Rich Dad Poor Dad
Quick Review: There is no wonder that this book lights the fire under the ass of so many people. It sure did for me. Kiyosaki takes a straight-line approach in explaining what keeps the majority of Americans from building wealth by comparing his real dad (poor dad) with his mentor and best friend’s dad (rich dad). Some of the most important concepts that Kiyosaki explains are: just how crippling debt is, true assets vs. liabilities, the concept of having your money work for you, paying yourself first, spending before paying taxes, and many more important lessons. We are encouraged every hour to live a life full of consumption and debt, it’s no wonder that so many end up on this hamster wheel. This book will not only teach you how to get off, it will motivate you to do so.
Main Takeaway: It is important to play the game of taxes the right way in our country. A huge reason that 2/3 millionaires own their own business is that they make their money, pay themselves, spend money, and then pay the remainder of what they haven’t written off (not much) in taxes. Another huge lesson that I learned is that you must be honest with yourself in what is truly an asset and what is not.
The One Thing
Quick Review: It’s no wonder that Keller is the founder of the number one real estate franchise in the country. This book does an excellent job explaining the importance of focusing your time and energy on one main task, skill, or income generating activity… that is if you want to be great. For many people in sales that activity is prospecting and filling your pipeline. We so often spend countless hours on activities that we are no better at than the next person, when we could instead hire those activities out and focus our time and energy on our most important, highest dollar-generating activities. After reading this book you will begin to notice how often you get distracted and waste your time and begin noticing the power of momentum.
Main Takeaway: Our brains are not made to multi-task, in fact, the act of multi-tasking is technically impossible for us. Some are better at task switching, but in the end, the most efficient and successful people in their fields are those that become excellent at a single activity and focus the majority of their time on it.
Quick Review: The first time that I picked this book up, I gave up after about 20 pages. At first, you may feel put off by the small font, large pages, and scientific wording… power through! If you are able to muscle through this, you will find amazing explanations of why we feel happiness and connection when we do, and how we can achieve these feelings more often. Mihaly will draw from examples of rock climbers, chess players, factory workers, and many other walks of life to help us realize how and why we find ourselves in the “flow” state.
Main Takeaway: We are able to create flow experiences out of many different situations in life by creating an environment where we have measurable, achievable objectives. As we meet these objectives, we must continue to raise the bar and challenge ourselves just a little bit more.
Never Split the Difference
Quick Review: This book is pure gold, and so is Chris’ interview on the BiggerPockets podcast. I can vividly recall reading about a kidnapping negotiation that Chris handled in the Philippines while on the plane a couple of months ago. This story, like many others that Chris tells, was so good in and of itself that you would be on the edge of your seat no matter who told it. The way that he relates these exciting stories to business and everyday negotiation is seamless and makes a ton of sense. What I think makes this book so great is that you do not only learn about a given negotiation tactic, but rather you come to understand the psychological concept behind it. When this happened, I really felt the “bells going off” and wanted to rush off and experiment with it in my next interaction.
Main Takeaway: People are not rational. By doing a great job of asking questions and listening, you can bring your counterpart to “discover” the point that you wanted to argue. The only difference is that when THEY discover it for themselves, they gladly accept it.
BRRRR Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat
Quick Review: A nice sequel to his book Long Distance Real Estate Investing, this book is a great intermediate guide to buy and hold real estate investing in general. Many of the systems and practices described in this book can be utilized whether you are using the BRRRR method or not. One counterpoint that is not covered in this book is the strategy of owning real estate outright and “unlocking” the cash flow on it right away. I began investing this way and I am currently in a battle of whether to BRRRR my next property or not. I think that I will probably balance my portfolio going forward with some debt because of the scalability and debt-pay down advantages of the BRRRR model.
Main Takeaway: The scalability of the BRRRR method is what makes it so great. The #1 way to kick ass in real estate is to prove yourself through ACTION. The BRRRR model allows you to repeat your processes much more frequently so that you can be great at them, talk about them, and provide consistent work to your “core four” that are helping you.
