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Books I read in 2016

I’ve been meaning to write this post since the beginning of the year. My laziness to write this sucks. So as I run on this bike, I started this post. There’s no need to wait anymore.  I need to write more.

I’ve grown accustomed to reading books on a treadmill on my Kindle. With some music, a 6.0mph pace, I consume greatness.  Nearly every book I read is non-fiction. I’ve tried a few fiction but can never get through them.

Here’s look back at the books I read.  There is so much I’ve learned.  Alas, I wanted to share the books I read in 2016 with short take-a-ways.

Here’s my 2016 reading list:

The Art of Explanation – Being able to communicate your ideas is so important.  The biggest takeaway from this book is understanding how to break your ideas down and “connect the dots” for your audience.   I read this book because Lee is one of the creators of those awesome Common Craft video explainers.  His ability to break down some complex stuff for a wide audience is a real skill.  I enjoyed learning about his processes.

Will It Fly – First, Pat Flynn is awesome. I’ve been a long time listener of his podcast, The Smart Passive Income, and I thought I’d check this book out.  I’m glad I did.  There are so many actionable nuggets in this book.  It really does a great job walking you through how to research your idea and put yourself in a great position to make it happen. The insights of recording your “Google” research in a spreadsheet is an amazing way to organize your research and thoughts. Highly recommended.

Ask – Ryan walks through the Ask Method.  I found this book really empowering.  The idea of just asking direct questions to your audience is such a necessity.  You should really ask so much more.  He walks through setting up marketing funnels, intro surveys, follow up surveys, and targeted email autoresponders.  I love the directness of this book.  I have a feeling I’ll be referencing back to this book in the future.

Ego Is The Enemy – Learning to reflect on oneself can be a difficult thing to do.  I loved this book because it really helps you think about humility and how to make better decisions on your actions.  Sometimes just taking a deep breath before acting can help change how you react.  When you learn to put your ego aside, I think we can all accomplish more.


Sapiens – This book was beautifully written.  This is one of those rare books that really can create a paradigm shift in your head.  It makes you approach or think about who we are as a species on this planet.  The understanding of domestication and how wheat domesticated us was a soft positive nod as you’re reading it.  This book really challenged me to think about my own premonitions.  As he progresses from the far past, the present and a forward prediction of the end of our species, it’s fascinating and somewhat disheartening; understanding who we are.  You need to read this book a little bit slower than your normal reading pace.  There’s just so much to take in.

Endzone – I’ve been a Michigan football fan as early as I can remember and reading this book just made me an even bigger fan.  I truly enjoyed learning about the early athletics at UofM and the contributions to modern football (such as different players for offense and defense).  This book taught me so much of the origins of the program, the traditions and the culture.  The last decade of Michigan football was, albeit, different.  Reading this book made me feel like I had a first row look into so much that happened, leading up to the the hiring of Coach Harbaugh.  If you love Michigan football, read this. Go Blue.


Hooked – Nir’s understanding on how to create habit forming products is beautiful.  It just felt so clear and very implementable.  In short, there’s four stages to the hook model, trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.  Using these stages and implementing them in your product development is a actionable take away on thinking about the psychology of habit forming products.

101 Crucial Lessons They Don’t Teach You in Business School – Here’s a book that you can read in one sitting.  I loved the short, simple lessons in this book.  Many I’ve seen before (helping strengthen the ideas) and just as many that really made me think twice about how I could make changes in how I run a business.  At the very least, keep this book nearby, flip to a random lesson and enjoy digestible insights on becoming a better business leader.

Lying – Sam Harris lays it all out.  Things you’ll read may make you upset or feel guilty.  That’s ok.  Lying is one of those things you don’t realize how often you may be doing it.  Little lies, like saying you’re 20 minutes away, when you know you’re 30.  While it may not seem like a big deal, these little white lies are bad habits that too many of us have.  I’m as guilty as any of us,  Since reading this book it’s subconsciously stuck with me.  I’ve become more self-aware on my stupid little white lies and I’m trying to be not just more honest with others, but with myself.

Bossypants – I didn’t technically “read” this book.  This was the first book I consumed in audio format.  Given that it was read by Tina Fey herself, it was a very enjoy book to listen too.  There’s a lot of stories, some felt to drag on, but her insights on her career (professional and personally) really gave me some new perspectives of the differences women faces vs men in a business world. I really appreciate the new perspectives and thinking about things I normally don’t think about or maybe take for granted. Thank you Tina. I think there’s some really great advices in this book, along side hilarious, sometimes quirky stories.

