Welcome to Adil’s Book Club.
My intention for the Book Club – to stay humble and hungry and endlessly curious.
I love reading books and taking notes on them. I take notes so that I don’t have to re-read the whole book again but can still access key points. I realised that some of my friends wanted these notes, so I decided why not share it with more people?
The book club is inspired by many people, if you want to start your own thing (like me with the book club) look at the great stuff of what others have already done before you.
Where I got my inspiration from:
Ryan Holiday’s reading email list (strongly recommend). He recommends at least 5 books a month in his monthly email. He mainly reads books to do with stoicism, classical literature (what we can learn from history) and biographical type books. Of course there are a few books which go outside this pattern.
Tom Bilyeu of Quest Nutrition, hosts the YouTube show – Inside Quest (reading list) and now Impact Theory which has a reading list in video format called Impact Books on his channel. (strongly recommend both shows and the reading list)
Derek Sivers reading list very succinct summaries along with more detailed reviews of 200+ books.
Tim Ferriss’ reading list he has way more books recommended in his epic podcast that gets +110m downloads every month.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income has a monthly email list for his book club.
Bill Gates reading list which started in January, 2010. Tons of books, very varied and it’s Bill Gates so you get to learn all sorts of fascinating things about him and about the world through his book choices.
New to reading or don’t read much?
If you don’t read much or you are new to reading, my first suggestion is keep a ‘books to read’ list – books you want to (and will) read. It’s much easier this way than trying to remember a book you heard about a while ago, if it’s on your reading list then simple – it will get read. No need to be fancy, I just keep mine in a simple google doc.
Little hint here – If you ever hear of a book more than two or three times whether that’s through recommendations or other people’s reading lists, put it in your own ‘books to read’ list and make sure you get the book and read it.
Most important – it is better to read one book and act on it than reading a bunch and consuming information. Books contain knowledge so don’t allow yourself to reduce it to just information.
My Book Club
My book club will be like a merge of Derek Sivers, by including the one line summary, and Ryan Holiday’s, by including the detailed notes for the email list.
I like to let the book speak for itself, so currently my style is to pull quotes from the book and have very little commentary. To find the key takeaways just look at the section ‘main points’ before I go into the ‘my collection of gems’ section (for PDF notes).
Join the book club, every month you will get brief PDF notes that include main points, key quotes and what I think are gems of the book.
Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business (2012)
Recommendation: Yes – Great book with lots case studies, and the storytelling is very captivating. I recommend it because it will help you understand and change your own habits for the better.
One line summary – Habit loop: Cue/trigger → Action/routine → Reward/satisfaction. Understand each component to be able to master your own habits.
Tim Ferriss – The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (2007)
Recommendation: Yes – Great book with lots case studies, and great self reflective questions at the end of every little section. I recommend it because it will help you understand what to focus on and give you a blueprint to go after it.
One line summary – Use the DEAL system to get more out of each hour. Quality over quantity. Leverage what
you have to get the most that you can.
Tim Ferriss – The 4 – Hour Body: An uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss, incredible sex, and becoming superhuman (2010)
Recommendation: Yes – Shows how unusual methods/approaches can lead to great results. Looking for anomalies rather than commonalities to get real rapid results whether that’s in fat loss, gaining weight, getting better sleep and so on. I recommend it because it will help you understand that there are other ways to get amazing results, even if it is something you have never tried before.
One line summary – Our bodies are capable of more than we think of. There are numerous better strategies to improve what we can do, follow the anomalies to find alternatives.
Carol Dweck – Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential (2006)
Recommendation: Yes – shows the impact of having a fixed mindset vs a growth mindset. Fixed mindset – is something you don’t want to have because it’s very limiting. Growth mindset – is something you want to constantly work towards. Most people have a mix of both depending on the task or trait.
One line summary: People who have a fixed mindset have limiting beliefs which prevent their progress in their life, skills, relationships, business etc. People who have a growth mindset believe they can develop and their life is ongoing improvements. Have a growth mindset.
Atul Gawande – The Checklist Manifesto: How to get things right (2009)
Recommendation: Yes – brilliant book on how to do a checklist properly. There is big difference between good and bad checklists, a bad one prevents you from actually getting things done properly and just creates more headache. A good one, makes whatever you are doing a smooth process, it works in the background as it should so you can focus on the actual task. Don’t be an idiot, just buy and read the book, it’s top notch.
One line summary: Use checklists to reduce sloppy mistakes and to ensure accuracy. Checklists are very versatile and great to use for tasks done repetitively.
Daniel H. Pink – To Sell Is Human: The surprising truth about moving others (2012)
Recommendation: Yes – it’s more about how we convince each other than it is about the act of selling to make money.
Before there used to be information asymmetry where the seller would have more information than the buyer and could therefore pull a fast one on the buyer. People tend to think negatively of sales (don’t want to be ‘salesy’). Now, both buyer and seller have access to the same amount of information so sales is done differently now. ABC method – Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity
One line summary: Sales is essentially moving others (persuading/convincing etc.) to part with resources (could be time, effort or money etc.) they have (not just about making money).
