women who usually see the world through pink sunglasses, men most often use blue sunglasses.

When men and women argue, these differing points of view escalate to the point of no return (Even Wittgenstein would say that we don’t visualize the meaning of words in the same way…)

PART TWO: THE ENERGIZING CYCLE

The only way to stop the Crazy Cycle spinning is to reverse it!

Because just the way a woman’s disrespect demotivates a man’s love and vice versa,

His love motivates her respect; her respect motivates his love.

So, in probably the most important section of his book, Dr. Eggerichs offers two strategies to energize the cycle of marriage: C-O-U-P-L-E for the men, and C-H-A-I-R-S for the women.

C-O-U-P-L-E: How to Spell Love to Your Wife

Closeness: She wants you to be close.
Openness: She wants you to open up to her.
Understanding: Don’t try to fix her; just listen.
Peacemaking: She wants you to say, “I’m sorry.”
Loyalty: She needs to know you’re committed.
Esteem: She wants you to honor and cherish her.

C-H-A-I-R-S: How to Spell Respect to Your Husband

Conquest: Appreciate his desire to work and achieve.
Hierarchy: Appreciate his desire to protect and provide.
Authority: Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead.
Insight: Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.
Relationship: Appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.
Sexuality: Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.

As Dr. Eggerichs concludes in the last chapter of this part, “the energizing cycle will work if you do.”

In other words, since everybody needs to be loved, love cannot be a passive activity. And as John Gottman demonstrated, marriages succeed not because couples don’t argue, but because they find a way to reach a compromise.

For the men, a compromise might mean listening to their girlfriends or wives and not trying to fix them; for the women, it may mean acting vulnerable and agreeing to be led.

But there’s no going forward unless both sides leave some of their burdens behind.

Your job, regardless of your spouse’s doings?

To “be the first to ‘seek peace and pursue it’ (1 Peter 3:11).”

PART THREE: THE REWARDED CYCLE

In the final part of his book, Dr. Eggerichs suggests that there is another cycle following the energizing one, and this one is the cycle where both partners uncover the real reason why they should love.

Since Dr. Eggerichs is a Christian author, it’s only expected that the reason is none other than God Himself.

If you love someone because you believe Paul’s words the greatest of all things is love (1 Corinthians 13:13), then you can truly love someone, regardless of how much she respects you (if you are a man) or how much he loves you back (if you are a woman).

The rewarded cycle is the cycle where “His love blesses regardless of her respect, and her respect blesses regardless of his love.”

Key Lessons from “Love & Respect”

1.      The Crazy Cycle is the No Love/No Respect Doom of All Marriages
2.      A Woman Wants to Be in a C-O-U-P-L-E
3.      A Man Needs His C-H-A-I-R-S

The Crazy Cycle is the No Love/No Respect Doom of All Marriages

If you are in a relationship and you have a lot of arguments with your partner, there’s a high chance that this is due the fact that you think that she doesn’t respect you (if you are a man) or that he doesn’t love you (if you are a woman).

It’s a crazy cycle this one, since once any of you two sets it off, it’s very difficult to stop it.

Why?

Because if the man shows no love, it makes the woman act in a disrespectful way, which encourages the man to act in a loveless manner.

A Woman Wants to Be in a C-O-U-P-L-E

To stop the crazy cycle, you need to energize your relationship.

If you are a man, show your woman that you are a C-O-U-P-L-E.

In other words, be close and open up to her; understand her and try to be the peacemaker in the relationship; finally, show her that you are loyal and that you esteem her highly.

A Man Needs His C-H-A-I-R-S

OK, it may sound a little bit funny in a title, but it’s not at all funny once you break down that acronym!

So, if you are a woman, always make your man feel like a conqueror and appreciate his desire to be the best at everything and above you in all hierarchies (even though, let’s face it, you’re way better than him: wink, wink); next, respect his authority and value his insight.

Finally, appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder relationship and, let’s face it, his needs for sexual intimacy.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Love & Respect Quotes”

No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect. Click To Tweet When a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife. When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband. Click To Tweet Forgiving is the direct opposite of judging. Nothing is easier than judging, nothing is harder than forgiving, and nothing can reap more blessings. Click To Tweet Women confront to connect. The typical response from a man, however, is that he thinks his wife is confronting to control. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Love & Respect” puts too many chips on one bet and it may be a bit too Christian for some people’s taste.

However, other than that, it’s actually very balanced, and it provides readers of all genders with valuable insight about the common failings of all relationships and even more valuable tools to repair them.

If it is up to us, though, love and respect go hand in hand, and all sexes need large quantities of them both.