Quick Review: If you are thinking about extended travel (more than 2 weeks), this is a great book for you. Potts talks about the right and wrong reasons for why one should set off on an extended journey. He also talks about how to be a good traveler, backpacker or tourist and get the most out of your trip. Reading this before my 4-month trip through South America greatly changed my perspective, and therefore the things that I ended up spending my time on. I like his perspective, as it falls somewhere in between the total hippie and the studious tourist. He also talks about how to get motivated and start planning/ saving for your trip so that it actually happens!
Main Takeaway: Do not just travel to the same popular spots as everyone else just to take that same “beautiful” photo. Travel with purpose, dive deep into the culture, go out of your comfort zone and then go even further. Most importantly, take your time.
Quick Review: Through a fictional story, this book takes us through the lives of a typical American family who was struggling to keep up with the materialistic expectations of our society, but throughout the book, turned their lives into ones of meaning and wealth. If you are able to look past the bit of cheesiness that comes with this one, I think that this book can be highly beneficial to most people that I know, as it was for me. I must warn: there is talk of religion and God, so for those not comfortable with that, this book may not be for you. Many of us have materialistic goals that just seem “obvious” in our society, however, in reality, the constant need to prove our social status with material things holds us back. In this book, a man who is working very hard to provide for his family is struggling in his marriage and life, even though most would consider them high-middle class. Everything changes when he meets an old high school friend who seems to be enjoying life so much.
Main Takeaway: We would all be doing ourselves a solid if we just stopped every once in a while and thought about WHY we do the things we do and want the things we want. Our society engrains in us some very materialistic needs, and many of us could be living much happier lives if we thought about which of those needs were holding us back, and chopped the fat.
Leadership and Self-deception- The Arbinger Institute
Quick Review: This fictional story does an excellent job explaining a vital flaw that holds each of us back on a daily basis in our work, relationships, and leisure. What’s tricky is that this very flaw is what keeps us from noticing that we are carrying it with us. Have you ever thought and spoke poorly of someone only to later discover that they were facing very tough circumstances? How did this make you feel?
Main Takeaway: We are assholes much more often than we think. Only by stepping out of the “box”, and staying there, can we see situations fairly and treat others with the respect and understanding that they deserve. This is paramount to good leadership.
Start With Why – Simon Sinek
Quick Review: I first discovered the power of having a “why” through Gary Keller’s books, which spurred me to dig deeper and pick this one up. I always thought of this from more of a personal level, but Sinek does an excellent job explaining why it is doubly important for leaders and companies to have a clear “why”. It took me quite a few months to come up with a “why” that I truly believed in. Although this is no easy task, I highly encourage it. As a leader, it is important to convey our why in order to acquire true followers. True followers follow because they want to, not because they are being paid or coerced to. True followers get behind a “why”.
Main Takeaway: By thinking big about an overarching objective, we allow ourselves to become devoted to something larger than ourselves. In doing so, we can light a fire under our ass and soar to achievement that we had previously not imagined.
The 4-Hour Work Week
- Quick Review: The day that I finished this book, I ordered a Spanish program and booked tickets to Patagonia. 8 months later, I was in Peru at the end of a 4-month trip, fluent in Spanish. This book inspired me to quit my job, travel, work for myself, and look at everything differently. From such an early age, we all have the idea pounded in our heads that we need to work a 9-to-5, 40-hour workweek at an office. If you read this book and decide to take things into your own hands, you can easily break away from that lifestyle. Tim does an excellent job of both inspiring you with the big-picture thinking of salsa dancing in Argentina, and drilling down to the specific strategies of how to convince your boss that you don’t need to be in the office to get shit done. Pick this one up, but be warned… you may be looking at flights and new jobs when you finish.
- Main Takeaway: Dream up the type of life that you want to live, and start doing something about it!! It’s time to stop thinking about getting past “hump day” and start taking your life into your own hands.
The Richest Man in Babylon
Quick Review- By the way that many of us spend our money, you would think that we were debt free and earn far more than we do. It is amazing how irresponsible young Americans are with their spending. With less and less people working with their hands and learning the true value of money, so many flash their card around like a power-crazed cop flashes his badge. This book is older, but has never been more useful than it is today. It uses old parables and easy examples to explain the most important concepts of personal finance. This one is an easy read and I think that it should be required in every high school around the country.