Tools of the Titans – I’ve been a huge fan of Tim Ferriss for years.  I’ve read all of his books, listened to many of his podcasts and watch videos on Youtube.  He’s been a huge influence on me and making positive changes in my life.  This book is a culmination of over 200 interviews by some of the worlds’ leading achievers.  I started reading this book at the end of 2016, but carried over into early 2017.  Don’t expect to take every story and piece of advice from the people showcased in this book, but I guarantee you’ll find a dozen or more things that will truly help you.  At the very least, learning what new questions to ask yourself and your peers is super valuable. This is his best book to date, hands down.


So there you have it.  This is the first time I’ve written reviews for books I’ve read.  I read books every year and starting this year, I wanted to reflect back on the year of reading.  I hope to continue to write mini-reviews each year on the books I’ve read.  I have a great bunch of books lined up for 2017!

Have you read any of the books above? Love them? Hate them? Got any book recommendations for me?

Consolation Prizes

Last year I ran the Warrior Dash with exhilaration and excitement. It was even more amazing than I though it could be. At the end of the event we all were awarded medals to show the accomplishment. While the physical gratification is great I started to think about what did I do with that medal?

To be honest, I don’t really care. As I get older I’ve realized that there are a lot of physical things you will acquire in your life. A lot of things that can be too easy to tie sentimental value too.  But that’s just it. It’s just a feeling it brings to you and only you. It’s a trigger for a memory you’ve created in your head. Whether good or bad a memory that will often last or linger. 

For some reason I’ve always wanted to have consolation prizes for the things I’ve done, to show others that I can do this or I’ve done that. While there’s a right time for these, most of the times it’s unnecessary. I don’t need to collect things to show a memory. I need to be a better story teller. If not told through words, through pictures and video. That’s what makes a memory real. 

All of these physical things collect dust and take up space. While it feels internally good to share something that has sentimental value, it’s just a thing to most others. Instead, tell vibrant stories and bring that moment back to life.

If not, go somewhere with someone and create new memories, new stories to share. Rinse and repeat. Make more memories, not collect things. 

Breaking Lines

Find it. Define it. Cross it. You’re an amazing creation of nature. You have an imagination that can create things beyond our wildest dreams. Every day. Yet there’s too many that live within the constraints and normals presented before us, never testing our dreams. Fuck that. Do something. I think it’s important, no, critical, for us to have a life worth sharing, a tale of a story for the grandchildren. It’s moments in life when you break through your comfort lines and became disruptive, that’s when you truly stand out. Good for you. Your life is defined by these moments.

You ALWAYS have an option. With passion, you’ll find a way. Don’t like your job? Quit. Like that girl you met the other night? Contact her. Think yoga’s gay? Try it. Why fear the unknown when you can explore it? Live it. Please, please, please, I beg of you, never loose your passion, let it drive you, even if it’s into unchartered territories, better yet, when it is in uncharted territories. There’s that crazy Apple commercial about “the crazy ones that think they can change the world, do”. I think it’s time more people get “crazy” and smell the flowers that define their dreams. I want you to find that insane fire in you that lifts you so high, that excites you, that makes you believe in the impossible, and do it. Damn it, there are no excuses, just justifications you creatively come up with to keep yourself safely with your comfort levels. That’s bad. The problem with this is you’ll never truly live, hell, you’re just dying. 🙁

Want to be happy? Want to make a difference? Want to truly love? Do something you wouldn’t normally do and learn from your exploration. It’ll feel weird, uncomfortable, awkward maybe, but I guarantee you’ll have a story, and a new appreciation to a different aspect of life you didn’t know existed. Shit, it may even open your world to something you never though you’d do. Congratulations, you’re defining new lines. Stop for a moment and think, the most amazing memories you have are the ones when you were disruptive, out the ordinary, weird, awkward, uncomfortable. Smile. Life is a gift. Make amazing memories, stop dying and start living. Break some lines.

Converting Words

I think the quip “actions speak louder than words” is one of the most underrated, overlooked piece of advice anyone could receive.

Words are a peculiar thing. For words are nothing more than a medium for us to do one of two things; share history or create a representation of promise and hope. This is a huge problem. It’s a problem because too many of us believe in the words we say or hear and not what they represent.  Yet, it gets even worse than that! When we use words we use them in the form of a language, so that someone else can understand.


