The New Psychology of Success

DV Weekend Pickup #60

Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.

A tale of two mindsets - fixed vs growth - and more importantly what they mean to you and I.  We're all pretty sure mindset matters but are we totally convinced it's the single biggest thing.  Carol Dweck, Stanford University psychology professor does a remarkable job convincing us that whether you're a parent, teacher, coach, business leader, employee, it seemingly doesn't matter but possessing a GROWTH mindset is the only viable choice.

“Think about your hero. Do you think of this person as someone with extraordinary abilities who achieved with little effort? Now go find out the truth. Find out the tremendous effort that went into their accomplishment—and admire them more.”

Our society has praised natural ability and effortless accomplishments so much that we actual value it over achievement through effort.  There are so many problems with this type of thinking at a foundational level, I don't even know where to begin.  At the end of the day, if you're not valuing constant improvement, constant learning, and belief that skills can be developed then you're playing at a gigantic disadvantage.  The research does not isolate "fixed vs growth mindset" to one application, genre, vertical, etc as evident by the layout...

  1. The Mindsets
  2. Inside the Mindsets
  3. The Truth About Ability and Accomplishment
  4. Sports: The Mindset of a Champion
  5. Business: Mindset and Leadership
  6. Relationships: Mindsets in Love (or Not)
  7. Parents, Teachers, and Coaches: Where do mindsets come from?
  8. Changing Mindsets 

Since it's release in 2007 Mindset has become one of the benchmark non-fiction reads for our generation.  It has wide critical acclaim and comes on high recommendation from the iconic Bill Gates.  If you're struggling to get your head right, then I'd suggest picking this up.  As Dweck proclaims, "Genius is not enough; we need to get the job done."

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If It's Not Fun, It's Not Worth Doing

DV Weekend Pickup #59

The Virgin Way by Richard Branson

A look into the mind of the one the most swash buckling and amazingly unique billionaires in history.  You'll get to hear the method behind his madness as he tells stories from childhood, the rise of the Virgin brand, and his home Necker Island.  In case you missed that, yes, he has called an entire island home for the last 30 years...

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

...located in the Caribbean and equipped to accommodate up to 34 guests at a time.  This is just the tip of the iceberg that has built the Branson lore as this over top adventurist, who prides himself on having fun above all else.  It shouldn't surprise you the book is broken into four parts - LISTEN, LEARN, LAUGH, and LEAD - each of which really embody Branson.  This is probably my favorite excerpt...

"In the same way you cannot be 'almost unique' or 'partly pregnant', true passion isn't something that comes in half measures.  You are either a hundred percent behind the quest for excellence hundred percent of the time or you aren't really a player.  As a leader you cannot possibly expect your core brand values to be understood, embraced, and become ingrained in the psyche of your people if you yourself are not passionately and uncompromisingly committed.  I am sorry if this might come across as overly trite or preachy but if you fail to understand the significance of having and sharing such palpable passion for what you do, then the chances are that you really do not belong in a leadership role."

...along with Branson's chapter titled "K-I-S-S and Tell - Simplicity Wins Every Time."  Emphasizing the popularized phrase from the US Navy in 1960, "Keep it simple stupid."  I love the practicality and clear nature of his leadership style.  There is good reason why most say Branson is nothing short of lovable.  As he would say, "Screw it, let's do it."

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The World's Most Popular Emotional Intelligence Test

DV Weekend Pickup #58

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

Emotional intelligence (EQ) might just be the key to your proverbial kingdom, no matter what "it" is.  EQ is your ability to empathize with others and understand your inner self in order to guide your behavior and relationships.  There has been much debate through the years between EQ vs IQ on which is more critical to your performance in the workplace.  Personally, I am heavy in the EQ camp...

"The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1300 to an annual salary."

...because the ability to navigate your emotions as well as other peoples on a daily basis only seems to be getting more and more vital.  The world is seemingly more social than ever before with more exposure than ever before.  Bradberry's overarching layout is easy to follow:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Management
  3. Social Awareness
  4. Relationship Management

Each of the four sections comes with a 15-20 bullet point list of actionable strategies to help you raise your EQ.  If that isn't enough there's an online assessment that accompanies to help you benchmark your starting point.  I picked it up in the airport so I can vouch for it's quality as a travel read.  EQ has proven to be the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and strongest driver of leadership.  This is simply a strategy playbook to help you raise the bar.

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The Book Recommended By More Advertising Geniuses Than Any Other

DV Weekend Pickup #57

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

A business classic about inbound sales principles that has truly stood the test of time.  First edition was written in 1923, it has largely been regarded as a must-read in the marketing genre ever since.  Honestly, at 78 pages, there's really no excuse if you call marketing home.  But hey, don't take my word for it.  Legendary advertiser David Ogilvy once said...

"Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times.  It has changed the course of my life."

The overall thesis is that advertising has become so precise that it requires zero guess work.  It's now a systematic, well-tested, and highly predictable process that erases theories or opinions, and emphasizes proven principles (facts.)  Hopkins claims the only uncertainties lie in the people and products, not the method.

"Take the opinion of no man, whom know nothing about his returns."

Quickly reminding you that advertising is no lazy mans field.  If you want to maximize profits then understanding your data is of the utmost importance.  Science is about testing and experimenting hypothesis, as is advertising and marketing.  The book is full of insight but admittedly at times I found myself reading one sentence 10 times just to fully comprehend it.  The early 20th century terminology makes you work to find the magic, but it's worth it. 

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Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

DV Weekend Pickup #56

Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

What exactly is a sticky idea?  What does "sticky" even mean?  The Heath brothers take you on a well researched journey answering those questions.  Taking it even further by showing you WHY some ideas stick, WHAT it looks like WHEN ideas stick, and HOW you can make ideas stick as well.  One of the most important lessons is perhaps...

"The Curse of Knowledge: when we are given knowledge, it is impossible to imagine what it's like to lack that knowledge."

...remembering the more research, time, and knowledge you obtain on any subject sometimes and often does make it harder to clearly explain.  "Curiosity occurs when we feel a gap in our knowledge," say the Heath brothers.  This is the gap we must fill for effective communicators.  Made to Stick draws on case studies ranging from Subway's famous Jared campaign to "The Sinatra Test" to silly urban legends.  All examples are intended to shed light on their 6 steps of a sticky idea...

  1. Simplicity
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concreteness
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotional
  6. Stories

...with #1 simplicity being the root concept for every sticky idea.  Finding the core of an idea comes first, otherwise you risk everything else that flows from it being less sticky.  This concept really hit home because it resembles a theory I've long been in support of regarding simplicity.  Overall, Made to Stick is a fun read that provides an actionable template for you to communicate ideas effectively.

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Creating Peace of Mind in a World of Volatility

DV Weekend Pickup #55

Unshakeable by Tony Robbins & Peter Mallouk

The man, the myth, the legend Tony Robbins teams up with Peter Mallouk to bring you a highly actionable financial playbook.  Unshakeable distills what the best financial minds in the world have to offer into 180 pages of easily consumable content.  You might be surprised to hear the overarching strategy for the world's financial elite - PATIENCE.  In true Robbins style though he never lets you forget real wealth is about so much more than money.

"Real wealth is emotional, psychological, and spiritual.  If you're financially free, but you're still suffering emotionally, then what kind of victory is that?"

Robbins shares the wisdom of the most preeminent financial gurus - Ray Dalio, Warren Buffet, David Swensen, Carl Icahn, Paul Tudor Jones - and the list goes on and on.  I don't want to confuse the issue though this book is for you (whoever you are.)  It's designed to be easy to take in and it delivers on that.  You will learn:

  • What your 401k providers don't want you to know?
  • Why it's so hard to pick a financial advisor that actually has your back?
  • How to put a financial plan in place that will maximize your upside and minimize your downside?
  • 4 core principles you must know about investing
  • 6 common mistakes of the average investor

As the book comes to a close you engage in some classic Robbins, the important concept of the Science of Achievement vs Art of Fulfillment.  Go to your local Barnes & Noble, read the last chapter, it's worth you time!  However, one hundred percent of book proceeds go to Feeding America in an effort to obtain Robbins goal of feeding 100 million people so you might want to pick it up to support a good cause. 

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The Most Powerful Insight Into The Human Mind...Ever

DV Weekend Pickup #54

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The awards, honors, and accolades this book has received don't even begin to do it justice, which says a lot, because it has a ton!  Kahneman, 2002 Nobel Prize winner for his work in economic sciences engages the reader in a conversation on how we make judgements, our daily decision making, and why we think the way we do.  The book features two main characters (parts of the brain)...

  • System 1 - Fast thinking, intuitive, effortless, automatic, emotional
  • System 2 - Slow thinking, effortful, deliberate, concentrated, logical

...that work seamlessly together.  As you might expect System 2 serves as a monitor for System 1 because for everything that makes System 1 necessary also makes System 1 a liability.  The years upon years of research, experiments, and studies conducted by Kahneman and his partner Amos Tversky make this book really special.  They remind us...

"We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and underestimate the role of chance events."

...that nothing is as important as we think it is, we make judgements entirely to quickly, and we evaluate the past like we KNEW it was going to happen all along.  In the back half, you'll meet two more interesting characters...