Main Takeaway: The same concepts of personal finance separate the rich and poor that did over 1,000 years ago. Luck, greediness, or extreme measures are not the way to wealth, instead it is the same discipline, sacrifice and hard work that separates most of the wealthy today as 1,000 years ago.
Quick Review: My business model is largely based off of this book. Through a fictional story, the authors illustrate the simple concept that you can have everything in life that you want if you just help enough other people get what they Although the concept may sound simple, putting it into action will likely feel very difficult and counter-intuitive. In the competitive business world that we face in America, it is very common and almost expected to demonstrate the negative qualities of your competitor’s product or service while selling your own. This book not only tells us that that practice is wrong, but that we should share the positive qualities of our competitor’s product or service. This book is a MUST READ for any salesperson or entrepreneur, and highly suggested for anyone.
Main Takeaway: By resisting our tendency to cater to our own needs and wants first, we can build a reservoir of supporters for our most important cause, our reputation.
The Compound Effect
Quick Review: I don’t care who you are; this book is a MUST READ. Hardy shares a true no-bullshit approach about how to crush life in this book. I love how right out of the gate he pounds in the reader’s head that there are no get-rich-quick, get-fit-quick, drive a Porsche by next week, regimens that actually work. Instead, he shares his theory of how committing to making smart decisions and sacrifices on a daily basis over a period of years is the key to catapulting yourself into success in all facets of your life.
Main Takeaway: I need to get my ass in gear! There are plenty of folks who talk about doing big things, but the ones who you see pulling ahead and doing great things have already been making the small sacrifices for years. This stuff is not sexy, and you likely won’t see results for months, but if you have the motivation to replace a few bad habits with a few good ones, you can be leaps ahead of your peers within a matter of a couple years.
Investing in Real Estate With No and Low Money Down
Investing in Real Estate With No and Low Money Down
Quick Review: This book provides excellent information for a wide range of people, from the person who just began thinking about investing in real estate, to the 5-year veteran who could use these excellent strategies to stretch or recycle his money. Sooooo many folks out there believe that real estate investing is only for the rich and that they are years away from being able to invest. Many also think that you need to put 20% down on a house. This book does a great job shooting down these false beliefs with true stories of how people like the author quickly went from broke to crushing the real estate game with just hustle and knowledge on their side. I love Brandon’s light and funny way of writing, it’s not easy to keep talk about different types of financing entertaining, but he manages to do just that.
Main Takeaway: The creativity, control, and wide range of options that real estate offers is what makes it the best way to invest your money. Stop saying “I can’t” and start saying, “How can I”.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
Quick Review: I remember sitting in Starbucks and after finishing a few chapters of this book, pulling out my computer and buying my 1-way ticket to Colombia. If you want to travel and you have a lot of fears, excuses, and “things going on in your life” that are holding you back, this book will help you get over them. The author does a good job digging into specifics, down to the benefits of certain credit cards. With that, however, the book can come off a bit dry after the first couple inspiring chapters. The author breaks down costs of living in different parts of the world, different money saving strategies, and many dos and don’ts of traveling and the spending that comes with it.
Main Takeaway: Breaking down the numbers of a trip and figuring out just how much you need to save and just how much you are able to spend truly eliminates a large fear in travelling and puts you much closer to the starting line.
The 4 Agreements
Quick Review: Taken from ancient Toltec wisdom, this book does an excellent job keeping things simple, yet leaving a huge impact. These 4 agreements are agreements with yourself, like so many self-improvement books, they seem very obvious, yet nobody seems to follow these principles. I really loved the way that the author lightly tied the discussion into the history of the Toltecs. In a world of blame, I really like how this book explains that you are the maker of your own perspective and life. It is up to us to take the higher road, to show empathy, to avoid gossip, to be true to our word. If we are able to hold ourselves to a few of these very important principles, we can shape an amazing life for ourselves and for those around us.
Main Takeaway: We do not know what is really going on in the lives and heads of those around us. Casting judgment and gossiping is always negative and never helps. When we take what others do and say personally, it is our own fault; it’s important to realize that that person is battling their own battles.
