Book Review 012: Rich20Something by Daniel DiPiazza

In his book, "Rich20Something", Daniel DiPiazza discusses how he left a low-paying job he despised, became a millionaire entrepreneur and wrote this book in his 20s. He provides actionable tips on how each reader can create their own success by leveraging their talents and following the "Go! factor" recipe for success.

Main Ideas:

  • You no longer have to pay your dues.

  • The game has changed – and you can make your own rules.

  • Money is easy, thanks to the Internet.

  • Writing and sharing valuable digital content is an excellent way to build your brand.

  • Use “nonlinear networking” to cultivate contacts who can help you achieve your goals.

While working at a chain steakhouse restaurant scooping butter for $2.17 an hour, Daniel DiPiazza knew that he needed to find a more meaningful job that also had a scalable pay structure. In 2011, after earning $10,000 from only working five hours, he soon launched three consulting companies worth $100,000 each without any start up capital. DiPiazza tells us that by disowning any limiting beliefs and unlocking our own potential, we can drastically improve our life and career.

Here are "three new truths" that he shares with all readers:

1. “You No Longer Have to Pay Your Dues”

The great Jim Rohn once said, "You don't get paid by the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour. You may often hear people in your circle say, "that's too risky" or "you can't do that". Well, if every entrepreneur and successful business person agreed with those words, they would have never gotten started. Times have changed since the days where going to college and working 30-40 years moving up the corporate ladder is viewed as "stable".

We saw in 2008 where many W2 workers, both blue and white collar lose their jobs when the economy tanked. Having a job is no longer "safe", nor should you equate "butt time" (sitting down at your desk working for the man) with experience. DiPiazza challenges the readers to be creative in how we identify and leverage our skills. As film, TV and video game producer Jace Hall explains, “you do not have to pass through point B to travel from point A to point C.” In this “generation of hackers,” be original.

2. “The Game Has Changed – and You Can Make Your Own Rules”

Whether you realize it or not, there are many successful people who have identified the new game and have started to make their own rules. This game allows people to leverage other people's time, knowledge, and money to reach their own goals. The rules of the game are not taught in college, in fact, college teaches us to become better workers, when we are no longer in the industrial age, we are in the information age. To play the game to your advantage, embrace the most valuable tool there is: knowledge. Knowledge comes from thinking outside the box, believing in yourself and knowing how to persevere.

Be the person who can identify a challenge in different environments and offer solutions to the problem. Becoming a critic is easy, execution is hard. DiPiazza tells us to consider taking on broadening experiences such as these, in lieu of or in addition to college: Explore the world, establish a business, volunteer, learn a foreign language, create art, play a competitive sport, master something you love or write a book. You’ll need to do something that excites you and that you can leverage for success.

3. “Money Is Easy, thanks to the internet”

The internet has certainly connected us, and it has also made starting business with little to no capital fairly attainable. Back in the 1800-1900s, money was tight; the coal, steel and oil barons controlled the markets; and women and minorities weren’t part of the equation. Today, although common wisdom holds that making money is difficult, money is really everywhere. People can earn income doing things with little risk and big reward, thanks to the Internet. For example, you can start a blog using free software, or buy and sell products around the globe.

As mentioned previously, execution is the most difficult challenge entrepreneurs will face. If you’re good with managing your time, your persistence will pay off. DiPiazza tell us to break big goals into bite size chunks. For example, to make $1,000,000 in a year, you need to generate approximately $2,700 daily. Think of how many people you can help each day. You could bring in $1 each from 2,700 people – or $10 each from just 270 customers. Determine what you can offer and at what price.

By leveraging these three main concepts, we can break from the status quo and realize that others people's success can become our success. Instead of resenting the people on social media who seem to have everything you want, go network with them and figure out how you can recreate the same success. It’s not about the money, but the choices that having money will be able to give you.

Do you want to be able to retire your parents? Would you like to take two months to travel around Europe? Do you like to volunteer and build homes in rural areas? If you are focused on climbing the corporate ladder and paying the bills, you will not be able to see the things around you, the things that make you passionate, the things that fulfill you. Whatever season you are at in life, remember that conventional wisdom is no longer "safe" and that its not what you know, but what you think you know that may prove to be an obstacle in reaching your goals.

Hope you enjoy this book!

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Book Review 011: The One Thing by Jay Papasan

The One Thing, by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller, talks about their journey in overcoming issues with focus and creating better habits. They discuss the idea that multitasking isn't as productive as some people make it out to be and maintains that success requires long periods of laser-like focus, and not scattered swats. Papasan states that if you focus on the "One Thing", everything else will fall into place.

By prioritizing on "One Thing", it allows us to get more done in a day when compared to to-do list and multitasking. Adding more projects to your list without cutting others will negatively impact your results, health, and relationships. If you want to achieve your goals, Jay Papasan reminds us that it actually takes subtraction and focus, not addition.

Papasan tells us that living according to the "One Thing" mentality is rather simple. The more difficult area is to ignore the "conventional wisdom" that we have been told all these years. There are so many myths and straight out lies about productivity that sound reasonable, but when tested against results, simply do not work out.

For many of us who work in Corporate America and have a W2 job. There are often talks of finding a "work life balance." Papasan tells us that work life balance is a myth, and we need to implement "counterbalance" to lead a life of significance and meaning as we strive to adjust our priorities to focus on the most important tasks at hand.

The main theme of this book is that the best way to get the answers you seek is by asking the right questions. Papasan encourages the readers to ask the following question: “What is the one thing I can do such that, by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” This is a simple question, but not an easy one. It provides both an overview and a laser focus on what you must do today to achieve your one thing. The question propels you to go beyond simple tasks on your to-do list and directs you to what is most important, that “first domino” that will make everything else fall into place.