  • Experiencing Self - The one who does the living
  • Remembering Self - The one who keeps score and makes choices

...that serve as a guide as we learn about the halo effect, outcome bias, prospect theory, the endowment effect, why framing matters, and the phenomenon of regret.  Honestly, there is TOO much info to even try to encapsulate in this short review.  So here's the deal, if you're at all interested in why humans act the way they do, then there may not be a better book for you to pick up.

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The Business of the 21st Century

DV Weekend Pickup #53

The Business of the 21st Century by Robert Kiyosaki

Recently I've done some work with a direct selling organization so in an effort to better understand their world I picked up this book...and I was happy I did.  Kiyosaki well known for his Rich Dad, Poor Dad series does his best to provide a clear picture on the real value of network marketing.  While he definitely succeeds in that regard, the more important lesson just might be...

"If you're considering building your own business, you need to be acutely aware of who you're spending your time with and who your teachers are.  It's a crucial consideration."

...the essential wealth building knowledge he provides in the first half of the book.  Kiyosaki pulls from another one of his bestsellers The Cashflow Quadrant by reintroducing the concept in this book.  A grid system that depicts- (E)mployee, (S)elf-employed, (B)usiness owner, (I)nvestor - and shows you what it takes to move from quadrant to quadrant if it's what you desire.  His personal story of tribulation early in his career will serve as a great reminder...

"It's only losers who think that winners never lose, who think mistakes must be avoided at all costs.  Mistakes are priceless opportunities to learn essential lessons."

...that life is a long journey of up's and down's but it's the ones that try, fail, learn, and try again who make it.  If you're in any direct selling or network marketing organization I'd consider this a must read.  If not, it's a quick read at about 120 pages and you might be surprised at what you find out...I was.

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Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

DV Weekend Pickup #52

The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam

It's likely you might have heard the term "on the back of napkin," it's often used to describe writing or drawing something out quickly to depict something.  Who knew every business problem could be solved this way?  No worries, I didn't either, but in this international bestseller Dan Roam shows us...

"Any problem can be made clearer with a picture, and any picture can be created using the same set of tools and rules."

Being a BIG proponent in the idea of simplicity naturally I couldn't help but pick this one up.  Roam does a great job outlining precisely how visual thinking works - LOOK, SEE, IMAGINE, SHOW - and how you can use it to be effective in whatever line of work you're in!  

He uses some fun case studies like Herb Kelleher's "back of the napkin" drawing to Rollin King which later would be recognized as the foundation of Southwest Airlines.  Roam never lets you forget penning a problem is simple as answering six questions and showing how they transition into pictures.

  1. Who/What → Portrait
  2. How much → Chart
  3. Where → Map
  4. When → Timeline
  5. How → Flowchart
  6. Why → Multiple Variable Plot

In an effort to not misrepresent his SQVID method - in honor of simplicity - I'll let you read the book to find out more.  It helps you design the ideal picture to bring clarity to any problem.  Solid informational read for anybody who teaches, instructs, or consults.  All in all, it has NOTHING to do with how well you draw but all to do with how well you THINK.

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PS - If you have any book suggestions, please message me directly, I'll put it on my list!

The Classic That Has Inspired 100 Million People

DV Weekend Pickup #51

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

It's hard to start anywhere else when describing this book then by calling it the classic beyond classics.  At last count, this book has sold over 100 million copies worldwide and has inspired millions to take action with their lives.  Perhaps, there is no better starting point if you wish to do the same.

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit."

The origination of the book started from Hill's conversations with one of the wealthiest Americans ever, Andrew Carnegie.  It motivated Hill to then meet with over 500 of America's wealthiest from all different industries with one commonality, starting from nothing.  Upon it's release in 1937 on the heals of the Great Depression, it immediately sent waves through American business culture. He surmised this playbook to live a rich life.

  1. Desire - The Starting Point of All Achievement
  2. Faith - Visualization and Belief in Attainment of Desire
  3. Autosuggestion - The Medium for Influencing the Subconscious Mind
  4. Specialized Knowledge - Personal Experiences and Observations
  5. Imagination - The Workshop of the Mind
  6. Organized Planning - The Crystallization of Desire Into Action
  7. Decision - The Mastery of Procrastination
  8. Persistence - The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith
  9. Power of the Mastermind - The Driving Force
  10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation - The Ability to Transfer Energy
  11. The Subconscious Mind - The Connecting Link
  12. The Brain - A Broadcasting and Receiving Station for Thought
  13. The Sixth Sense - The Door to the Temple of Wisdom

*How to Outwit the 6 Ghosts of Fear was later added as the final chapter in re-release.

For me it's even more interesting when you realize the real basis of this work.  I feel it's extremely important to note the duality in the term rich as described by Hill in both financial and fulfillment. Quite honestly, you cannot have one without the other and the former does NOT dictate the latter.  

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