Principles –Ray Dalio
Quick Review: If you ever plan to start a company of your own, you must read this book. In the face of an industry filled with bullshit artists, skepticism, and empty promises, Ray created arguably the best investment management firm of its time. What’s so incredible about this is that he did this by creating an environment of “radical transparency” and “radical open-mindedness” in this often-ambiguous industry. Many of us don’t have the guts to review our problems in a light that says, “I caused this, my “machine” caused this”, what’s wrong with my machine? And how can I fix my machine so that it doesn’t spit this problem out in the future? Well, many of us wouldn’t make the cut at Bridgewater. I think that these Principles are needed now more than ever in a society where everyone is able to project him or herself as a flawless Instagram star, yet so few take steps toward personal review and improvement.
Main Takeaway: In order to improve, you must seek and face the truth. There is nothing to fear in the truth, the sooner that you find it, the sooner that you can begin to design and implement change.
The Geometry of Wealth –Brian Portnoy
Quick review: I needed to push myself through this one. This book contains some great insight into what a healthy perspective on building wealth looks like. If you would like a medium-distance view on investing through traditional methods (stocks, bonds, saving), this is the book for you. The reason why I found this one to be dry is that the bulk of the book dives into specifics with stocks and bonds, and my current focus is on pulling out of those avenues to use most of my resources in real estate.
Main Takeaway: Being rich and being wealthy are entirely different things. Being wealthy and being happy are entirely different things. However, with the right perspective, one can use their wealth in the form of “funded contentment” in order to fulfill their purpose in life, and in that case money can help one attain happiness.
- Quick Review- Having always aspired to be a successful entrepreneur like my father, this is by far one of the most important business books I have read. The main concept in this book is the difference between those entrepreneurs that create businesses that can run themselves and those entrepreneurs that hire themselves a job and their business needs them to survive. Yes, as an entrepreneur you should expect to work extra long hours to get your business off the ground, but too many small business owners find themselves working harder than those around them with even less freedom that the employed because they have designed their business around themselves. They run themselves into the ground. This book shows you how to avoid that.
- Main Takeaway- When creating a business, from the very beginning, you should be crafting a system and a playbook that you may hand off when the time is right. Not only does this make it so that you are able to walk away from your business, but this allows you to create a sellable asset.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You
Quick Review: The title of this book made me weary to pick it up for some time. I thought that it was going to be some cliché, 10-steps-to-kiking-ass type of book. What’s funny is that Cal’s theories are quite the opposite. He tells us that easy-sounding routes to success should be viewed with great apprehension. Instead, he has found that most of those with fulfilling and successful careers had a common habit of building “career capital” through diligent work in their given field. Too often in our society you hear about the wonderful concept of following your passion to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Cal debunks this myth and teaches us instead that ideal careers are shaped by the hard work and sacrifice that is required to become great at something.
Main Takeaway: It’s not so much WHAT industry or field that you chose, but rather HOW DEEP you go that will determine your level of opportunity, success, and fulfillment. Forget the easy route; go deep.
Set for Life
Quick Review: I constantly recommend this book to clients and people looking to get started in real estate. This practical guide to getting off the proverbial hamster wheel is well written and will have you ready to take action! Scott is an impressive young guy out of Denver here who sets a great example through action; he works for BiggerPockets and has also made an appearance on their podcast. I really like his perspective on frugality, simplicity, and house hacking. In this book, he will essentially walk you through a foolproof way to get started building wealth. He will explore great ways to start saving serious cash, making more money, and securing assets that will pay you going forward.
Main Takeaway: Going from zero net worth to financial freedom is very doable if you are disciplined and motivated. It can reasonably be done within a matter of ten years, even if you make a moderate income.
The Blue Ocean Strategy
Quick Review: If you are an entrepreneur, or plan to be in the near future, you need to read this book. I did find the style and flow to be a bit dry, almost like a textbook, but the information is gold. Pulling from examples of companies that we all know and love, the authors explain how these individual companies revolutionized their given industries by effectively creating a Blue Ocean. This book will show you different ways to brainstorm up a blue ocean by looking across different buyer groups, levels of distribution, similar industries, etc. If you have a specific product, service, or even industry in mind, you can practically use this book to come up with realistic ideas of how to create your own market space.