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How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying PDF Summary

How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying PDFHesitant to share an accomplishment with your loved ones so as to not sound too irritating?

Time for a brief lesson by Alexandra Franzen:

How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying.”

Who Should Read “How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying”? And Why?

If you have accomplished something, and you want to share it (and your joy) with your friends, but don’t want to toot your own horn (so as to not disturb the delicate balance of the universe), you can use Franzen’s tips and tricks and actually do all of those things.

Don’t believe us?

Read ahead!

Alexandra FranzenAbout Alexandra Franzen

Alexandra Franzen is a Portland-based writer and consultant.

Mostly interested in topics such as productivity, creativity, goal-setting, communication, and entrepreneurship, Franzen has had her writing featured in magazines such as “Time,” “Forbes” and “The Huffington Post.”

She has written two books so far: “50 Days to Say You’re Awesome” and “You’re Going to Survive.”

“How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying PDF Summary”

Alexandra Franzen may not have a Wikipedia article just yet, but she does have a pretty visited webpage, an ever-growing fanbase, and few books to her name.

Even so, one day, soon after having her first book, “50 Days to Say You’re Awesome,” published, when asked by a friend of hers “So what’s been going on for you lately?,” she replied the same way most of us regular Joes would do: “Oh, you know… things… and stuff.”

Fortunately, this friend of hers was one who knew about her book, so she (or he) didn’t want to accept that kind of nonsensical answer, pressing Alexandra to say something more about her book.

But Franzen wouldn’t give in: “It’s really just an illustrated book. Barely any writing. Plus, it’s not like it’s a bestseller or anything…”

And then her friend said something that struck the author of “How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying” to her very core:

‘Alex, you wrote a book, and it’s being sold in bookstores,’ she said, matter-of-factly. ‘That is amazing. I’m proud of you. Let me be happy for you. Stop downsizing your joy.’

However, as you are about to learn, in social conventions and friendly conversations, the opposite of downsizing isn’t aggrandizing, but, well, being nice while joyful.

And Franzen shares her five rules on how you can do just that.

And we have our “Key Lessons” section reserved just for them.

Key Lessons from “How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying”

1.      Keep It Simple
2.      Whenever Possible, Use “Because”
3.      Discuss the Future of Hard Work Ahead of You
4.      Make It a Conversation, Not a Monologue
5.      Shift the Conversation… Even Further

Keep It Simple

Accomplishing something doesn’t mean using every opportunity to go off on an hour-long rant (or, to use Franzen’s word “ramble-fest”) about how you showed your high school classmates that you’re better them.

And it doesn’t mean overstating the accomplishment or glorifying your discipline and dedication.

Be simple and matter-of-factly: “I just got promoted at work. I think I am capable of rising up to the challenge.”

No exclamation marks!

Whenever Possible, Use “Because”

Franzen informs us that a Harvard research study has all but proved that using the word “because” results in people agreeing with you much more likely.

So, to use Franzen’s example, say something along the lines of:

I’m really excited about my promotion to a senior-level position because I want to live in a world where 50% of CEOs are female, instead of just 4.6%.

Discuss the Future of Hard Work Ahead of You

Staying still with our promotion-related example (we think you can easily translate the strategy into almost every other situation when you have to talk about your accomplishments).

For most people, telling them that you’ve just been promoted to a senior-level position is not much different from telling them that you’re about to earn much more money for doing a lot less work.

So, counter this from the start: “I just got promoted at work to a senior-level position. It’s a lot more challenging and time-consuming job, but I think I have the right motivation and state of mind. And I’m going to prove to them that they made the right choice.”

Make It a Conversation, Not a Monologue

And… stop there.

If you go on talking about yourself after these few sentences, you’ve broken rule #1, i.e., you’ve not kept things simple.

Now, it’s time to engage your friend in this (so far) quite boring discussion which includes him/her not one bit.

So, start talking about your friend’s recent accomplishments.

In case there are none, and he/she hates his/her job, ask him/her something like “What would be your dream job?” or “Do you have a fantasy career?”

This should open up the conversation and earn you some friendship points.

Shift the Conversation… Even Further

Don’t stop there.

In case you notice that the news about your accomplishment has made your friend even less happy – be even more generous!

And spend as much time as you need to get him/her to talk about something positive and upbeat.

The world, after all, doesn’t revolve around you.

So, never forget that when things go your way, there are many people around you whose lives haven’t been as generous.

It’s your turn.

