The big idea:

            It’s a tiny book with some powerful principles on how to create the right philosophy to be successful. It's not just for sales people. The principles this book teaches could be applied by anyone.

Background:

            Og Mandino published the Greatest Salesman in the World, in 1968 at the age of 45.  It was his first book.  It was also his most successful book.  In all, Og has sold more than 50 Million copies of his 19 books!

During WWII, Og was a bombardier, flying 30 missions over Germany. After the military, he became an insurance salesman, but he just couldn't get his life together. He became estranged from his wife and young child, developed a drinking problem, and was contemplating suicide, when he went to a library and started reading self-help books.  The one he credits with changing his life is Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill and Clement Stone (I've put it on the list to review). He was so moved by the book that he took a job with Clement Stone's sales organization working his way up and breaking sales records.

Fun fact: actor Matthew McConaughey says the book changed his life. He started reading it right before taking exams to go to law school and says that it gave him the courage to pursue acting.

The book is a parable about a young man named Hafid in in Biblical times. Hafid gets his hands on 10 Scrolls that hold the secret to becoming successful. You're supposed to read each scroll 3 times a day, morning, noon and night for a month straight before you move onto the next.  So, in theory, the book should take you 10 months to read.   

Top 3 Takeaways:

  1. "The only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure."
  2. "One step at a time is not too difficult. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. I will persist until I succeed."
  3. "Action, alone, is the tinder which ignites my dreams, my plan, my goals, into a living force. Action is the food and drink which will nourish my success. I will act now."

Rating:

When I want to read it with True:

            I cannot wait to read this book with True.  I've already told him about it.  I think it would be best in the 11th grade. That's my current plan.

Final Thought:

            I love this little book. 

            I will say, that in the final two chapters, it takes a hard left turn towards Christianity. And that’s either going to be bonus content for you, or you can ignore it, it doesn't negate any of the books value.  Just know that it's coming, and it will be less jarring.

            It's a book I want to keep close by so that I can review it again and again.

Noteworthy Quotes

took review of think again by adam grant

The Big Idea:

To beat the overconfidence effect in yourself and others you need to argue like you're right but listen like you're wrong.

Background:

Adam Grant was the youngest tenured professor at Wharton School, receiving tenure at the age of 28. He specializes in organizational psychology. He has been Wharton's top-rated professor for seven straight years.  

He's authored four New York Times Bestselling books.  Think Again is his latest work, published in 2021. It has 12,000 customer reviews on Amazon, averaging 4.6/5.

Fun fact: Grant was named an All-American springboard diver in 1999 and he worked as a professional magician during college.

Top 3 Takeaways:

  1. The smarter you are, the more likely you are to fall for overconfidence and the harder it is to see your own limitations.
    • "The goal is not to be wrong more often. It's to recognize that we're all more often than we'd like to admit, and the more we deny it, the deeper the hole we dig for ourselves."
  2. To check your overconfidence, you should think like a scientist.
    • This means seeing your ideas as hypothesis that require testing and retesting.
    • It helps to define yourself by your values rather than your opinions. People often feel as if admitting they are wrong about an opinion is somehow letting themselves down. If you remove your opinions from your self-concept, and instead identify with values like curiosity and flexibility, changing your mind will be a lot less scary.
    • Invite others to question your thinking.
  3. Strategies for helping others change their mind:
    • Use fewer arguments. Don't think of all the reasons you are right, the fewer strong points you make the more likely you are to succeed.
    • Use questions to convince rather than statements. Here are three examples of better questions:
      1. Question how rather than why. When people describe why they hold extreme views, they often intensify their commitment and double down. When they try to explain how they would make their views a reality, they often realize the limits of their understanding and start to temper some of their opinions.
      2. Ask "What evidence would change your mind?" You can't bully someone into agreeing with you. It's often more effective to inquire about what would open their minds, and then see if you can convince them on their own terms.
      3. Ask how people originally formed an opinion. Many of our opinions, like our stereotypes, are arbitrary; we've developed them without rigorous data or deep reflection. To help people reevaluate, prompt them to consider how they'd believe different things if they'd been born at a different time or in a different place.

Rating:

Final Thought:

I don't know of another business book that more people have owned but not read. Which is ironic. I was one of those people. My neighbor Becky kept telling me how much it aligned with my curiosity work, and in my head I was like, "Yea, yea, I teach this stuff, what could I possibly learn?" And the answer is quite a lot. 

This book should be required reading for every senior leader. And it would be of significant value to parents, teachers, politicians, and those of us who don't want to stop growing and improving ourselves.

At What Age Will I Share it With My Kids?

I think this is a post-college book. Likely a book I will share with them when they take on positions of leadership.

Noteworthy Quotes:

The Big Idea:

Every minute you spend thinking about the past or the future is causing you suffering and pain. Neither of these are real. The only things that's real is the present and helping yourself stay in the present is the key to unlocking peacefulness and joy in your life.

Background:

The book is basically a covert book about Buddhism, with some sprinkles of mysticism and Christianity references to make it appeal to a wider audience.

Published in 1997, the book exploded when Oprah recommended it in O magazine in 2000. It has sold over 5 million copies. You likely have it on your shelf but haven't gotten all the way through. It's got over 42,000 4.5 star reviews on Amazon and just this week it was in the top 20 books sold on Amazon 😮.

Fun fact: When Paris Hilton was incarcerated for a month in 2007, she brought a copy of The Power of Now to jail. Other celebrity fans include: Kobe Bryant, Jim Carrey, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Top 4 Takeaways:

  1. If you cannot be free from your mind whenever you want, to turn off thinking about the past or future when you want, then you are a slave to it. Compulsive thinking is an addiction. And like any addiction it's wreaking havoc in your life and causing pain.
  2. To the ego, the present moment is not important. It is obsessed with the past and the future. It makes you a victim of the past and anxious about the future. It resists being in the present moment. This is how all of our pain and suffering is created, by our mind's insistence on time travel.
    • I've actually started to think of my ego as Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino – a character from the popular MTV reality show, The Jersey Shore. If you can make the things your ego tells you sound like someone other than yourself, you're one step closer to being aware when it's trying to negatively influence you.
  3. If you can learn to stay in the present, you can free yourself from all that pain and suffering. The easiest way to do this is to take focus away from where the mind wants to go and pay close attention to the body. You can focus on your breathing, observe what's happening around you, and even think about the emotions you're feeling in the 3rd person -> as if you are observing it.
  4. A great test of whether you are present: Ask yourself – is there joy, ease and lightness in what I'm doing right now? If not, your mind is likely causing stress by thinking about the past or future.

Rating:

Final Thought:

 I've never highlighted a book more and at the same time been completely unable to discuss it with others. Most of my conversations have been like, "so, The Power of Now…" and then they say, "yea, really powerful stuff" and that's pretty much it.

To be clear, it's been really impactful for me personally. I love the test question mentioned in #4 above and I love what's it's done for my marriage. It's allowed me to keep from getting sucked into silly arguments that would have previously turned into a thing. I am able to be present enough to see that it doesn't really matter if I'm right. That's the ego afraid for its own survival.

With that said, I believe that this book is an advanced reader.  I wouldn't recommend as one of the first books for someone just getting into this work. And I'm on the hunt for a book that explains the same concepts in a better way.

Other quotes I loved:

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