Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: The 4-Hour Work Week: Expanded and Updated edition

The 4-Hour Work Week: Expanded and Updated by Tim Ferriss is
the definitive guide to living the life of our dreams. This book smashes the
traditional social paradigm about getting the job upon graduation and then
holding it until retirement.

Instead, he suggests freeing up two resources: Time and
Money. By having these two elements to work with, one can spread their
retirements over their lifetime leading to a higher level of happiness and
fulfillment.

One of the concepts Ferriss talks about is the difference
between absolute and relative income. Absolute income is the job that pays x
amount of dollars per year. This single variable is how most people measure
wealth. Relative income on the other hand takes two variables into
consideration: time and money. If a person makes $100,000 per year but works 80
hours per week, then he is not necessarily wealthier than somebody who works 40
hours a week and makes $50,000.

The way he suggests we do this is through a concept called
Lifestyle Design where an individual works the minimum hour of time to create
the highest monetary impact. By determining the dollar value of an ideal dream
such travelling, one can work backwards and figure out how many hours they need
to work until they earn the money to do it. Ideally, the goal would be to work
the least amount of hours for the highest return.

The 4-hour workweek is a breath of fresh air as far as books
on business go. As a graduate from the BCIT School of Business, this book goes
against almost everything that I learned in school. Instead of aiming to get a
job after university, Ferriss describes a system of generating steams of
passive income through a variety of entrepreneurial ventures.

From product creation to selling to your first customer,
Ferriss goes into great depth about the steps needed to create your first
venture and free yourself from the rate race.

Some of the great
points include:

•             Outsourcing tasks to overseas virtual assistants

•             Practical Time Management skills

•             Creating profitable businesses which require very little management

•             How to quit your job

•             How to eliminate 80% of useless work

 

As a non-fiction book, The 4-Hour Work Week: Expanded and
Updated is a fairly quick read because its so engaging; it keeps your attention
with all of the case studies and real life examples.

When this book originally came out, it was packed with great
information and resources. The new expanded edition brings even more real life
case studies of people who have read the book and tried out some of the
strategies

Not just for the budding entrepreneur, this book is a great
resource for anybody looking to simply improve their productivity or get a peek
into the lives of the new rich. I highly recommend this book for anybody
looking for an alternative to the traditional life path.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

I recently started reading the new book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. For those of you who are new to the idea of Emotional Intelligence, I recommend first reading the groundbreaking book of the same name by Daniel Goleman.

This book goes more in depth into the science and practically of developing a higher level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). I’ve always been fascinated by the theories of EQ because of its correlation with successful people and leaders.

The four primary areas when evaluating EQ are:

– Self-Awareness

– Self-Management

– Social Awareness

– Relationship Management

If you score high on the Self-Awareness and Self-Management areas, then you have a high level of personal competence. If you score high on the Social Awareness and Relationship Management areas then you have a high level of social competence.

Both personal and social competence are key in determining your level of EQ and how well you are able to understand both yourself and the people around you.

I’ll be posting an official book review of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 shortly, but in the meantime, I highly recommend you check it out!

If you purchase any version of the book (Hardcopy, Audio or e-book) you get a free emotional intelligence assessment through Talent Smart. This assessment allows you to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie on the EQ scale and suggests strategies to improve or maintain your current score.

I scored quite high on both the personal and social competency assessments but there’s always room to grow. :)

The importance of integrity

I recently returned from a two week meditation retreat at a Buddhist monastary north of Vancouver. This monastary is run by Thai Forest Monks who are trained in the tradition ofTheravada Buddhism. The name of the monastary “Birken” is well known in the Buddhist community as being a beautiful retreat up in the mountains away from the busyness of daily life.

I normally go on meditation retreats to get away from the world for a short period of time and to spend some time in reflection. Ironically, while on retreat I also have the opportunity to engage in interesting conversations with people from all walks of life.

During one of the many philosophical discussions, the topic of morality came up. Morality (In Pali – Sila) is commonly thought of as the characteristics of a “good person” in buddhist terms. The ethics of what constitutes “a good person” could be argued intellectually for hours by academics and political minds.

This got me thinking about a Make it Business book club meeting I facilitated awhile ago on the book “Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality” by Dr. Henry Cloud.”

Dr. Henry Cloud’s groundbreaking book Integrity starts off with a bold statement: “Integrity is the courage to meet the demands of reality”.  This one statement encapsulates what sets apart people who are truly great from people who are just getting by. Throughout the book, Dr. Cloud teaches that the road to success is not by skill alone but also by how we treat the people around us.  

Integrity outlines six qualities that we should all embody not only to become better business people but also to live well in the game of life.

These six qualities are described as:

1)   Establishing Trust

2)   Oriented Toward Truth

3)   Getting Results

4)   Embracing the Negative

5)   Oriented Toward Increase

6)   Oriented Toward Transcendence

Putting the books aside, my point is that integrity in every aspect of our lives is important whether it be work, relationships, family or just in our dealings to ourselves.

To keep it simple, integrity to me means to “Do what you say and say what you do.” :)

Starbucks, Onward and Howard Schultz

I’ve recently been on a big Starbucks kick which is a big deal for me as I’m usually a patron of more local establishments in Vancouver such as Cafe Artigiano and JJ Bean. Part of this new change in beverage choice is due to an incredibly inspiring talk that Howard Schultz gave at the Vancouver Board of Trade recently. In his short half hour talk, Schultz talked mainly about his new book “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul”.

Now I’m already a sucker for books with passionate titles so for me, picking this one up was no big deal. But usually what happens, is that i’ll buy the book and it’ll sit on my bookshelf gathering dust and staring at me as I walk by and pick up something else to read.

After seeing Howard Schultz speak, I was pumped and ready to start reading the book. I’m only on the second chapter but I like it already. One part business philosophy, one part biography and two parts riveting tale, “Onward” is a fascinating story about the Entrepreneur’s struggle to bring a company back to its core vision and contribution to society.

So how does this tie back to my recent obsession with Starbucks? Well, part of it is because I love reading and sharing awesome stories about successful entrepreneurs but the other part is because I’ve fallen deeply in love with a new treat that Starbucks offers… the RED VELVET WHOOPIE PIE!!

If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it as it will make your day. I knew I was sold when I was sitting at Starbucks a few days ago reading the book, drinking a vanilla latte and munching on one of these fantastic treats.

Anyway, back to the main point. As an aspiring entrepreneur, it’s great to see a company like Starbucks who could easily count the success of its organization on transactions, cash flow and number of stores focus on the what it was created for: the customer experience. Being the third place. When a company like that changes its strategy to ensure that it delivers what it set out to do from day one, well that’s a story I can buy into.

Finally, I’ll be running a book club meeting on “Onward” on June 23rd in Vancouver. For more information visit makeitbusinessbookclub.com. (shameless plug… I know!)