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“How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying Quotes”

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Via Maya Angelou) Click To Tweet

People may forget your accomplishments and career successes, but if you can make someone feel valued and appreciated, like they’ve got a real friend and cheerleader on their team? Click To Tweet

Stop downsizing your joy. Click To Tweet

So often, in life, we downplay our accomplishments because we don’t want to be irritating, sound braggy, or take too much credit for making big, exciting things happen. Click To Tweet

Your friends, your colleagues, your future employer, new people at your local industry mixer—they’d all love to hear something excellent and inspiring. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying” may be nothing more than one more uninspiring article compiling in a list few commonsense things everybody should know and do, but – since the latter is not the case – the former is certainly not the case either.

In other words, for all its brevity, “How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying” should inspire you to become a better and more caring person.

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Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does PDF Summary

Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work... and What Does PDFThe New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging

The good old carrot-and-stick method doesn’t work anymore?

Well, times have changed!

And there’s a new science of leading, energizing, and engaging!

Time to find out “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does.”

Who Should Read “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does”? And Why?

Traditional motivational techniques may have worked in the past, but, to expect them to work still would mean to ignore how much the world has changed over the past several decades.

In “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does,” Susan Fowler urges leaders and managers to move beyond outdated motivational tactics and embrace the new science of energizing.

Start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners will find plenty of advice here as well!

Susan FowlerAbout Susan Fowler

Susan Fowler is a sought-after speaker and motivational trainer, the lead developer of The Ken Blanchard Company’s Optimal Motivation program.

Throughout her career, Fowler has co-authored numerous books, including “Self Leadership and The One Minute Manager” (with Ken Blanchard and Laurie Hawkins), “Achieve Leadership Genius” (with Drea Zigarmi and Dick Lyles) as well as “Leading at a Higher Level” and “Empowerment” (both with Ken Blanchard).

In addition, Fowler also blogs regularly for SmartBrief on Leadership, the Huffington Post, and LeaderChat.

She has coached in over 30 countries.

“Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does PDF Summary”

In a way, there are only two types of motivation.

People are motivated to do something either because they must do it or because they want to do it.

In the former case, it’s all about ambition, rewards, and goal; the motivation of the must-doers is an ego-grounded motivation.

In the latter, the point is to grow, to learn, to excel; the motivation of the want-doers is a values-based motivation.

What science has recently discovered is that the values-based motivation is the only one which actually makes sense in the long run.

Because:

Peak performers are not goal driven. Peak performers are values-based and inspired by a noble purpose.

It took science a long time to reach this conclusion.

Why?

Well, because just a few years after the Second World War, B. F. Skinner – possibly the most influential psychologist of the 20th century – did quite a few experiments with pigeons, investigating phenomena such as superstitions and motivation.

A radical behaviorist, he came to a startling conclusion: you can make a pigeon do absolutely anything if it knows that there’s a reward; in addition, you can visibly inhibit some aspects of its behavior if you punish it by holding back on the food pellets.

What did this mean in terms of motivation at the workplace?

In an idiom (which, coincidentally, dates back to around the same time when Skinner was conducting his pigeon experiments): carrots and sticks.

And for many decades, managers believed that if you reward your employees for their good work and punish them for their bad behavior, you’ll eventually carve out the perfect worker out of them.

The problem is – it doesn’t work that way.

For even when they do, rewards only work in the short term – and cause plenty of problems in the long run.

That is, when there is a lack of money in the company, and you must put an end to the reward program, the reward-oriented employees will start doing a lot less work.

In fact, Drs. Richard Ryan and Edward Deci have demonstrated all but conclusively that real long-term motivation has nothing to do with carrots and sticks – but everything with “hope and promise.”

In other words, most people are already motivated but usually in a much more abstract way than the market would want them too.

Consequently, the job of leaders and managers is practically mission impossible: they need to motivate their employees to do things which may not be aligned with the employees’ inherent motivation.

It’s almost like a Catch-22:

The motivation dilemma is that leaders are being held accountable to do something they cannot do –motivate others.

But, if people are already motivated, how motivated are they?

And is there anything you can do?

According to Susan Fowler, there are six motivational outlooks, which can be easily illustrated by examining the reaction of six different employees to a routine work meeting:

#1. Disinterested: Employee n. 1 thinks that the meeting was a waste of time.
#2. External: Employee n. 2 thinks that this (like any other) meeting was a venue for him to exercise his power and position; he now expects a reward for being there.
#3. Imposed: Employee n. 3 was under severe pressure to attend the meeting because, well, everybody did; otherwise, he wouldn’t have come.
#4. Aligned: Employee n. 4 believes that he learned one or two valuable lessons at the meeting.
#5. Integrated: Employee n. 5 loved the meeting: he/she sincerely believes in the things discussed during this meeting and would want many more meetings such as this one in the future.
#6. Inherent: Employee n. 6 loves being around people, and meetings are his thing. This one? It was (like all the others) fun and enjoyable!