Main Takeaway: It is possible to create a product or service that combines the low-cost and differentiation strategies. Not only is it possible, but also it makes a whole lot of sense. The best way to do this is to create your own market space by thinking out of the box.
The Millionaire Next Door
Quick Review: Are you of the opinion of many of my friends that “it takes money to make money”? Did you know that 80% of millionaires in America are first generation millionaires? This book is a famous review of a comprehensive study done on wealth in America. The book uses the findings of the largest independent study on wealth in America (at it’s time) to illustrate the issue between PAWs (prodigious accumulators of wealth) and UAWs (under accumulators of wealth). The average wealthy person or millionaire in America is not who you think it is. It is largely not the person driving this year’s top-of-the-line BMW and wearing a $5,000 watch. The authors did a wonderful job regurgitating the findings of their massive study in a fun and entertaining way, with plenty of mind-blowing statistics to go along.
Main Takeaway: There is a massive difference between people who make large incomes and those who accumulate a lot of wealth. Children of millionaires and PAWs have a very hard time repeating what their parents were able to do because they largely do not live frugal lifestyles, and must constantly “keep up with the Jones’ “.
Long Distance Real Estate Investing
Quick Review: This book gave me the courage and the know-how to begin investing out of state. This book effectively changed my perspective on out of state investing from something close to “wow this is risky and scary” to “wow this is a no-brainer given where I live”. I immediately took the action steps that David lines out in this book to create a team in your out of state market, and just a few months later I am closing on my 2nd out of state deal. Some main aspects that he covers in this book are: why out of state investing has a bad reputation, what advantages it offers, and of course, how to do it.
Main Takeaway: In our tiny, technological world, it makes more sense to invest where the numbers work, rather than force it in your local market. In fact, it is actually highly beneficial to be no where near your rental properties, because they do not take any of your time and you can make sound, unemotional decisions based on numbers.
The Cash Flow Quadrant- Robert Kiyosaki
Quick Review: Although this is not the most exciting or inspiring book like Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad, the information and insight in this is pure gold. I really like the way that Kiyosaki takes complex concepts like the flow of money, taxes, and different styles of investing and simplifies it down to a few boxes on a page with some arrows. There is a reason that small business owners account for two-thirds of the millionaires in our country, and that is because of the way that they control the flow of their money. Our country allows small business owners, investors, and especially those in real estate, massive advantages for their contributions to our economy. Many of those advantages come in the form of tax write-offs, and ways of avoiding taxes by playing the system properly.
Main Takeaway: It is important to play our country’s tax game wisely and a good accountant is worth every penny. Many of those who escape our country’s hamster wheel do so by changing their flow of money so that they earn > spend > write off > pay what’s left in taxes.
Quiet –Susan Cain
Quick Review: If you are among the approximate 1/3 of Americans that consider themselves introverted, I highly recommend this book. Susan does an excellent job putting into words the pull toward extroversion that we experience as Americans. In our society, it’s common for parents and teachers of introverted children to assume that something is wrong or that a child is behind. This causes parents and teachers to try to fit these children into a box which they do not belong, and ultimately may hinder their ability to make their important contribution to our society. Cain provides plenty of examples of situations where an introverted person may feel overwhelmed or out of their element, and explains how this is completely normal and common. From middle school through college, I constantly felt the pull toward the group mentality and accepted the fact that I was just lame when I didn’t want to partake. I’d rather pull a friend outside and smoke a cigarette than be in the middle of the loud dance party. I’d rather play pool with a couple of friends than go out to the party that was happening that night. Susan tells us that this is common and that this is how we are wired. Not only this, but she tells us that there are many big advantages with being introverted and we play a crucial role.
Main Takeaway: It’s wrong that our society makes us feel like we need to be a gregarious extrovert in order to succeed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Harness the powers of being an introvert and don’t be afraid to do what makes you feel comfortable.