Best of 2018
How do you choose what book to read next?
Simple. Figure out what information you need to get to the next level in life. Prioritize the books you think have this information.
I find that this simple advice can apply to almost any situation. What should you do next? Prioritize getting the info, skills, people, resources… that help you get to the next level.
Failure is Inevitable
Failure is inevitable. It’s better to fail at what you love than something you compromise to.
In the “Jim and Andy” Netflix documentary, Jim Carrey tells a story about how his Father could’ve done anything in the world but he compromised to taking an accounting job. Years later, he was fired from the accounting job, forcing the Careys into homelessness.
“When you compromise and you fail that hurts a lot more than failing at what you love. You can fail at what you don’t love so you might as well do what you love. There’s really no choice to be made.” - Jim Carrey
Don’t Be a Donkey
Around Summertime, I found myself pursuing several different directions. I was stressed and felt like I was going nowhere.
A friend of mine pointed me to Derek Sivers “Don’t be a donkey”
Buridan’s donkey is standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. It keeps looking left and right, trying to decide between hay and water. Unable to decide, it eventually falls over and dies of hunger and thirst.
This was an important lesson for me. We can’t do everything all at once. It’s better to focus on one thing at a time.
Determination Trumps All
Being a good person, eating healthy, abstaining from drugs/alcohol and reading all the self-help books in the world will not make you successful.
Sheer determination to succeed and stick with a thing day in and day out for many years is all that matters. If you have this, you can screw up just about everything else.
Don’t believe me?
The most successful investor in the world eats fast food every day.
The most successful airline entrepreneur drinks whiskey and smokes every night.
The president of the united states and leader of the free world is not a nice guy.
Get Lucky by Moving Forward
Success has very little to do with where you start in the game. The most important thing is that you just get started.
Most of Jeff Bezos success comes from AWS, not Amazon.com. AWS had nothing to do with Jeff’s original idea. He stumbled upon the problem while building Amazon.
Li Ka-Shing made most of his success from Hong Kong real estate. He started out manufacturing plastic flowers. He got into real estate development because he needed a new factory.
That’s how success works. You get in the game, execute a strategy and opportunities present themselves as you move forward.
Here are the top 10 books I read in 2018. Thanks to Blinkist for helping me cut through the noise!
Here are my favorites articles, blog posts and videos from 2018.
How Superhuman Built an Engine to Find Product/Market Fit | First Round Review
Ask your users how they’d feel if they could no longer use your product. The group that answers ‘very disappointed’ will unlock product/market fit.
Li Ka-Shing Biography
When I was young, I appeared humble but was inwardly very arrogant… So when I went into business, I reminded myself that if I allowed myself to be arrogant, I’d fall one day. And so I named my company Cheung Kong. The Yangtse River doesn’t pick and chose its tributaries. Waters from the small streams and big springs are just pulled over. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any Yangtse, would there?
A Dozen Things I have Learned from Howard Schultz
“Success is best when it’s shared.” “Culture and values trumps strategy.” “Business is a team sport.” “Service is a lost art in America. It’s not viewed as a professional job to work behind a counter. We don’t believe that. We want to provide our people with dignity and self-esteem, so we offer tangible benefits.”
Betting on Things That Never Change
In the last 100 years we’ve gone from horses to jets and mailing letters to Skype. But every sustainable business is accompanied by one of a handful of timeless strategies… Lower prices, Faster solutions to problems, Greater control over your time, More choices, Added comfort, Entertainment/curiosity, Deeper human interactions, Greater transparency, Less collateral damage, Higher social status, Increased confidence/trust…
Business Lessons from Mark Leonard (Constellation Software)
“CEOs have five essential choices for deploying capital—investing in existing operations, acquiring other businesses, issuing dividends, paying down debt, or repurchasing stock—and three alternatives for raising it—tapping internal cash flow, issuing debt, or raising equity. Think of these options collectively as a tool kit. Over the long term, returns for shareholders will be determined largely by the decisions a CEO makes in choosing which tools to use (and which to avoid) among these various options. Stated simply, two companies with identical operating results and different approaches to allocating capital will derive two very different long-term outcomes for shareholders.”
Japanese-Style Entrepreneurship: An Interview with Softbank’s CEO, Masayoshi Son
I had all those measurements, about 25 in all, and 40 new ideas. I took a big sheet of paper, and I drew a matrix and put down scores and comments for each. Then I picked the best one, which turned out to be the personal computer software business. That was the start of Softbank.
The Surprising Power of The Long Game
In everything you do, you’re either playing a short term or long term game. You can’t opt out and you can’t play a long-term game in everything, you need to pick what matters to you. But in everything you do time amplifies the difference between long and short-term games. The question you need to think about is when and where to play a long-term game. A good place to start is with things that compound: knowledge, relationships, and finances.