Now, as is obvious at first sight, the first three motivational outlooks are suboptimal drivers which can physically drain a person. Fowler calls them “motivational junk food.”

The last three motivational outlooks are energetic: they are the “motivational health food.”

Now, someone likes his burgers and Nachos, but others prefer broccoli and spinach. And, if you have a child, you know that it is pretty difficult to motivate it to eat the latter if it likes the former.

Scientific research has discovered that the same is true with motivation as well.

The good news?

Just like children feed themselves better by themselves, employees seem more motivated when they feel that three fundamental psychological needs of theirs are satisfied:

#1. Autonomy: I’m free to choose what you can do;
#2. Relatedness: I care about other people, and they care about me as well;
#3. Competence: I am capable of doing this job – and I am capable of doing it better than many.

So, the way out of the motivation dilemma is quite counterintuitive: instead of trying to motivate your employees to do something, just discover what they are already motivated about.

And, afterward, allow them to do exactly that.

Key Lessons from “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does”

1.      External Motivation Undermines Internal Motivation
2.      The Internally Motivated Live Under an ARC of Freedom
3.      There Are Six Motivational Outlooks – and Only Three Are Good

External Motivation Undermines Internal Motivation

In a nutshell, there are two types of motivation: either you must do something, or you want to do something.

In the case of the former, even though mostly in the short run, external motivation works; however, in the case of the latter, it is, in fact, an impediment.

Why?

Because money and promotions motivate people only to a certain extent; everything after that is intrinsic.

The Internally Motivated Live Under an ARC of Freedom

An internally motivated person will move mountains for you and ask for nothing in return.

The reason is quite simple: the three fundamental psychological needs (autonomy, relatedness, and competence – ARC) are already satisfied in his case.

In other words, when people feel competent to do something, have complete freedom to do it the way they want to and have evidence that their work brings some good in the lives of others – then they’ll do it without any external incentives.

In fact, they may feel these as a sort of an insult:

People who experience ARC are thriving. They do not need something or someone else doing the driving.

There Are Six Motivational Outlooks – and Only Three Are Good

There are six motivational outlooks.

The disinterested, external and imposed are the junk food of motivation, while its health food is the aligned, integrated, and the inherent motivational outlook.

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“Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does Quotes”

The motivation dilemma is that leaders are being held accountable to do something they cannot do – motivate others. Click To Tweet

Misunderstanding what motivation means leads to a misapplication of techniques to make it happen. Click To Tweet

Devoting time and effort to help people shift their motivational outlook pays off in countless ways for them, your organization and you as a leader. Click To Tweet

Leaders are so immersed in five motivation-eroding beliefs that they find it difficult to hear, see, or do something different. Click To Tweet

Motivation is a skill. People can learn to choose and create optimal motivational experiences anytime and anywhere. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does” seems to borrow a lot from Daniel H. Pink’s classic “Drive.”

However, this doesn’t make Susan Fowler’s book obsolete.

Because, what it lacks in originality, it compensates in applicability.

And that is at least as important.

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Happy Accidents PDF Summary

Happy Accidents PDFThe Transformative Power of “YES, AND” at Work and in Life

Sometimes, finding the perfect mix of freedom and dedication may seem hopeless. Many people just can’t get out of the way fast enough because they are afraid of change.

Learn more about how to adopt the right winning mentality.

Who Should Read “Happy Accidents”? And Why?

Every now and then, we fill trapped in the circle of mediocrity. We wonder what’s wrong with us and why we haven’t indulged in activities that bring us joy!

Happy Accidents” puts a label on this reality and tries to understand people’s behavior regarding the same issue.

We believe it’s suitable for the wider audience!

About David Ahearn, Frank Ford and David Wilk

Four Day WeekendWell, evidently David Ahearn, Frank Ford, and David Wilk are the co-founders of the Four Day Weekend comedy group.

“Happy Accidents PDF Summary”

What’s the deal with comedians? Well mostly, these entertainers draw on their personal experience and surroundings to think of hilarious and sarcastic jokes. Their performance is also affected by the type of audience, which is on the receiving end!

For the most part, they are solo workers. However, communication as a group has led to satisfactory results.

Working together as one means that they’ll either succeed od stumble as a group. Spending so many hours together sparks mental proximity and interdependent connection.

Betting the bottom dollar on collaboration is one of the few ways for putting an end to shallow limitations. Embracing the “Yes, I can do it” mentality chases away the negative mindset which profoundly influences a person’s ability to amuse the crowd.