Adam Braun – The Promise of a Pencil (2014)
Recommendation: Yes – great easy read, how you can go from an idea t eventually helping many, many people around the world.
Idea to help the world → put idea into action → believe in yourself even when it’s hard to → hustle really hard to bring idea to life → consistency is key → be humble → get a team to help you → follow up → build the dream to become reality
One line summary: If you want to do something hugely impactful, then get up and go do it, surround yourself with the right people and execute everyday.
Robert Greene – 48 Laws of Power (1998)
Recommendation: Yes – a little bit hard to read at times with amount of different stories on the same page, but the lessons are very interesting.
Power in this book is mainly used to refer to influence or control of a situation.
One line summary: The book takes on the individual approach to power, as if everyone is out to get power and that it is a
limited resource. Lots of case studies from history. Shows how social influence can change with the most subtle of actions.
Chris Guillebeau – $100 Startup: Fire your boss, do what you love and work better to live more (2012)
Recommendation: Yes – easy read and a simple look at the ‘lean startup’ method. If you’ve never heard of the lean method then have a look at this book, it gives lots of case studies of people who successfully done it.
It is not a book which dives deep into principles and things like that but gives many varied cases of people from unexpected circumstance who actually made a business.
One line summary: The approach to business in this book is: people → product. Find the people who want what you can do or offer, then package your product and sell it to them. The lean startup approach.
Tim Ferriss – The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (2012)
Recommendation: Yes – I’m a big fan of Tim and this book goes through the approach to accelerated learning, from how to learn languages quicker, cooking, tango and much more.
The first part of the book (before actually gives cooking recipes) is all you need to apply accelerated learning. The rest of the book is just interesting ways of cooking different dishes. The magic is the first part of the book
One line summary: Material beats method.
David Bach – The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-step Plan to Live and Finish Rich (2003)
Recommendation Yes – A very easy read with straight forward advice. Just bear in mind that this book was written before the last major recession and is now pretty old.
The action steps at the end of each chapter are really useful. The book isn’t overly technical with a million different technical terms but has enough to make it digestible.
One line summary – Don’t underestimate automating your money.
Peter Theil and Blake Masters – Zero To One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build The Future (2014)
Recommendation: Yes – mainly for another way of thinking big how to get there instead of scraping tooth and nail for it.
The book goes over contrarian thinking.
One line summary – To build a better future or to start a company – focus on things which completely redefines the niche, go for the big wins instead of trying to incrementally improve what’s already been done. This business approach this book takes is: product → people.
Edited by Derek Hook, Bradley Franks & Martin W. Bauer – The Social Psychology of Communication (2011)
Recommendation: No, it’s not an easy read, plus most of this book people already know intrinsically. Very technical and kind of boring to read.
One line summary – Can’t really think of one other than the book is more like a textbook for me rather than a normal book. Explains the different theories of communication in different formats, many of these theories we already apply – the book just gives you the origin of that knowledge.
Joshua Waitzkin – The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance (2007)
Recommendation: Not really, it’s more biographical than it is about principles of learning.
The book is about a young chess world champion going onto use the ability to learn chess to go onto master other fields.
One line summary – Having the white belt mentality to go onto learn anything using practice and discipline and repeating the steps to learn another new thing.
Marc Levinson – The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger (2006)
Recommendation: Yes, easy to follow the history of the shipping container. Only thing i would say, this book could have used more diagrams when speaking about particular parts of a shipping container.
One line summary – The market will decide what innovation it will accept or reject. When it accepts a new innovation, you better adapt or die. Adapt by making the better deal or die by trying to hold on to the past.
Rose George – The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste (2008)
Recommendation: Yes, very funny style and sharp at the same time. Reading this, you’ll really appreciate the next time you need the toilet.
One line summary – Where you shit matters, more so than you think. How you shit could massively impact the world. There’s more to a pile a poo and piss than meets the eye (or mind).
Rose George – Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside shipping, the invisible industry that brings you 90% of everything (2013)
Recommendation: Yes, love this author’s style. Rose shows what it is like to actually ship physical goods around the world.
Side note – read ‘The Box’ by Marc Levinson first just so you understand the significance of the shipping container itself. This book explores more of the human element to shipping.
One line summary – Hats off to all the good decent people who bring and move our stuff around the world. Another great book by this author, Rose George, looks at how shipping impacts the humans on the ships as well as the rest of the world. World has been impacted massively by container shipping but so has container shipping, forever more trying to avoid the dangers on sea and land.
Dickson Despommier – The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century (2010)
Recommendation: Not really, the style is too ‘raa-raa’ informal and the main arguments are just repeated in the book. You can just read the intro and the first chapter and be done with it. Having said that, there are one or two interesting points in the book.
One line summary – Grow indoor vertically rather than outdoor horizontally. Much more in control and more beneficial to people and nature.
Elaine Pofeldt – The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business: Make Great Money. Work the Way You Like. Have the Life You Want. (2018)
Recommendation: Yes an easy read, doesn’t overwhelm you with case study after case study.
One line summary – Lean startup approach with an angle on how to scale up the business to make a million or more.
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