Favorite Quote: “Knowing when to pursue the middle and when to pursue the extremes is in essence the true beginning of wisdom. Extraordinary results are achieved by this negotiation with your time.”

Asking, “What’s my one thing?” defines your “big one thing” by prompting you to craft a conceptual path for your career, your business and your personal life. Asking, “What’s my one thing right now?” reveals the “small one thing” that drives your daily activities. This puts your top priority at the center of your focus and leads you to a productive workday and a properly focused home life.

Papasan challenges us to identify our priority each day and focus only on the present, the only moment you can affect. Stacking upon these moments leads to success, because most people work harder for present rewards than for the future. As with dominoes, visualization helps, as does writing down your goals. People who write their goals are 39.5% more likely to accomplish them than people who don’t.

Key ideas:

  • Multitasking and following long to-do lists pose the biggest obstacles to achieving your goals.

  • Align purpose with your one thing to bring you clarity and happiness.

  • Your purpose will direct your single priority and inform you on how to spend your time.

  • Learn to say no and accept the chaos that accompanies any pursuit of greatness.

  • Create an environment that supports your goals.

  • Take care of your health with good food, exercise, family time and sleep.

Hope you enjoy this book!

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Book Review 010: Linchpin by Seth Godin - Are You Indispensable?

In his book Linchpin, author Seth Godin tells the readers that every person faces a choice: You can choose to live day after day, year after year, languidly going through the motions, doing work devoid of excitement and imagination. Or, you can choose a path that promotes uniqueness and ingenuity by becoming a “linchpin” – an invaluable, indispensable employee, the center of a company’s activities. He challenges us by stating that if we believe in our self-potential for greatness, we need to embrace risk, ignite the creative spark within us, and seek out the good in other people to become an influential linchpin. 

If you decide to absorb all of the business teachings of Seth Godwin, be warned that you can very well end up feeling overworked and underappreciated. His message is so effective that it may have unintended consequences of making you the "go-to" person for the entire organization. 

Here are the main lessons of his book:

1. You do not have “Job security”.

Many people may already know that truth be told, they are replaceable. You may be the only Manager in a district, or have hit a million dollar in sales, but we all know you are only as good as your last sale and that the business environment can change in a minute. For over a century, Companies have promised employees decent wages, good benefits and job security in exchange for workers who met expectations, punched their clock in and out, and followed Company rules. Fast forward to the present, where economic and technology changes have wiped out job security. The current workforce is victim to globalization, reduction in force, and reduction of benefits as employers look to cut costs if that means an increase to the bottom line. This generation is different from the previous generation, and that means there are two sides to the coin.

2. Embrace hopelessness or opportunity.

The result of economic and technological changes have brought about a new wave of entrepreneurs and business opportunities, mainly through the internet and ability to connect with people all around the world. Instead of feeling hopeless and stuck, employees can climb out of the trenches and seize the opportunity to create a different, better future for themselves. Our society often discourages change and creativity. Many people are so accustomed to following rules and working diligently, they fail to realize that there other methods, new rules, in which people can stand out and become innovative.

3. Become a “linchpin.”

In the midst of the herd who simply follow the rules, you can choose stand above the crowd by becoming a linchpin – an invaluable, indispensable employee who inspires everyone else. By projecting a winning attitude even when naysayers surround you, you will become the person others ask for help, and when your colleagues depend on you, your firm will pay you accordingly. 

Remember that Linchpins aren’t brilliant all the time. They stand out due to their ability to recognize and seize opportunity. Godwin says that to be a linchpin, you must be smart and crafty, as well as hard working. Linchpins surpass their peers by combining wisdom about the job with shrewdness. Every interaction with your colleagues or clients is an opportunity to act as a linchpin in some way. For example, musicians and artists create work because they must share their gifts with the world. Often times, financial reward is much less motivating. In the same way, becoming a linchpin means becoming an artist. It means performing at your best because you simply can’t do otherwise.

4. Tune out your “lizard brain.”

Your lizard brain is wired for survival and fight or flight. It fears risk and sows self-doubt and mistrust. It evolved earlier and has greater power than the creative part of your brain. Creative, optimistic, successful people tune out messages from their lizard brains. They don’t take failure personally and don’t think of themselves as losers. They gain strengths from setbacks and find ways to pivot and change their plan of attack.

When you reach that uncertain stage about making a change, Godin says go for it - avoid analysis paralysis. To evolve, ignore tasks that aide procrastination. The nearer you are to a breakthrough, the more you will embrace distraction. Surfing the Internet or checking your email is a lot easier than being creative and initiating change. Most people won’t commit to self-discipline, but that’s the key to productivity.

5. Give more, take less.

Generous, committed people understand the power of giving. They recognize the value of supporting others – with time, money or talent – and being part of something larger than themselves. By giving, you are able to fortify bonds between people and strengthen the overall tribe. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), charges no dues and its meetings are free. People attend to receive and to give help – a philosophy that makes AA a powerful, close-knit community. You do not have to wait to become successful to practice generosity. Many people do not chase after money, but it is a result of their efforts of giving value to others first. As you progress to become a linchpin, consider how you can donate your art, your creative efforts, your inspiration and your energy to others around you.

Life will throw you curveballs and challenges out of your control. Remember to develop the right perspective and see things for the way they really are. If you head into a meeting with a client or partner anticipating the outcome, you may find yourself setup for disappointment. Godin warns us not to emotionally invest in a situation with many variables for which we cannot predict the outcome. Linchpins will accept the things they cannot change and move forward. Its easy to settle for mediocrity because change is intimidating. However, you can defy the status quo, look beyond the horizon, and strengthen your relationships. Persevere, and ignore lizard brain self-doubt messages. Don’t get in your own way of success.

Hope you enjoy this book!

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