Inventing Stars

On a clear night, I see stars. Actually the emitting light from stars. Ohhh stars.  Massive, luminous balls of plasma intensely held together by gravity. Aggressive and volatile by nature in it’s real time, but so eloquently mesmeric and tranquil in sight; inevitable truth and a reflection of a forgiving effort. Let me see if I can elaborate this thought…

A light-year. The only measurement of distance that relates to time. That is because the distance is related to how far light takes to travel in one year. Given that most stars are light-years away, the light that you see in present day, on a clear night sky, was actually created 2, 3, 5, or possibly 10 years ago.  A star at the time the light was created was aggressive, chaotic, and agitative, yet years later the beautiful radiance of that star still shines. Its the original hard work that its beauty pays itself off… (more…)


It’s not the number of roses, its the number that matters. It’s not the location or time that matters, it’s the right setting. It’s not the right kiss, it’s the moment of embrace. The moment when boredom becomes non-existent, addiction is exhilarating, and happiness is sincerely within. This is passion. Unfortunately, the most overlooked, lost, and euphoric part of life that so many seem to have forgotten its true meaning, its true feeling and heart.

In this strange world we live in, where so much meaning is lost or hidden from truth, its a sad excuse for a way to live. Nothing comes easy, we all know this, but we shouldn’t be afraid to fall, afraid to fail, afraid to lose. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yet sadly enough, I don’t think enough people are willing to cheat death in this way. Too many look for the easy way out or an excuse for wrong, discomfort and hurt. The integrity of life is lost. I feel like we’re living in a world false, a creative void. (more…)

Ready. Set. Focus.

I have what I like to call “Entrepreneurial ADD”. Its not a matter of coming up with the ideas, but actually executing and following through. As I continue to do what I love to do, I’m starting to learn how to gain control on what I know and what I want to know.

I hate/love the fact that I am not afraid to jump into almost every business proposal thrown at me.  It’s great that I’m considered as a business partner, all the time, but now is the time to take a step back, control my tangencies and focus on a few core projects. I think over the past few years I’ve created a bottleneck of business ventures that time doesn’t fit for them all. Six months ago I got a big big white board and put it right above my bed so that I can project my work, my ideas and concepts. This thing has helped me over-in-abundantly.



Days go by too fast sometimes, like water in waterfalls. Every drop of water is thrusted so repetitively over the edge, falling just like the last drop, but not even a second ago. Rarely, if ever, do you actually remember a specific molecule that is different than the others. Yet its consistent, it moves over the edge, falls upon gravity’s command and blends with its peers at the bottom below. Much like the days passing, its difficult to say my life is in progression.

In reality of it all, the truth of a waterfall is wrapped in aggression, force, and acceleration, yet is a mystic, beautiful, euphoric thing, much like life, as a whole, somewhat oxymoronic, but positively reluctant. That as I continue to grow as one (perpetually, unwillingly), it makes me a stronger better person.

Unparalleled resplendence

Gravity is consistent and expected.  It’s also often taken for granted what gravity does for us. What it means to have a gravitational force that, without, would have never caused the apple to fall from the tree.  What’s obvious but a forgotten ubiquity is this same force that is continuously effecting me, is effecting you. Everyone is simultaneously being effect by the same force, that is evident. Yet, in a rare sometimes, there’s a new dimension to this force.

See this is where it gets interesting and exciting.  We all take for granted the force of gravity and never think about it from day to day, thats normal. Then this new dimension comes in.  Now there’s moments such as now that vividly accentuates a force upon you.  I feel connected right now, perpetually, that I really can’t explain the how’s and why’s about it.  I’m attracted, I’m pulled in, like gravity, in a new dimension. (more…)


We talk, we whisper, we mumble, but to scream ignites.  It ignites passion, power and prestige.  I’m not talking about just any scream, a real scream.  To savor the air you breath in as it fills your lungs, releasing it with every emotion in you, to where you feel it from the depths of your toes to the echo above you.  It’s hard not to say that we all are holding something back, holding back what we think is right, what we think is wrong.  STOP holding back.  Breath in deep and scream, scream out that tension you have with in you.

If there’s one thing that one could not live without is love.  I’m not talking about lust, I’m talking about love.  The passion, the magnitude, the mystery of love.  The feeling that takes over you, when you become vulnerable to someone, to fall.  Real love is sui generis.  I don’t think it could be ever more transparent that music was made for love.  Music is a passion for expression and the ultimate expression one could express is love.  Love is simple.  (more…)