Improvisation Is Key for Reaching the Stars

Even Bear Grylls – an adventurer and TV presenter said on numerous occasions that doing things off the top of your head is beneficial. If you ever end up in the wild, without proper gear or tools – the most important thing is to keep your morale up by improvisation and adapting to the environment.

In 1996, when Four Day Weekend was starting off their joint endeavors, they had to face a series of obstacles. These guys put in a lot of hard work, which eventually converted into a mentality to make good use of any happy accident.

The business community and the local authorities wholeheartedly endorsed their innovative idea, which made the path to success a bit easier. Nonetheless, there was a long road ahead of them.

How to seize every opportunity? The members of Four Day Weekend settled in Dallas. Over this transit period, they remained open to any scenario, without advocating for one turn of events. When someone offered them Fort Worth, they packed their bags and went on an adventure.

Think of spontaneity

People stuck in the daily routine, day in and day out hate to admit that opportunities are hidden behind every action. These symbols occur all the time, but not everyone has the guts to follow the same life-intensity.

Ask yourself the following question – What does that other person has that I don’t have? Probably, the one and only answer would be – ATTITUDE! Don’t let excuses stand in the way of success. A flashback to teenage years, where we bet that you’ve dismissed dozens of ideas, which could have infused some freshness into your life!

The members of Four Day Weekend after a large-scale search eventually laid their eyes on a theater which accommodated their needs. They even made a deal with the manager to take a percentage of the sales, in exchange for not paying rent.

Look at the possibilities, don’t be shooting in the dark

It’s no surprise that your colleagues or friends would like to see the organization flourish as well. The spiritedness and togetherness must be fueled with the “Yes” attitude. When you do treat people in a similar manner, you are sending positive vibes and encouragement!

Every person on this planet is eager to prove its worthiness to the world and show why their ideas should be taken into consideration. By understanding this mindset, you may be able to see the reality with different eyes.

For instance, Four Day Weekend’s members were extremely worried that their audience was using their cellphones during the show.

They later found out, that these people were just calling or texting other people, to share how amazing the show was!  

So, during the breaks, the troupe encourage the audience to post pictures of the show on their Social Media profiles. As a result of this strategy, the popularity of the comedy went from OK to WOW. In other words, the group became an overnight sensation.

Four Day Weekend’s acclamation went through the roof, which made the group aware that the success they’ve reached up to 2016 now has to be maintained.

They continued welcoming the “Yes” attitude as part of their game plan and made an effort to boost each member’s status and reputation.

Now, their focus is fixated on finding new audiences, which know how to appreciate a good joke.

Focus on Partnerships and Relationships

Prosperous businesses must be open to various relationships and links. According to Four Day Weekend having a good time and making new friends counts the most.

It’s also critical to mention that after the devastating 2001 attacks, the members of Four Day Weekend agreed to perform for the military and other groups for free.

Key Lessons from “Happy Accidents”

1.      Don’t rely on your vanity
2.      Don’t undervalue anyone
3.      Excitement springs from right actions

Don’t rely on your vanity

Put your ego to the side and show why there’s no such thing as a bad idea. If you are firm in your opinion to cooperate with other parties and show them the respect, they are due.

Most people forget this mind-blowing but straightforward concept that yields impressive results.

Don’t undervalue anyone

As you can see, everyone deserves high-merits for their involvement in a certain activity. Doing the things, you wish others should do for you, is a great way to stay humble and on the right track.

Perhaps, the bottom line is – it’s never easy to destroy someone’s restrictions including yours.

Excitement springs from right actions

First and foremost, create an atmosphere of support, where people could present their ideas without becoming a laughingstock.

Even if you dislike the proposal, work on your rejection-skills to make everyone feel like part of the team.

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“Happy Accidents Quotes”

Always remember: If this were easy, everyone would do it. Click To Tweet We never explore the exact same material, or the exact same show, or the exact same audience. There’s always a fresh space for improvement, learning, and growth. Click To Tweet We all have a unique perspective…when we honor the unique perspective of others, we are often provided a glimpse of the potential that would otherwise go unseen. Click To Tweet True collaboration teaches us to let go of our preconceived notions and instead deal with the reality of what is being offered. Click To Tweet Passion and loyalty are the two most central components to the success or failure of an organization, and both…come from feeling heard. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Well, this storytelling book filled with practical tips can make all the difference if you know how to make use of it. We were thrilled and amazed by the sense of excitement and uniqueness in each sentence.

We sincerely advise everyone to dive into this storyline and learn the benefits of adopting the right attitude.

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